Acadian mixed blood medicine women
In Acadian Canada, there were special practitioners—all women—known as ‘sage femmes’. In other French-speaking areas of Canada, these women were known as ‘angel-makers’, as some of them were known to be able to induce abortions or to heal patients of diseases. Various herbs could be collected from the countryside or from Indian medicine people, added to holy water, and combined with special prayers to heal patients and cause certain effects. These women also used special books of knowledge. In the Acadian areas of New Brunswick, black-magic Bibles known as the ‘Petit Albert’ were once in wide use, despite countless attempts at suppression by the Catholic Church.
One famous medicine woman in the early twentieth century was a part-Acadian, part-Indian “sorceress” in Maritime Canada by the name of Marie Comeau who was written about by New Brunswick novelist Regis Brun.
The woman-magician phenomenon is one of the Acadian mixed-blood culture's most closely guarded secrets.
Adapted from Ancelet, Barry Jean, Jay Dearborn Edwards, and Glen Pitre. 1991. “Cajun Country.” Folklife In The South Series. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi.
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