Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Tricksters. Glous'gap Stories of the Micmac Indians

Continuing on with this week of Glous'gap stories, I am really excited about today's book because it is written by two Micmac storytellers: On the Trail of Elder Brother: Glous'gap Stories of the Micmac Indians by Michael Runningwolf and Patricia Clark Smith.

Michael Runningwolf is a Micmac Algonquin who grew up in New Brunswick, Canada, and in Maine. He now lives in New Mexico where he works as a storyteller and artist; he did the illustrations for this book. Patricia Clark Smith is also Micmac, and she grew up in Massachusetts and Maine; she now teaches Native American literature at the University of New Mexico.

Michael Runningwolf's illustrations are beautiful; here is the illustration for the story of Glous'gap and Grandfather Turtle:

The introduction to the book explains some basic elements of Micmac culture and tradition, along with the hero they call Glous'gap, and also ""Elder Brother." As they describe Glous'gap, "he is our spiritual teacher, the ultimate warrior, medicine-person, and occasional trickster. Some say he is a spirit; others think he is human. In any case, the things Glous'gap says and does are models for the way our people approach life." They acknowledge the contributions made by non-Native anthropologists and other scholars who have studied these stories, but "as far as we know, ours is the only book of traditional Micmac stories that have been retold and written down by two Micmac authors."

I was so glad to find this book at the Archive, and if you are interested in learning more about Micmac storytelling traditions, see this online exhibit: The Geography of Mi'kmaq Folklore.

And, of course, the Micmac storytelling tradition extends far beyond the stories of Glous'gap... but his stories are a great way to get started!

by Michael Runningwolf and Patricia Clark Smith

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