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About Daniel N. Paul
Dr. Daniel N. Paul, C.M., O.N.S.
I was born December 1938 to my late parents, Sarah Agnes and William Gabriel Paul, in a small log cabin on Indian Brook Reserve, Nova Scotia, during a raging blizzard. I was the eleventh of fourteen children. The doctor arrived two weeks after the fact on snowshoes. I now reside in Halifax in semi-retirement with my wife Patricia. We have two daughters, Lenore and Cerena. Lenore and husband Todd have made us grandparents twice, Jenna and Julia. I also have a son Keith by a previous partner, whose children have made me a Grandfather and great-Grandfather many times over.
SAMPLE OF AWARDS FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE
GRAND CHIEF DONALD MARSHALL SR. MEMORIAL ELDER AWARD: October 1, 2007 - Received the award in recognition and appreciation for outstanding contribution to the Mi'kmaq Community and Nova Scotia.
MECNS Award 2006 – 2007: Multicultural Education Council of Nova Scotia annually honours a person that it considers to have provided exemplary service in the promotion and awareness of multiculturalism and multicultural education in schools, community, and government.
ORDER OF CANADA: Named to the Order, November 17, 2005 - Canada's highest civilian award. Introduction statement at the Investment Ceremony, October 6, 2006.
"Dr. Daniel N. Paul is a powerful and passionate advocate for social justice and the eradication of racial discrimination. As an author, journalist, consultant and volunteer, he has been an outspoken champion of First Nations communities across Nova Scotia for more than 30 years. The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, the Mi'kmaq Native Friendship Centre and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq have all benefitted from his consensus building skills and commitment to the community. Through his newspaper columns and his book, We Were Not the Savages, he has helped to restore the proud heritage and history of the Mi'kmaq Nation"
LISTED IN CANADA'S WHO'S WHO - BEGINNING WITH THE 2004 EDITION: Recognized for fighting for civil and human rights for humanity, and writing accomplishments, etc.
ORDER OF NOVA SCOTIA: Province of Nova Scotia, October 2, 2002: - the Province's highest award for outstanding contributions, and for bringing honour and prestige to Nova Scotia.
A quote from the Nova Scotia government’s press release announcing the award: Daniel N. Paul is a passionate writer who gives a voice to his people by revealing a past that the standard histories have chosen to ignore.... He has been recognized by the Universite Sainte-Anne with an honourary Doctor of Letters Degree and by the City of Halifax with a millennium award. By bringing new understanding and perspective to the past, he seeks to teach all people what damage racism can do.
Certificate of Appreciation: Nova Scotia Department of Justice, June 2002: "On behalf of the Provincial and Family Courts and the government of the Province of Nova Scotia, this Certificate is bestowed upon Daniel Paul in recognition of your significant contribution to the justice system of Nova Scotia."
Millennium Award: Honoured by the City of Halifax, January 14, 2000, for contributing in a special way towards making the community a better place for its citizens to live and prosper in.
Honourary Doctor of Letters Degree: University of Sainte-Anne, Church Point, Nova Scotia, June 7, 1997.
Honourary citizen of the Acadien District of Clare Certificate: Honoured by the Municipality of Clare with it, March 22, 1994.
City of Dartmouth Book & Writing Awards: Co-winner of First prize for non-fiction, 1993 edition of We Were Not the Savages, April 21, 1994.
DISTRICT CHIEF - SHUBENACADIE MI'KMAQ DISTRICT: December 1988 to June 1990. Honourary title bestowed at the second annual meeting of the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs.
HIGH AMONG the most appreciated honours that I've received during my career are the dozens of small items, letters, mugs, Eagle Feathers, etc., given to me by students as thanks for helping them better understand the importance of according all Peoples human dignity and respect.
My place of birth was preordained three years prior by a blatant act of racism committed against my family by white society. The gist of the story:
Until the fall of 1935 my father worked on the Saint John, New Brunswick, waterfront as a stevedore, thus a taxpayer. That year, because of depression related work shortages, he and many others were laid off.
Unemployed, with a growing family to support, he had to apply for city welfare to assure the family's survival, which was granted. A white resident, viewing this as an affront to his warped sense of fairness, went posthaste to the city's fathers and complained bitterly that they were feeding a bunch of Indians.
The fathers agreed with his complaint and reacted with the proper indignation of bigots. Thus, in late November of 1935, my parents and their five small children were rounded up and deported by the city council from Saint John to Indian Brook Reserve, Nova Scotia, a place they had never seen before.
