Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why did you name your sailboat MicMac?

Most boat names have a story, and ours is no different.

Our first vacation was a camping trip to Nova Scotia forty years ago. Yikes! That was eons ago.

We had never heard of the MicMac tribe of Native Americans before that trip, and MicMac (or Mi'kmaq) was on lots of signs. So on our drive leaving Nova Scotia, when I saw a "MicMac Cultural Center" sign, I exclaimed "Great! Now we can finally learn more about this tribe." In my mind, those words meant "Let's stop here" but that was before I learned that women are from Venus and men are from Mars. And Pete drove on past the sign. Our first argument then began. We never did get to that Cultural Center.

So "Will it be a Micmac?" became Pete's question when I mentioned worthwhile (to me) locations or destinations nearby. It became synonymous with "Will this be something that we could have done easily, but missed the opportunity, and Mary Ann will whine about for a long time?"

Buying a sailboat and cruising hither and yon could easily have been a choice that we didn't make. But we did and thus a reverse MicMac occurred. And a boat was named!

By the way, about 30,000 Micmac Native Americans still live in Nova Scotia and northern Maine.

The Micmac language is an Algonquin one meaning "allies" or "friends." Very suitable for a sailboat on which we have met many new friends.

On November 26, 1991 after complex legal maneuvering and political lobbying, one band of Micmacs finally achieved Federal Recognition, acknowledging its tribal status in the United States. Sadly that has not yet occurred in Virginia, where local Native American tribes like the Mattaponi, Pamunkey, Rappahannock and Chickahominy still seek Federal Recognition.


  1. Thank you. Nice posting. I always wondered why your boat was names Mi'kmaq, every since your posts started showing up in my google Alerts a year or more ago. Continued safe sailings to you and yours.

  2. oh was gonna add...I am Mi'kmaw (Singular) or L'nu as we call ourselves. Our peoples stretch from Newfoundland Island to Quebec and Maine, and I guess one could say to Northern Labrador now since this is where me and my family life. Cheers.