First Nations communities in New Brunswick are celebrating a “Peace and Friendship Treaty” signed by their ancestors and the Lieutenant Governor on June 4, 1726 with their annual Treaty Day in Fredericton.
The event provides attendees with the chance to see traditional Maliseet drumming, dancing and enjoy a feast all while paying tribute to those that came before them.
“It’s part of restoring our nation,” said Grand Chief Ron Tremblay. “To unify our people, our communities and to teach our young children.”
The treaty, signed nearly 300 years ago, was an agreement of peace, explains Tremblay.
He says through traditional ceremonies, their annual event helps show that their ancestors lived a life that was vastly different to what we know today.
“Restoring who we are, restoring our connection to our language,” he explained of their efforts. “Our language is the key component here … it really defines who we are as a people.”
People of all ages and walks of life attended the ceremony.
Many young children took part in traditional dances while others simply enjoyed the atmosphere, some of whom even said honouring their First Nation heritage is the most fun part.
“It reminds me of my ancestors and my grandfather that passed away,” said Kayla Paul, a young girl with a Maliseet background who attended with her family. “It just makes me happy.”
“It’s just about having fun and remembering about your ancestors,” Tatianna Paul said.