The traditional stories collected in this volume link the memories of Passamaquoddy elders to the world of today's younger generations. The stories help us understand how Passamaquoddy community and culture have changed over the years. Connections between the generations have been weakened over the past few decades with the potential loss of the Passamaquoddy language, which is still spoken fluently by older members of the community.
Until just a few decades ago, the stories found in this volume were told orally as an integral part of Passamaquoddy home life. Since the late 1800s, thanks to intense interest in documenting the language and in ensuring its survival, many stories have been written down by native speakers and have been recorded by them, on everything from wax cylinders, beginning in 1890, to analogue and digital media.
This book begins with “Maliyan: Mary Ann,” an account of life in the Passamaquoddy communities in the early 1900s, and continues with a collection of stories that have been told since that time. They reflect elements from older Passamaquoddy stories about Koluskap and the earliest days of the world. This last set were written down in Passamaquoddy in the late 1800s by Lewis Mitchell, the great-grandfather of this collection's editor, Wayne A. Newell, who has carefully edited all the stories here to reflect Passamaquoddy oral tradition in written form.