Maliseet (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Maliseet (also spelled Malecite) include both the Passamaquoddy and the Natick peoples. The Passamaquoddy settlement patterns were maritime, whereas the Natick were oriented along inland waterways with an emphasis on land-mammal hunting. Both had extended family organization. Chieftainship was patrilineal. Birchbark was utilized for implements, housing, canoes, and other utilitarian products. Hunting and trapping of moose and deer and other animals was supplemented by saltwater and freshwater fishing. Periodic boat excursions were made to neighboring islands for shellfish, lobsters, clams, and seals.
In 1604, Samuel de Champlain visited and described the inhabitants at the mouth of the Saint John River. Relations with the French were friendly; they were less so with the British, who issued land grants to non-Indians. Many Maliseet moved to the Kingsclear and Tobique reservations. Other reservations were established as population increased. By the 1900's, assimilation had increased, and more Indians were living off-reservation. The 1960's and 1970's saw a revitalization of traditional knowledge and language, a reduction of factionalism, nonprofit tribal corporations, and an increase in college graduates.
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