Just north of the star, which appears at the conclusion of the preceding animation, the Mi'kmaq had established a major village. They had already devised ways to transport people and their goods in both summer and winter... with no need for a factory.
In summer it was the well-known canoe
designed to rely upon waterways long before there were roads. We still use this aboriginal invention, when eager to get away from roads and railways. In winter, they developed the simple sled we still call a toboggan
and some version of this device has been used ever since.1
We still call these by their Mi'kmaq name... and this may be where we get our name for a pung
The following images, online, help us recapture this inheritance:http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mikmaq/?section=image&page=&id=89&period=®ion=http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mikmaq/?section=image&page=&id=213&period=1850®ion=Diane Mitchell's story
When talking with Diane Mitchell about permission to use the recording of tepaqan
[see below] from the Mi’gmaq-Mi’kmaq Online Talking Dictionary site (http://www.mikmaqonline.org
), she offered this story:
“With reference to "pung", my mother used to refer to a horse drawn winter sleigh as pangeji'j
, the "-ji'j" added on to the end of a Mi'gmaq word indicates a diminutive, so a small horse-drawn winter sleigh. My mother’s name is Mali Mise'l (Mary Mitchell in English), and she is from Listuguj. Because my mother was born in 1910, when she was young, horse drawn vehicles were the norm. I have always wondered whether it was an English term with a Mi'gmaw ending added or a very old Mi'gmaq word.”
In an early study2
is listed as an:
"old New England [and Canadian Maritimes] term for a rude sort of sleigh, an oblong box made of boards placed on runners, used for drawing loads on snow by horses...an abbreviation of an older term, in all probability a corruption of toboggan
Both the Mi'qmaq toboggan and the pung Europeans derived from it are delightfully illustrated for us in this c. 1845 painting by Kreighoff:https://www.heffel.com/New/Auction/Big_Image_E.aspx?LotID=13998&ImageID=18568&Main=1&Size=550
1 Whitehead, Ruth Holmes and Harold McGee. The Micmac: How Their Ancestors Lived Five Hundred Years Ago. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 1983. 38-40.
2 Chamberlain, Alexander F., "Algonkian Words in American English: A Study in the Contact of the White Man and the Indian." The Journal of American Folklore, Vol.15, No.59 (1902): 240-267.
Adèle Hempel, Matt Holmes, Michael Doan
© 2007, Tantramar Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.