Passamaquoddy Nation

http://www.indigenouspeople.net/passquat.htm

Passamaquoddy Literature

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Passamaquoddy Home Pages

Maine Timeline – Native American Culture
Passamaquoddy Tribe of Indian Township
Passamaquoddy Language
Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point
Quoddy Loop: Passamaquoddy Tribe
Wabanaki Confederacy Official Web Site

This nation, primarily fishermen, is surrounded by lakes, bays, rivers, streams, and the ocean. Passamaquoddies are an old, old nation, related distantly to the Abnaki and Penobscot. Today they have a representative in the Maine legislature; however they can speak only on concerns of their people.

The Passamaquoddy are believers in a power by which a song or chant in one place can be heard in another area many miles away. This power is thought to be the work of m’toulin or magic, an important part of their belief. One example gives a strange account of an Indian so affected that he left his home and travelled north to find a cold place. Although barefooted and lightly clothed, he complained he was still too hot. He continued northward seeking colder comfort. One is led to believe that the man must have been insane. To the Passamaquoddy, insanity is simply the result of magic.

A belief in the magic of the Thunderbird is held by the Passamaquoddy, because he can tame the winds alternating between calm and storms.

Stories

First People and the First Corn

Long ago, Klos-kur-beh, the Great Teacher, lived in the land where no people lived. One day at noon, a young man came to him and called him “Mother’s brother.”

Standing before Klos-kur-beh, he said, “I was born of the foam of the waters. The wind blew, and the waves quickened into foam. The sun shone on the foam and warmed it, and the warmth made life, and the life was I. See–I am young and swift, and I have come to abide with you and to help in all that you do.”

Again on a day at noon, a maiden came, stood before the two, and called them “my children.” “My children, I have come to abide with you and have brought with me love. I will give it to you, and if you will love me and will grant my wish, all the world will love me, even the very beasts. Strength is mine, and I give it to whosoever may get me. Comfort also is mine, for though I am young, my strength shall be felt over all the earth. I was born of the beautiful plant of the earth. For the dew fell on the leaf, and the sun warmed the dew, and the warmth was life, and that life is I.”

Then Klos-kur-beh lifted up his hands toward the sun and praised the Great Spirit. Afterward, the young man and the maiden became man and wife, and she became the first mother. Klos-kur-beh taught their children and did great works for them. When his works were finished, he went away to live in the Northland until it should be time for him to come again.

The people increased until they were numerous. When a famine came among them, the first mother grew more and more sorrowful. Every day at noon she left her husband’s lodge and stayed away from him until the shadows were long. Her husband, who dearly loved her, was sad because of her sorrow. One day he followed her trail as far as the ford of the river, and there he waited for her to return.

When she came, she sang as she began to ford the river, and as long as her feet were in the water she seemed glad. The man saw something that trailed behind her right foot, like a long green blade. When she came out of the water, she stooped and cast off the blade. Then she appeared sorrowful.

The husband followed her home as the sun was setting, and he bade her come out and look at the beautiful sun. While they stood side by side, there came seven little children. They stood in front of the couple, looked into the woman’s face, and spoke: “We are hungry, and the night will soon be here. Where is the food?”

Tears ran down the woman’s face as she said, “Be quiet, little ones. In seven moons you shall be filled and shall hunger no more.”

Her husband reached out, wiped away her tears, and asked, “My wife, what can I do to make you happy?”

“Nothing else,” she said. “Nothing else will make me happy.”

Then the husband went away to the Northland to ask Klos-kur-beh for counsel. With the rising of the seventh sun, he returned and said, “O wife, Klos-kur-beh has told me to do what you asked.”

The woman was pleased and said, “When you have slain me, let two men take hold of my hair and draw my body all the way around a field. When they have come to the middle of it, let them bury my bones. Then they must come away. When seven months have passed, let them go again to the field and gather all that they find. Tell them to eat it. It is my flesh. You must save a part of it to put in the ground again. My bones you cannot eat, but you may burn them. The smoke will bring peace to you and your children.”

The next day, when the sun was rising, the man slew his wife. Following her orders, two men drew her body over an open field until her flesh was worn away. In the middle of the field, they buried her bones.

When seven moons had passed by and the husband came again to that place, he saw it all filled with beautiful tall plants. He tasted the fruit of the plant and found it sweet. He called it Skar-mu- nal–“corn.” And on the place where his wife’s bones were buried, he saw a plant with broad leaves, bitter to the taste. He called it Utar-mur-wa-yeh– “tobacco.”

