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Owners of the Past: Readbacks or Tradition in Mi'kmaq Narratives

  • Steve E. Wilmer
Publiceringsår: 2009
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 61-77
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Native American Performance and Representation
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: The Univerisity of Arizona Press


When the ethnographer Wilson Wallis did his first fieldwork among the Canadian Mi’kmaq Indians 1911, one recurrent character in their oral tradition was the traditional culture hero Kluskap. When Wallis returned to Nova Scotia in 1953 he found that not many Mi’kmaq in the thirties had heard about Kluskap, and if they had, it was through books or the television series “The Adventures of Glooscap”.

Thirty years later, in 1989, the Mi’kmaq strongly rejected the plans to establish a superquarry at Kelly’s Mountain on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Their main reason was that the mountain with its cave is believed to be the dwelling place of Kluskap and the place from where he is expected to return to his people. Is the modern Mi’kmaq knowledge about Kluskap only their readbacks of texts by non-native authors? This paper seeks to examine the Mi’kmaq relation to that Kluskap tradition which had been depicted by non-native authors in television series, theatre plays, and books. How do the modern Mi’kmaq evaluate mainstream society’s texts about their culture hero?


  • History of Religions
  • Mi'kmaq
  • narratives
  • readback
  • storytelling


  • ISBN: 978-0-8165-2646-8

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