SIX MICMAC STORIES
Retold by Ruth Whitehead. Illustrated by Harold McGee.
Volume 17 Number 4
Six Micmac Stories is an informative and entertaining book. This brief collection provides us with a glimpse of the physical and spiritual world of the Micmac people.The stories are short and easy to read. The writing is simple, conversational - you can almost hear the voice of the story-teller as he weaves his magic - yet much of the impact and fascination of the tales would have been lost if it were not for the introduction and notes provided by Ruth Holmes Whitehead, the Nova Scotia Museum's ethnologist, for the Micmac world is not ours. In her introduction Whitehead explores some of the differences and explains the basic beliefs reflected in the stories. She tells us about Power, which underlies the entire world, and about the living, conscious "Persons" who use that Power to change shape, gain food or travel across the earth. Whitehead goes on to remind us that story-telling was more than entertainment for the Micmac. It was their sole means of passing on their history, traditions and beliefs. In the notes that follow each story, Whitehead explains the moral of each tale as it relates to the Micmac way of life - the importance of being part of a social group, of not being wasteful, of being hospitable. She also gives the source of the original stories and comments on any changes made. In all, Whitehead has done an excellent job of making these stories understandable and enjoyable for readers old enough to comprehend and appreciate a different system of beliefs.
Anne Kelly, Dartmouth, NS.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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