Then the people were glad in their hearts, and they came to the harvest. But when the fruits were all gathered, the man did not know how to divide them. So he sent to the great teacher, Klos- kur-beh, for counsel. When Klos-kur-beh came and saw the great harvest, he said, “Now have the first words of the first mother come to pass, for she said she was born of the leaf of the beautiful plant. She said also that her power should be felt over the whole world and that all men should love her.

“And now that she has gone into this substance, take care that the second seed of the first mother be always with you, for it is her flesh. Her bones also have been given for your good. Burn them, and the smoke will bring freshness to the mind. And since these things came from the goodness of a woman’s heart, see that you hold her always in memory. Remember her when you eat. Remember her when the smoke of her bones rises before you. And because you are all brothers, divide among you her flesh and her bones. Let all share alike, for so will the love of the first mother have been fulfilled.”

Flying Canoe

Beside a beautiful lake not far from the sea, there lived three brothers. They were young rivals, each trying to do everything better than the others.

Sometimes they were visited by an old woman. She was nearly blind so crippled that she could hardly walk, and always hungry. But when she had eaten some food, she could do wonderful things, and she could give remarkable power to a person she liked.

Joseph, the youngest of the three young men, treated her very well. Whenever he gave her food, she was grateful. One day after he had fed her, she said to him, “Take your axe and make some moccasins for yourself–some wooden ones. In them you will be able to run as fast as a bird.”

And so Joseph made for himself a pair of wooden moccasins. When he wore them, he could run very fast. In fact, he could run faster than the swiftest animals. He caught game animals and brought home much meat.

His two brothers were jealous because the youngest was a more skillful hunter. They wondered what he had been doing, and they watched him continually. One day they saw him open his birch-bark box and take out his wooden moccasins. Then he disappeared.

The brothers had already noticed certain curious chips where Joseph had been working. So they were very glad when they saw what he took from his box. They gathered together all the wood chips and made moccasins for themselves. In their wooden moccasins they could run even faster than Joseph.

Then Joseph knew that they had learned his secret.

The next time the old woman came for food, he fed her as usual. This time she said, as she thanked him, “Make for yourself a dugout canoe. Then you shall soar across the water like a bird.”

So Joseph made a dugout canoe. Using it on the lake, he caught big fish and many birds. Again his brothers were jealous, and again they watched him in all that he did. Finding some chips after he had made his boat, the two older brothers gathered them and built a canoe for themselves. Working together, they made it better than Joseph’s. It was a wonderful canoe. In it they went out to sea and speared many whales.

This time Joseph was angry. He called the old woman and fed her well, giving her more food than ever before.

“Now you will make another canoe,” she said when she had eaten. “This one will fly in the air. You will really fly like a bird.”

And so Joseph made another dugout. When he had finished making it, he carefully picked up all the chips and burned them. Then he took leave of his brothers and sailed off in the air.

He saw many strange lands and many strange people below him. He passed over high mountains and rivers and lakes. He passed over oceans. At last, after much journeying through the air, and after many adventures in other lands, Joseph returned home. There he lived in peace.

Loyal Sweetheart

Long ago, in a village beside a river, there lived a beautiful girl whom many a young man wished to marry. But she smiled on all alike and encouraged no one. Her name was Blue Flower.

Among her admirers was a young man who was especially skilled in hunting. For many moons he looked upon the girl with longing, but without any hope that he could win her favour.

At last, one autumn, she gave him reason to hope. And so he dared to consult the old woman of the village who carried proposals of marriage. He wanted to know his chances before he departed on the winter’s hunt.

To the young man’s great joy, the marriage-maker brought back a favourable reply from both the girl and her father. The message made him determined to win even greater fame as a hunter. He wanted to prove to the girl’s father that he was indeed worthy of so beautiful a daughter.

“Will you wait for me until we return from he winter’s hunt?” he asked her.

The girl gave her consent to his plan and her promise to remain true to him, whatever happened. She added the promise, “If you do not return, I will remain a maiden all my life. I will never marry any other man.”

So the young man completed his plans to join the others of the village on the long winter’s hunt. On the evening before their departure, he and the girl had a final canoe ride on the river. Then he sang his farewell in this love song of his people:

Often on a lonely day, my love,
You look on the beautiful river
And down the shining stream.

When last I looked upon you,
How beautiful was the stream,
How beautiful was the moon
And how happy were we!
Since that night, my fair one,
I have thought of you always.

