I have transcribed the 1708 Acadia Census and it is available in PDF format.
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Some have called this an "Indian Census". Actually it is a 1708 Census of Acadia wherein the Indians were enumerated as well as the French living in the same area.
The first part of the census is the enumeration of the Indians and their families when that was possible. The second part is the enumeration of the French families.
In a small portion of the census, Father de La Chasse, missionary to some of the Indians, chose to enumerate them according to the "cabane" where they lived. In the transcription I have used the word "wigwam" according to the following:
The correct term in English for "cabane" is actually the Algonkian Indian word itself: wigwam. As Andrew Hill Clark put it on page 65 in his Acadia: The Geography of Early Nova Scotia to 1760 (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1968):
A conical or "domed" wigwam, widely used in the continental northwest, was the form of housing most commonly in use among the Micmac for their winter quarters and for temporary camps. Its array of supporting poles was covered with the best available material, usually with overlapping strips of birch bark. Sometimes mats woven of swamp grass might be used instead of bark, or under it, to insulate against wind, wet, and cold. Animal skins, almost universally used for door flaps, might on occasion cover the whole wigwam.
As you go through the census you will understand that this is the proper translation.
From the Nova Scotia Museum's Info page we have the following:
The First Nations People of Nova Scotia are known as the Mi'kmaq. At the time of first contact with European explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries the Mi'kmaq lived in the region now known as the Maritime provinces and the Gaspé peninsula. Later they also settled in New England and Newfoundland. The Mi'kmaq called themselves L'nu'k, meaning "the people." The term Mi'kmaq comes from their word nikmak, meaning "my kin-friends."
Our word "wigwam" comes from the Mi'kmaq "wikuom", a dwelling. Wigwams were usually put up by the women and could be built in a day. The basic structure of the wigwam was five spruce poles, lashed together at the top with split spruce root and spread out at the bottom. A hoop of moosewood was tied under the poles just down from the top to brace them. Shorter poles tied to the hoop all around provided supports for the birchbark cover. Birchbark sheets were laid over the poles like shingles, starting from the bottom and overlapping as they worked up the wigwam. Extra poles laid over the outside helped hold the birchbark down. The top was left open for fireplace smoke to escape. A separate bark collar covered the top in bad weather. The floor was lined with fir twigs, woven mats and animal furs and a large hide acted as a door cover. Wigwams were painted with figures of animals and birds. The largest conical wigwams housed 12-15 people; for bigger families a longer style with two fireplaces was built.
The word tipi or teepee was never used by the Mi'kmaq as it comes from a different native language and usually refers to a tent covered with skins, not bark. Birchbark made a good cover for a wigwam since it was waterproof and portable. When a family moved they took the birchbark sheets with them.
This © English transcription of the Acadia Census of 1708
by the Acadian Ancestral Home is dated February 21, 2007 and does not exist elsewhere. Researchers will find it online only at the
Acadian Ancestral Home.
The Acadian Ancestral Home is most grateful to
to Stephen A. White, Genealogist Centre d'études acadiennes
and to the CEA for making a copy of the 1708 census available for transcription.