GO TO >>>>> The Historical Essay, "The Micmac Of Megumaagee"
FN1 The Micmac A withe is a band, tie, or shackle consisting of a tough flexible twig or branch, or of several of them twisted together.
FN2 The Micmac As quoted by Arthur Eaton in his History of the County of Kings (1910), pp. 18-9.
FN3 The Micmac While there is evidence that copper ornaments were used ("very rarely"), there is apparently no evidence of metal being used for tools or weapons. [Smith and Wintemberg, Some Shell-heaps in Nova Scotia, Federal Dept. of Mines Bulletin No. 47, Anthropological Series (Ottawa: King's Printer, 1929), p. 93.]
FN4 The Micmac George MacLaren, who, in 1974, was described as the retired Chief Curator of History of the Nova Scotia Museum, from his article, "The Arts of The MicMac"; NSHQ#4:2, p.167.
FN5 The Micmac If you should wonder why the indigenous races to Canada in its more bitter parts have remained intact for such a long time, then a quote of Darwin's might help: "when civilizations come into contact with barbarians, the struggle is short, except where a deadly climate gives its aid to the native race."
FN6 The Micmac See Patricia Hayward's work published by The Nova Scotia Museum in 1973.
FN7 The Micmac One theory is that the Micmac people originally occupied the St. Lawrence River valley and were "driven from this early habitant down the St. John valley to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by the Iroquoian tribes from the Great Lakes. The limit of Iroquoian advance coincides exactly with the limits of agriculture lands in the St. Lawrence valley, where such lands are suddenly barred by rocky country reaching the river." (Smith and Wintemberg, op. cit., p. 93.)
FN8 The Micmac Akins in his compilation, Selections From The Public Documents, sets forth this report at pp. 39-49.
FN9 The Micmac At the time Mascarene was making his observations, in the early part of the 18th century, I speculate, the Micmac population was at its low point. This because of the effects of the introduction of European diseases against which the native North Americans had little or no natural immunity, such as the scourge of the age, smallpox. See a reference to the great reduction of the Indians along the St John in the latter part of the 17th century in Villebon's journal (Webster, p. 76.) A further example can be had by looking to the Louisbourg records. On August 9th, 1732: "... the king's vessel Le Rubis sailed into Louisbourg with smallpox on board." In the result, great numbers of men, women, and children died of smallpox during the winter of 1732/33. (NSHR, vol. 10 (1990), No. 2, p. 34, see tables at p. 43; also see despatches of May 4th, 1734, Report Concerning Canadian Archives Branch for the Year 1904 [referred throughout in these pages as CAR-1904], Appendix K, p. 204; despatch of April 27th, 1734, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 203; and despatch of June 19th, 1732, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 165.) No one is spared and the Indians are particularly susceptible, many die. The Indians have little difficulty figuring out that this pestilence is associated with white men and often refused to meet with them (French or English) even when presents are promised. (See despatch of May 4th, 1734, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 204.)
FN10 The Micmac Fergusson, "Pre-Revolutionary Settlements in Nova Scotia"; NSHS#37.
FN11 The Micmac Fergusson, op. cit., p.6.
FN12 The Micmac See McLennan, Louisbourg, at p. 66.
FN13 The Micmac Hind's An Early History of Windsor (1889), p. 32.
FN14 The Micmac See despatch of the President of the French Navy Board, June 22nd, 1739, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 269. Though there has always been, and continues to be, a population of Micmac Indians located in peninsular Nova Scotia, there was, from what I can determine, a general exodus of the Micmac out of the peninsula; away from the English and towards the French located in Cape Breton. For example, at one point, the Micmac believed that the English were poisoning them, indeed their tribe at Minas was dying because of it. (See McLennan, op. cit. at p. 36.)
FN15 The Micmac As set forth by Arthur Eaton, History of the County of Kings, p. 22.
FN16 The Micmac Hannay, The History of Acadia, pp. 43-4. The early missionaries placed the count in the range of two to three thousand. (Fergusson, op. cit., p. 6.)
FN17 The Micmac Johnston, A History of the Catholic Church in Eastern Nova Scotia, p. 3.
FN18 The Micmac Lescarbot, Nova Francia: A Description of Acadia, 1606, pp. 156-7.
FN19 The Micmac Hannay, op. cit., p. 56.
FN20 The Micmac Written by Elizabeth Frame, as quoted by Eaton, op. cit., pp. 19-20. Glooskap at some point in time was obliged to go west and leave his people to fend for themselves; a promise was made that he would return.
FN21 The Micmac As quoted by Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 161.
FN22 The Micmac The Micmac did not involve themselves much in the preservation or the cashing of food; they lived, very much, from hand to mouth. During a hard winter, that is to say a mild winter, the times were to be very tough, indeed. It was then they would be forced to resort to eating bark and the leather of the animal skins which they had been saving for clothing or for trading purposes. (See Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 225.)
FN23 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 163-4.
FN24 The Micmac Hannay, op. cit., p. 50.