Often on a lonely day, my love,
You look on the beautiful river
And down the shining stream.

When we paddled the canoe together
On that beautiful water,
How fair the mountains looked
How beautiful the red leaves
As the gentle wind whirled them!

After the winter snows,
When spring has come once more
We will paddle again together.
Then the leaves will be green,
The mountains fresh and fair.

Often on a lonely day, my love,
Look on the beautiful river,
Down the shining stream,
And know that spring will come.

Next day, the hunters departed. The old men, the women, and the children settled down to finish the autumn’s work of preparing for the winter.

Not many days afterward, a war party attacked the village and destroyed it. They carried away as prisoners all the young girls. Among them was the promised bride of the hunter. When the warriors reached their home territory, they persuaded, or forced, many of the young women to become their wives. But Blue Flower refused to submit. The warriors threatened to burn her alive. Still she refused. She preferred death to breaking her promise to her sweetheart.

The warriors complained to their chief and asked that she be burned at the stake. But he would not listen to the cruel counsel of his men. Instead, he gave the girl a longer time in which to make up her mind. Her bravery greatly impressed him. He would save her life now, he thought, and marry her later to one of his best warriors, in order that their children might become a race of heroes.

Weeks passed, and the hunters returned. When they found their village in ashes, they knew which war party had struck. The young hunter, singing his vengeance song, gathered a host of warriors and started northward. They surprised the largest village of their enemy, killed many people, and took others as prisoners.

When the fighting was over, the victors and their friends who had been held captive by the enemy were reunited. There was great rejoicing. Perhaps happiest of all were the young hunter-warrior and Blue Flower, who had remained true to him in spite of threats and promises.

The young man, still thirsting for revenge, wanted to torture and burn the enemy that had been taken prisoners. But his sweetheart stopped him. She reminded him that they had not treated her cruelly.

She was a gentle and peace-loving girl, as well as a loyal sweetheart. In a short time, she became a loyal wife.

Magical Sweet-Grass Doll

In the Old Time there lived a Passamaquoddy Indian youth called Kayak, the youngest of seven sons. He was, in spite of his youth, the cleverest of the sons. He could swim better, shoot straighter, and fight harder than any of them. He seemed to do all things better than they, and this was because he first thought what he had to do, and then practiced until he could do it well.

His brothers were too lazy to go to all that trouble and, instead of admiring Kayak’s energy, they were jealous of him and made his life miserable in any way they could. They even told false tales about him to his father. At last, the youth became so unhappy he decided to run away from home. Fearing his brothers might run after him and bring him back, he thought of a way to run faster than they could.

He shot an arrow into the air and ran after it, trying to catch it before it fell. He did this over and over, in secret, until he could outrun the arrow. At last, he could go like the wind.

It was time to set out, and Kayak made his secret preparations. His mother, the only one who loved him and who shared his secret, wished him good fortune and gave him a new pair of moccasins to wear on his journey. They were beautifully made of the finest doeskin, and Kayak wore them with pride. He embraced his mother and slipped away. Shooting his arrow and then outrunning it, he was soon far beyond pursuit.

Now Glooscap, the Great Chief, knew all about Kayak, and admired his wit and determination. However, he knew too that cleverness is not everything. Sometimes ambition is a hard and selfish thing. Did Kayak have a good heart? Was he honest? Was he kind? Glooscap determined to find out for himself.

Putting on the disguise of a poor old Indian, he came down from Blomidon and waited on the forest path. When he heard Kayak coming, Glooscap let a small box fall from his hand, as if he had dropped it accidentally, and walked on pretending to be old and weary and foot sore.

Striding along cheerfully, Kayak saw the box on the path and picked it up. It was made of birch bark, decorated with porcupine quills, and it felt heavy. He was about to open it, when he caught sight of the old man on the path ahead.

For a moment the youth was tempted to keep the fine box for himself, but he knew that would be dishonest. So he ran after the old man, calling, “Kwah-ee, Grandfather!” Grandfather, in the Wabanaki language, is the polite word for “old man” and does not mean relationship. “Look! You have dropped something.”

Glooscap took the box and said in an old man’s quavering voice, “Thank you, my son. This contains something very precious, and I am grateful to you for finding it.”

“It’s lucky I came along,” said Kayak cheerfully. “Can you tell me where this path leads, grandfather?”

