In Stories from the Six Worlds, it is their stories, passed down by word of mouth, that best preserve and present Mi’kmaw culture. For in their tales, the People themselves speak about their world and give us glimpses of how their universe manifests, in all its fascinating otherness. Mi'kmaw stories have many levels: entertainment, instruction, warnings. They might subtly encode maps of the land's important resources, or of the wheeling skies at night. Telling stories, Elders wove humour and stark tragedy, terror and beauty, to teach their listeners how to survive. More importantly, they underlined, over and over again, how their listeners, as humans, must conduct themselves. Their tales resound with the universal themes included in any worldview—Order and Chaos, Courage and Fear, Change, Revenge and Mercy, Death, Rebirth, and Power—yet are powerfully rooted in Mi'kmaw tradition, Mi'kmaw land. Their voices still speak to us, down the centuries.
Drawing on various sources, Ruth Holmes Whitehead retells the tales in a voice close to that of the original storytellers. This new edition includes an updated design and the original collection of twenty-nine stories. In Stories from the Six Worlds, Mi’kmaw legends are offered to all people whose search for meaning draws them again to the ancient cultures.
About the author
Ruth Holmes Whitehead has worked since 1972 for the Nova Scotia Museum, since 2003 as a Curator Emerita and Research Associate. She has authored or co-authored twenty books, including Stories from the Six Worlds, The Old Man Told Us, Black Loyalists, and Ancestral Images. In 1995, she was awarded a Doctorate of Laws, honoris causa, by St. Francis Xavier University. In 2014, Dr. Whitehead was inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia. She lives in Halifax.
Other titles by Ruth Holmes Whitehead
Nova Scotia and the Great Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1920
A Remembrance of the Dead and an Archive for the Living
Old Man Told Us (new edition)
Niniskamijinaqik / Ancestral Images
The Mi'kmaq in Art and Photography
Southern Settlers of Nova Scotia's First Free Black Communities
Six Mi'kmaq Stories
Stories From the Six Worlds
The Life of Boston King
Old Man Told Us
Six Micmac Stories
How Their Ancestors Lived 500 Years Ago