Mi'kmaq Research Guide Section 3: Focusing on PEI

The Mi’kmaq on Epekwitk (Prince Edward Island)

Although most works on the Mi’kmaq peoples in general contain anything from a few pages to an entire chapter or section about the Mi’kmaq experience on PEI, full-length books/reports on the Island Mi’kmaq are rare. That said, our Library's PEI Collection holds a few general "survey" titles on the Mi'kmaq in this province, including:

 

- Crossley, John. Relations between the Province and Aboriginal peoples in Prince Edward Island. Charlottetown, P.E.I. : University of Prince Edward Island, 1994.

Call # E78.P75C767 1994

A 115-page study prepared by UPEI political scientist Dr. J. Crossley for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples' Canadian Governments and Aboriginal Peoples project, surveying its theme from the late 1700s through to the early 1990s. A detailed and informative work in its own right, it is also useful as a guide for further reading, since it has numerous endnotes and a lenghty bibliography.

 

- Johnston, A.J.B. and Jesse Francis.  Ni'n na L'nu: The Mi'kmaq of Prince Edward Island. Charlottetown, PEI : Acorn Press, 2013

Call # E99.M6 J64 2013

Launched in 2013 as a companion volume to the travelling exhibition of the same name, this beautifully-illustrated book lives up to its publisher's description: "Beginning from the time 'since before long ago,' a time known from archaeological records and ancient stories, Ni'n na L'nu treks across the changing landscape and seascape of Epekwitk, the land we know call Prince Edward Island. It traces the Mi'kmaw experience through years of hardship and struggle met with resistance and resilience. Read this book to learn more about the enduring and sustaining traditions that define the unique, living culture of the Mi'kmaq of Epekwitk."

 

- MacIntyre, Wendell (ed). The Mi'kmaq. Charlottetown, P.E.I. : University of Prince Edward Island, 1993.

Call# AP5.A24 vol. 7 no. 2

Published as a special theme issue of The Abegweit Review, this volume contains an eclectic and intriguing mix of non-fiction, reminisences, poetry, and spiritual writing documenting Mi'kmaq culture and heritage, with a particular focus on Prince Edward Island. An important feature of this volume is its blending of work by both Mi'kmaq and non-Native writers. 

 

- Pellessier, Louis. "The Native people of Prince Edward Island." in Exploring Island history : a guide to the historical resources of Prince Edward Island. Belfast, P.E.I. : Ragweed Press, 1977.pp. 15 - 31.

Call # FC2611.E87 1977

Though now somewhat dated, this chapter remains a useful introduction to historical research on the province's first peoples. Illustrations -- including reproductions of some of Robert Harris' beautiful sketches of Mi'kmaq life and work -- and an annotated bibliography enhance a sympathetic and thought-provoking text.

 

- Sark, John Joe. Micmac legends of Prince Edward Island. Lennox Island, P.E.I. : Lennox Island Band Council ; Charlottetown, P.E.I. : Ragweed Press, 1988.

Call # E99.M6S271988

Sark's clear, powrful writing records the Mi'kmaq story of their long heritage on the Island, from the time of the creation of Minegoo by Glooscap to, "the coming of the paleface." Vivid paintings by Michael Francis and George Paul further enhance the text. It is important to note that the second half of this volume is devoted to several essays documenting the "post-contact" Mi'kmaq experience: "The Micmac and the Europeans"; "Lifestyle of the early Micmac"; "Lennox Island : Home of the Micmac today."

 

The Library's PEI Collection also subscribes to the two main newspapers published by the Island's Mi'kmaq community, Kwimu Messenger (Call # E75.K85) -- a joint production of the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI and the Lennox Island and Abegweit first nations -- and the Native Council of PEI's Gigmanag (PEI Collection -- Newspapers and Magazines -- V/F)

 

A keyword search in the Library catalogue (“micmac prince edward island” or “indians prince edward island”) will retrieve approximately 60 - 80 references, mainly to works with a very particular focus (e.g. Mi’kmaq-related health or educational initiatives, biographies of particular individuals, etc.).

A significant number of additional references (~300, all told) can be found in the more detailed indexing provided by the PEI Collection Card Catalogue, under the headings PEI -- INDIANS OF NORTH AMERICA and PEI -- MICMAC INDIANS. Most of these references,  are to very specific items such as newspaper articles, pamphlets, book sections/chapters, etc.

Since the late 1990s, the indexing of PEI articles provided by the card catalogue has been continued by two electronic databases, Eureka (UPEI users only), which provides searchable full-text of The Guardian and The Journal-Pioneer, and PEI PAD (all users) which provides selective indexing of other PEI newspapers and magazines (including Kwimu Messenger and Gigmanag). Because of the more contemporary focus of these resources, the "Mi'kmaq" spelling will likely produce better results.

In recent years, the Library has begun an active digtization programm with a particular focus on PEI Collection resources (click the PEI Collections tab above to see more): two digital collections which may be of particular use to those researching the Island Mi'kmaq are the digitized community histories of Islandlives.ca and the digital archive of The Island Magazine. Because of the range of publication dates in these two collections, both "micmac" and "mi'kmaq" are recommended as search terms.


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Created by: Simon Lloyd, B.A., M.L.I.S. -- University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian
Phone: 902-566-0536
e-mail: slloyd@upei.ca
Date created: 01-November-2010
Date last updated: 26-January-2016