National Geographic : 1897 Jan
ALL AROUND THE BAY OF PASSAMAQUODDY most unproductive ground that could have been selected. The same may be said of some other Indian settlements, for many Indians do not require any better soil to rest their houses upon. The industries now forming their main support are the man ufacture of toy boats from birch bark, of fishing canoes from the same material, of fans from ash-wood, and, chiefly, of ornamental and fancy baskets from the wood of the yellow ash. The baskets are made by the women, and during the summer season the men sell them in the markets, especially at the watering-places and in the commercial centers of the eastern states. The women display a high degree of taste in selecting their models for these tiny, elegant, and delicate art-products. The ash-wood is split into splints or blades of extreme thinness by machinery, seldom wider than an inch, then dyed in all possible, but always bright, colors. After this the splints are interlaced so as to form baskets of the most varied shapes. During the work of interlacing, blades of sweet-scented grass are inserted in the baskets, and thus " finished " they are sent to the stores with a fragrant odor, which clings to them for months and increases their salability. The present area of the Passamaquoddy dialect is confined within a small district in Washington county, in southeastern Maine, and limited to the three settlements already mentioned. We may, however, add to it the area of the Milicite or "Broken language " dialect, which is heard in five or six Indian villages on the St Johns or Ulastuk river, in New Brunswick, and differs but little from Passamaquoddy. In former centuries these two dialectic areas were much more extensive, the proof of this rest ing in the spread of geographic names worded in Passamaquoddy over the whole of Washington and Hancock counties, a part of Aroostook county, Maine, and over the western part of the New -Brunswick territory. Just as large as this historic area was that of the Penobscot dialect, for, as the local names still demonstrate, it embraced the whole Penobscot river basin, with the valleys of its numerous tributaries. Inquiry into the signification of historic and actual geographic names of Indian origin has of late become popular among the educated classes of Americans. It is just twelve years since Charles Godfrey Leland encouraged those who might be able to accomplish the task to solve the riddles contained in the names of that country, most of which have a sound so musical and harmonious.* Long acquainted with the great historic value of *The Century Magazine, New York, 1884, vol. 28, pp. 668-677, in Leland's article: " Legends of the Passamaquoddies."