Photo Essay: 2010 Re-enactment of Grand Chief Membertou’s baptism

Photo by Stephen Brake

On June 24, 1610, Grand Chief Membertou and 21 members of his immediate family were baptized into the Catholic religion at Port Royal, N.S.

The event is important to the Mi’kmaq because it marked an alliance between them and the French who built the fort and the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2010, a re-enactment was held at Port Royal Historic Site in Annapolis Royal, N.S to mark the 400th anniversary of Membertou’s baptism.

Photo Editor Stephen Brake was there to document the event.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake

This plaque about Grand Chief Membertou greets visitors to Port Royal Historic Site.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake
More than 300 people gathered to watch the re-enactment of Membertou’s baptism. A procession to the morning outdoor mass marked the beginning of the day’s events.
Among the people in attendance included Kji-Keptin Antle Denny (fourth from left) and Keptin Stephen Augustine (third from right). Both are members of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council.
Photo by Stephen Brake

Mi’kmaq Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy greets Archbishop Martin Currie of Grand Falls, N.L. before the mass begins.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake

Following the mass, people gathered along the shore of Annapolis Basin to watch the re-enactment.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake

Actors from the nearby Bear River First Nation played members of Grand Chief Membertou’s immediate family during the re-enactment.

The play was written and produced by writer Hal Theriault.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake

Historians believe that Grand Chief Membertou was 103 when he was baptized into the Roman Catholic religion by Jesuit priest Jessé Fleché.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake

Membertou wanted his immediate family members to be baptized as well.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake

When Grand Chief Membertou was baptized, he was given the name, Henri. His family members were also given Christian names.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake

Membertou’s baptism also marked an alliance between the Mi’kmaq and the Catholic Church. Today, most Mi’kmaw people identify themselves as Catholic.

 

Photo by Stephen Brake

Grand Chief Membertou passed away a year after his baptism in 1611 at the age of 104.

 


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About Maureen Googoo 153 Articles
Maureen Googoo is an award-winning journalist from Indian Brook First Nation (Sipekne'katik) in Nova Scotia. She has worked in news for 30 years for media outlets such as CBC Radio, the Chronicle-Herald and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Maureen has an arts degree in political science from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, a post-graduate degree in journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.