Vermont Folklife Center

Malian's Song
Marge Bruchac
Paintings by William Maughan
Hardcover, 32 pages, illustrated
U.S. $16.95 Can. $24.95

Storytellers

About this Story

In the words of a young Abenaki girl, Malian’s Song tells the true story of the deliberate English attack by British Major Robert Rogers on the St. Francis Abenaki community near Montréal in 1759.  Jeanne Brink, a descendant of Malian living in Vermont, told the little-known Abenaki version of the brutal attack--which stands in direct contrast to Rogers’ surviving journal records--to the Vermont Folklife Center.  The only picture book to present this key piece of North American history from the Native American perspective,  Malian’s Song underscores the Abenaki people’s strength and fortitude in the face of unspeakable loss.

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Elvine Obomsawin Royce

About the Storytellers

Elvine Obomsawin Royce was born to Simon and Celina Obomsawin on March 5, 1886, at Odanak, a Western Abenaki Reservation, in Quebec, Canada.  After traveling for a number of years between Canada and Vermont, Simon Obomsawin moved to the Thompson’s Point area in the town of Charlotte becoming the caretaker of the newly built summer cottages there. Later Elvine followed her father to Vermont where she married and raised a family of six children. Like her mother and siblings, Elvine was a traditional ash splint and sweet grass basket-maker. In 1959 she shared her family's story of Robert Roger's raid with ethnologist Gordon Day.  It was through Day’s English translation of Elvine's account that her granddaughter, Jeanne Brink, first learned of the story on which Malian’s Song is based, a story that had that had been passed down for generations in family oral tradition. Elvine passed away in 1967.

Jeanne A. Brink

Jeanne A. Brink is a descendant of the Obomsawin family of Thompson's Point, Vermont, and Odanak Reserve in Quebec, Canada, well-known Abenaki basketmakers who practiced their craft in the region until 1959. She is continuing the Obomsawin tradition of fine craftsmanship in traditional Abenaki ash splint and sweetgrass basketry. Jeanne also draws upon her Abenaki family history as a Native American presenter and consultant to schools, colleges, libraries, and organizations throughout New England and New York. She holds an M.A. in Native American Studies from Vermont College of Norwich University.

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Illustration from Malian's Song

About the Author

Margaret (Marge) Bruchac, Abenaki Indian, is a teacher, historical consultant, and performer. She serves as a Trustee of Fort Ticonderoga and an advisor for the Wampanoag Indigenous Program at Plimoth Plantation, and has consulted on Native American exhibitions at Historic Deerfield, Old Sturbridge Village, and other New England museums. Her publications include 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving (2001), historical essays for the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association Web site Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704 (2004), and numerous scholarly articles. Ms. Bruchac has been recognized by the national Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers with awards for public performance (2000), historical writing (2002), and academic writing (2004). She holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from UMass Amherst.

About the Illustrator

William Maughan is the illustrator of Spirit of Endurance:  The True Story of the Shackleton Expedition to the Antarctic by Jennifer Armstrong and Spirit:  Stallion of the Cimarron by David Clement-Davies.   He also authored The Artist’s Compete Guide to Drawing the Head.

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