It is generally agreed among Wolastoqiyik that historical documentation pertaining to their history contains numerous misrepresentations of our ancestors. For example, early explorers, colonial authorities, missionaries and settlers initially introduced the labels “indian”, “savage”, “barbarian”, “heathen”, “pagan” and “uncivilized”. Unfortunately, these terms appeared in “scholarly” work, official documents and personal diaries. These labels conveyed negative images of Aboriginal People in general and Wolastoq people in particular.

Our ancestors adopted their own terms but were never asked or allowed to communicate their self identification. Our ancestors adopted the term ‘Wolastoqiyik” to make reference to our people. This was used because we have always lived along Wolastoq (renamed St. John River by Samuel de Champlain). Thus we are people of Wolastoq. Our identity is linked to Wolastoq and the land along Wolastoq.

Review of literature on Wolastoq reveals that misrepresentations continue. For example, the word “Maliseet” is not a Wolastoq term; in Read More
It is generally agreed among Wolastoqiyik that historical documentation pertaining to their history contains numerous misrepresentations of our ancestors. For example, early explorers, colonial authorities, missionaries and settlers initially introduced the labels “indian”, “savage”, “barbarian”, “heathen”, “pagan” and “uncivilized”. Unfortunately, these terms appeared in “scholarly” work, official documents and personal diaries. These labels conveyed negative images of Aboriginal People in general and Wolastoq people in particular.

Our ancestors adopted their own terms but were never asked or allowed to communicate their self identification. Our ancestors adopted the term ‘Wolastoqiyik” to make reference to our people. This was used because we have always lived along Wolastoq (renamed St. John River by Samuel de Champlain). Thus we are people of Wolastoq. Our identity is linked to Wolastoq and the land along Wolastoq.

Review of literature on Wolastoq reveals that misrepresentations continue. For example, the word “Maliseet” is not a Wolastoq term; instead it is a Mi’kmaq term which makes reference to Wolastoqiyik as “slow speakers”. Additional terms that were imposed on my ancestors were “Paleo-indian”, “Archaic Indian”, “Etchemins” and “Malicite”. Our right to self-identification was removed from Wolastoqiyik and placed in the hands of colonial authorities and later the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

These early perceptions of Aboriginal people have been maintained and reinforced by the media. They are prevalent in the movie industry, sports, publications, newsprint and official documents distributed by governments. These images have negative effects on Wolastoqiyik both in historical and contemporary terms. They have influenced policies and programs which affect the lives of Wolastoqiyik. For example, our ancestors were described as nomadic people thereby providing justification for colonial authorities to dispossess Wolastoq ancestors from traditional territories. They assumed that they had no title to land due to their assumed “nomadic” lifestyle.

It is the intention of contemporary Wolastoqiyik to reclaim our traditional labels as defined by our ancestors. This will be a source of pride for present and future generations and it will reconnect them to our ancestors.

Opolahsomuwehs 07

© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Our people today continue the journey of the four directions – east, west, north and south - and the four colors – red, yellow, black and white - that represent all people. The wheel guides our ongoing process of discovery of who we are today with the potential of various races and ethnicities.

A renewed interest in who we are as one has inspired the Wolastoqiyik (People of the Beautiful River) to honour our ancestors’ teachings by respecting the human race as one, continuing to share our gifts with each other, living on Mother Earth with respect and recapturing the essence of spirituality to heal the human race. The healings are values of humanity that are mirrored in our capacity for goodness and giving to each other.

Our teachings advise us to act divinely in service to others and over time we will acquire an understanding of each other with honour. Their symbolic meaning is that we all must reclaim our spirits from the past, forgive, and live in the moment in preparation for the new beginnings of life for the seven generations arriving on our Mother the Earth as we leave. We must all demonstrate the highest nature of our Creator by sha Read More
Our people today continue the journey of the four directions – east, west, north and south - and the four colors – red, yellow, black and white - that represent all people. The wheel guides our ongoing process of discovery of who we are today with the potential of various races and ethnicities.