Upon arrival at Indian Brook, with little assets other than the clothes on their backs, and cold weather setting in, the Indian Agent gave them a roll of tar paper and told them to build a tar paper shack. Which they did, spending more than two years living in it before moving to the tiny log cabin where I was born.
The reason I mention the circumstance about how I came to be born on Indian Brook Reserve is to provide an example of the extent of the racism that First Nations Peoples had to contend with at that time. Without any human and civil rights laws to protect us, we were at the mercy of a largely uncaring biased white Anglo society. Therefore, legal redress wasn't available. Factually, the justice system was used by society more to persecute than to dispense justice to us. From birth, as Indians, we were classified as "Wards of the Crown," and treated as third class citizens at best. We had the same legal status as drunks and insane persons.
Beause of the humiliation that racial discrimination caused my family and other Mi’kmaq, and, for that matter, other minority groups in this country, I’m an ardent spokesperson and activist for human rights. For my efforts I’ve got some recognition. On October 2, 2002, the Province of Nova Scotia inducted me and nine other Nova Scotians into the Order of Nova Scotia. Premier John Hamm stated: "These people have been selected because of their outstanding contributions and for bringing honour and prestige to Nova Scotia."
The following is the descriptive message the government used in its press release to describe me:
"He is a passionate writer who gives a voice to his people by revealing a past that the standard histories have chosen to ignore . . . By bringing new understanding and perspective to the past, he seeks to teach all people what damage racism can do."
Although life was hard for us during my childhood, it wasn’t without fun and rewards. I began to hunt, fish, and trap when I was about eight. I also sold the Star Weekly, Liberty Magazine, seeds, greeting cards, painted insides of houses, and pursued any other means to make a buck.
This lasted until I left home for Boston in 1953. My initiation to Boston was something else!
As this is not intended to be a full bio, I’ll just relate one incident of how a Mi’kmaq Hillbilly from the boondocks performed when he hit the big city. In your mind picture a scrawny skinny kid of 14, walking down the sidewalks of the Big Time, greeting all he met with a hearty "Good Morning." I still can recall the incredulous looks that said: "Is he for real!"
Today, to keep myself occupied, in addition to my writing, I lecture in schools, run a small advisory business, write columns occasionally for the op-ed page of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and other newspapers, am a Justice of the Peace for the Province of Nova Scotia, a member of the Nova Scotia Police Review Board, a member of the Mi'kmaq Governance Committee, Chair of the Council on Mi'kmaq Education, and set on several nonprofit boards, etc.
Over the years I've served on many provincial commissions. For examples, the Province's Human Rights Commission and the Nova Scotia Department of Justice's Court Restructuring Task Force.
A sample of achievements: I've written five books and have been published numerous times in journals, human rights booklets and readers, school readers, newspapers, and magazines. My second book, We Were Not the Savages, 1993 edition (out of print), was first prize co-winner for nonfiction at the 6th Annual City of Dartmouth Book and Writing Awards in 1994. It was on the Nova Scotia bestseller list for seventeen weeks. It inspired a play entitled Strange Humours. A fully revised best selling twenty-first Century version was published October 2000 (out of print) by Fernwood Publishing, Halifax. In 2006, Fernwood published a new updated edition entitled: First Nations History - We Were Not the Savages - Third Edition We Were Not the Savages. The three editions have been cited as a reference in many books, articles, etc. The new version is now being used as course material in several universities and high schools. It is the first such history ever written by a First Nation citizen.
Also, I started a collection of Mi'kmaq artifacts at the Confederacy offices that include ancient arrowheads, axes, dolls, snowshoes, and so on. And, founded the Mi'kmaq/Maliseet Nation News.
While Executive Director of the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs, I established, with the able and professional assistance of the late Kathy Knockwood, what has been described by education professionals as "a first class post-secondary education Program." The rules and regulations of the Program that we developed have been adopted by many similar organizations across the country. We had great success. After implementing our Program registration of students from our six bands in post secondary education facilities went from approximately 20 to more than 200 students within three years.
In my role as the Department of Indian Affair's District Superintendent of Reserves and Trusts for Nova Scotia, I took the lead role in overcoming the bureaucratic nightmare surrounding an addition to Yarmouth Indian Reserve. Also, I headed up the successful efforts to resolve other reserve land addition matters, disputed right-of-ways of various natures, decades’ old estate problems, and so on.
