A Passamaquoddy from Maine, Maggie first visited St. Mary’s—the home of her great-grandparents—when she was a teenager and immediately knew that she was home. For her, home means much more than place; it also means knowing your history and heritage. This wisdom, which her daughter Ann admires, has led Maggie to a lifelong commitment to recovering the songs, stories and cultural practices of the Wolastiqiyik.
About this video: Wolastoqiyik and St. Mary’s
Though they were known for many years as the Maliseet, the true name of the people who live along the Saint John River in New Brunswick is Wolastoqiyik, which means “people of the beautiful river.”
Before the arrival of Europeans, the Wolastoqiyik traveled throughout the region trading and working with the Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy. The Wolastoq River (today called the St. John River) was key to their way of life when it came to fishing, trading and travel. And it provided the route that Maggie’s great-grandparents used to move from Fredericton to Maine.
Today, many Wolastoqiyik live on St. Mary’s First Nation Reserve in Fredericton. Though the reserve is now based inland, it was originally located on the banks of the Wolastoq River where the Wolastoqiyik had established a campground for generations. The reserve finally expanded onto its current territory in 1929. Though no one lives on the original reserve today, it is a cultural site and home of St. Mary’s annual powwow. You can read a full history on the St. Mary’s First Nation website.
Learn more about First Nations culture on our resources page.
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