During the summer of 1963, Harvard linguist Karl V. Teeter traveled along the Saint John River, the great thoroughfare of Native New Brunswick, Canada, with his principal Maliseet consultant, Peter Lewis Paul. Together they recorded a series of tales from Maliseet elders whom Paul regarded as among the best Maliseet storytellers born before 1900, including Charles Laporte, Matilda Sappier, Solomon Polchies, William Saulis, and Alexander Sacobie. Paul also contributed eleven narratives of his own.
Tales from Maliseet Country presents the transcripts and translations of the texts Teeter collected, together with one tale recorded by linguist Philip S. LeSourd in 1977. The stories range from chronicles of shamanistic activity and mysterious events of the distant past, through more conventionally historical narratives, to frankly fictional yarns, fairy tales with roots in European traditions, and personal accounts of subsistence activities and reservation life. This entertaining and revealing volume testifies to the rich heritage of the Maliseets and the enduring vibrancy of their culture today.
Featuring a bilingual format, with Maliseet and English on facing pages, this is the first extensive collection to be published in the Maliseet language, a member of the far-flung Algonquian family spoken in New Brunswick. The volume is also the first to provide full phonemic transcriptions, including the notation of accentual contrasts, of the Maliseet tales. An authoritative introduction provides a guide to interpreting the texts.