“It goes a very long way,” said the disguised Glooscap, “to a Micmac village on the edge of a lake called Kedgemakoogee”–and he sighed heavily–“yes, a very long way, and the path is full of rocks and thistles.” He looked down at his feet, and Kayak looked too. Why, the poor old fellow had no moccasins! His feet were all cut and bleeding! In a moment, Kayak had pulled off his own moccasins and was putting them on the old man’s feet.

“I am young,” he said, as the old man protested. “I shall run so fast, I shan’t feel the rocks and thistles,” and he prepared to go on his way.

“Wait!” the old man said, and thrust the box into Kayak’s hands. “This is yours now. I have no further use for it.” And before Kayak could say thank-you, he was gone. Down the path? Up the path? Into the bushes? Kayak rubbed his eyes in amazement. The old man just was not there any more!

He looked at the box in his hand and lifted the cover, but what a disappointment. Inside, there was only a small doll, made of the sweet-smelling hay the Indians call sweet-grass, just such a doll as an Indian child would play with. Kayak shook his head ruefully.

“What shall I do with you, I wonder. I’m much too old to play with dolls.”

To his astonishment, a voice at once replied.

“I am the servant of him who holds me in his hand. Whatever you ask of me, Master, that will I do.”

The voice came from the doll! Kayak could hardly believe his ears. This was magic. Frightened suddenly, he put the doll back and closed the lid. He suspected now that the old man had been a magician, and you never can tell with magicians. Sometimes they play tricks on you. He would not use the doll’s magic, he decided, unless he felt it absolutely necessary.

Late that day, Kayak arrived at the Indian village on the lake of Kedgemakoogee, and went into the first wigwam he saw. A kindly squaw gave him food and told him about the village and its people. They were of the tribe of Micmacs, also Glooscap’s People, and their Chief was called Magooch.

Through the open door of the wigwam, Kayak saw a young maid pass, and cried out, “What maid is that? She is beautiful!”

“That is Seboosis,” the old squaw replied, “the Chief’s daughter.”

Kayak turned eagerly to the old woman.

“Will you make an evening visit, Grandmother, and tell the Chief I am tired of living alone?”

Kayak was saying, you see, in the Indian fashion, that he wished her to ask for the girl in marriage. But the old woman shook her head doubtfully.

“I will go if you insist,” she said, “but I fear Magooch means her to marry a man of our own tribe, a lazy useless fellow called Toobe.”

“Try anyway,” begged Kayak. “Go tonight!”

So the old woman went that evening to the Chief’s wigwam and told him that Kayak was tired of living alone and wished to marry his daughter.

“Kayak?” growled Magooch impatiently. “Who is Kayak?”

She explained that he was the handsome stranger who had just come to the village. Curious to see the stranger, but making no promises, Magooch agreed to receive Kayak, and the youth shortly presented himself at the Chief’s wigwam.

“Kwah-ee,” he said politely and paused by the door, as a well- bred Indian should. You see, when a stranger enters an Indian home, he does not go to the honoured place at the back of the wigwam unless he is invited. Usually the master of the house will say “Come up higher,” or, in the case of a young man asking for a wife, if his suit is favourable, the master will say “Come up to the highest place, my son-in law” and that means the marriage is made and the couple are man and wife.

The father of Seboosis said nothing.

He was thinking to himself that the young man looked too clever. He would rather have Toobe for a son-in-law, for Toobe was timid and weak, and would always do as his father-in-law told him. However, an Indian does not like to say “No” straight out. He prefers to speak in a roundabout fashion which he considers more polite.

“There is a mountain out there,” said Magooch to Kayak, “which stands in the way of our hunting grounds. I should like it removed.”

Kayak understood, with a sinking heart, that the Chief was setting him an impossible task so that he would fail, and then he remembered the magical sweet-grass doll.

“I shall remove it for you,” said he, “tonight!” And he left Magooch’s wigwam. The Chief laughed to himself, but Seboosis was sad, for she had fallen in love with Kayak, and how could any man move a mountain?

When the red sun had disappeared behind the trees, Kayak went to the mountain and opened his birchbark box.

“Now, my magical sweet-grass doll,” said he, “let us see what you are able to do. Remove that mountain before the rising of the sun!”

All through the night the puzzled Micmacs heard strange noises outside the camp, like giants digging, and huge rocks and trees crashing to the ground, but they were too afraid to go out to see what was happening. When at last the sun arose and all was still, they came out of their lodges and gasped with amazement. The mountain was gone!

Old Magooch was thunderstruck, and frightened too, for he saw that Kayak had great power. He feared that his people might transfer their respect from him to Kayak and make him Chief instead. Determined that Kayak must be got rid of, he called the youth to him and said:

“There is a tribe of Etamankiaks across the lake, who are our enemies. If you will lead a war party out and destroy them, you may marry my daughter.”

