Historical Context

Throughout this website the terms “Aboriginal” and “First Nations” are used interchangeably to denote any of the original inhabitants of New Brunswick. While terms such as “Indian” or “Amerindian” were once acceptable, they are now regarded as being inaccurate and culturally prejudiced. Where possible, we refer to the three First Nations who inhabit New Brunswick by the names they prefer for themselves: Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Peskotomuhkati.

The 1784 creation of New Brunswick as a colony distinct from Nova Scotia brought unprecedented land pressure to the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet (Wolastoqiyik), and Peskotomuhkati (Passamaquoddy). Loyalist supporters of the losing British cause in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) flooded the new colony, bringing a fervent desire not only for self-governance, but also for the land promised them by Britain. By 1786, nearly 15,000 recently-arrived Loyalists occupied the two-year-old colony’s 730,000 km2 of land that had since time immemorial been home to the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Peskotomuhkati.

The territory that became New Brunswick in 1784 represented a significant portion of the territory controlled by the Maliseet (Wolastoqiyik), Mi’kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati (Passamaquoddy) nations. Each of these homelands was self-governed and the three nations were politically integrated.