Newfoundland Mi’kmaq Books

watercolour Mary R. McKie, Library and Archives Canada - Newfoundland Mi'kmaq booksThe telling of a place often is told through the people who make up the place. Conversely, the telling of a family can be told through the place they lived.  Here are books about places or families in Newfoundland that may be of interest to those researching their origins.

Many prolific writers and storytellers have told Newfoundland’s past and present.  There are also historical sources and contemporary analyses of Newfoundland Mi’kmaq.  I have not included those here.

These books are about specific family or community history. They Painting Mi'kmaq Encampmenthave real names and details of family history as well as the history of areas in which Mi’kmaq people lived.  The exceptions are those by Kevin Major, Horwood and Butts, Erin Sharpe, Percy Janes, and Barbara Rieti.  You may not think of Major’s book when you think “history”, and it’s worth reading.  Horwood and Butts’ book tells about the pirate Peter Easton in Newfoundland.  Sharpe’s article, through the eyes of one young woman, gives the reasons why people track their Mi’kmaq ancestry. Percy Janes’ novel beautifully presents place; Corner Brook in the first half of the 20th century. Rieti studies witchcraft beliefs in all of Newfoundland, but includes Mi’kmaq people and areas.

Oil portrait Mi'kmaq woman 1840s artist unknownPlease let me know if you know of a book that should be here.  The titles below are links to find them. If you buy from Amazon, doing so through my links (or ‘Search Amazon’ box in right sidebar) means a fraction of every sale goes to me.  For that, I am most appreciative. Afterwords bookstore in St. John’s (245 Duckworth 709-753-4690, on Facebook) has a lot of Newfoundlandia.

Relevant, but included elsewhere in this site, are Earl Pilgrim’s Drifting Into Doom, my own Nogwa’mkisk:  (Where the sand blows):  Vignettes of Bay St. George Micmacs (out of print) and Lark Szick’s Young/LeJeune Family.

New books added Jan. 12, 2017!

