The civilized (self-supporting) Indians of Maine, counted in the general census, number 559 (299 males and 260 females), and are distributed as follows: Aroostook County, 24; Penobscot County, 387; Piscataquis County, 37; Washington County, 89; other counties (9 or less in each), 22. The United States has no dealings with the Indians of Maine as tribes. The Penobscot Indians have their headquarters at Old Town and dwell chiefly along the Penobscot river in the county of the same name. The state of Maine has an agent for them, and the state treasurer reports $11,026.70 paid out on their account in
Passamaquoddy Indians (Peskěděmakâdi ‘plenty of pollock.’) A small tribe belonging to the Abnaki confederacy, but speaking nearly the same dialect as the Malecite. They formerly occupied all the region about Passamaquoddy bay and on the St. Croix river and Schoodic lake, on the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick. Their principal village was Gunasquamekook, on the site of St Andrews, N.B. They were restricted by the pressure of the white settlements, and in 1866 were settled chiefly at Sebaik, near Perry, on the south side of the bay, and on Lewis Island. They had other villages at Calais, on Schoodic
The following are a few of the mythological characters which play a part in many of the stories of the Passamaquoddies. They are all given on one of the cylinders of the phonograph: Leux. Mischief-maker. In certain stories, simple fellow. Kewok. A formless being with icy heart, and when mentioned regarded as a terrible one. Pedogiic. Thunder. Pesok que tuk. Lightning. Ooargamess. Small beings who live about rocks and chatter in unknown tongue. Have been seen in late times. Lumpagonosis. Water beings. Kelphit. A shapeless (medicine) being who is turned over twice each year. Under him are found flowers. Pogumpt.
The Passamaquoddies, no doubt, in old times, had many dances, sacred and secular. Some of these were very different from what they now are, and in consequence it is not easy to recognize their meaning. Indians declare that in their youth dances were much more common. Possibly some of these will never be danced again. That the Micmacs, neighbors of the Passamaquoddies, had dances in which elaborate masks were worn, seems to be indicated by pictographs found on the rocks in Nova Scotia. Mrs. Brown has in her possession a head-band made of silver, similar to those worn in ancient
A story of the old time. In winter, while traveling, Leux met a number of wolves, which were going in the same direction that he was. At nightfall the old wolf built a fire and gave Leux supper. He gave him skins to cover himself while he slept, but Leux said that the fire was so warm that he did not need or wish a covering. At midnight Leux awoke and was almost frozen with cold. The next morning Leux was obliged to part with the wolves. 1It would seem, from Leland’s account, that the wolf admired Leux greatly because
Trade Dance – I have been told that there is an old custom among the Micmacs, still remembered by many now alive, which is probably a remnant of a ceremony with which was connected an old dance. To this custom is given the name of the “Trade Dance,” for reasons which will appear. The account of the custom was given by Peter Selmore, who witnessed it not many years ago. It is said to be more common among the Micmacs than among the Passamaquoddies. The participants, one or more in number, go to the wigwam of another person, and when
The study of aboriginal folk-lore cannot reach its highest scientific value until some method is adopted by means of which an accurate record of the stories can be obtained and preserved. In observations on the traditions of the Indian tribes, the tendency of the listener to add his own thoughts or interpretations is very great. Moreover, no two Indians tell the same story alike. These are sources of error which cannot be eliminated, but by giving the exact words of the speaker it is possible to do away with the errors of the translator. I believe that the memory of
The translation of the following tale of Pogump, or Black Cat and the Sable, was given me by Mrs. W. Wallace Brown. 1The version gives only the incidents as remembered, and can hardly be called a translation. The original was told into the phonograph in Passamaquoddy by Peter Selmore, in the presence of Noel Josephs. A bark picture of Pookjinsquess leaving the island, representing the gulls, and Black Cat on the back of the Snail, was made by Josephs. A copy of this picture is given at the end of this paper. Mrs. Brown tells me there is a story
A story of old times. There was once a woman who traveled constantly through the woods. Every bush she saw she bit off, and from one of these she came to be with child. She grew bigger and bigger until at last she could travel no longer, but built a wigwam near the mouth of a stream. The woman gave birth to a child in the night. She thought it best to kill the child, but did not wish to murder her offspring. 1By combining this story with some given by Leland it would seem that the child was Glooscap.
Passamaquoddy Folklore – Read about a variety of folklore and dances passed down by the Passamaquoddy Tribe – includes a few songs with notes.