John Joe Sark
Culture, Heritage and Spirituality (2005)
John Joe Sark’s role as a spiritual leader for the Mi’Kmaq people has built a lasting bridge of understanding between cultures. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Prince Edward Island. In 1985, he was honoured by the Grand Chief of the Mi’ Kmaq Nation who nominated him as Keptin of the Mi’Kmaq Nation. Following this, he was elected unanimously by Keptins of the Mi’Kmaq Nation, with a lifetime nomination, as Keptin by the Mi’Kmaq Grand Council. In his role as guardian of the spiritual and cultural integrity of the Mi’Kmaq people, he has fought to have offensive stereotypes removed from schools and institutions in Prince Edward Island.
As a representative of the Mi’Kmaq Council, Mr. Sark has lobbied internationally for rights and recognition. He has had audiences with the Pope on the subject of residential schools. He was involved in drafting the United Nations’ Declaration of Indigenous Peoples of the World, and was co-producer, executive director and artistic director of the film “Spirit World – The Story of the Mi’Kmaqs”. He also wrote a book on the history of the Mi’Kmaq people and he continues to use his expertise to encourage accurate portrayals of Mi’Kmaq history. Mr. Sark was appointed as Mi’Kmaq Ambassador to the Vatican in 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva in 1994, the Acadian National Society in New Orleans in1999, and the Acadian National Society in France in 2002. He has encouraged traditional arts like basket-making with the Mingoo Arts and Craft Corporation, and promoted community programs to mine peat moss, harvest mussel mud and farm oysters. John Joe Sark lives in Charlottetown, PEI.