We Were Not the Savages (1993 and later editions) is a history of the Mi'kmaq people under British colonialism written by Daniel N. Paul. It has been published in three editions. The first, subtitled A Micmac Perspective on the Collision of Aboriginal and European Civilizations, was published by Nimbus, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Fernwood Publishing, also of Halifax, published an updated edition in 2000; and in 2006 Paul expanded and revised the book, publishing it through Fernwood, with the simple subtitle, Collision Between European and Native American Civilizations.
The 2006 edition has fourteen chapters, ranging from "Mi'kmaq Social Values and Economy" to "Twentieth-Century Racism and Centralization" and "The Struggle for Freedom." It delineates seven independent Mi'kmaq Districts, which cover all of the Canadian Provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, north of the Saint John River, Quebec, the Gaspe region, and the Northern part of the State of Maine, USA. It argues that pre-contact Mi'kmaq people enjoyed what was probably the highest standard of living in the world, without poverty or hunger, and with a social environment that valued community well-being. The book's middle chapters trace the wars with Europeans of the colonial period, and the major treaties of the eighteenth century. In the final chapters, Paul describes Mi'kmaq communities and land bases as dramatically reduced and impoverished by less than two centuries of colonialism.
One reviewer has described the book as "a Canadian version of Dee Brown's best seller Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", a seminal work published in 1971. Like Brown's book, We Were Not the Savages provides a detailed account of the British invasion of North America, focusing on the devastating effects of European colonization on indigenous peoples.
Critic Tasha Hubbard says that "Paul is not afraid to stray from the typical 'objective' tone found in most historical texts." Another scholar says the book is "a call for help. . .[written] for other Micmacs and their allies in the larger Canadian community."
In discussing his sources, Paul says, "I wanted no contentions or insinuations by Caucasians that my words came from a biased source, instead I wanted it supported by the written word of the White man, thus, the vast majority of my book's content comes from the Archives of Nova Scotia, Canada and the USA. When visiting the Nova Scotia Archives in Halifax follow the citations at the back of the book and you[who?] can view the original copies of the British scalps proclamations that were issued for the scalps of Mi'kmaw men, women and children, with the intent to exterminate them."
Each new edition is revised with new information added.
- We Were Not the Savages: A Micmac Perspective on the Collision of European and Aboriginal Civilizations (1st ed.). Nimbus. 1993. ISBN 978-1-55109-056-6.
- We Were Not the Savages: A Mi'kmaq Perspective on the Collision Between European and Native American Civilizations (2nd ed.). Fernwood. 2000. ISBN 978-1-55266-039-3.
- We Were Not the Savages: Collision Between European and Native American Civilizations (3rd ed.). Fernwood. 2006. ISBN 978-1-55266-209-0.
- Bennett, Paul W. (June 29, 2011). "How Solid is the Case against Cornwallis?" (PDF). Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- Hubbard, Tasha (Summer 2009). "Indigenous Histories". Canadian Literature (201): 178–180.
- Mullin, Michael (Autumn 1995). "We Were Not the Savages (Book Review)". American Indian Quarterly. 19 (4): 588–90.
- "First Nations History - We Were Not the Savages". Daniel N. Paul. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
- Paul, Daniel N. (2000). We Were Not the Savages: A Mi'kmaq Perspective on the Collision Between European and Native American Civilizations (Paperback ed.). Halifax, Nova Scotia: Fernwood Publishing. pp. 359. ISBN 1-55266-039-7.
- Reviews of We Were Not the Savages on danielnpaul.com