History ~ Grand Council

The government of the Mi’kmaq people followed a rich tradition. The Mi’kmaq government was not unlike today’s federal government. The Mi’kmaq follow the rules and customs handed down through generations. Each band had a hereditary Chief who would consult with a Regional Chief called a “Sagamore.” Each Regional Chief had a council of Band Chiefs depending of the size of their district.

The Mi’kmaq grand council was made up of Sagamores and a Grand chief. The Grand Chief of the Mi’kmaq was called the Unama’kik, now called Cape Breton. Chieftainship was usually handed down from father to son. To ensure having many sons, the Chief would often take more than one wife.

This grand council would deal with issues that affected the entire nation, such as treaty signings and the negotiations of alliances. Alliances with tribes such as the Malecite and Penobscot were made to establish and maintain peace. The Mi’kmaq believed that peace was very important to the survival of the people and were willing to compromise in order to achieve it.