Skip to content

Fredericton chapter at Reclaiming Wolastoq Ceremony

The Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter supports the renaming of the St. John River to Wolastoq, which in Maliseet is ‘beautiful and bountiful river’.

CBC reports, “The movement to rename the St. John River to Wolastoq is gaining momentum. At a three-hour ‘reclaiming ceremony’ Saturday at Fredericton’s Morell park, elders and representatives from First Nations across the province, and one from Quebec, read out letters of support.”

Fredericton chapter activist Joan Green tells us, “Many of our Fredericton Chapter Council of Canadians members were at the ceremony.”

Wolastoq Grand Chief Ron Tremblay says, “We’re trying to wake up our young people and many of them are wanting to know what our traditional names were, ceremonies, how to connect to their language because our language is in dire straits right now. So part of this forward movement is reclaiming the names of our rivers, our tributaries.” And Traditional Grandmother Alma Brooks says, “The river has memory, the water in the river has a memory and she remembers her original name, the name that she carried for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.”

Tremblay notes too that non-Indigenous groups should support the application to begin the name change process because “it was the ancestors from their people who changed the name, not the Wolastoq people”.

The Council of Canadians agrees that the renaming of Wolastoqewiyik lands and waters is part of the colonial theft of those lands and the ongoing dispossession and displacement of the Wolastoqewiyik (Maliseet People).

Other groups that have endorsed the restoring of the original name of the river include the Peace and Friendship Alliance, No One Is Illegal Fredericton, and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

Further reading
Fredericton chapter supports Wolastoq youth call to rename Saint John River (May 2017)