In addition, we acquired road right-of-ways into reserves that had not been provided with such. Resolved favourably, on behalf of the Chapel Island and Millbrook Bands, illegal encroachments by NS Power upon their respective reserves. Both Bands received considerable monetary compensation.
Instigated and headed up the successful effort to resolve the Afton Band's 170 year old Summerside property legal claim. The property is now a Reserve.
I worked for 11 years on the legal case which saw the Pictou Landing Band's claim known as Boat Harbour mostly resolved. This claim centered around the use of the Harbour as a lagoon for the industrial waste spewing forth from the Scott Paper mill at Abercrombie. The Band eventually settled for $35 million plus. My book, "We Were Not the Savages" relates in more detail the before mentioned.
During my term as Executive Director with the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs I instigated a drive which raised approximately $3 million for a new community centre for Indian Brook Reserve. Since it opened the Centre has become a major source of revenue for the band.
Also, I started a trust fund, during my employment with the Confederacy, which was set up for the specific purpose of addressing the future legal requirements of the six Bands associated with the organization. When I retired from CMM, January 1994, the fund had a balance of $140,000. This was the first undertaking of this nature by a First Nation organization in the Atlantic provinces.
Without remuneration, except for some travel expenses, I’ve been featured in videos prepared by a Public Broadcasting T.V. station and by Mount Saint Vincent University, CBC TV and radio, etc. The subject were the life and times of the Mi'kmaq and the racism they faced and are still facing. In 2001 was featured in two videos, "Growing Up Native" by CBC and EASTERN TIDE's "Expulsion and the Bounty Hunter” by Bear Paw Productions."
The accomplishment that I'm most proud of is that I've lobbied successfully to have names of buildings, roads and so on, that were named in honour of colonial officials that brutalized the Mi'kmaq, changed.
For further information and more detail about some of the items mentioned please go to RESUME, or better still, read FIRST NATIONS HISTORY - WE WERE NOT THE SAVAGES - THIRD EDITION.
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“We Were Not the Savages … is unique, in chronological scope and in the story it tells, covering the last three centuries of Mi’kmaq history in detail. Prior to the appearance of this book it was common for historians to downplay or even deny the violence inflicted on the Mi’kmaq people by European and Euro-American colonizers. This work, more than any other piece of scholarly production, has headed off that consensus at a pass. Scalp-bounty policies are now recognized as a historical problem worthy of investigation.
The book will also be of particular interest to readers in the United States for a variety of reasons. First, the early history of colonization in the Maritimes is closely tied to the history of the colonies that became the United States, and as late as the 1750s New England’s political leaders played a prominent role in directing the course of colonial affairs on Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia. … Second, the chapters on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries provide a detailed and much needed basis of comparison for anyone seeking to understand the similarities and contrasts between the U.S. and Canada on questions of “Indian Affairs.” And finally, it is important to recognize that we have far too few histories written by Native American authors—very few indeed that cover as extensive a time span as this book does.”
— Geoffrey Plank, Associate Professor of History, University of Cincinnati
“Having, over the years … read most of the sources you cite in your book, I had long ago arrived at the same conclusion you have. Certainly, white intrusions everywhere in the world have been disastrous for indigenous peoples.”
— Allison Mitcham, Professor Emeritus, University of Moncton
“Count me in too, among your book’s advocates… [it] knocks the smile off Englishmen who claim their colonial presence among Indians was ‘better’ than that of the Spanish.”
— C. Blue Clark, Interim Director, Native American Legal Center, Oklahoma City
“We Were Not the Savages is a provocative and excellent book…. It is brave, insightful, unflinching and above all honest. And, most important, it greatly enhances our positive images of Amerindians.”
— Barry Jean Ancelet, University of Louisiana
“Reading the pages of this book, continually affirms for me, how good it is to be a Mi’kmaq. I so wish that my father was still living. Wouldn’t he be so proud that such a book was available. I also wish that this history book was in existence years ago, a book that now empowers me and fills me with great pride to be a Mi’kmaq.”
— Sister Dorothy Moore, Prominent Mi’kmaq Educator
This updated edition incorporates Daniel Paul’s ongoing research. It clearly and profoundly shows that the horrors of history still rain upon the First Nations people of the present.
DANIEL PAUL is an ardent spokesperson and activist for human rights. He holds, among many awards, an honorary degree in Letters, Université Sainte-Anne, Church Point, Nova Scotia. He is a member of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of Nova Scotia.