The Wabanaki Confederacy meeting will be held online, through the videoconference platform Zoom, on the afternoons of Saturday, Nov. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 28, from 1pm to 5pm Atlantic time. The public is invited to attend the free education sessions on Saturday, Nov. 21. The following Saturday, Nov. 28, is reserved just for the Peoples of Wabanaki Confederacy. Links to register are at the end of this story.
Imagine how betrayed you would feel if you were an Indigenous person knowing your ancestors had agreed to make peace with the British on a promise made – that any Wolastoquyik would be entitled to satisfaction and reparation for any controversy, whether real or imagined – but that 300 years later, a judge reneged on that promise.
This happened after Wolastoqewi Grand Chief Ron Tremblay and Wolastoqey Grand Council found out that the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture had begun working on the development of a Snowmobile Grooming Hub project at Mount Carleton Park with no park management plan in place authorizing such a thing.
They went to court to ask for satisfaction and reparation from a judge. However, Justice Petrie gave Grand Chief Tremblay and Wolastoqey Grand Council No Satisfaction (like the Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit I can’t get no satisfaction). An appeal was subsequently filed with the NB Court of Appeal.
Since our last NB Media Co-op article was published, the NB Court of Appeal summoned all three of us to a teleconference call scheduled for Dec. 8. At that time, a judge from the high court will assess the legitimacy of our delay in perfecting (completing) our appeal filed in October 2019. If satisfied with our explanation, the judge can order us to perfect our appeal by a specific date. Alternatively, if not satisfied, the judge can dismiss our appeal.
We’re facing a dilemma.
The Treaty of 1725-26 was the product of negotiations not only between two parties, Wolastoqiyik and the British, but also between representatives of a Confederacy, the Wabanaki Confederacy, and the British. “Wabanaki” means “people of the dawn.”
The Wabanaki Compact (Treaty of 1725-26) was broken in Wolastokuk (Maliseet homeland). This has implications for all five nations in Wabanakiak (Abenaki, Mi’kmaq, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Wolatoqiyik combined territories). Therefore, Grand Chief Tremblay is beholden to inform the Confederacy of this breach in their treaty with the British and to seek guidance from its peoples on how best to proceed.
Few people in New Brunswick realize that Wolastoqiyik never abandoned their own legal system, agreeing only to set aside their international law of private satisfaction (komucikotuwal) for those instances involving controversies with the British. The deal was that in so doing, they were guaranteed satisfaction and reparation from His Majesty’s laws.
We have two options. Option 1 is to continue with the appeal and file everything before our conference call with the NB Court of Appeal judge on Dec. 8. Option 2 is for Grand Chief Tremblay to revoke Wolastoqewi-Grand Chief Charles Manituphike’s agreement of 1728, to seek redress before the British court system for any controversies involving the settlers and to revive instead their own legal system.
Given the risk of having the appeal thrown out by a judge from the NB Court of Appeal, Grand Chief Tremblay and the Wolastoqey Grand Council have called for an Emergency Wabanaki Confederacy meeting.
Traditionally, a Confederacy meeting takes place in person at some fixed location during mid-winter however that is not posslble this upcoming winter because of the pandemic.
The Wabanaki Confederacy meeting will be held online, through the videoconference platform Zoom, on the afternoons of Saturday Nov. 21 and Saturday Nov. 28, from 1pm to 5pm Atlantic time.
The first Saturday will be focused on treaty education, the second on determining how the Grand Council and its Grand Chief ought to proceed following the No Satisfaction outcome of Justice Petrie’s ruling.
Nov. 21 features three experts: Professor Harald Prins on the history of the Confederacy and how Wabanaki spokesperson Loron Saugaaram felt duped by the British even before he signed the Treaty of 1725-26; Professor Katherine Hermes on Indigenous Northeast law and the evolution of the legal arrangements that existed between Native peoples and colonial governments in the 17th and 18th centuries; and, Professor Heather Hirschfeld on how the term “satisfaction” as the bastion of substantive justice in the 17th and 18th centuries was whittled down to becoming nothing more than the touchy feely expressions of the fulfillment of our carnal needs and wants.
These events are free. The general public is invited to attend the three education sessions on Saturday Nov. 21. The following Saturday, Nov. 28, is reserved just for the Peoples of Wabanaki Confederacy.
Registration is required for both days to receive the link to the online sessions via email. For additional information, please visit our Facebook event page, email Katalin.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-506-260-1331.
Jean Louis Deveau, Ph.D, is an independent scholar, former manager of Mt. Carleton Park, and co-founder of the Friends of Mt. Carleton Provincial Park.
Alma H. Brooks, BA, is a Wolastoqwey Grandmother (the people of the beautiful & bountiful river) residing in the territory of EkPahak (the place where the tide ends). She is physically, linguistically, spiritually, culturally, and biologically connected to the traditional homeland of her ancestors.
Ron Tremblay is his colonial birth name but is known as “spasaqsit possesom” (spuz-akw-zid buz-za-zum) – morningstar burning. He is a citizen of Wolastokuk (Wa-lus-da-gook). Being the youngest of 10 children of the late Doris Sappier and Raymond Tremblay, spasaqsit possesom grew up surrounded by Wolastoqey (Wa-lus-do-kway) language spoken fluently. spasaqsit possesom credits his mother Doris and grandparents Madeline LePorte and Louise Sappier for his genuine love of Wolastoqey language and he also acknowledges that they provided him the true teachings of life.
After moving to Fredericton in 1991, he befriended several Elders from the local area. The two main Elders Ulsonuwit Sqot (Harry LaPorte) and Sagatay (Gwen Bear) guided him deeper into his Wolastoqey traditional ways. After years of involvement in various ceremonies with his teachers, spasaqsit possesom gained wisdom and knowledge of “Wolastoqey way of life.” Still today, Ron practices the traditional ways of Wolastoqewiyik. In November 2016, Ron was installed as Traditional Wolastoqewi-Grand Chief. The mandate of the Wolastoqey Grand Council is to protect and preserve Wolastokuk, their non-ceded traditional homeland, waterways, ceremonies and language.