Petroglyphs Hunting and Fishing

Hunting and Fishing

View all the tracings in Creed's "Hunting and Fishing" category

Hunting and fishing were life-sustaining activities. There are several rich images of hunting and fishing in the petroglyph record created by Creed. In 1740 a French missionary, the Abbé‚ Maillard, interviewed a Mi'kmaw shaman-chief named Arguimaut*( in modern Mi'kmaq, this would be spelled L'ki'mu, and pronounced Ulgimoo; it means "He Sends"). He asked Arguimaut how the Mi'kmaq had lived, before the Europeans had arrived to change things.

The first thing that leapt into Arguimaut's mind, to explain Mi'kmaw life, were animals: "Father," he said, "before your arrival in these parts where God decreed we should be born, and where we have grown like the grasses and the trees you see around you, our most constant occupation was to hunt all sorts of animals so as to eat of their flesh and to cover ourselves with their skins."

Animals gave the Mi'kmaq more than meat. They provided clothing of leather and fur. Antlers, horns, and bones were used for harpoon and arrow points as well as for sewing awls. Thread was made from dried and shredded muscle sheathing. Teeth were used as decoration, but also as carving tools; beaver and porcupine incisor teeth were particularly useful as chisels. Animal hair, bird feathers and porcupine quills were dyed and used to embroider and decorate clothing and objects. Rawhide thongs became rope, lashing for tools and weapons or snowshoe filling. Shell was worked into beads, which could be woven into wampum belts.

hunting and fishingThe petroglyphs show the hunting of a variety of animals, including moose and caribou. They also show a variety of fishing techniques. The image at left shows two hunters in a Mi'kmaw canoe. The hunter on the right is aiming a musket at a porpoise. The Mi'kmaq hunted porpoise for both food and oil, which they sold commercially.

hunting and fishingSome images record specific hunting techniques. In the case at left, the hunter appears to be using dogs to hunt moose. Dogs could hold a moose at bay until the hunter arrived. As with many other of these images, the precise meanings are impossible to determine where the images are no longer in their original context.