Micmac nation

At the local Native American museum I had a great conversation with a Native American artisan who was Micmac (Mi'kmaq). In light of my recent reading on genocide I asked him about the history of his people. I was struck by any lack of bitterness in his voice. He was proud of his nation and its history. The Micmac dominated the Maritimes region of Canada and had much interaction with Europeans in the 1500's with Basque fishermen and French fur traders. According to him, they were not cowed by the Europeans and held their own very well. The cause of their decline was susceptibility to European diseases, e.g. smallpox.

I found this history very interesting, including the tribe's response to Christian missionaries.
The Micmac religion believed in one supreme being but included a number of lesser gods, some of whom had human form. Best known of the Micmac legends are their stories of Glooscap, a cultural hero. Almost immediately after French Jesuits arrived in Acadia, the Micmac began to convert to the Roman Catholic faith. During the early years, the French brought relatively few of their women to North America, so intermarriage between French and Micmac became very common. These two factors bound the Micmac so closely to the French, that they found it very difficult to accept British rule after France cession of the Maritimes to Great Britain in 1713. Currently, most Micmac have French surnames, and they have remained among the most firmly converted of all Native American groups. At the same time, they have also retained much of their language and culture, and their practice of the Catholic religion has incorporated many of their traditional native beliefs.

The artisan I was chatting with noted that the tribe had a treaty with the Vatican in 1610.

history, missions, missionaries


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