Click book titles (in green) for info and purchase

Andersen, Raoul and John Crellin Mi'sel Joe: An aboriginal chief's journey St. John's: Flanker Press 2009 (Amazon)
Cover of Walking a TightropeBartels, Dennis & Alice "Mi'gmaq Lives: Aboriginal identity in Newfoundland" in Walking a Tightrope: Aboriginal people and their representations Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier U Press 2005, eds. Ute Lischke and David MacNab (Amazon)
Bennett, Don The Legacy of William Haynes, Jesperson Press 1997 (out of print, at MUN libraries, St. John’s & Corner Brook)
Bennett, Don The Trail of French Ancestors, printed by Robinson-Blackmore, 2002? (Try the booksellers in the mall in Corner Brook)
Butt, Kirk Early Settlers of Bay St. George Vol. 1: The Inner Bay Vol. 2: The Outer Bay (Tidespoint)
Clarke, David J. A History of the Isles: Twillingate, New World Island, Fogo Island and Change Islands CreateSpace 2012 (Amazon)
Clarke, David J. An Historical Directory of the Isles: Twillingate, New World Island, Fogo and Change Islands CreateSpace 2013 (Amazon)
Clarke, David J. Stories From These Shores: Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Isles of Notre Dame CreateSpace 2014 (Amazon)
Collins, Gary  Mattie Mitchell: Newfoundland's Greatest Frontiersman Flanker Press, St. John’s 2011 (Amazon)
Cormack, W. E.  Narrative of a Journey Across the Island of Newfoundland  St. John's, Nfld. 1873 (online - see top left for formats. You can also buy Journey Across... Newfoundland on Amazon)
Crummey, Michael River Thieves Toronto: Doubleday/Anchor 2002 (novel, about Exploits and Beothuk - Amazon)
Downer, Don Turbulent Tides: A social history of Sandy Point ESP Press, Portugal Cove 1997 (Tidespoint & Indigo)
Feild, Edward (Bishop) Journal of the Bishop of Newfoundland's Voyage... to the south and west coasts... and Labrador... in the year 1848 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, London 1849 (online - see top left for formats)
Feild, Edward (Bishop) A Journal of a Visitation in the "Hawk" Church Ship... in the year 1849 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, London 1850 (anglicanhistory.org)
Felt, Lawrence & Peter Sinclair Living on the Edge: The Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland ISER, MUN, St. John's 1995 (Amazon)
Finn, Tom Westsiders: Stories from old Corner Brook Petra Books 2010 (Amazon)
Harvey, Stuart L.  The Forgotten Bay:  A historical survey of the settlement of Lark Harbour and York Harbour in the Outer Bay of Islands, Newfoundland 1997 (online and in libraries)
Horwood, Harold Corner Brook: A social history of a paper town Breakwater, St. John's 1986 (Amazon)
Horwood, Harold & Ed Butts Pirates & Outlaws of Canada: 1610 to 1932 Doubleday, Toronto 1984 (Amazon)
Jackson, Doug (ed. Gerald Penney) On The Country: The Micmac Of Newfoundland Harry Cuff Publications, St. John’s 1993 (Amazon - sometimes okay prices, sometimes not!)
Janes, Percy House of Hate (fiction, Corner Brook) Breakwater, St. John's 1992; first pub. McLelland and Stewart 1970 (Amazon)
Jeddore, John Nick Moccasin Tracks: A memoir of Mi'kmaw life in Newfoundland ISER, St. John's 2015 (Amazon)
Johnson, Frederick Let Us Remember the Old Mi'kmaq Nimbus, Halifax 2001 (NL and NS historical photographs compiled by Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq - Amazon)
Kendall, Victor G. and Victor Ramea's Family Tree Corner Brook 1995
Lawrence, Bonita "Reclaiming Ktaqamkuk: Land and Mi'kmaq identity in Newfoundland" in Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental justice in Canada, Julian Agyeman et al. (eds.) UBC Press, Vancouver 2009 (Amazon)
MacFarlane, David Come From Away Abacus 1992 (Goodyear family, Grand Falls-Windsor, WWI - Amazon)
MacGregor, William Report by the Governor on a Visit to the Micmac Indians at Bay d'Espoir 1908 (pdf) Governor MacGregor's Report also is available in paper and Kindle on Amazon.
Major, Kevin As Near To Heaven By Sea Penguin/Viking, Toronto 2001 (Amazon)
Norcliffe, Glen Global Game, Local Arena: Restructuring in Corner Brook, Newfoundland ISER, MUN, St. John's 2005 (Amazon)
Old Newfoundland Books, Quarterlies and Magazines (list of online sources)
Osmond, Roy M. Families of the South Arm of Bonne Bay 1800s-1930s Woody Point, 1987 (Libraries)
Peyton, Amy Louise River Lords, Father and Son:  The story of the Peytons and the River of Exploits Flanker Press, St. John’s 2005 (Tidespoint)
Quigley, Colin Music from the Heart: Compositions of a folk fiddler U. of Georgia Press 1995 (Emile Benoit, Bay St. George - Amazon)
Rieti, Barbara Making Witches: Newfoundland traditions of spells and counterspells McGill-Queen's University Press 2008 (Amazon)
Rogers, John Davidson Newfoundland Vol. V, Pt. IV of A Historical Geography of the British Colonies Clarendon, Oxford 1911  Forgotten Books Classic Reprint Series 2012 Esp. ch. 8 for Mi'kmaq history (Amazon sometimes, or libraries)
Saunders, Gary L. Rattles and Steadies: Memoirs of a Gander River man Breakwater Books, St. John’s 1986 (Amazon)
Seary, E. R. and Wm. Kirwin Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland McGill-Queen's University Press 1998 (Amazon)
Sharpe, Erin “The Invisible Mi’kmaq” in Culture & Tradition Vol. 29 2007, St. John's: MUN Folklore Dept.
Simmons, Colin The Simmons Family of Newfoundland 2009 (Simmons, Pike and Pynn families, Lower Island Cove and Mosquito - Amazon)
Speck, Frank Beothuk and Micmac  New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation 1922 (online - see top left for formats, also on Amazon hard copy and Kindle)
cover Cindy Styles 3 or 4 years an IndianStyles, Cindy 3 or 4 Years an Indian Friesen Press 2015 ("A little story about one girl's attempt to claim her heritage, and the maneuvering by the Canadian government to discredit that heritage." - Amazon blurb. Kindle, paper, hardback eds.
Tocque, Philip Newfoundland: As it was, and as it is in 1877 (Kindle - Amazon)
Tulk, Janice E. "Our Strength is Ourselves": Identity, status, and cultural revitalization among the Mi'kmaq in Newfoundland (MUN, School of Music, PhD Diss. 2008 Collections Canada PDF
Vautier, Clarence The Coast of Newfoundland: The southwest corner Flanker Press, St. John's 2002 (Amazon)
Whitehead, Ruth The Old Man Told Us: Excerpts from Mi'kmaq history 1500-1950 Nimbus Publishing, Halifax, 1991 (Amazon)
Whitehead, Ruth
Tracking Doctor Lonecloud: Showman to legend keeper Goose Lane Editions, 2002 (19th century NS Mi'kmaw in USA; identity, cultural knowledge and entrepreneurship - Amazon)
Whitehead, Ruth Niniskamijinaqik, Ancestral Images: The Mi'kmaq in art and photography Nimbus Publishing, Halifax, 2015 (Amazon)
Wix, Edward (Bishop) Six Months of a Newfoundland Missionary's Journal from February to August, 1835 (Reprint of original Smith, Elder & Co. 1836 - Amazon) Also at anglicanhistory.org)