FN25 The Micmac DCB, Vol. I, Introductory essay, "The Indians of Northeastern North America" by Rousseau and Brown.
FN26 The Micmac Smith and Wintemberg, op. cit., p. 93.
FN27 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 173-4. Webster points out (in a fn in his Dièreville, p. 176.) "the balsam of the fir, or turpentine, is a sovereign balm for every kind of sore and wound ..."
FN28 The Micmac Dièreville further observed that the medicine man would often lead his followers to a clearing in the woods where it would be shaded against the sun; there he would perform for them "in contortions writhes with vile grimaces" as a "demented creature": the scene was a "diabolic hubbub." (Dièreville, p. 158.)
FN29 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 157.
FN30 The Micmac Hannay, op. cit., p. 55. "No mounds are known to exist in the province ... bodies were placed in trees on scaffolds in historic times." (Smith and Wintemberg, op. cit., p. 89.)
FN31 The Micmac While the Micmac had no domestic animals they had dogs, it seems, lots of dogs. Dogs served as constant companions; on hunting forays, an invaluable assistant; a pack of dogs could put up an alarm like no other, should someone try to sneak in on their camp; dogs provided warmth on a cold winter's night; dogs were a ready source of food at the two extremes, during a feast or a famine; and as we have seen a readily available whipping-boy when it came time to appease the spirits.
FN32 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 323.
FN33 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 326.
FN34 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 324.
FN35 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 161.
FN36 The Micmac Johnston, op. cit., p. 3. The natives of North America were generally marvellously wary. This trait in their nature came about because of a very long history of warfare. Certain of the tribes or nations were the traditional enemies of another, or others; and each, in turn, would launch an attack on the other. The tactic of surprise was always to be used by the attacker. Thus it was usual for the natives to become alarmed at the least little thing or noise. (See Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 311.)
FN37 The Micmac See Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 227.
FN38 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 238.
FN39 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 176.
FN40 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 141. The Indians did not distill liquor; they bought it from the white man. Liquor was never officially traded, but traded it was; and it could bring on serious problems. Not unlike persons all over, including some of the best, certain of the Indian population could and would become intoxicated by the white man's Booktaoo. The history books are full of examples of how the native Indian, usually under the influence of liquor, would go wild and commit a number and variety of offences both to his own people and to white people. Once sobered up the offended person could chastise the offending person like a child, and, like a child the offending native would become quite contrite, and later, would often arrive with a gift for the offended person. (Dièreville, op. cit., p. 166.) The view of the French authorities, incidently, is that they thought it was "impossible to totally prohibit the sale of liquors to the Indians without seriously hurting trade and religion by leaving the Indians in the hands of the English. It is the abuses that must be suppressed." (See despatch of April 27th, 1741, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 305.)
FN41 The Micmac See Lescarbo, op. cit., pp. 298-99.
FN42 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 169.
FN43 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., pp. 173-4.
FN44 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 250.
FN45 The Micmac The paternal nature of the society is certainly evident from the manner in which the Micmac went about naming their sons. They were invariably named after their father. The father's name was adopted with the addition of an ending which distinguishes the boy as the eldest son. The second eldest son, had an ending which distinguished him as the second son, and so on. This is, indeed, somewhat like the English practice with the use of the words, senior and junior. In Micmac society, upon the death of the elder, it would seem, everyone down the line changed their name, i.e., Membertou dies then his eldest son, Membertouchis, becomes Membertou and the grandson would then become known as Membertouchis. (See Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 149.)
FN46 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., pp. 137-8.
FN47 The Micmac See Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 252-3 In quoting Denys, Webster sets forth (see fn, Dièreville, op. cit., p. 155) "The women had to bring animals which were killed to their abode, skinning them, and cutting them up for cooking. They made the bark dishes, brought wood for burning from the woods, carried water, dressed skins, made the robes, clothing and moccasins, put up a took down the wigwams, lining the latter with fir. When they changed their location the women carried everything." Nicholas Denys in making reference to the seasonal migratory habits of the MicMac, was to write: "After they had lived for some time in one place, which they have beaten for game all round their camp, they go and camp fifteen or twenty leagues away. Then the women and girls must carry the wigwam, dishes, bags, skins, robes and everything they can take , for the men and boys carry nothing." (As quoted by Jean Petley-Jones in his article, "The Belleisle Marsh and a Cavalcade of History," NSHR#4:1(1984), pp. 27-8.)
FN48 The Micmac The women did not eat with the men. (Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 222.)
FN49 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 242, makes the observation "in every age they have all their teeth ..."
FN50 The Micmac Woman who were menstruating were obliged to live aside from everyone else until their period came to an end; they "could not eat with others, but must have a separate kettle, and live by themselves." For example, as Dièreville points out (op. cit., pp. 161-2), if a menstruating woman were to touch a man's musket he would believe that it was bewitched.
FN51 The Micmac Brebner, Explorers ..., p. 394.
FN52 The Micmac Hannay, op. cit., pp. 53-4.
