Nature’s Backpack operates within the Peskotomuhkati Nation, in the Crown-named settlements known more widely as St. Stephen, Charlotte County. The Peskotomuhkati people have been in relationship with the more-than-human-world around here for thousands of years. The land, rivers, waterways, flora and fauna of this region have been named descriptively in those who have known this living place intimately since time immemorial.
Within the Wabanaki Confederacy, the “traditional territory of the Peskotomuhkati Nation is the watershed of the Schoodic (St. Croix) River and Passamaquoddy Bay…. [T]he Peskotomuhkati way of life was a seasonal, cyclical round, in which the people left light footprints on the land. [Their presence shifted to] specific places at specific times of the year: upstream on the lakes in mid-December when the tommycod were spawning; inland to hunt caribou and tap maple; down to the Bay in the spring to dig clams and fish behind the weirs; out to the islands to take seal and porpoise; upstream to the salmon falls in the summer, fishing and gathering as they went. Qonasqamkuk, the present site of St. Andrews, was the fire place, the place where the councils of the nation were held.”
We extend our deep gratitude to the generations of People – past and present – who have tended this land and waterways. We acknowledge the abiding wisdom of the living 1725 Treaty agreement that was negotiated between the Peskotomuhkati, Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Penobscot, and Norridgewock Chiefs and Major Paul Mascarene (commissioned by the Governor of Massachusetts)….
In Wabanaki law, the relationship is like the rivers the people see every day: the treaty councils are like stones along its course, but what is most important is the flow of the river itself through time….
…As long as the sun and moon shall endure, they said. As long as the grasses grow and the rivers flow. Hands clasped in perpetual friendship. The Mi’kmaq people compare the sequence of treaty councils to a chain.
…[I]t binds the nations’ arms together in brotherhood, as long as they hold fast to it.”
The metaphors used by the Chiefs of the Indigenous nations and the Crown’s representatives, on both sides of the Council fire, symbolize our ongoing roles and responsibilities of sustaining the land and treating each other and all living things with equity and respect. Protected now by the living, reaffirmation of the Covenant Chain, known as the 2016 New Wampum: Peace, Trust, and Friendship (Treaty).
Today, St. Stephen is home to First Nations people, Métis, and Inuit peoples from across Turtle Island. We acknowledge the history and ongoing process of colonization, and recognize that in order to realize the promise and challenge of reconciliation, acknowledgement must be coupled with action. At Nature’s Backpack, we are embarking on a mindful journey of understanding and realizing our responsibility for reconciliation, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Principles of Reconciliation and Calls to Action. We seek to move forward with humility, respect, gratitude and meaningful relationship building.
*We respectfully acknowledge the many histories and several translations associated with the history of this land.