Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Wisdom of the Micmac"

"Wisdom of the Micmac"

“I am truly astonished that the French have so little cleverness. They try to persuade us to convert our poles, our barks, and our wigwams into their houses of stone and of wood that are as tall and lofty as these trees. Very well! But why do men of five to six feet in height need houses that are sixty to eighty?

Do we not have all the advantages in our houses that you have in yours, such as reposing, drinking, sleeping, eating, and amusing ourselves with friends when we wish?

Have you as much ingenuity as the Indians, who carry their houses and their wigwams with them so that they may lodge wherever they please? We can say that we are at home everywhere, because we set up our wigwams with ease wherever we go, without asking permission from anyone.

You reproach us - very inappropriately - and tell us that our country is a little hell in contrast with France, which you compare to a terrestrial paradise. If this is true, why did you leave it? Why did you abandon your wives, children, relatives, and friends?

Which of these is the wisest and happiest - he who labors without ceasing and only obtains, with great trouble, enough to live on, or he who rests in comfort and finds all that he needs in the pleasure of hunting and fishing?

Learn now, my brother, once and for all, because I must open my heart to you: there is no Indian who does not consider himself infinitely more happy and more powerful than the French.”
- Micmac Chief, (1676)

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