Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

The Maliseets and the Forest: a Mutual Respect

Memories of a Maliseet

NoŽl Francis Jr. lives on the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation Reservation since birth. He has always been close to the forest - as a child and as an adult. He worked for the Edmundston Fraser Company Ltd. (see historical vignettes # 3 and 4) for forty-three years (1967-1990) and was Maliseet Chief from 1963 to 1967. Now retired, he devotes himself to his favourite hobby, transforming wood with his Wood-Mizer portable sawmill.

When we were young, we mostly went fishing and hunting with my father. Later we cut wood for a small sawmill that built log cabins. We gathered ash trees and branches to make baskets; we chose the wood according to the type of basket; for more resistant baskets we needed mature wood and younger wood for decorative baskets. I also recall that my grandmother prepared medicine from branches, plants, bark and spruce gum. She prepared tonics to treat coughs and colds...8