Ben Christmas - Pre-Columbus Customs

Ben ChristmasThis is an audio recording of Chief Ben Christmas explaining some of the values and customs the Mi’kmaq people practiced, prior to the arrival of non-Mi’kmaq peoples.




Nikmatut, ke’sk mna’q wape’k ji’nm pekisinukwek ula kmitkinaq ki’s Mi’kmaq L’nu’k eykisnik. Tajiko’ltisnik aq melkikna’tisnik. Welo’ltisnik, welqatmu’tisnik, kesaltultisnik, mawi-apoqnmatultisnik aq mawi-ktlamsitasultisnik. Melki-majulkwatmi’tiss wtlqamiksutiwow. Kaqi-alsutmi’tisnl nipuktl aq sipu’l ta’n teli-ktantu’tij mimajuaqn a, ktantaqn aq kwitamaqn. Moqwe’j wenl keltitakwi’tiksupnn, lukwaqna’lukwi’tiksupnn kisna enqa’lukwi’tiksupnn. Alsutmi’tiss ta’n telo’lti’tij kisna ta’n ketui-lita’tij. Mi’soqo kis-sikntasijek, me’j newkte’ tel-mlknmi’tiss wtlqamiksutiwow. Klapis kaqi-sikntasulti’tijek tlisip poqtamkiaqsip mlknmnew wtalasutmaqnmuow aq me’j kiskuk newkte’ tel-mlki-ktlamsitmi’tij alasutmaqn ta’n iknmuksi’tip piamiw si’st kaskimtlnaqnipunqekek jel naninskekipunqekek. Etuk wen Mi’kmawa’j L’nu? Kisna etuk tami wetapeksit Mi’kmawa’j L’nu? Nikmatut, mili-a’tuksit na Mi’kmawa’j L’nu. Aq moqwe’j kisi kaqi-a’tukwalat newkte’ wela’kw. Na’ to’q pe’l upmetuk ika’tunej ta’n teli-a’tuksij kisna ta’n tett wetapeksij mi’soqo apj wlteskatulti’kw.
My friends, prior to the arrival of the White Man on our shores, the Mi’kmaq were already here. They were healthy and strong. They were contented, happy, loved one another, assisted one another and believed similarly. They strongly abided by their culture. They controlled all of the forests and rivers where they collected their food such as game and fish. There was no one who attempted to claim what they controlled, hampered them or obstructed them. They were masters of their lives and traveled where they willed. Up until the time they were baptized, they were still very strong in their beliefs. Finally, when they were all baptized, it was then they began to forcefully hold on to their (new) beliefs and to this day they continue to hold on to the beliefs that were given to them more than 350 years ago. Who, do you believe, is a Mi’kmaw? Or, from where does he originate? My friends, there have been many stories about the Mi’kmaw. And, the whole of who the Mi’kmaw is cannot be spoken about in one night. So let us put aside all that has been said about him for now including where he originates from until we all meet again.