Joseph Benjamin (Joe B.) Marshall, LL.B, ONS, CM, has been a Senior Mi’kmaq Advisor to the Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative since 2004. Joe guides the Mi’kmaq and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs as they proceed through the negotiation of aboriginal and treaty rights with the Province of Nova Scotia and the federal government.
Joe has been the Executive Director of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians (UNSI) since 1996, and is one of its founding members. The UNSI recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary in September 2009.
In April 2009, Joe was appointed to the provincial Department of Natural Resources Steering Panel that will lead the development of a new strategy governing the province’s natural resources.
In 2005, Joe retired as Associate Professor of Mi’kmaq Studies and Political Science from Cape Breton University, formerly known as the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB). While at UCCB, Joe B. compiled several course manuals and was instrumental in the formation of the Mi’kmaq College Institute and the creation of Mi’kmaw Studies as a disciplinary subject, allowing students to obtain a Major or Minor in this discipline. Joe assisted with the formation of the Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch, which was established to develop a set of principles and protocols which would protect the integrity and cultural knowledge of the Mi’kmaw people.
In 1993, Joe graduated from Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law with a Bachelor of Laws Degree. He also holds a Diploma in Community Development from the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.
As an Aboriginal Veteran, Joe spent three years in the Royal Canadian Air Force and he is a 5-year survivor of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School.
Joe has spent his entire career advocating for the rights of the Mi’kmaq and has been guided by the knowledge that one day, all of the discussions and negotiations that he has been a part of, will affect his grandchildren. He has always maintained, “this is for our grandchildren’s future. Ukjit Kujji’jinaq Elmi’knikmwow.” His example and dedication has made him a role model in the Mi’kmaq community and he is a mentor to many.
Joe, born in Membertou, lives in Eskasoni and is very proud of his children: Jay, a corporal with the RCMP; Eleanor, Executive Director of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey; Tex (George), Sports Animator for the Province of Nova Scotia; and Yolanda, Language Consultant for Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey. He has 19 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
Joe has a passion for Hockey and has coached several youth and senior hockey teams. He has supported many young Mi’kmaq Hockey players and hopes that some of them will eventually play in the National Hockey League.