FN53 The Micmac The only store of wealth that an Indian knew was his pelts, which, if courting a desired maiden, a young man would give to her family. (Dièreville, op. cit., p. 142.)
FN54 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 144.
FN55 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 215,219,220.
FN56 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 146. See also Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 148.
FN57 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 151-2.
FN58 The Micmac "The Child is in this contrivance, well trussed up, with only his head free. His mother carries him wherever she goes, & they are always back to back; when she wishes to unburden herself she never lays him down, but leans him, upright, against anything she may find suitable for the purpose, or else she hangs him up on whatever is strong enough to support him." (Dièreville, op. cit., p. 147.)
FN59 The Micmac See Webster, Villebon, op. cit., p. 61.)
FN60 The Micmac Smith and Wintemberg, op. cit., p. 93.
FN61 The Micmac See "And Some Brought Flowers," a flower book amongst my collection (University Toronto Press, 1980) where there are numerous references to the native plants as "discovered" by the early explorers with many quotes from their journals. For example the recipe for tripe de roche can be found in this book. Also see, Some Shell-heaps a work which deals with two archaeological sites, Merigomish Harbour and Mahone Bay. This 193 pp. government publication has write-ups on various aspects of native life, including: food, implements used for securing and preparing food, habitation, etc. (Ottawa: King's Printer, 1929).
FN62 The Micmac See MacLaren's article, "The Arts of The MicMac," NSHQ#4:2, p.167.
FN63 The Micmac The Indians did not care for cod. Mussels were something, due to superstition, the natives also avoided eating. As for fishing, the natives did it more by trapping, then by hook and line (though hook and line became common enough with the arrival of the white man). A weir would be built across the river where the tide reaches, leaving an opening for the fish to ascend with the tide. On the turning of the tide the opening would be closed off. At low tide the fish, fetched up against the weir would be gathered up. (See Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 138,225,282-3.)
FN64 The Micmac See Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 268-9.
FN65 The Micmac In the days the Micmac made there home, in the Nova Scotian woods, the caribou ran. What happened to them is a story which is likely known, but which I cannot tell. Today we see, in considerable numbers, the deer; the caribou still run in the higher plains of the sub arctic, but no longer can be found in Nova Scotia. Lescarbot named them elan, the Micmac aptaptou (p. 269.) A tall creature, taller than a horse, gray colour with hairs "as long as the fingers of one's hand. His head is very long, and hath almost an infinite order of teeth. He beareth his horns double like the stag, but as broad as a plank, and three feet long, garnished with sprigs growing upward all along upon one side. His feet be forked as the stag's, but much more flat. ... He feedeth in the meadows, and liveth also of the tender crops of trees. It is the plentifullest thing that the savages have, next to fish."
FN66 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 134.
FN67 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., pp. 153,161,163. This reverence to animals observed during the hunt was observed at other times. Dièreville noticed that when the Indian met the white man's horse (Port Royal, 1699) he would tremble "at the aspect of this docile beast."
FN68 The Micmac Hannay, op. cit., p. 46.
FN69 The Micmac Hannay, op. cit., p. 47.
FN70 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 255-6.
FN71 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., pp. 187-9,213-4.)
FN72 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., pp. 166-7.
FN73 The Micmac The Micmac had traditional recipes to obtain the colours they desired: Black; boil with a little salt water "the dark blue wood found under decaying portions of an old log.": Red; boil the bark of the swamp bush which they knew as the maldewiadjkal (maildoblood): Yellow; boil goldroot (wisankweskal): Brown; boil the moss found growing between the wrinkles in the bark of maple trees: Green; boil moosewood when soft takeout and crush and then boil again. (For more, see MacLaren's article, "The Arts of The MicMac", op. cit., p.167.)
FN74 The Micmac Lescarbot, op. cit., p. 241.
FN75 The Micmac From the journal of John Robinson, as quoted by MacLaren, "The Arts of The MicMac", op. cit., p.174.
FN76 The Micmac Dièreville, op. cit., p. 177.
FN77 The Micmac Hannay, op. cit., p. 52.
FN78 The Micmac Villebon gives a contemporaneous description of such a feast. He, Villebon, before rows of spectators, with considerably flurry, adopted the Indian chief, Taxous, as a brother and in the process presented to him a laced suit. (Webster, Letters Journals and Memoirs of Villebon, op. cit., pp. 59-60.)
FN79 The Micmac Webster, Ibid., p. 5. One who comes to mind who did exercise great influence, and, though frocked, was more the political agent then a priest administering to the spiritual needs of the Micmac, was Abbe Jean-Louis Le Loutre.
FN80 The Micmac See McLennan, Ibid., p. 64.
FN81 The Micmac See Akins, Ibid., pp. 62-3. Though they denied it at the time, it is clear from the contemporaneous French correspondence amongst themselves that may now be read, that the French did everything in their power to work up, the entire native population from the head of the Great Lakes to Acadia, into a fevered pitch, and to supply them with weapons so that they might wreak havoc at the English borders.
FN82 The Micmac As quoted by McLennan, Ibid., pp. 189-90.