Blupete's History Page


"A Selection of Micmac Words"
(A Suppliment to the Historical Essay,
"The Micmac Of Megumaagee")

A Preliminary Note:

What I set down here is but the barest sample of Micmac words. The principal source for these words, of course, is from the work of Silas Terius Rand (1810-89). Rand was a farmer's son from Canning, Nova Scotia. His life's work was to become the study of the Micmac language, a language he described as "the most marvelous of all languages, ancient or modern. It was marvelous in its construction, in its regularity, in its fullness."1 This by a man, who, it is said, in his prime could speak and write a dozen languages including Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
Rand made his home at Hantsport from 1853 to 1889. He compiled a dictionary that consisted of approximately 40,000 words, translated the bible, and, in his extended writings, "saved from oblivion," wrote of the rich mythological lore of the Micmac.
Another work that I have drawn from is that of Elizabeth Frame, List of Micmac Names of Places. Miss Frame is described of being from Shubenacadie, a place at which the Micmac have long resided. Frame's original work came about as a result of a request for the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society; it was presented at its meeting, June 9th, 1892.

Click
the letter and you will be brought to the beginning of the list of words beginning with that letter.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M "The Micmac Of Megumaagee" History
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(Click on letter to go to index.)
-A-
Abenakis:
These were not Acadian Indians: "They belonged to the valley of the Kennebec and westward, toward the Massachusetts."2
Algonkin:
The Algonkin is the name for one of the largest linguistic families of Indians on the North American continent. Their homelands were pretty much encompassed by the Country of Canada as geographically defined these days, stretching from the east coast to the western prairies.3
Akum:
Snowshoe.
Arrisdewaugwhum:
Church.
Aspatogon:
A headland on the Atlantic.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-B-
Banook:
The first lake as you ascend a river.
Bibbanojackamahdee:
Looking glass.
Booktaoo:
Fire, hence fire-water: alcohol.
Boon:
The sitting place in a canoe, usually on the cross piece.
Boosenech:
This is a good example of the one word sentence which the Micmac regularly used. In the case: "Boosenech": Let us take a journey over water by canoe.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-C-
Canoe:
See Ootool
Cansok:
From which is derived Canso or Canseaux, being the Micmac word for "opposite a high bluff."4
Chebucto:
Great bay or long harbour.5
Cheema:
To paddle a canoe.
Chegagoo:
A fish. (See Pulamoo)
Chegumakin:
A rattle, an Indian tambourine.
Cobequid:
See Wagobagitk.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-E-
Ellagahweet:
Queen.
Etchemins:
Meaning "men," indeed, excellent men. Etchemin is the early collective appellation (used by the French) for the subdivisions: Passamaquoddies, Malecites, Penobscots and Abenakis.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-G-
Gaspesians:
See the Micmacs.
Glooscap:
A manitou who dwelt in the Bay of Fundy at Blomidon.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-I-
Iroquois:
The name is derived from the Algonkian word meaning "serpent." They were the terror of every other eastern tribe and roamed wide. They were located in the Finger Lake district of present day New York state. They consisted of a confederacy of five tribes, from east to west: the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and the Senecas.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-K-
Kabem:
A border of a lake.
Kebbek:
A narrow place on a water way. (Thus we have the origin of the name of Quebec. But it is a name that does not describe a particular place as much as it describes a condition.) The Micmac had many words with the prefix, "Keb". It meant stop. Thus: kebaadoo, to staunch blood; kebapskitk, the stream is stopped up by rocks; etc.
Kisawauk:
God.
Kitpoo:
Eagle.
Kobet:
Beaver.
Kookoowes:
An owl.
Koospem:
A lake.
Kow-week:
Porcupine quills.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-L-
Luntook:
A deer.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-M-
Malecites (Maliseets):
It is to be remembered that the Indians along the St. John River, the Malecites, though of the same larger linguistic family, are a distinct tribe of Indians:
"The whole of the Peninsula of Nova Scotia, and the Gulf shore of New Brunswick were occupied by the Souriquois, which was the tribe now known as the Micmacs, while the Etchemins occupied the territory from the River St. John to the Kennebec. The latter tribe are now known as Malecites, and they call themselves Wabannakai, or men of the East. There is reason to believe that the Etchemins, or Malecites, did not originally occupy any portion of Acadia, but that they intruded themselves into the territory of the Micmacs about the beginning of the seventeenth century, and gradually spread themselves along the Northern coast of the Bay of Fundy and up the River St. John, pressing the Micmacs back to the gulf and the peninsula of Nova Scotia. The Malecites were a very warlike people, much more so than the Micmacs, and they were generally in league with the Indians of Maine and Canada against the colonists of New England."6
The name Malecite, as John Clarence Webster explains, is "derived from the Micmac, Malesse'jik, meaning, "he speaks badly," in allusion to the fact that the Micmacs found the Maliseet language difficult to understand."7
Manitou:
A spirit (of good or of evil) which is an object of religious awe or reverence; also, anything which is regarded as having supernatural power, as a fetish.
Maskwe:
A general name for tree bark. (See Misookweel)
Matachias:
Beadwork.
Meductic:
The principle place on the St. John River where the Maliseets lived, situated on the west bank of the St. John eight miles below modern day Woodstock.8
Menagwes:
The mouth of the St. John River.
Menichk:
A berry.
Mesadek:
Extending far out.9
Megumawaach:
The literal translation, according to Webster, "people of the country." Micmac land. The country of the Micmac. Webster concludes that the word Miramichi is probably derived from Megumawaach.
Micmac:
As to the appellation, "Micmac": the best translation of the word, in its meaning, is, "the allies." Webster10 goes through the early use of the name: Micmac (1676), Micmacq (1692), Miquemaques (1699). However, the earliest of the explorers, the French, knew them by another name: the Souriquois (Champlain was to use this name as early as 1603). Other early French names for the Micmac were the Gaspesians and the Miscouien. The name Souriquois was noted on a French map of 1703 (Delisle) to occupy the western part of the peninsula of Nova Scotia and the Micmaques on the eastern part.11
Mijeogun:
The St. Lawrence River.
Miramichi (Megumaagee):
A word to denote Micmac-land, the entire territory of the Micmac, which, at least during the times under review, was that which covered the northern shores of present day New Brunswick (the Gaspé area up into the present day province of Quebec, it being the territory's northern limit) and down, southeast, to include all of peninsular Nova Scotia and all of Cape Breton Island.12
Misookweel:
Bark for building a canoe.
Miscouien:
See the Micmacs.
Mohawks:
See the Iroquois.
Mooin:
A bear.
Mooinei:
A bear skin.
Mpogun:
A bed.
Munkwon:
A rainbow.
Musquodoboit:
This is derived from the Micmac word Muskoodeboogwek meaning "flowing out square" or "rolling out in foam, or suddenly widening out after a narrow entrance at its mouth."13


