The Mikmaw Concordat


136 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-895686-80-6
DDC 971.5'00497




Reviewed by Daniel M. Kolos

Daniel M. Kolos is president of Benben Books, a company publishing
scholarly works.


One of the themes of this powerful book is the clash between the
aboriginal worldview of the Mikmaq and the belief system of the European
settlers. Henderson explores how European “object” oriented thought
is at odds with the aboriginal “process” orientation. It is a
conflict Native people face today when bringing their land-claims
arguments to Canadian courts.

Henderson also reviews the development of European legal thinking with
respect to ownership of land, and how the Roman Catholic Church came to
take the position that Native peoples had a natural right to their

The same Dominican Order that was the cruel heart of the Inquisition in
Europe turned out to be the conscience and protector of Native rights in
the New World. In 1610, a French nobleman arrived at Mikmiki with a
special Papal envoy to convert the Mikmaq. For the Mikmaq, it was a
two-way ceremony involving giving wampum belts and taking baptism; for
the Church, it was an attempt to create a Catholic nation in the
Americas while avoiding the bloodshed that had accompanied
“conversion” attempts elsewhere in the Americas. To this day, the
Mikmaq honor the Concordat and practise a unique form of Catholicism
that does not undermine the integrity of their traditions. Reading this
book is an enlightening experience.


Henderson, James Youngblood., “The Mikmaw Concordat,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,