The legend of the stone canoe
In the fall of 2003 and spring of 2004, Peter Sanger, a Nova Scotian poet, essayist and editor, found two manuscripts written in Mi'kmaq. They proved to be two Mi'kmaq legends. The first was recorded in 1847, the second on 1884. Both are exact transcriptions of the actual words used by the Mi'kmaq storytellers in 1847 and 1884. The manuscript of 1847 is the earliest known legend preserved in an indigenous language extant north of the Rio Grande. Since the legend's origins pre-date 1847, it could reasonably be claimed that the legend is the earliest piece of Canadian literature we know of. The manuscript of 1884, for its part, is among the small handful of such texts recorded in Canada before the 1890s.