Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: aroostook band of micmac | micmac | native american | maine |
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image by Donald Healy, 23 December 2007
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Aroostook Band of Micmac - Maine
The Micmac of the Aroostook Band, federally recognized since 26 November 1991, trace their ancestry to some 28 Micmac communities in the Maritime Provinces of Canada (New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec). Traditionally the Micmac have been a highly mobile society, and the 28 Canadian communities mirror the far-flung Micmac settlements throughout New England states. The Boston, Mass., area alone, for instance, is home to some 4000 people of Micmac origin. The headquarters for the approximately 800 members living in the United States is on a 17-acre trust land on Presque Isle, within Aroostook County in northern Maine, a scant ten minutes' drive from the Canadian border. The Aroostook Band, which also owns parcels of land throughout the County, represents all Micmac in the Unites States.
© Donald Healy 2008
Given the dispersed locations and traditional mobility of the Micmac, it is not surprising that the overall feature of the Aroostook Band flag stresses - by means of two circular design features - the unity-in-diversity theme that also
dominates the Micmac flag. In fact, it differs from the latter in only two important features: (a) the addition of the logo of the Micmac Council in the upper portion of the central red stripe, and (b) its 3:6 feet dimensions, which are in the same 1:2 ratio of width-to-length as the Canadian Maple Leaf.
The richly symbolic logo of the Elders' Council starts with a black circular outline, signifying the Unity of the Micmac People. The upper part of the circle is divided into two quarters by a black vertical Band punctuated by four yellow disks, which honor the four women of the Band (or Tribe), all Micmac Mothers, who promoted the advancement of the Micmac. The upper left quarter shows two black bear claws on a white background, symbolizing strength and the readiness to provide assistance. A black deer looking toward the right stands in upper right quarter on a white background. It represents the gratitude the Micmac feel toward this animal that provides vital assistance to the community with both clothing and food.
Separating the upper from the lower portions of the circle, a center band celebrates the original members of the Aroostook Council. There were five women (white inverted wigwams) and four men (black upright tepees with yellow outlines), each with his or her own household, who still oversee Tribal business and work together for the welfare of the Band community.
The black triangle in the lower half of the circle stands for the wigwam of the Council's lodge. Inside this triangle, a small white triangle marks the entrance to the wigwam, and three white disks honor the three original women sachems, or Council members. It is important to note that this triangle, topped by the middle black teepee in the central band, forms the Arrow of Peace - symbol of the arrows used by Micmac hunters to gather sustenance and by Micmac warriors to defend the Band against enemies. Framing the lower half of the circular logo are seven eagle feathers, which represent seven future generations of the Micmac and the seven districts of the Micmac Nation.
One element whose head remains invisible, though its wings and lower body are suggested by the central band and the lower black and white triangles, is the Invisible Thunderbird, representing Strength and Wisdom.
(*) The information in this article was provided and proofread by Bernard Jerome, Cultural Director and Member of Elders of the Micmac Tribe, during telephone and fax communications with Peter Orenski on February 6-8, 2002. The flag is courtesy of TME Co., Inc., from a commercial production run by the company in July 2001, based on design information and specifications from Mr. Jerome.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 23 December 2007