WE’JITU (NOEL JEDDORE) BORN– EXILED MI’KMAQ GRAND CHIEF
Born at Indian Point, Bay d’Espoir, Newfoundland, Jeddore was Saqamaw “grand chief” of the Mi’kmaq there. The Mi’kmaq at Bay d’Espoir were Roman Catholic & built a chapel at Conne River in the 1870s. As Saqamaw, Jeddore was “high priest” when the priest was absent and guardian of the prayer book used for Sunday mass. In 1916, Father Stanislaus St. Croix, the new priest, wanted the Mi’kmaq to join his parish in St. Albans, vice their chapel, and for the Mi’kmaq to stop reciting their prayers in Mi’kmaq as he thought it “mocked God.” He forbade use of the language in the school and had children “strapped” if they spoke it. In a 1923 community meeting, Jeddore said that “if we stopped speaking Mi’kmaq in the church, there would be murder in our hearts.” This was reported to St. Croix who called the RCMP. Jeddore was given a choice: jail or exile. He and some community members left by canoe to a Mi’kmaq reserve in Eskasoni, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Jeddore died there, on May 14, 1944.
Source: “Noel Jeddore,” PeoplePill. Retrieved 9/12/2020, https://peoplepill.com/people/noel-jeddore/ Photo: Author unknown, circa 1930. Fair Use. Source: Pinterest.