Peter Lewis Paul

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Peter Lewis Paul (1902 – August 25, 1989[1]) was a Maliseet ethnohistorian.

Birth and Childhood[edit]

Peter Lewis Paul lived on the small Maliseet Woodstock Reserve on the banks of the St. John River in New Brunswick, Canada. His mother and twin brother died in childbirth. Peter's father worked in a lumber camp, but after he left the reservation Paul was raised by his grandfather Nowell Polchies, who was a tribal elder and known as Wapeyit piyel. Paul grew up hunting and learning family and tribal lore from his grandfather (his grandmother died in childbirth on the same day that Paul's mother did).

Adult Life[edit]

Paul married Minnie Dedham (1908–1974), granddaughter of Chief Gabe Atwin, in 1928. Together they had nine children: Rowenna, Donna, Carol, Diana, Wanda, Reggie, Bobbie, Billy and Darryl. Peter respected the value of mainstream education, and tried to give his children the best education possible, but it came at the expense of their not learning their native language.

Paul became a fountain of traditional knowledge and generously shared information with numerous professional linguists, ethnohistorians, and anthropologists. The recipient of many honors, he was awarded a Centennial Medal in 1969, received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of New Brunswick, and the Order of Canada on June 29, 1987.


Peter Lewis Paul died on September 25, 1989 and was buried at the Calvary Cemetery in Woodstock, Carleton County, New Brunswick, Canada.



  • Teeter, Karl V. ed. 1993. In Memoriam Peter Lewis Paul 1902-1989. Canadian Ethnology Service, Mercury Series Paper 126. Hull: Canadian Museum of Civilization

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