Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages
). They inhabit Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Massachusetts, and Maine. French missionaries came into contact with them in the early 17th cent., and the Mi'kmaqs were allies of the French throughout the history of New France. Contact with Europeans did not have the usual effect of tribal disintegration, and the Mi'kmaqs still thrive, though their culture has changed radically. Many are Roman Catholics. The Mi'kmaqs are expert canoeists, and, although their economy once centered on fishing and hunting, they now derive their income primarily from agriculture. In 1990 there were over 15,000 Mi'kmaq in Canada. Another 2,700 Mi'kmaq live in the United States, the only federally recognized band being the Aroostook in Maine.
See W. D. and R. S. Wallis, The Micmac Indians of Eastern Canada (1955); J. F. Pratson, Land of the Four Directions (1970).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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