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Music Cape Breton's Diversity in Unity

Mi'kmaq God Save The Queen

The following song is an anthem in honour of Mary, the Mother of God, set to the tune of God Save The Queen. The lyrics describe how the Holy Spirit was made mortal and Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, a central tenet of the Roman Catholic Church. Today, many Mi’kmaq continue to practice Catholicism. The baptism of Chief Membertou in 1610 is said to mark the conversion of the Mi’kmaq to Christianity; however, it is more likely that the Mi’kmaq saw the ritual as an expression of friendship and alliance-building as opposed to religious conversion.

God Save The Queen, 1975. Harriet Denny and Annie Cremo. T-599. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Harriet Denny

Harriet Denny was born in April, 1900 to Peter Denny and Helen Sylliboy of Eskasoni. Harriet lived all of her life in Eskasoni where she was a community prayer leader, choir leader and traditional storyteller. She was a well respected elder of Eskasoni and was proficient in the verses of the various Mi’kmaq prayers. She, like her sister Annie Cremo and brother Noel P. Denny, were all involved in the recital and recording of Mi’kmaq prayers, hymns and songs. Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe often consulted with Harriet while developing her poems and writings as Harriet’s knowledge on the Mi’kmaw language and Mi’kmaw traditional stories was immense. Harriet’s storytelling ability was so well known that she was referred to as one of the last great Mi’kmaw storytellers.

Harriet died on October 13, 1986 at the age of 86.

Annie Cremo

Annie (Denny) Cremo was born in 1908 and was a daughter of Peter and Helen (Sylliboy) Denny. She was also the wife of Simon Cremo and the mother of Lee Cremo, world champion Mi’kmaw fiddler. Annie and her husband lived in Potlotek for the early part of their married life, but relocated to Eskasoni in the early 1940s. For most of her life, she was involved in Mi’kmaw cultural and religious activities and became renowned for her knowledge of Mi’kmaq hymns, Mi’kmaw prayers and traditional stories. When people in the Mi’kmaq community were sick and dying, she would visit them and pray for them on length. To have her visit you during time of illness was considered a great honor and she was held in high esteem by the Mi’kmaq community for such actions. Annie’s knowledge of Mi’kmaq prayers was so proficient that she became a prayer leader with the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, or Sante Mawiomi, and in the Mi’kmaq community she was became known as the “Queen of Prayers.”

Annie was recognized by the Mi’kmaq community for her lifetime accomplishments and received the Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Elder Award in 1993. Annie died in 1998 and at her funeral she received full honors from the Mi’kmaq Grand Council.

God Save The Queen

I. Mat mawtamulek
Ki’l Niskam wkwijal
Elasutmelsewkit nike’n
Elue’wutiktuk kamultijik
Te’je’wey kamulamuti

II. Melkikno’ti meski’k
Wa’so’qeleke’wa’kik ki’l Niskam wkwijal
Ke’ne’Se’sus wekwisit,
Wekwisit wejiwuli Niskam e’wutiktuk l’nua’sit
Sape’wuti’l waju’penl

III. Ktlamilu weji maninl
Kji klusuaqn
K’il Niskam wkwijal,
Ktinin Se’sus we’kwisin
We’kwisin Weji wuli Niskam ewutiktuk elnua’sin
Sape’wuti’l Waju’penl


I. All of us ask you
Speak for us
You God, your mother
We pray over now
In the sin, they are standing
In the heart (breath)
You pray for us

II. Have big strength
You are God’s mother
Jesus is the son
Through the Holy Spirit, made Himself mortal
You are full of blessings
Pray for us

III. Your stomach he came out of, great Word
You God your mother
You God your mother
Your body Jesus
Through the Holy Spirit, you became mortal
You are full of blessings
Pray for us