Thank you, Tom, for “sparking” this fiery discussion. Below is some very general information about the Confederacy. In preparation for their land claims, the Passamaquoddy did a lot of historical research. Their lawyer is a treaty scholar and has shared these little history booklets with us. If you would like to read a copy, please contact me!
Five Nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy
The Wabanaki Confederacy formed around 1680 (some say earlier) in response to raids from the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy (specifically the Mohawks) in Quebec and Ontario. The Confederacy fell dormant in the late 1800s after colonial Canada displaced Indigenous governance systems. Survival became the primary focus for the Wabanaki, who faced foreign diseases and forced expulsion from migratory routes. In 1993 the Penobscots, believing that the five nations needed to participate in the discourse around
protecting Mother Earth and Aboriginal title, called on the nations to re-establish the Confederacy. They lit the council fire and elected a Grand Chief. The council fire has burned ever since!
Current Grand Chief: Ron Tremblay, Wolastoq Nation. Grand Chief Ron Tremblay lives about five minutes away from NBCC's corporate office!
Council Fire:In Wabanaki governance, the Council Fire is a metaphoric and literal fire. The fire represents the spirit of peace and friendship between the nations. Like a fire, diplomatic relationships require work and effort to keep burning. It is the responsibility of all Confederacy members to maintain these relationships. The fire (responsibility) is passed from nation to nation to tend
and to call the annual Confederacy together. Annual or biennial gatherings reinforced the the history of the confederacy though oral recitations. These oral history “lessons” could last several hours or several days depending on the particular
event. Wampum belts were actually memory aids in this process – old school memes!
You can find a basic history of the Wabanaki Confederacy on Wikipedia.
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NBCC campuses are located on Mi’kmaq, Wolastoq and Peskotomuhkati homelands. Since 1726 this land has been subject to treaties that are still in effect today. We are grateful to learn together on this land and do so guided by the original spirit
of those treaties - peace, respect and friendship.
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