Micmac - History and Cultural Relations

Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicate that the Micmac arrived in eastern Canada from the north. The Micmac were perhaps the first American Indian people on the North American continent to be contacted, first by the Vikings and then by John Cabot in 1497. First colonized by the French, the Micmac were converted to Catholicism by the Jesuits beginning in 1611. A traditional enemy was the Maliseet, called the Ejemin, with whom the Micmac frequently fought. Alongside their French allies, the Micmac defeated and incorporated another traditional enemy, the Beothuk of Newfoundland. Later, along with the other members of the Wabanaki Confederacy (Penobscot Abenaki, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet) and the French, the Micmac fought the British and their allies the Iroquois. Following the French defeat, the Micmac military leadership and many other Micmac went to Cape Breton Island, which remained French until 1763. During the American Revolution, the Micmac allied themselves with the Americans. After that war, the Micmac became itinerant peddlers, and the British established Indian reserves at traditional Micmac meeting places.

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