A renewed interest in who we are as one has inspired the Wolastoqiyik (People of the Beautiful River) to honour our ancestors’ teachings by respecting the human race as one, continuing to share our gifts with each other, living on Mother Earth with respect and recapturing the essence of spirituality to heal the human race. The healings are values of humanity that are mirrored in our capacity for goodness and giving to each other.

Our teachings advise us to act divinely in service to others and over time we will acquire an understanding of each other with honour. Their symbolic meaning is that we all must reclaim our spirits from the past, forgive, and live in the moment in preparation for the new beginnings of life for the seven generations arriving on our Mother the Earth as we leave. We must all demonstrate the highest nature of our Creator by sharing the gifts we have been given.

© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Tekec kilon pamowsowinowok pemhksikahk mec keti tetlapahsinya newolokwiw – tchipenok, koskiyasonok, latokwesnok, naka sanosnok. Naka newahslothtowek – mehkweyik, wiseweyo, mekeseweyo, naka wapeyo – cew pswite pamawsowinowok. Pishon wahkalikws nekoniyot teti kweci moskomon wen kil tekec pemhkiskahk cew mili pilweyal pamawhsowenok naka mili pilweyal eleyoltit.

Apc keti kcicihton tan wot kilon wen nit pesk kisi wicohkematit Wolastokewiyik eli Wolikesat ktelnapemenok tekehkimal cew wolikesatit mawhsowinowok cew tehpo pesk, mec te milanya milowahtit wikolhtit Skitkamikw cew wolikesatit naka mihkwitahmon pilwitpesowaken eli kikehton mawhsowinowok. Yot kikehtahso eli kalwak cew mawhsowinowok kisi walmahtowok naka wolem kisi milanwanel olelomalwotowok.

Kilon kehkimsowakenal kinowehtahsokan eli witanahkewakon lohketmen cew ketkiyik en ec kilon milkonan nostomwakon kilon ci wolikisatokw. Skicinowok kocicihtoniya eli pswite wen cowi weswe wihkweton kilon pilwitpesowaken mecimiw eleyik, noheltomwon, naka pomaws cew teke pitkoman cew piley maci pamawhsowaken cew olowikonok pamawsowakonal petapasolhtit yot kilon Skitkamikw keskw kilon maciyapasohtine. C Read More
Tekec kilon pamowsowinowok pemhksikahk mec keti tetlapahsinya newolokwiw – tchipenok, koskiyasonok, latokwesnok, naka sanosnok. Naka newahslothtowek – mehkweyik, wiseweyo, mekeseweyo, naka wapeyo – cew pswite pamawsowinowok. Pishon wahkalikws nekoniyot teti kweci moskomon wen kil tekec pemhkiskahk cew mili pilweyal pamawhsowenok naka mili pilweyal eleyoltit.

Apc keti kcicihton tan wot kilon wen nit pesk kisi wicohkematit Wolastokewiyik eli Wolikesat ktelnapemenok tekehkimal cew wolikesatit mawhsowinowok cew tehpo pesk, mec te milanya milowahtit wikolhtit Skitkamikw cew wolikesatit naka mihkwitahmon pilwitpesowaken eli kikehton mawhsowinowok. Yot kikehtahso eli kalwak cew mawhsowinowok kisi walmahtowok naka wolem kisi milanwanel olelomalwotowok.

Kilon kehkimsowakenal kinowehtahsokan eli witanahkewakon lohketmen cew ketkiyik en ec kilon milkonan nostomwakon kilon ci wolikisatokw. Skicinowok kocicihtoniya eli pswite wen cowi weswe wihkweton kilon pilwitpesowaken mecimiw eleyik, noheltomwon, naka pomaws cew teke pitkoman cew piley maci pamawhsowaken cew olowikonok pamawsowakonal petapasolhtit yot kilon Skitkamikw keskw kilon maciyapasohtine. Cowi kilon pswite wen stomowon nit spekpo omahto kilon Ketci Keowosit ci milowan milowhatit tan kisi milkonan milowahtitiyik.

© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Throughout the recorded history of human activity in the Wolastoq (St. John River) watershed, descriptions of the customs, manners and deeds of Wolastoqiyik have emerged. These descriptions have sometimes taken the form of written accounts; other times they have been works of art that incorporate Wolastoqiyik as a subject. Most often they are not the product of Wolastoqiyik themselves but rather views from outside the community.

This gathering of information necessarily means the existence of a wide variety of differing opinions and concepts over a period of more than five hundred years. The texts and images included in this section are meant to provide a level of access to aspects of Wolastoqew history that would otherwise have no written or visual reference.

Throughout the recorded history of human activity in the Wolastoq (St. John River) watershed, descriptions of the customs, manners and deeds of Wolastoqiyik have emerged. These descriptions have sometimes taken the form of written accounts; other times they have been works of art that incorporate Wolastoqiyik as a subject. Most often they are not the product of Wolastoqiyik themselves but rather views from outside the community.

This gathering of information necessarily means the existence of a wide variety of differing opinions and concepts over a period of more than five hundred years. The texts and images included in this section are meant to provide a level of access to aspects of Wolastoqew history that would otherwise have no written or visual reference.

© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

sculpture: Indian Hunter

sculpture: Indian Hunter, 1843

John Graham, 1789-1853
Gift of the Robert Graham Estate, 1939

New Brunswick, CANADA
33257
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Moli Elizabet Francis, Mrs. John Alexander, Noel Francis, MAKAW and Others at Neqotkuk, New Brunswick

photograph: Moli Elizabet Francis, Mrs. John Alexander, Noel Francis, MAKAW and Others at Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), New Brunswick, c. 1904

Unknown

Neqotkuk, New Brunswick, CANADA
Tobique, New Brunswick, CANADA
X10724
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Annie Sacobie at Entrance to a Birchbark Wigwam, Evandale New Brunswick

postcard: Annie Sacobie at Entrance to a Birchbark Wigwam, Evandale New Brunswick, c. 1908

Unknown
New Brunswick Museum Collection

Evandale, New Brunswick, CANADA
X14838
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Aboriginal Group at Gagetown, New Brunswick

stereograph: Aboriginal Group at Gagetown, New Brunswick, 1875-1878

James McClure & Company
Gift of Victor Crosby, 1956

Gagetown, New Brunswick, CANADA
1956.43.19
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Bernard discuss the terms reserve and community

I asked the question, where do reserves come from? And I’ve asked the question, but so far I haven’t gotten, I don’t have any answer for it, I haven’t had any answer for it. They took a piece of land and they set it aside for the natives. Where, did they get this piece of land to set aside for us? If, all the land belonged to the natives, where did they get it to set aside for us? Ask Indian Affairs, where did you get this piece of land that according to the Indian Act was taken and was set aside? Where did you get it? You took it from us and set it aside for us. Is that what you’re saying? What are you saying, where did you get this piece of land? Simple question isn’t it? Where did they get it? Mrs. Bernard: The word reserve is usually for animals, instead of community. A reserve is for animals. A community is people. So try to say, no, I’m from the Tobique Community, not Tobique Reserve. Or I’m from Madawaska.

Courtesy of Stewart Bernard

New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Wolastoqew Girls

photograph: Wolastoqew Girls, c. 1860

Unknown
Gift of Frances E. Pidgeon, 1926

New Brunswick, CANADA
9544
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Wolastoqew Family with Baskets, New Brunswick

photograph: Wolastoqew Family with Baskets, New Brunswick, c. 1935

Unknown

New Brunswick, CANADA
X11678
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Stewart Bernard discusses the feelings of his Aunt Alice in being Aboriginal

