Our native history: Taken from the History of the Miramichi pages on the internet, again nothing on the page stated copyright issues, so I am placing this on the site.


By 2000 years ago there was a sizeable Micmac population spending the warm weather months living in several large Metepenagiag villages. These same sites had been occupied earlier but not by such large groups of people. Changes in the style of artifacts found at Metepenagiag suggest that from time to time the villagers were influenced by contacts with their neighbors to the southwest. Despite their contacts with other peoples, the everyday lifestyle of the Miramichi Micmac remained basically the same for 200 years.

The Atlantic salmon and Atlantic sturgeon bones recovered from the Oxbow campfires and from the hearths of other nearby sites show us that the principal activity of the people living at Metepenagiag was fishing. Of the nearly 100 ancient campfires that were excavated at the Oxbox site, only a handful lacked burnt fishbone. From the excavations in the year 1984, only one non-fishbone hearth was excavated. Additionally, all of the larger Metepenagiag villages including Oxbow were situated at excellent fishing locations
.

In the days of the ancient Micmac, the Miramichi River must have been alive with fish. In the 17th century Nicolas Denys wrote "If the pigeons bothered us by their large numbers, the salmon give us even more trouble."

The Metepenagiag people fashioned their lives around their fishery. Fish was the primary food of the warm weather months and fish were preserved for the winter. Extra supplies of dried or smoked fish would have been used in local and regional trading. In addition to the salmon and the sturgeon, annual runs of smelt, gaspereau, shad and striped bass were also fished. In winter, Red Bank was the spawning grounds for swarms of tom cod and the American eel was present in the muddy bottom at the confluence of the two rivers.

The Metepenagiag people enjoyed one of the best fishing locations within the Miramichi estuary. They were also conveniently situated between the forest and the coast. Resources from both areas were within easy reach. Inland hunting parties travelled only a short distance to find some of the best wintering areas for deer, moose and caribou. Spring and summer visits to the sea shore saw the people collecting birds eggs and tender beach peas. Fall expiditions to the coastal marshes for migratory bird hunts were conducted from Red Bank with ease.

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