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-N-
Nappyquawn:
Ship.
Napuskwa:
To string beads.
Nebe:
A leaf.
Neliksaak:
Arichat.
Nesoogwitk:
A point of land lying between to emptying rivers.14
Ntubloo:
An army.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-O-
Ooneggun:
Portage.
Oonumahghee:
Cape Breton Island.15
Ootool (kivedun):
Canoe. My canoe, "ntool"; your canoe, "uktool"; new canoe, "wolsaktaoo"; log canoe, "wolsaktaoo"; to go in the same canoe, "weedoolemooa"; to build a canoe, "edoole"; and, to go by canoe, "kwedunaam" (on the other hand see Boosenech).16


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-P-
Paakwaak:
Must stop here; can go no further. (Pockwock Lake.)
Pege:
A side of meat including all the ribs.
Pessyquid (Pisiquid):
The old Acadian name for present day Windsor. In Micmac it meant "flowing squarely in to the sea."
Petoobok:
The Micmac name for the Bras d'Or Lakes.
Piktook:
The Micmac name for Pictou.
Pleegun:
The opening made by the Micmac in a beaver dam.17
Plekteok:
Spikes to be used for opening up beaver dams.
Pootei:
Bottle. Rand points out that this Micmac word for bottle was one (likely many were) that was adopted from the French language, "bouteille." The fact is that the natives had never seen a bottle until the arrival of the Europeans.
Pulamoo:
Salmon.
Pulow-wech:
Partridge.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-S-
Seboo:
A river. (A large river was a "ukcheseeboo.")
Sesip (sesipcheech):
A bird.
Shakamoo:
King.
Skudakumoochooowte:
The milky-way, the spirit's road.
Souriquois:
The old French name for the Micmac.
Stewiacke:
The place where the fresh water of a river meets the salt water.
Sunow:
The sugar maple.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-T-
Taooopskik
A place where a river runs out between to rocks. Also the name which the Micmac gave to the Annapolis River.
Team
A moose. (A bull moose was a "yap team.")


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-U-
Upkwawegun
A house covered with spruce bark.18
Umkoome
Ice.


(Click on letter to go to index.)
-W-
Wabannakai
See Malecites
Wagobagitk
A Bay which runs up very far, its ending. Thus the name Cobequid, present day Truro.
Wegoon
A bean.
Winchegwaum:
House.
Woolastook
The name which the Malecites gave to the St. John River.19
Wopk
The morning light.
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NOTES:

1 As quoted by V. M. Marshall in his article, "Silas Terius Rand and his Micmac Dictionary" as found in NSHQ#5:4 p.393. Rand's dictionary, incidently, was published at Halifax in 1888 by the Nova Scotia Printing Co.

2 See Webster's, essay, "Indians of Acadia and Their Neighbours" as contained in his larger work Letters Journals and Memoirs of Villebon ..., beginning at p. 211.

3 See Jenness' work.

4 Webster's work on Villebon, op. cit., p. 225.

5 See Webster's translation Dièreville's work, fn on p. 73.

6 Hannay, p. 43.

7 Op. cit.

8 See Webster's work, op. cit..

9 See Arthur Eaton's History of the County of Kings (1910), p. 22.

10 Op. cit.

11 For more see the introductory essay, "The Indians of Northeastern North America" by Rousseau and Brown in DCB, Vol. I.

12 See Webster, op. cit..

13 Webster, op. cit., p. 227.

14 Eaton, op. cit., p. 22.

15 See Brown's History of the Island of Cape Breton (1869), p. 15, fn 2.

16 Generally, see Rand's work.

17 Eaton, op. cit., p. 22.

18 Eaton, op. cit., p. 22.

19 Webster, op. cit.

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Peter Landry
2011