With the general unrest as European hostilities concentrated between Québec and PORT-ROYAL, and as increasing sporadic fighting and raiding took place on the lower Saint John (English against the French), the eastern fur trade faltered. Maliseet women took over a larger share of the economic burden and began to farm, raising crops which previously had been grown only south of Maliseet territory. Men continued to hunt, though with limited success, but they proved useful to the French as support against the English, and for a short period during the late 17th and early 18th centuries Maliseet men became virtually a military organization.
With the gradual cessation of hostilities in the first quarter of the 18th century, and with the beaver supply severely diminished, there was little possibility of a return to traditional lifeways. Traditional Aboriginal agriculture on the river was curtailed by the coming of European settlers; all the farmland along the Saint John River, previously occupied by Maliseet, was taken, leaving the Aboriginal people virtually displaced. With evidence of widespread hunger and wandering, pressure came to bear on government officials who established the first INDIAN RESERVES during the 19th century, at Oromocto, Fredericton, Kingsclear, Woodstock and Tobique.
As late as the 19th century, the Maliseet practised some traditional crafts, especially building WIGWAMS and birchbark CANOES, but major shifts had taken place during the previous two centuries as Maliseet acquired European cutting tools and containers, muskets and alcohol, foods and clothing. In making wood, bark or basketry items, or in guiding, trapping and hunting, the Maliseet speak of themselves as engaged in "Indian work." The growth of potato farming in Maine and New Brunswick created a market for Maliseet baskets and containers. Other Maliseet work in pulp mills, construction, nursing, teaching and business.
The Maliseet of New Brunswick experience problems of unemployment and poverty common to Aboriginal people elsewhere in Canada, but they have evolved a sophisticated and intricate system of decision making and resource allocation, especially at Tobique where they support community enterprises in economic development, scouting and sports. Some are successful in middle and higher education and have important trade and professional standings; individuals and families are prominent in Aboriginal and women's rights; and others serve in provincial and federal native organizations, in government and in community development. There were 4659 registered Maliseet in 1996.
Author TOM MCFEAT
A.G. Bailey, The Conflict of European and Eastern Algonkian Cultures, 1504-1700 (2nd ed, 1969); H.F. McGee, ed, The Native Peoples of Atlantic Canada (1984); W. Mechling, Malecite Tales (1914); W.D. and R.S. Wallace, The Malecite Indians of New Brunswick (1957).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Languages of Canada
A comprehensive online database of languages currently in use in Canada. Also provides details about extinct languages. Check out the "language maps" for more information. Based on "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition." From SIL International, a US website.
Raid on Deerfield
A narrated history of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield and its aftermath from Native and European perspectives. Also features fascinating stories about Native societies, cultures, trade practices, and traditions. This multimedia website is from the Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Maliseet - Passamaquoddy Dictionary
This online dictionary is from the Mi'kmaq - Maliseet Institute, University of New Brunswick.
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.