On the Trail of Elder Brother: Glous'gap Stories of the Micmac Indians / Edition 1

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Stories of Glous'gap, the embodiment of the Great Spirit, are told by the many Algonquin-speaking tribes of the United States and Canada. Among them is the Micmac of Maine, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces. Since the seventeenth century, anthropologists have listened to Micmac storytellers and recorded their tales. Now, for the first time, we are given these tales firsthand. Powerful and joy-filled, they are irresistibly told by two Micmac authors.

Beginning with his arrival at the time of creation, we follow Glous'gap, also known as Elder Brother, over the course of sixteen tales. He helps shape the earth and populate it with creatures, and he battles the monsters who threaten his people--among them, a water-hoarding monster, a giant bird of prey who flies off with women and children, and a shape-shifting sorceress who is Glous'gap's eternal nemesis. In the last story, the world has become a settled place and Glous'gap has taught his people how to live harmoniously within it. Before he bids farewell, Glous'gap foresees the future, including the ominous coming of the white man, and he promises to return. "Is the time yet upon us ... when Glous'gap will come back to walk among us? No one is certain. We can only live as he taught us. Always, we wait for his return."

With their pipe-smoking whales, irascible porcupines, lake serpents, and more, these stories are wondrous and magical. But they are also wise, immersed in what it means to be fully human in a fragile world.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The adventures of Glous'gap, the great leader of the Micmac Native Americans, are retold in this collection of sixteen stories. The tales reveal Glous'gap's character and qualities as a leader. The stories tell of Glous'gap's birth, his design of the earth, his adventures in battling evil, and the hard choices he sometimes had to make. For reference, a map of the lands the Micmac occupied is included. An extensive glossary is also included for easy translation. For those interested in more information, a list of references is provided. The classroom teacher of upper elementary students would find this a great read aloud volume since the stories are filled with wild and fun adventures. 2000, Persea Books, Ages 10 to 14.
— Haley Thomas
ALAN Review
The authors, both descendants from the Micmacs--one of the Wabanaki, or Eastern Algonquin, peoples--offer a series of 16 stories that recount the exploits of Glous'Gap, the Great Elder Brother who is responsible for the formation and protection of the area that stretches from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia to Maine. Each of the short stories captures the elements of Glous'Gap's power and concern for his people and their surroundings. These are delightful humorous tales about life inside this natural wilderness, populated by giant eagles, rampant beavers, water monsters, and painted turtles. A glossary, pronunciation guide, map, suggestions for further readings, and 16 pen and ink illustrations add interest and information. Readers who like storytelling and Native American legends will enjoy this collection. 2000, Persea, Ages 10 up, $16.95. Reviewer: Charles L. Duke
Library Journal
RunningWolf and Smith, direct descendants of the Micmac Indian nation, have assembled 16 classic legends from oral tradition into an authentic cycle that conveys inherited belief systems. The tales center on Glous'gap, a legendary hero, teacher, leader, and spiritual entity, who visited Earth to relate teachings on human relationships, monsters, and magic. Embracing the laws, morals, and wisdom of the Wabanaki people, which include the Micmac, these tales span the ages, providing unique insight into human interaction with common surroundings. Collected from the maritime provinces, Quebec, and Maine and known in the Great Lakes region and in Delaware, the tales reflect concerns essential to Algonquin-language speakers. The Micmac incorporated maps, traditional designs, and motifs into their quill- and beadwork, hide paintings, and the legends they inscribed on rock and tree bark--as illustrated here in pen-and-ink drawings. Collectively, this is a most worthy and thoroughly accessible glimpse of Native American thought. Academic, select, and specialized collections will be well served by this brief anthology.--Richard K. Burns, MSLS, Hatboro, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Internet Book Watch
On The Trail Of Elder Brother presents a collection of 16 stories retold by two Micmac authors. This is a magical universe peopled with witches and magicians, man-eating moose, whales, birds and more. Every tale has moral and aesthetic purpose as well as prophetic or holy meanings. These tales will be enjoyed by children to whom they will always be new. They also remain a treasured resource to adults.Warrior, Shield, And Star: Imagery And Ideology Of Pueblo Warfare Polly Schaafsma Western Edge/James Mafchir, Publisher 126 Candelario Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
—Internet Book Watch
Internet Bookwatch
The authors are direct descendants of the Micmac Indian nation and have assembled sixteen oral history tales which reflect the Micmac heritage and belief systems. On the Trail of Elder Brother is a rare glimpse of Micmac tribal values and a recommended pick for any avid student of Native American history and culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892552887
  • Publisher: Persea Books
  • Publication date: 6/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael B. RunningWolf grew up in Maine and in Canada, a direct descendant of Beminuit, the Grand Chief of the Micmac Nation. A master storyteller, he travels around the country telling Micmac tales in libraries, schools, parks, and museums. He lives in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

Patricia Clark Smith is of Irish, French-Canadian, and Micmac descent. She is the author of two volumes of poetry and many essays and stories. She teaches Native American literature and creative writing at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Michael B. RunningWolf grew up in Maine and in Canada, a direct descendant of Beminuit, the Grand Chief of the Micmac Nation. A master storyteller, he travels around the country telling Micmac tales in libraries, schools, parks, and museums. He lives in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

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Table of Contents

Introduction IX
The Coming of Glous'gap 3
Glous'gap and Young Wolf 11
Why the Beavers Are at War with Glous'gap 17
Porcupine and Fisher 21
How Glous'gap Saved Pine Marten and Mrs. Bear 25
Glous'gap and Grandfather Turtle 43
Glous'gap and the Water Monster 57
How the Sacred Pipe Was Brought to the Micmac 65
Glous'gap and Painted Turtle 73
The Boy in the Birchbark Box 81
Glous'gap and Wotjou'san, the Wind Bird 93
Glous'gap and the Little Summer Woman 99
Glous'gap and the Gulls 107
Glous'gap and Wa'sis 117
Glous'gap and the Three Wishes 121
Glous'gap's Farewell 127
Map: Land of the Micmac 132
Micmac Glossary and Pronunciation Guide 133
Further Reading and Viewing 141
About the Authors 144
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