Misel Joe was born in Miawpukek into a strong Mi'kmaq family; both his grandfather and uncle have held the office of hereditary Saqamaw. Misel has been educated in all the Mi'kmaq ways and traditions. Morris Lewis, the first appointed Chief in Newfoundland by the Grand Chief in Mi'kmaq territory, was Misel's great, great uncle.
Misel Joe returned to Miawpukek in 1973. Since that time, he has been involved in First Nation Politics, first as a Councilor and after the death of his uncle, Chief William Joe in 1982; he became Traditional Saqamaw and the Newfoundland District Chief for the Mi'kmaq Grand Council. In 1988, the community of Miawpukek decided to create a two-chief system whereby there would be an Administrative Chief elected every two years in addition to the Traditional role as Saqamaw. Misel is currently in his sixth consecutive two year term as Administrative Chief. He has been very successful in performing two of the above roles during his term of office.
Misel Joe has presented on native medicines and traditional healing practices at several International Alternative Medicine Conferences. He also hosted the 1996 and the 2006 International Healing Conference at Conne River.
Saqamaw Misel Joe is committed to preserving the language, culture and traditions of his people. In May 2004, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador. The degree was awarded in recognition of his contribution to the economic, social and political development of the Mi'kmaq people of Newfoundland & Labrador.