How Prince Edward Island Joined Canada

Prince Edward Island entered Canadian Confederation 150 years ago — but a century before that, the island’s Indigenous Mi’kmaw Chiefs signed Treaties of Peace and Friendship with representatives of the British King. What happened to those treaties when PEI joined Canada in 1873?

Interview by Kate Jaimet

Posted May 25, 2023

When King George II signed with PEI’s Mi’kmaw Chiefs more than 200 years ago, the British monarch promised the Mi’kmaw people the right to hunt and fish on the island forever. But what happened to those treaties when PEI joined Canada in 1873? Historian Christopher Moore and Mi’kmaw legal scholar Cheryl Simon discuss how British law, international treaties, and the deal PEI made with Canada at Confederation have affected everything from fishing rights to property ownership in Canada's smallest province.

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Christopher Moore wrote "Confederation or Bust" in the June-July 2023 issue of Canada’s History magazine. One hundred and fifty years ago, the people of Prince Edward Island kicked out the British landlords, embraced the railway, and joined Canada.

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