TRIBES

Mi’kmaq
LOCATION: Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, northern and eastern New Brunswick, and all of Nova Scotia, Canada. This was extended to Newfoundland as well as Maine/ Northeastern parts of Canada.
POPULATION: 3,500
LANGUAGE: Algonquian
DESCRIPTION:

The Mi’kmaq tribe originate from Nova Scotia, Canada. Reliant on the sea for food, the Mi’kmaq were skilled fishers. Feed was caught by harpoon, hook and line, and traps. Sea mammals were hunted using harpoons and sometimes small whales were hunted and caught from canoes. Before a hunt, the Mi’kmaq held an “eat-all” feast, consuming all the available food, inducing them to do well in the next hunt. The tribe would travel between coastal settlements in the summer and settlements in land during the winter. The houses were bark covered wigwams which were light enough to transport between settlements.

Transportation was done on foot, in the snow using snowshoes, sleds and toboggans. The English word for toboggan was in fact taken from the Mi’kmaq word taba’gan. Across water birch bark canoes were the mode of travel.

Members of the Mi’kmaq tribe were skilled at quillwork, decorating clothing and containers with intricate designs using dyed porcupine quills.

On the east coast it is likely that the Mi’kmaq would have encountered some of the first European travellers, such as Vikings, and European explorers, mainly those from France. Further contact with Europeans and Canadians forced much of the tribe out of their land, much of which was used for hunting and fishing, causing starvation and dramatic decline of members. More recently, the Mi’kmaq won tribal recognition in 1973 and retains their tribal heritage and native language living on reservations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. However, many have also integrated into society, moving to larger cities such as Boston for high steel construction work.  Contact has also reduced many to convert from tribal religion to Catholicism.