|Maliseet making camp, c. 1864, Canadian Encyclopedia|
The Maliseet bands were governed by one or more chiefs who sat on tribal councils with representatives from each family.
Drums played an important part in their ceremonies and united their communities.
When the European settlers arrived, first the French in the 1600s, then the British in the 1700s, the natives has their agricultural territory on the river confiscated, and they were pushed to the less fertile parts of the country. In the nineteenth century, they were sent to Reserves, but later filed land claims to recoup their losses; some were successful.
While the Europeans tried to convert the natives to Christianity, many clung to their original beliefs. "Smudging" -- the burning of sweetgrass to cleanse the spirit -- is one. Their Creator, Gici Niwaskw, is not assigned a gender. The Creator formed the entire world, but taming the landscape is performed by the cultural hero, Gluskabe.
|Gabriel Acquin, Maliseet hunter, c. 1866: Canadian Encyclopedia|
Today their distinctive language is fading out, but efforts are being made to preserve their language and culture.
Source: Canadian Encyclopedia
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