The City of Fredericton is situated in the traditional homeland of the Wolastoqey Nation since time immemorial. The Wolastoq (St. John River) which runs through our City means “Beautiful and Bountiful River” from which the Wolastoqiyik People take their name. This homeland is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” that Wolastoqiyik, Peskotomuhkatiyik (Passamaquoddy) and Mihkomak (Mi’kmaq) first signed with the British Crown in 1725. These treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Wapnahkiyik (Wabanaki) title and established the rules for what was meant to be an ongoing relationship between nations
The Wolastoqey Nation are members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, (People of the Dawn) together with four other First Nations that include the Mi’kmaq, Abenaki, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy, whose traditional territories spans areas of what is now known as Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States.
The Wolastoqey Nation currently consists of six communities along the Wolastoq and the City is fortunate to be situated adjacent to Sitansisk (St. Mary’s First Nation). This offers the City and its residents and visitors the opportunity to have direct access to Wolastoqey culture. In addition, given the geographical location of both communities, we are able to partner on many services and events.
Over the past few years, the City, together with the Wolastoqey Nation, have taken steps to develop and grow a meaningful and inclusive relationship. Some of the steps taken include:
- Began the development of a process for engagement with Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick (WNNB) on major municipal capital projects;
- Permanently raised the Wolastoqey Flag at City Hall;
- City Council declared National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30th) a municipal holiday;
- Joined Kci Sakom Tremblay and Grandmothers as they lead a ceremony in Officers’ Square in preparation for the work the City was about to undertake to renovate the area;
- Identified 14 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Calls to Action as actions our City could take and have initiated the work to implement;
- Sakom Polchies presented the City with the Sitansisk Flag which is now permanently displayed in council chambers;
- Kci Sakom Ron Tremblay presented the City with a Wampum Belt offering a renewal of relationship between nations;
- City Council offered space in City facilities for the establishment of Kehkimin: a Wolastoqey land based language immersion school; and
- The City continues to work with Sitansisk and the other Wolastoqey Communities on other opportunities to collaborate and partner.