My Aunt Alice was the last one to move here, to die rather. She was ninety-nine, ninety-eight. Mrs. Bernard: Almost ninety-nine. Stewart Bernard: Yeah. And she moved away when she was young and how young, I don’t know. But the thing is, when she moved away and Margaret used to talk to her quite a bit and try to get information out of her. But there was, you know, that many years back there, like I say it wasn’t the proper thing to be native. It wasn’t you know, it wasn’t . . . so you moved away and left your native ancestry here. You moved away and you know somebody asks you what nationality you try to avoid it, you wouldn’t tell you were native, you know what I mean? And what she done, she forgot a lot of stuff, she forgot a lot of stuff, she was even afraid to come back here. For a while she didn’t want to come back, because you know all the memories that had, you know, the way she was treated and all this and that so she never wanted to come back. And my Uncle John was the same way. My Uncle John left here and he moved to Salem, Mass., or he eventually ended up in Salem, Mass. We were there when he died and looked at this birth certificate or something like that and they asked him what his nationality was, wasn’t it? And he wrote down that he was a British subject. Mrs. Bernard: He never said native. Stewart Bernard: Never said he was native, he never said he was white, blue, green, purple or nothing. Mrs. Bernard: They want to forget, that’s the thing. Stewart Bernard: That’s the sad part about it, it’s really . . . And you say, well, that’s in the past, forget about it, but you get the same thing in the residential schools today. You can’t forget that. You can’t forget how you were treated.

Courtesy of Stewart Bernard

New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Wolastoqiyik Chieftan's Regalia

Reproduction Wolastoqiyik Chieftain’s Regalia, 1760-1780

Reproduction made in 1987 by Jan Vuori with the assistance of Chris Paulocik at CCI, Ottawa

New Brunswick, CANADA
1983.47.2
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Beadwork Frontlet

frontlet, 1884-1888, First Nations; Wolastoqiyik

Attributed to Mary Acquin
Gift of the Estate of Sir John Douglas Hazen, 1959, photography by W. Mark Polchies

New Brunswick, CANADA
1959.88.2B
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Birchback box

Box, c. 1850, First Nations; Wolastoqiyik

Sarah Sacobie, c. 1812-1909
Gift of Stella Gunter, 1927

New Brunswick, CANADA
10877
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Talking Stick

talking stick, c. 1977, First Nations; Wolastoqiyik, Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation)

Abner Paul
New Brunswick Craft Collection, 1995

New Brunswick, CANADA
1995.27.177.1
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Koluskap and Mikumwesu traveled along the Wolastoq and came to a camp. The two brothers went ashore and were met by an old woman whom they called Groundhog. After she invited the visitors to sit, Koluskap asked for some water because he was very thirsty. Approaching the camp Koluskap and Mikumwesu noticed that the water was very dirty and full of bugs, making it unfit to drink. Groundhog answered, “I have no water. Akwulabemu (1) has it all.” Koluskap instructed her to go and tell him the Chief wants a drink.

“We can get no water unless we give Akwulabemu a young girl,” explained Groundhog. “He already has two girls and I have only one left. Besides, he tortures them. They must obey his commands and he pokes their faces with a hot poker before speaking to them. I would not recognize my own daughter, who is there, scarred and all of her hair burnt off.”

But Koluskap still insisted, so Groundhog sent her last daughter to Akwulabemu and stated that the Chief insisted absolutely on having water. Akwulabemu replied, “The great man at your camp thinks he is going to have good water to drink.” Passing Groundhog’s da Read More

Koluskap and Mikumwesu traveled along the Wolastoq and came to a camp. The two brothers went ashore and were met by an old woman whom they called Groundhog. After she invited the visitors to sit, Koluskap asked for some water because he was very thirsty. Approaching the camp Koluskap and Mikumwesu noticed that the water was very dirty and full of bugs, making it unfit to drink. Groundhog answered, “I have no water. Akwulabemu (1) has it all.” Koluskap instructed her to go and tell him the Chief wants a drink.

“We can get no water unless we give Akwulabemu a young girl,” explained Groundhog. “He already has two girls and I have only one left. Besides, he tortures them. They must obey his commands and he pokes their faces with a hot poker before speaking to them. I would not recognize my own daughter, who is there, scarred and all of her hair burnt off.”

