Nigola Jeddore, or “Nickly” as most people knew him, was born on April 20th, 1904. He was the third child of five born to Steven Jeddore and Mary McDonald. (Steven was the subject of the well told story about the fellow who had cut the sinews of his foot and was crippled through life). Nickly’s mother who died when he was nine and his father in 1926. He had no real home after that, living instead with any family willing to take him in for a while.
When he died he was the last naturally fluent speaker of the Mi’kmaw language (Lnu’isimk). At his death, John N Jeddore, who as a boy of 16 had trudged over the barrens alongside Nickly, and knew him more than anyone else, eulogized him in an unpublished manuscript devoted to his life with Nickly as “a direct link in the chain of unbroken Mi’kmaw language from the beginning of the Mi’kmaw Nation” and as he breathed his last “there appeared a chasm in time that could never again be bridged”.
John N. trapped and hunted with Nickly until June 1941 and was there to comfort him when Nickly’s mental demons began to bother him. He and Nickly often harvested salmon for sustenance on the Conne River. John N. swears that Nickly was the inventor of the moose hair salmon fly in 1938.
Nickly was a good man. He was deeply religious and had great respect for the priests and bishops and like all Mi’kmaw, respected his fellow man as well.
Josep Melvin Jeddore, at whose home Nickly often stayed, also knew Nickly very closely and was very aware of the link he was to our Mi’kmaw ancestors. In a tribute written for Nigola in May 31st, 1991 issue of Micmac News, he spoke of Nickly’s devotion to the catholic faith. He quoted a statement from Nickly that for those who knew Nickly and his devotion to the church and his people, was in no way a blasphemy: “one time before they became Christians, Mi’kmaw were very strong, not even bullets could hurt them. But when they became Christian, they turned into a very weak people”.
“During the course of his lifetime, Nigola travelled all our hunting and trapping lands… he talked of areas with place names such as Tapuamkikuegtug (two waters running out of this pond one towards the white bear river and the other towards the exploits river), Etlabegultemk (crawling place) and Etlentaoauataqntemk in the west to Kutapskuj (rocky cliff like place), Apasueajeej (high banks), Asugumtakanasijeej (a place that floods when heavy rain and trout crosses from Baie d’Espoir waters to Gander waters) and Tamnapequi in the East. South, of course as everyone knows, would have landed him at Wisikpulk (salt water).
Most residents of the greater Baie d’ Espoir area who remember Nickly, remember him as a carver of axe handles and other sundry items or a person who would walk the road from Conne River (Miawpukek) to St. Alban’s at least once a week to shop, visit friends, the priest, the sisters or go to Bingo and Card Games. He was by then over eighty years old.
Nickly had a peculiar way of travelling over the land, no doubt passed on through his ancestors, whereby he would walk and run to wherever he was going. Sometimes he would walk two steps, run; walk two steps and run again or run for a while, walk a while, and then run again and so on.
Nickly lived hard and survived all the physical challenges that came his way through life. However it was the mental challenges that wore him down. Although he fought and survived them for the longest time, in the end they were to be the root cause of his death.
Nigola was buried on April 20th, 1991, dying from a heart attack in the hospital where he has been taken after suffering injuries earlier when his home was nearly destroyed when he accidentally threw Naphtha (white gas) on his fire instead of stove oil.
-Author Unknown, please contact Rene at ac.vo1487784073gnfm@1487784073erodd1487784073ejr1487784073 if you know who wrote this piece.