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Music Cape Breton's Diversity in Unity

Mi'kmaq Ko’jua (Noel Marshall) [Video]

In this selection, Noel Marshall sings five Ko’jua songs accompanied by a ji’kmaqn – a traditional Mi’kmaw rattle made of split ash. This was performed as part of a re-enactment in December, 1981 of the Christmas visiting custom, referred to as Pestie wa’taqtimk. As part of this custom, community members would travel from house to house visiting individuals who were named for saints and present them with gifts tied to crosses. This custom also included the sharing of food and celebration through dance.

This video was recorded in December, 1981, at the Mi’kmawey School in Potlotek.

Ko’jua, 1981. Noel Marshall. FT-2(8a). Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Noel Marshall

Noel Marshall was born in 1905 in Potlotek and was the son of Thomas Marshall and Mary (Alex) Marshall. Noel was a well respected Mi’kmaq elder, a community leader and a Captain with the Mi’kmaq Grand Council for many years. Noel was married to Annie (Battiste) Marshall and they lived most of their life in Potlotek, where they raised their children. Noel’s father, Thomas, was also a Captain of the Grand Council and a former Chief of the community of Potlotek. It was from his father that Noel gained much of his knowledge of the Grand Council as he was extremely knowledgeable of the role of the Grand Council and the annual St. Anne’s Mission. Noel was also well versed in Mi’kmaq prayers and hymns.

Noel Marshall died in 1984.