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Malecite. Many explanations of
the name have been offered but the most probable is that of
Chamberlain (MS.), who says it is from Malisit, the Micmac term for
them, which means "broken talkers."Also called:
Etchemin, perhaps from tchinem, "men."
"Muskrats," by some of their neighbors.
Wula´stegwi?ak, meaning "Good River People," name used by themselves,
referring to the St. John.
Connections. The Malecite belonged to the Algonquian
linguistic family, their nearest relatives being the Passamaquoddy,
and after them the Penobscot, Abnaki, and Pennacook. They were
frequently classed with these under the general name Abnaki.
Location. In the valley of St. John River,
New Brunswick, but extending slightly into the northeastern corner
Maurault (1866) makes a distinction between Malecite
and Etchemin, but there seems to have been no valid foundation for
Medoctec, about 10 miles below Woodstock, N. B.
Okpaak, on the middle course of St. John River, N. B.
Saint Anne, on an island near Frederickton, N. B.
Viger, in Viger township, Temiscouata County, Quebec Province.
History. Like the Abnaki, the Malecite trace their origin to
some region in the southwest. Early in the sixteenth century some of
them were probably encountered by French and English explorers and
fishermen, but they were first referred to specifically by Champlain
in 1604, though his "Etechemins" were on the St. Croix River and
were perhaps Passamaquoddy. Some years later Fort La Tour was built
on St. John River, and it became a noted resort for members of this
tribe. After the English gained possession of Malecite territory,
certain lands were assigned to the Indians. In 1856, according to
Schoolcraft (1851-57), these had become reduced to the valley of
"the Tobique river, and the small tract at Madawaska, Meductic
Point, and Kingsclear, with their small rocky islands near St. John,
containing 15 acres." The descendants of the Malecite live partly in
New Brunswick and partly in the province of Quebec, while a few
appear in the population statistics of the State of Maine.
Population. The Malecite population is estimated by Mooney to
have been 800 in 1600. In 1884 there were 767 (584 in New Brunswick;
183 in Quebec); in 1904, 805 (702 in New Brunswick; 103 in Quebec).
The United States Census of 1910 returned 142 living on the south
side of the International Boundary, of whom 138 were in Maine.
Connection in which they have become noted. The name of the
Malecite is preserved in that of a small town called Maliseet in New
Brunswick, and one of its synonyms in Etchemin River, Province of
The Indian Tribes of North of America, by
John Swanton, 1953