Government of Canada Commemorates the National Historic Significance of the Ancient Mehtawtik Village

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Mehtawtik was the principal settlement of the Wəlastəkokewiyik from before the 17th century.

HAY SETTLEMENT, NB, May 25, 2022 /CNW/ - The ancient village of Mehtawtik (Meductic) was the principal settlement of the Wəlastəkokewiyik from before the 17th century. It was located on the west bank of the Wəlastəkw (Saint John River) at the mouth of Hay Creek, west of the Eel River in what is now New Brunswick.

Today, Jenica Atwin, Member of Parliament for Fredericton, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, commemorated the national historic significance of Mehtawtik Village with a special ceremony to unveil a replacement plaque overlooking the site of the ancient village of Mehtawtik at 957, Route 165, Hay Settlement in New Brunswick. MP Atwin was joined by Chief Tim Paul of Woodstock First Nation and His Worship Arthur Slipp, Mayor of Woodstock. The site was initially commemorated in the early 1920s but the plaque disappeared in 2011.

Mehtawtik was valued by the Wəlastəkokewiyik for excellent hunting and fishing in the vicinity as well as its fertile soil. In the spring, the Wəlastəkokewiyik would regularly visit the area to plant corn, returning later in the year to harvest the crops. For families who gathered here, the harvest was an occasion for social, cultural, and spiritual activities.

During the colonial wars in the 17th century, the Wəlastəkokewiyik allied with the French and built a fortified earthworks at Mehtawtik for defense and protection. In the 1780s, the region fell under British control and Loyalists moved in, forcing the Wəlastəkokewiyik to leave and seek refuge elsewhere. Many were compelled to settle on a reserve in Lower Woodstock in 1851, even though they still considered Mehtawtik to be their home.

The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC), recognizes significant people, places, and events that shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians and youth connect with their past. The commemoration process is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,200 designations have been made.

The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to the significant people, places, and events that shaped our country's history and to implementing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Parks Canada is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to recognize, commemorate, and share Indigenous histories. Working together with more than 300 Indigenous communities across Canada, Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving, restoring, and presenting Canada's natural and cultural heritage.

Quote

"The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. On behalf of the Government of Canada, we remember the national historic significance of Mehtawtik Village. National historic designations commemorate positive and negative aspects of Canada's history and prompt us to reflect on the sometimes painful and challenging moments that define Canada today. By sharing these stories with Canadians, we hope to foster better understanding of the decisions and events that built Canada as a country."

Ms. Jenica Atwin
Member of Parliament for Fredericton

Quick Facts

  • The village was surrounded on three sides by lowlands, which filled with water every spring, and defined on the last remaining side by the Wəlastəkw. The location of the former village site has been under the waters of the Mactaquac Hydroelectric Dam since 1968 when the area of the Wəlastəkw (Saint John River) valley was flooded.

  • The HSMBC commemorative plaque has been installed at a location overlooking the site of the ancient village of Mehtawtik. The Woodstock First Nation Chief and Council chose the location of the plaque and collaborated with Parks Canada on the preparation of the plaque text.

  • When this national historic site was designated in 1924, it was known as Fort Meductic. The name was later changed to Meductic Village-Fort Meductic and more recently to Mehtawtik (Meductic) Village. This followed a request from the Woodstock First Nation for the designation name to be changed and for the use of Wəlastəkokewiyik spelling, according to the Teeter orthography.

  • Replacing the plaque presented an opportunity to revisit the location, review the plaque text for style and accuracy, and add a third language to the plaque, the Wəlastəkokewiyik language using the Teeter orthography.

  • Parks Canada is committed to working collaboratively with Indigenous communities and honouring their contributions to our shared heritage, history and future.

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada's history.

  • To date, based on recommendations from the HSMBC, the Government of Canada has designated over 2,200 national historic sites, events, and persons. Each of these designations contributes its own unique story to the greater story of Canada, and helps us better understand our country and our identity.

  • The vast majority of nominations brought forward for the consideration of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada originate from members of the public. For more information on the Board and how to submit a nomination, please visit Parks Canada's website: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/culture/clmhc-hsmbc

Related Document

Backgrounder: Mehtawtik  Village

Related Links

Parks Canada Agency
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Town of Woodstock

SOURCE Parks Canada

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View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2022/25/c8769.html

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