MALIE, JOSEPH (he also signed Malli and Mally and was sometimes called Tkobeitch), Micmac chief; fl. 1841–46
According to band tradition, Joseph came to the Restigouche Indian Reserve from Nova Scotia. His nickname, Tkobeitch, is derived from tgôpetj, the Micmac word for twin, and the designation Malie is the name of his twin sister, Marie, added to his own for further identification. Descendants use Malley or Molley as a family name.
Joseph Malie was the principal in the “three chiefs mission” that visited London early in 1842 seeking assistance for the Restigouche Micmacs. He was accompanied by Pierre Basquet* and François Labauve. The delegation had two main grievances to present: the whites’ practice of netting all the salmon entering the Restigouche River, thus destroying the spawning run, and a dispute over land boundaries going back over 50 years. An erroneous survey by William Vondenvelden* in 1787 – a committee of the Executive Council later implied that the error was deliberate – had given part of the Indians’ lands to whites. A protest to the Lower Canadian government by chief Francis Condo had led to the retrieval of some of the land in 1824, but the Micmacs wanted full satisfaction of their claim. In 1838 they petitioned Lord Durham [Lambton], and the problem was referred to a committee of the Executive Council and thence to John Wilkie, a clerk of the peace at New Carlisle, Lower Canada, for investigation. Wilkie reported in June 1840 that part of the land was the object of litigation between two whites and he advised that if the government wanted to purchase land from the settlers to give back to the Indians it should wait until the lawsuit had been concluded. Their patience wearing thin, the Micmacs told their troubles to Captain Henry Dunn O’Halloran, a sympathetic British army officer stationed in New Brunswick, who visited the reserve in 1841. O’Halloran encouraged them to take their problems direct to London and gave Joseph Malie a letter of introduction to the colonial secretary, Lord Stanley.
The Indian delegation left Dalhousie, N.B., in November 1841 and had an interview with Stanley at the Colonial Office in January. Malie was the spokesman. He informed Stanley that new laws were needed to protect the salmon fishery and money had to be raised to finish a church being built. The members of the delegation brought with them a gift for Queen Victoria which she accepted “with satisfaction” (though not in person), expressing “a warm interest” in their condition and ordering medals for each of them. In a series of interviews outside the Colonial Office, Malie poured out the story of the lands that had been filched from his people. They had once had a written deed for their lands but the priest had lost it, whites had moved in, and “there seems to be a Right and Wrong with the White men which Indians cannot comprehend.” He specified the presents he wanted, a wide range of goods from blankets to iron ploughs, and, finally, asked to be granted a strip of land for himself freehold.
Stanley maintained that all these grievances were the proper concern of the authorities in the colonies. He arranged for the swift return of the Indians aboard the Warspite, sailing for New York in February. There the British consul booked their passage to Saint John, where they arrived on 22 April 1842. Stanley went so far as to outline the Indians’ complaints to Governor Sir Charles Bagot and ordered inquiries into the fishery laws and the land claims. Meanwhile, the Micmacs lost no time in petitioning the Canadian legislature against the fishing methods of the whites, and Joseph Malie’s name headed the list of those who signed the protest.
Malie was evidently a strong personality. He was active at Restigouche as late as 1846, when the local missionary called him his “right arm.” Generations later it was said on the reserve, “There has been no chief since Joseph Malli.”
PAC, RG 10, CII, 469–70. Can., Prov. of, Legislative Assembly, App. to the journals, 1847, 1: app.T, no.96. Source materials relating to N.B. Indian (Hamilton and Spray), 110–13. New-Brunswick Courier, 23 April 1842. Upton, Micmacs and colonists. Père Pacifique [de Valigny] [H.-J.-L. Buisson], “Ristigouche, métropole des Micmacs, théâtre du ‘dernier effort de la France au Canada,’” Soc. de géographie de Québec, Bull. (Québec), 20 (1926): 171–85.