Vermont Folklife Center

Malian's Song - Photos

Jeanne Brink Elvine Obsomsawin Royce and grandaughters Nettie, Ellsworth, and aunt Mae Nettie, Mae and Ellsworth
Nettie Marion Obomsawim, Simon Obomsawin and Elvine Royce Obomsawin Family Jeanne

Malian's Song - Audio

Audio

Malian's Song, read by author, Marge Bruchac.

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The book,  Malian’s Song,  is based on an eyewitness Abenaki account of Robert Rogers’ 1759 raid on the Abenaki village of St. Francis. For many years the only information about the raid included in history textbooks was based on Robert Rogers’official report. In 1959 ethnologist Gordon Day recorded  Elvine Obomsawin Royce telling a very different story of the raid that had been passed down in her family for generations. Here Jeanne Brink, granddaughter of Elvine, reads an English translation of her grandmother’s story.

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After Robert Rogers and his men destroyed the St. Francis village, Jeanne Brink’s ancestor, Malian Obomsawin, composed a lament still referred to as the “Lonesome Song.” Here Jeanne reads Gordon Day's English translation of the “Lonesome Song"

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The original 1959 recording, in Abenaki, of Elvine Obomsawin Royce telling the story of Rogers’ Raid.

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To read along with Gordon Day’s original word-for-word translation, click here:

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Jeanne Brink describes her feelings on learning that her grandmother was keeper of a narrative passed down through generations of her family.

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Jeanne Brink explains the significance of her family story and the new information it provides.

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Popular culture such as movies and television have often misrepresented Native American culture and history. Here Jeanne Brink talks about her reaction to seeing the depiction of Rogers' Raid in the film, Northwest Passage.

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Different cultures have different ways of telling stories.  Here Jeanne Brink describes a distinctive Abenaki approach to storytelling.

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Abenaki culture and values were an important part Elvine Obomsawin Royce’s life.  Here her granddaughter, Jeanne Brink, reflects on a characteristic Abenaki practice, “raising by praise.”

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