Magooch knew that the Etamankiaks were very numerous and strong, yet he sent only a few braves to help Kayak, hoping all would be killed.

The young men were frightened and said to Kayak, “Stop! Let us go no farther. Magooch is sending us to our death!”

Kayak smiled as he fingered the sweet-grass doll hidden in his belt.

“Stay here,” he said. “I shall go alone,” and with the swiftness of the wind he was gone.

The men waited, and listened, and at last heard far off the sound of battle–the frightening sound of war whoops, the clash of arms, and dying screams. And–at last–silence.

“He was a brave man,” the braves said soberly, and returned to camp to tell the Chief what had happened.

Secretly the Chief was well pleased, but he pretended to feel sorrow.

“He was indeed a great fighter,” he said solemnly, “and gladly would I have received him as my son-in-law. How ever, now that he is dead, Seboosis will marry Toobe,” and he ordered a wedding feast prepared.

Seboosis wept, but knew she must obey her father.

“Let the bridegroom come,” called Magooch from his lodge, and Seboosis turned away to avoid the hateful sight of Toobe. She heard a voice say, “I am here, my father-in law,” and looked up with joy and amazement. There stood Kayak, alive and triumphant.

“The Etamankiaks are wiped out,” said Kayak with meaning, and Magooch knew he must keep his promise. Hiding his rage and disappointment, he muttered, “Come to the highest place, son-in- law,” and so Kayak and Seboosis were married and were very happy.

As for the magical sweet-grass doll, Kayak put it away in a safe place, saying to himself, “The doll has won me a wife and a home, and that is good. From now on I must do things for myself, or I shall grow fat and lazy.” Kayak understood, you see, that there is more happiness in doing things for oneself than in depending on others.

And Glooscap, in his lodge on Blomidon, smoked his great pipe contentedly, rejoicing at Kayak’s wisdom.

And so, kespeadooksit–the story ends.

Origin of the Medicine Man

The Medicine Man is Glooscap, the Good-Spirit. Legend has it that the father of Glooscap is a being who lives under a great waterfall beneath the earth. His face is half-red, and he has a single all- seeing eye. He can give to anyone coming to him the medicine he desires. Glooscap is still busy sharpening his arrows off in a distant place, preparing sometime to return to earth and make war.

Passamaquoddies tell all of their old stories as truth. But of other stories, they speak of them as “what they hear,” or hearsay.

This is a legend of long, long ago about a Passamaquoddy Indian woman who travelled constantly back and forth and through the woods. From every bush she came to, she bit off a twig, and from one of these she became pregnant. Bigger and bigger she grew, until at last she could not travel, but she built a wigwam near the mouth of a fresh-running stream.

In the night, the woman gave birth to a child. She thought at first that she should kill the child. Finally, she decided to make a bark canoe in which she placed her child. She set it adrift and let it float down the stream. Though the water was rough in places, the child was not harmed, or even wet.

The canoe floated to an Indian village, where it became stranded on the sandy shore near a group of wigwams. One of the women found the baby and brought it to her home. Every morning thereafter, it seemed that a baby of the village died. The villagers did not know what was the matter with their babies.

A neighbour noticed how the rescued child toddled off to the river every night and returned shortly after. She wondered if this could have anything to do with the death of so many babies. Then she saw the child return to its wigwam with a small tongue, roast it, and eat it. Then it lay down to sleep all night.

On the next morning, a report circulated that another child had died. Then the Indian woman was certain she knew who the killer was. She alerted the parents of the dead child and found that the child’s tongue had been removed, and the child had bled to death.

Tribal deliberations were held to decide what should be done with the murderer. Some said, cut up the person and throw him into the river. Others said, burn the fragments; this they did after much consultation. They burned the fragments of the wayward child, until nothing but its ashes remained.

Naturally, everyone understood the child was dead. But that night it came back to camp again with a small tongue, which it roasted and ate. The next morning another child was found to have died in the night. The weird child was found sleeping in its usual place, just as before its cremation. He said to everyone that he would never kill any more children, and that now he had become a big boy, in fact.

The big boy announced he would take one of his bones out of his side. This he started to do, and all of his bones spilled out of his body at the same time. He closed his eyes by drawing his fingers over his eyelids, hiding his eyes. He could not move without bones and he began to grow very fat.

