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Report by the Governor on a Visit to the Micmac Indians at Bay d'Espoir Colonial Reports, Miscellaneous. No. 54. Newfoundland   By: (1846-1919)

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COLONIAL REPORTS MISCELLANEOUS.

No. 54.

NEWFOUNDLAND.

REPORT BY THE GOVERNOR ON A VISIT TO THE MICMAC INDIANS AT BAY D'ESPOIR.

Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of His Majesty. September, 1908.

[Illustration]

LONDON: PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE, BY DARLING & SON, LTD., 34 40, BACON STREET, E.

And to be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from WYMAN AND SONS, LTD., FETTER LANE, E.C., and 32, ABINGDON STREET, WESTMINSTER, S.W.; or OLIVER & BOYD, TWEEDDALE COURT, EDINBURGH; or E. PONSONBY, 116, GRAFTON STREET, DUBLIN.

1908.

[Cd. 4197.] Price 2d.

No. 54.

NEWFOUNDLAND.

REPORT BY THE GOVERNOR ON A VISIT TO THE MICMAC INDIANS AT BAY D'ESPOIR.

THE GOVERNOR TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

Government House, St. John's, 8th July, 1908.

MY LORD,

I have the honour to inform you that I left St. John's on the 28th May to visit the settlement of the Micmac Indians at Bay d'Espoir, on the south coast of this Island.

Bay d'Espoir is a long inlet of the sea, extending up country over a score of miles. The district is hilly, and is covered by a forest of rather small trees, spruce and birch, but further inland the hills are generally bare. There are comparatively few European residents in this bay.

2. The Micmac settlement is on a reservation situated on the eastern side of the Conne arm of the bay, with a frontage to the water of 230 chains, with an average depth of about 30 chains. It is on the slope of a wooded hill which is generally steep down to the sea, and at most places hard and rocky, covered by spruce forest. Most of the Micmac houses are on an area of about a quarter of a mile, where the ground is least steep and most suitable for building and gardening. In Appendix I. hereto is given a list of the 23 families, consisting of 131 persons, now living on or near the Reservation; and of the 7 persons that have left it for Glenwood in this Colony. Two years ago three families left the Reservation to settle at Lewisport, and have not returned.

3. The Reservation, it appears, was laid off for the Micmacs about 1872, by Mr. Murray, Geological Surveyor of the Colony. It contained 24 blocks of about 30 acres each, with a water frontage of 10 chains. From the copy of the plan of the Reservation enclosed herewith it will be noticed that each parcel was to form the subject of a personal grant to the individual whose name is on the allotment. The right then conferred was in each case a "licence to occupy," of which I enclose a copy in blank form. The licence, it will be observed, would, on the fulfilment of certain conditions, have been replaced by a grant in fee, after five years. In few cases, if in any, have the terms of the licence been complied with, and no grant in fee or other title has been issued to any of the occupants on this Reservation.

[Illustration: PLAN OF INDIAN SETTLEMENT CONNE RIVER BAY D'ESPOIR]

4. These Micmacs are hunters and trappers, and are ignorant alike of agriculture, of seamanship, and of fishing. There are not more than three or four acres of cultivated land in the whole settlement. The greatest cultivator would not grow in one year more than three or four barrels of potatoes and a few heads of cabbage. There are two miserable cows in the place, and some of the least poor Micmacs possess three or four extremely wretched sheep. They have practically no fowls, but I saw one fowl and a tame wild goose. Their houses are small and inferior, of sawn timber, but have windows of glass. A few hundred yards of road, constructed at the expense of the Government, traverses the end of the settlement where most of the people reside.

5. The community is Roman Catholic, and they have a small church, decently well built and kept, on the best site on the Reservation. It is built of sawn timber and would contain nearly one hundred people, which is too small for the festival of St. Anne, the patroness of the congregation. Over the entrance to the church there is printed in large characters, in the Micmac language, a total prohibition against spitting in church... Continue reading book >>




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