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10 thoughts on “Newfoundland Mi’kmaq Books”

  1. We are in the process of exploring our Family Tree. We have found an interesting aspect in regards to our possible link to the M’Ikmaq Indian. My father, Llewellyn McKAY was adopted by his Grandfather, John Thomas McKAY, we found that our Dad’a father was a Clarence Verge who was reported drowned before
    he and Dad’s mother Elizabeth McKAY, John Thomas McKAY’s daughter. She was married in 1910. We have traced Clarence Verges mother back to a Joseph Dorey, her father who in 1806 owned a fishing wharf on Black Island, Bay of Exploits. Joseph Dorey’s wife was a full blooded Mikmaq Indian from Nova Scotia. Are there further avenues I can explore in our quest.

    Another topic: How and where would information regarding the family name MARCH in regards to MiKmaq Indian connection.

    1. Hi Moody, sorry, I have people by all the surnames you give but none that I can connect to yours. Maybe someone reading can help. On the Marches, look at Jasen Benwah’s genealogy sites and the Bay St. George Genealogical Society. You’ll see a link to the former and info about the latter on my Nfld Mi’kmaq Genealogy and Family History page.

  2. hi dorothy;
    My name is alexander williams . i was born and raised in crow gulch from 1956 to 1970. Mom born me her self. Please contact me asap for good chat. see what a Gulcher has to say. LOve to hear from you .
    Alex[Codfather]Williams

    1. Hi Alexander, it would be nice to hear about Grow Gulch. It was gone by the time I was ever in Corner Brook. It sounds like a real part of the town’s history was lost, really too bad. Thanks for writing.

  3. Hi Dorothy,
    Thank you for the list they are great books. The only one I cannot find is the one by Don Bennett. The Legacy of William Haynes. It is too bad he couldn’t have more printed because they would definately sell.

  4. Trying to find more info on the Strickland family from the south coast in the 1800’s and their possible micmac history. Do any of these books talk about that and do you know where I can get more info on this?

  5. Hi Dorothy, Thanks for the list. I will be looking for these. I read “As near to heaven by sea” it is a great read for sure. Dorothy, I am really interested in my new found heritage and noticed you have done many papers, research and studies. I am wondering if this is something you could share with me. Are they in any book format or available for purchase. I would be so interested.
    Kindest regards
    Lesley Ann Staples

    1. Hi Lesley and thanks. Glad you like the list. I’ve never written the book, I’m afraid. Maybe you’ve inspired me to do so ;). What I have written is on the research and radio page, most of which was done for the FNI. Sources and availability are in the links on that page. Everything of mine that is published is at the MUN Library in the main shelves or the Nfld Room.

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