He surprised the Passamaquoddies by becoming a great Medicine Man. Anything they desired within reason, he granted. Later, however, his tribe moved away from their old camp. Before they left, they built a fine wigwam for the Medicine Man. So accustomed had they become to call upon his powers that they still returned to make their requests. His tribal members asked him for medicine of all kinds. When he granted their wishes, he asked them, “Turn me over and you will find your medicine beneath me.”

A young man came and wished to have the love of a woman, so he asked for a love potion. The Medicine Man said, “Turn me over.” The young man turned over the conjurer and found an herb. “You must not give this away or throw it away,” said the old man. The young Passamaquoddy went back to his own wigwam.

Soon he was aware that all the young women followed him in the camp, at all times. In fact, he longed to be alone for a change. He did not like to be chased by the women. At last when he became too troubled by the tribal women, he returned to the Medicine Man and gave back the herbal love portion. The young Passamaquoddy left without it.

Another young man went to the conjurer for help. The Medicine Man asked, “What is it you want?” This man said, “I want to live as long as the world shall stand.”

“Your request is a hard one to consider, but I will do my best to answer it,” replied the Medicine Man. “Now turn me over,” and underneath his body was an herb. He said, “Go to a place that is bare of everything, so bare it is destitute of all vegetation, and just stand there.” The Medicine Man pointed out this direction for the young man.

The young man went according to the Medicine Man’s instructions, but looking back at the conjurer, the standing man saw branches and twigs sprouting all over his own body. He had been changed into a cedar tree, to stand there forever–useless to everyone.

Origin of the Thunderbird

This is a legend of long, long ago times. Two Indians desired to find the origin of thunder. They travelled north and came to a high mountain. These mountains performed magically. They drew apart, back and forth, then closed together very quickly.

One Indian said, “I will leap through the cleft before it closes. If I am caught, you continue to find the origin of thunder.” The first one succeeded in going through the cleft before it closed, but the second one was caught and squashed.

On the other side, the first Indian saw a large plain with a group of wigwams, and a number of Indians playing a ball game. After a little while, these players said to each other, “It is time to go.” They disappeared into their wigwams to put on wings, and came out with their bows and arrows and flew away over the mountains to the south. This was how the Passamaquoddy Indian discovered the homes of the thunderbirds.

The remaining old men of that tribe asked the Passamaquoddy Indian, “What do you want? Who are you?” He replied with the story of his mission. The old men deliberated how they could help him.

They decided to put the lone Indian into a large mortar, and they pounded him until all of his bones were broken. They moulded him into a new body with wings like thunderbird, and gave him a bow and some arrows and sent him away in flight. They warned him not to fly close to trees, as he would fly so fast he could not stop in time to avoid them, and he would be killed.

The lone Indian could not reach his home because the huge enemy bird, Wochowsen, at that time made such a damaging wind. Thunderbird is an Indian and he or his lightning would never harm another Indian. But Wochowsen, great bird from the south, tried hard to rival Thunderbird. So Passamaquoddies feared Wochowsen, whose wings Glooscap once had broken, because he used too much power.

A result was that for a long time air became stagnant, the sea was full of slime, and all of the fish died. But Glooscap saw what was happening to his people and repaired the wings of Wochowsen to the extent of controlling and alternating strong winds with calm.

Legend tells us this is how the new Passamaquoddy thunderbird, the lone Indian who passed through the cleft, in time became the great and powerful Thunderbird, who always has kept a watchful eye upon the good Indians.

Passamaquoddy Girl

by Mary Ellen Socobasin

A proud Indian girl grows up on the reservation
Takes a walk to the white community
She knew nothing of “them”
She was greeted with laughter
She was treated unfairly
For she did nothing to “them.”
She was called a redskin
She looked upon herself saw only brown skin
She wonders what is wrong with”them.”
She is called an Apache with a sneer.
She says, I am Passamaquoddy eyes full of tears.
She asks herself what have I done to “them.”
They make funny noises imitating her language.
She says to “them” I know two languages.
Doesn’t that mean anything to you.
But to “them,” they only understood one language.
The language of hate.
She asks herself what have I done to “them.”
They don’t know her. Still they condemn.
She committed no crime still they prosecute
Stones of injustice are thrown at her
Her heart starts to fill with bitterness.
She proclaims her hate for “them.”
Years of ignorance go by.
Then she realized what was happening.
She was getting to be just like “them.”
She says I am not one of “them.”
I will not condemn all of “them.”
For I am Passamaquoddy
A proud Indian woman.

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