Panel on Religion, Identity, and Narrative Tradition

Friday, March 24, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., CS 101

MacLeod, K, “Revitalization of Métis Identity in the Maritimes”

Although the Maritimes has not been viewed as a region with a Métis presence in the past, there are various populations present that are searching for this recognition. Drawing upon ethnographic data, I will examine how there is disconnect in popular memory across generations which resulted in forced forgetting among families and communities. I will demonstrate how these identities have been sustained, revived, and mobilized in present-day.

Mysyk, A, ““The Cross of Huaquechula”

In 1806, a the image of a Cross miraculously appeared on a rock on the outskirts of the Mexican town of Huaquechula. Venerated both locally and regionally, it was soon declared to be a “false devotion” and was destroyed by the Bishop of the Diocese of Puebla. Yet the Cross continues to be celebrated to this day–on May 3, the Day of the Holy Cross in Mexico.

The purposes of this paper are, first, to briefly summarize the appearance and fate of the Cross of Huaquechula in the early 19th century and, second, to briefly describe the Day of the Holy Cross as it is celebrated today. To this end, I will address if and how local versions of the origins of the Cross are being displaced by an official version in order to promote May 3 as a tourist attraction.

Tulk, J: “Local Character Anecdotes and belief Narratives about Mi’kmaw Matthew ‘Mattie’ Mitchell in Western Newfoundland”

Matthew ‘Mattie’ Mitchell, a Mi’kmaw-Montagnais prospector and guide who lived on the west coast of Newfoundland between the mid-1800s and 1921, is the subject of many anecdotes and legends in the present. He is perhaps best known for his discovery of the Buchans ore deposits when a campfire he built allegedly melted nearby stones. Stories of his adventures ‘on the country’ often depict him as a man of extraordinary strength, endurance, and skill – he could carry a potbelly stove on his back, travel extremely long distances by foot, and hunt caribou by the light of the moon. More recently, it has been said that when his body was relocated from one cemetery to another a few years after his death, it showed no signs of decomposition.

What fuels these narratives? Who tells them and for what purposes? How might these anecdotes be located in the oral traditions of both Mi’kmaw and non-native Newfoundlanders? And, what information about intercultural relationships is embedded in their tellings? This study of anecdotes found in archival sources, private field recording collections, and print media will explore how such narratives are used in the present (see Tye 1989), as well as the vernacular attitudes embedded within them (Hiscock 2006). In particular, it will examine the role of these anecdotes in the recent resurgence of Mi’kmaw culture in the province, the reclaiming of Mi’kmaw identity, and the emergence of Mi’kmaw pride. Finally, the relationship between these stories and the traditional body of kinap narratives in Mi’kmaw culture will be investigated.