But Koluskap still insisted, so Groundhog sent her last daughter to Akwulabemu and stated that the Chief insisted absolutely on having water. Akwulabemu replied, “The great man at your camp thinks he is going to have good water to drink.” Passing Groundhog’s daughter a dish, he said, “Take this to him. I’ve been washing my hands and feet in it.”

This greatly angered Koluskap, who refused to drink the filthy water. Armed with a club, he went to break Akwulabemu’s head and free the water. His first act was to destroy Akwulabemu’s stone canoe. Passing many scarred girls too frightened to speak, he approached Akwulabemu saying, “Are you trying to destroy all the people? You should have known I was coming. I am Koluskap, chief of everyone.”

Akwulabemu answered, “You may be chief of the animals and men, but you will have to fight first.” An insulted Koluskap took his club, struck Akwulabemu and broke his skull. An animal sprang out of his head and rushed toward the canoe but when it saw the canoe in pieces, it became a serpent. Koluskap clubbed it dead and immediately the springs and brooks filled with clean and pure water. Koluskap then called out all of the bugs and worms and they made a great feast of the snake.

Koluskap returned to Groundhog’s camp and told the old woman to go out and proclaim, “The great chief has freed the water. Akwulabemu is dead and the Wolastoq will soon fill with clear, fresh water.” Groundhog did just as Koluskap ordered.
1. the giant frog


© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) from Andover, New Brunswick

slide: Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) from Andover, New Brunswick, 1946

Dr. William MacIntosh, 1867-1950
Gift of the Dr. William MacIntosh Estate, 1950

Neqotkuk, New Brunswick, CANADA
Tobique, New Brunswick, CANADA
1950.120.15
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Chief William Saulis

Chief William Saulis, c. 1937

Harrison Howell Walker for the National Geographic

New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

Views of a People Learning Object is designed for students and educators to meet the following objectives:

  • analyse the political challenges and opportunities that may affect Canada’s future: examine issues related to Aboriginal autonomy and self-government 
  • analyse the factors that contribute to the perception of self and the development of a world view 
  • evaluate group, institutional, and media influences on people and society in both historical and contemporary settings 
  • evaluate the causes and consequences of differing world views 
  • analyse cases and personal values regarding stereotyping, discrimination, and conformity and how they affect individuals and groups 
  • examine others’ ideas and synthesize what is helpful to clarify and expand on their own understanding 
  • ask discerning questions to acquire, interpret, analyze, and evaluate ideas and information 
  • articulate, advocate, and justify positions on issues or text in a convincing manner, showing an understanding of a range of viewpoints 
  • listen critically to analyze and evaluate concepts, ideas, and information 
  • adapt language and delivery for a variety of audiences and purposes in informal and formal contexts, some of which are characterized by complexity of purpose, procedure, and subject matter 
  • reflect critically on and evaluate their own and others’ uses of language in a range of contexts, recognizing elements of verbal and non-verbal messages that produce powerful communication 
  • consistently demonstrate active listening and concern for the needs, rights, and feelings of others 
  • demonstrate how spoken language influences and manipulates, and reveals ideas, values, and attitudes 
  • make connections between their own values, beliefs, and cultures and those reflected in literary and media texts 
  • demonstrate a willingness to explore diverse perspectives to develop or modify their points of view 
  • use note-making strategies to reconstruct increasingly complex knowledge 
  • explore the use of photographs, diagrams, storyboards, etc., in documenting experiences 
  • make effective choices of language and techniques to enhance the impact of imaginative writing and other ways of representing 
  • evaluate the responses of others to their writing and media production
  • demonstrate how media messages influence and manipulate audiences 
  • examine and create media products to help understand social, political and cultural values
  • demonstrate an understanding of how media constructs reality
  • examine how texts construct notions of role, behaviour, culture, and reality
  • examine how texts work to reveal and produce ideologies, identities, and positions

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