Fredericton / Blog / 201907 / Experience the Wolastoqiyik Story

Experience the Wolastoqiyik Story

Long before the arrival of Europeans to Fredericton, the Wolastoqiyik began to call the land along with the beloved Wolastoq River home. This river, known as the Saint John River to non-Indigenous people, is just a small part of the unceded Wolastoqiyik Territory stretching into Maine, Quebec and throughout Western and Central New Brunswick.

The Wolastoqiyik Territory is full of stories and traditions stretching back thousands of years illustrating the history of the area. Any visitor to Fredericton genuinely interested in the Wolastoqiyik will be met by many opportunities to learn these unique stories, traditions and engage in experiences only available in this part of the world.

These stories and traditions have been shared around the world and will be showcased this July as thousands of people from the Assembly of First Nations gather in the territory.

The Wolastoqiyik story is waiting to be shared with you by the the Wolastoqiyik people.

Pow Wows

A good place to first learn the Wolastoqiyik story is by visiting one of the many Pow Wows that take place along the Wolastoq River each summer. These community gatherings bring people together for a celebration of community, food and culture stretching over several days; meet people, experience music, dance, and learn about each Wolastoqiyik community. Pow Wows run from June 14th at St. Mary’s First Nation to September 15th in the nearby community of Kingsclear First Nation.



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Food and Tours

Wolastoq Tour Boat & Charter

wolastoq boat tours

The Wolastoq River has attracted visitors with its beauty and its many stories for thousands of years. Hubert Paul and his family, owners of Wolastoq Tour Boat & Charter, know the river and the many fascinating moments in history the waterway has witnessed. This includes the story of how a young Gabriel Acquin, founder of St. Mary’s First Nation, extended a helping hand and tour of the river to a young Prince Edward during a trip by the Royal Family to Old Government House in Fredericton more than 100 years ago.

The Paul’s 47-passenger tour boat is docked at Regent Street Wharf in downtown Fredericton. The family is always happy to guide you along the river providing many amenities such as a full bar. Wolastoq Tour Boat & Charter offer public 90-minute tours or charters available on an hourly basis with a two-hour minimum. Public tours are available at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm each day until the second week of October.

Hubert Paul

Wabanaki Tree Spirit Tours

wabanaki tree spirit tours

Cecelia Brooks is also happy to introduce visitors to the Wolastoqiyik story. Brooks owns Wabanaki Tree Spirit Tours and Events, launched in 2019, offering medicine walks, workshops and culinary experiences like none other. Brooks and her family will introduce you to the magic of the forests in the area including the bounty of food it offers such as wild mushrooms and medicinal plants. During your time with Wabanaki Tree Spirit Tours, you will hear Wolastoqiyik stories, learn their values and enjoy unique experiences ranging from enjoying Acorn Corn Bread to learning how a medicine pouch is made. Guests can also learn about the many stories and traditions of the Wabanaki peoples which consist of the Wolastoqiyik, the Mi’kmaq and the Passamaquoddy whose territories are known to non-Indigenous people as New Brunswick.

Be sure to visit to visit their sister company Soulflower Herbals at the Boyce Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and Garrison Night Market on Thursday evenings.

Cecelia Brooks

Wolastoq Wharf

wolastoq wharf

After touring the Wolastoq River and the vibrant land around it, a stop at the Wolastoq Wharf Restaurant is a must. Located in the heart of Wolastoqiyik Territory, this restaurant is one of only a few Indigenous-owned and operated restaurants in Atlantic Canada and offers both traditional Wolastoqiyik menu items as well as many other favourites. Guests can also enjoy a delicious meal while making new friends from the Wolastoqiyik community of St. Mary’s, one of the largest Indigenous communities in New Brunswick. Open year round, the restaurant has received numerous awards such as the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence.



Mawi’Art: Wabanaki Artist Collective

The Wolastoqiyik story is also told through art. The Mawi’Art: Wabanaki Artist Collective is full of artists only happy to share their work. This non-profit Indigenous-owned and operated organization is providing a variety of ways to experience the art of the Wabanaki through a three-hour pop-up gallery and event where visitors experience a smudge ceremony, drum circle and artist demo. You can also find them at the Garrison Night Market!

Natalie Sappier

mawi art collective

New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD)
NBCCD provides visitors with the chance to learn Wolastoqiyik art by taking part in a workshop or watching an artist at work. Built on its two-year Aboriginal Visual Arts program, the workshop will introduce participants to:

● Ash and Birchbark Basketry
● Quillwork and Beading
● Drum and Traditional Paddle Making
● Wood Carving and Sculpture
● Drawing, Colour and 2D/3D Design Principles
● Indigenous History
● Anthropology

Also look for the talented Indigenous artists setup during the summer in the Historic Garrison District next to the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.

Charles Gaffney

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery



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Known around the world, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery frequently features artwork by Wolastoqiyik artists telling their stories and the tales of the land they call home. Taking a prominent place within the gallery, the 21-foot-long Grandfather Akwiten Canoe is a great example. Built by Wolastoqiyik craftsmen in the early 1820s in the nearby Wolastoqiyik community of St. Mary’s, the birchbark canoe was taken by an officer of the British military and taken to Ireland in 1825. The canoe was placed in the custody of a university in 1852 and left in an attic to be forgotten for decades until returning to Canada in 2007 where it eventually made its way home. It is now in the care of the Brooks family from St. Mary’s who carry on the long Wolastoqiyik tradition of world-class canoe building. Community elders will often visit the gallery to share stories about the canoe and near Wolastoqiyik communities.



Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre

If you are interested in Wolastoqiyik history, a visit to Teachings and Tea hosted by the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at the University of New Brunswick is required. During the event, guests will learn the teachings and history of the Wolastoqiyik in a relaxed atmosphere by Wolastoqiyik teachers.


Kings Landing

Kings Landing

A well-known tourist attraction for its portrayal of English life along the Saint John River, Kings Landing has recently expanded its exhibit dedicated to telling the

Wolastoqiyik story. An exhibit is on display providing guests with the opportunity to experience everything from a sweat lodge to beautiful handcrafted baskets to an authentic birchbark canoe. The exhibit is created with the assistance of the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at the University of New Brunswick. Kings Landing closes for the season on October 14th.


Fredericton Region Museum

Curator Ramona Nicholas has helped create a very interesting permanent exhibition at the Fredericton Region Museum called the Wabanaki Way presenting the history and culture of the Wolastoqiyik. The exhibition includes traditional objects through pre and post-contact. It is also designed in dialogue with Indigenous elders.


Fredericton is rich with opportunities to learn the Wolastoqiyik story and experience the one-of-kind talent and warmth of the Wolastoqiyik people through their storytelling, art, and cuisine. These Indigenous tourism offerings will provide you with memories to last a lifetime and many new friends. Expect a warm welcome and the trip of a lifetime.