Materials required: logbook, projector, whiteboard
In the Wolastoqey territory, the establishment of French colonies in the 1600s brought sweeping changes to the seasonal lifestyle of the Wolastoqewiyik. The Wolastoqewiyik had lived in large villages alongside the Wolastoq (Saint John River) in the summer months, fishing and growing some crops. With the arrival of the French, Wolastoqey hunters and trappers now turned their attention to collecting furs in exchange for European goods. Where they settled changed as well. The Mohawk (Kanien’kehá:ka), who lived in the most easterly section of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy and wanted control of the fur trade, would periodically travel into Wabanaki territory and began attacking Wolastoqewiyik settlements on a regular basis. This made the Wolastoqewiyik change where they lived to places that were more easily defended.
Read the following story to the class. It is one of the stories about the legendary Tom Laporte as told by Charles Laporte of Tobique (Neqotkuk) in 1963.
Well, I’ll tell you another story about Tom — back when he was hunting. When he (and a partner) were collecting moose hides for the French in Québec. Just moose: they killed a lot of moose.
Finally, at some point, he lost track of how many days he had been in the woods, and then when he woke up one morning, he thought, “Well, now, now I’ll go bag a good moose.” One had left tracks all around the place.
So, then he picked up his kettle to make his morning tea. He went to fetch water from a stream that was nearby. And when he got there, here was one hell of a moose standing there facing him. Right away…. Boys was he glad. He dropped his kettle right there. He went to get a gun.
When he got back, the moose was still standing there. Well, he took careful aim at it: and as he looked along the barrel of the gun, there was this gold cross, standing above the moose where its antlers forked out.
Well, he was truly astonished. He didn’t shoot it. He put his gun away and went to fetch water.
As he went in, here was the stick on which he always carved notches according to the number of days he had been in the woods. Much to his surprise, it was Easter today. “That’s why I had a vision of that moose I was going to shoot, because it is such an important Sunday.”
He didn’t go out again to shoot it. He was scared to death. Well, that’s the end of that.(Tom and the Moose by Charles Laporte, July 16, 1963 in Veeter, Karl V. Tales from Maliseet Country, University of Nebraska Press, 2009 p. 23)
- How does this story show that life had changed for Tom Laporte?
- How long has Tom been in the woods?
- What effect does the gold cross have on whether or not Tom hunts?
- By not hunting, how does that affect his family?
- Can you think of days when you have to change your behaviour?
- Write down all the European and Indigenous images you see in the artwork below. What does it tell you about Indigenous religion?