Mi’kmaq Canoes

[...]We have had our canoes, Father, from time immemorial, and they have always been the same as you see now. In olden times, instead of the birchbark we use now, our ancestors used moose skins, from which they had plucked the hair, and which they had scraped and rubbed so thoroughly that they were like your finest skins. They soaked them several times in oil and then placed them on the canoe frame, just as we do with birchbark today, fitted them, stretched them and fixed them by sewing them, sometimes with animal tendons, sometimes with spruce roots, and thus they sailed from the coast to a nearby island without ever going too far away from the shore [....] never further than seven or eight leagues [....] These are long journeys for us.

Arguimaut [L'kimu] to the Abbé Maillard, Prince Edward Island, ca 1740. See "Lettre à Madame de Drucourt," n.d. In Les Soirées Canadiennes, by Pierre Antoine Simon Maillard. 1863:308-309. Translated for this publication by Margaret Anne Hamelin.

Source: Ruth Holmes Whitehead, "The Old Man Told Us: Excerpts from Micmac History, 1500-1950" (Halifax: Nimbus Publishing Ltd., 1991), 20.

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