Benjamin Franklin
1706 - 1790

Franklin wrote the following after a large group of innocent Indians were massacred because of the actions of others from another Tribe:

"If an Indian injures me, does it follow that I may revenge that Injury on all Indians?

"It is well known that Indians are of different Tribes, Nations and Languages, as well as the White People.

"In Europe, if the French, who are White People, should injure the Dutch, are they to revenge it on the English, because they too are White People?

"The only Crime of these poor Wretches seems to have been, that they had a reddish brown Skin, and black Hair; and some People of that Sort, it seems, had murdered some of our Relations.

"If it be right to kill Men for such a Reason, then, should any Man, with a freckled Face and red Hair, kill a Wife or Child of mine, it would be right for me to revenge it, by killing all the freckled red-haired Men, Women and Children, I could afterwards any where meet with."

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7
Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 |Chapter 14 
Chapter 2

We Were Not the Savages - Mi'kmaq Social Values and Economy

The pre-Columbian Mi’kmaq were a nomadic people who moved from place to place in harmony with the seasonal migrations of fish, game and fowl.These provided the principal components of their diets, supplemented by some farming. Their food supply was bountiful, dependable and extremely healthy, and materials needed to construct snug wigwams and make clothing suited to the changing seasons were readily available. They were not wanting.

Because of the communal nature of the society and the abundance of food, poverty among the People was virtually unknown. Material things, other than clothing and household goods, were shared equally. Thus the old, sick, infirm and otherwise disadvantaged were protected from destitution. Endowed with a high level of personal security, the People had a relatively low level of stress in their lives. This, combined with a healthy diet, blessed them with unusually long lifespans; centenarians were not rare. Comparing their comfortable and serene lifestyles with the hardships then being endured by much of the world’s other peoples, one must conclude that the Mi’kmaq were very well off.

Denys, who wrote after the Mi’kmaq population had undergone a substantial decline, describes their dietary habits:

There were formerly a much larger number of Indians than at present. They lived without care, and never ate either salt or spice. They drank only good soup, very fat. It was this that made them live long and multiply much. They often ate fish, especially seals to obtain the oil, as much for greasing themselves as for drinking; and they ate the Whale which frequently came ashore on the coast, especially the blubber on which they made good cheer. Their greatest liking is for grease; they ate as one does bread, and drink it liquid.1

“Cacamo” was their greatest delicacy. In order to make it, the women:

made the rocks red hot… collected all the bones of the Moose, pounded them with rocks upon another larger, reducing them to powder; then they placed them in their kettle and made them boil well. This brought out a grease that rose to the top of the water, and they collected it with a wooden spoon. They kept the bones boiling until they yielded nothing more, and with such success that from the bones of one Moose, without counting the marrow, they obtained five to six pounds of grease as white as snow, and as firm as wax. It was this which they used as their entire provision for living when they went hunting. We call it Moose butter; they Cacamo.2

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