Born and raised in the Millbrook Mi'kmaw Community, Truro, NS, Don Julien has worked throughout his life toward a better future for the Mi'kmaw people. Following high school completion, Don spent five years with the Canadian Armed Forces, which included a six-month tour of duty in Cyprus with the United Nations. To this day, he advocates great respect for the military and is a member of the Indian War Veterans Association.
In 1986, Don was recruited by Daniel Paul, founding Executive Director of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq (CMM), to fill the organization's key position of Research Director for Land Claims, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. In Paul's opinion, Julien was the best in the field, and he insisted on hiring him to fill the position. His faith in Don's research ability was rewarded handsomely. Mostly, on his own initiative, Don developed a professional productive research unit, which continues to expand.
In 1994 CMM's Board of Directors appointed Don to his present position as Executive Director. Under his direction, CMM has built upon the strong foundation established under the leadership of Paul, as one of the best operated tribal councils in Canada, and one with a solid financial position. It now has a staff of 60 plus.
Since 1999, Don has enjoyed his participation as Chair of the RCMP Divisional Aboriginal Advisory Committee on policing matters. As well, he is a member of the Commissioner's National Aboriginal Advisory Committee, which addresses policing matters affecting Aboriginal Communities throughout the entire country.
Don has not limited his presentations to Nova Scotians. In 2001, he spoke at the Canadian Embassy in Washington at the opening of " Mikwite'lmanej Mikmaqi'k: Let Us Remember the Old Mi'kmaq" - a traveling museum exhibit which he initiated in partnership with the Peabody Institute, Andover, Mass. Two copies of this exhibit continue to circulate in the eastern USA and Atlantic Canada.
Don was instrumental in the development of a Code of Ethics to guide all research initiatives pertaining to the Mi'kmaq. As well as protecting the intellectual ownership of the research on behalf of the Mi'kmaq, the Code serves to ensure that certain professional standards are followed. All research is now recorded with the Code of Ethics Committee ensuring the Mi'kmaq have knowledge and tracking of all research. Don continues to be an active participant in this Committee.
On October 5, 2004, Don was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia. The Order recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavor benefiting in an outstanding manner, the province and its residents.
On May 16, 2005, Don was granted an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Laws from Acadia University. He was selected for this honor because of his dedication to the study and advocacy of the culture and heritage of the Mi'kmaw people of Nova Scotia.