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Mi’kmaq author and activist Daniel Paul has passed away at 84 years old

By Joe Thomson Jun 28, 2023 | 12:57 PM

Daniel Paul poses with his Wel-lukwen Award (Courtesy of Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission).

Mi’kma’ki is mourning the loss of one of their communities’ great leaders.

Author, activist, icon, and elder, Daniel Paul has passed away at the age of 84.

Paul is well known for his 1993 book We Were Not the Savages, which tells the story of European colonization in Nova Scotia and details some of the horrific truths behind Colonel Governor Edward Cornwallis. The book spoke about the violence Cornwallis committed against the Mi’kmaw people, including the bounty he placed on Mi’kmaq scalps in 1759.

Since publishing his book, Paul has become a driving force in the fight to have statues of Cornwallis removed from the city, and to have streets bearing his name renamed.

Nova Scotia NDP leader Claudia Chender says it’s an extraordinary loss for our province.

“I think people like Daniel Paul have allowed us to see a path forward towards reconciliation and understanding. I have so much gratitude for the service that he’s given the Mi’kmaw nation and Nova Scotia. I know that he will be greatly missed,” said Chender.

In 2022, Paul was awarded the inaugural Nova Scotia Human Rights Wel-lukwen Award. It is an award presented annually to a member of the L’nu people whose work advances human rights, raises awareness, and brings attention to issues affecting Indigenous people in Nova Scotia.

Paul has also received the Order of Canada, the nations top civilian honour, in 2005.

Paul was diagnosed with liver cancer back in December, however the exact cause of his death is unknown at this time.


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