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Mi’qmak (Micmac) Tribe of Nova Scotia, Hieroglyphic Writing System of the

The Mi’kmaq tribe settled in what is now the Gaspé Peninsula and Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick) of Canada. Their development of script writing occurred around the end 0f 100 BC according to the Biblical Timeline Poster with World History. The people were primarily hunter-gatherers and the Atlantic provided them with an abundant supply of fish, shellfish, and sea mammals as additional food. Explorer John Cabot docked on the shores of eastern Canada in 1497 and traded with the local Mi’kmaq tribes.

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“Mi’kmaq hieroglyphic writing, 1866”

French and Scottish settlers arrived in Nova Scotia in the early part of the 17th century but the local Mi’kmaq population remained an important part of the Nova Scotia community. Chrétien Le Clercq, a Franciscan friar was sent as a missionary to Quebec, saw Mi’kmaq children carve glyphs on birchbark when he taught them the Lord’s Prayer. Whether it was an ancient form of writing or a system to help them memorize (as Le Clercq had suggested), the friar would later use the writing system with a figure to represent each line of the Lord’s Prayer. This writing system would later spread to other Indian tribes. It is still used by the Mi’kmaq people today.

Picture By Christian Kauder – Christian Kauder, 1866, Buch, das gut, enhaltend den Katechismus, Betrachtung, Gesang. Die kaiserliche wie auch königliche Buchdruckerei hat es gedruckt in der kaiserlichen Stadt Wien in Oesterreich, page 73, Public Domain,
Cox, James H., and Daniel Heath Justice. The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature. Oxford University Press, 2014
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2 thoughts on “Mi’qmak (Micmac) Tribe of Nova Scotia, Hieroglyphic Writing System of the

  1. The statement that, “Mi’kmaq’s earliest contact with Europeans was with explorer John Cabot who docked on the shores of eastern Canada in 1497”, is historically false and requires corrections below.

    1. According to Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage, “ Mi’kmaq were living in Newfoundland prior to European contact”.

    2. L’anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland Canada, excavated in the 1960s is, “an 11th-century Viking settlement in Newfoundland Canada is evidence of the first European presence in North America” according to UNESCO.

    3-4. Norse explorations of North America were documented in 1150 by Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Idrisi in the “Tabula Rogeriana”, commissioned by King Roger of Sicily states, “[In North America] there are animals of such enormous size that inhabitants of the inner islands use their bones and vertebrae in place of wood in constructing houses. They also use them for making clubs, darts, lances, knives, seats, ladders, and in general, all things which elsewhere are made from wood…”


    1. Thank you Carmen. We made the edit.

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