Wabanaki Collection Visionary, David Perley, formally welcomes you to the Collection. Read his welcome message.


What is the Wabanaki Collection?

The Wabanaki Collection connects postsecondary educators, grade school teachers, and the general public with a variety of resources that support enhanced relationships between all the peoples of Eastern Canada and Northeastern United States. The project is named for the first peoples of this territory—Wabanaki or People of the Dawn—which include Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, Abenaki, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy. All content found in this collection will relate to Wabanaki worldviews, including history, culture, language and education.

While the internet allows us to exchange information faster than ever before, it can be frustrating to search, sort, and validate what is out there. Misinformation and confusion around First Nation culture continue to provide challenges, which need to be addressed.

The goal of this collection is to provide a way for faculty members and educators to become familiar with Wabanaki worldviews, culture, history and treaty, and enable them to incorporate resources and modules within their courses that will enhance their curricula and provide a more inclusive perspective—with well thought out and respectful resources supporting them!

Wabanaki Country—from Ancient Times to the Early 18th Century
Wabanaki Country—from Ancient Times to the Early 18th Century

Authentic. Respectful. Accurate.

This project is run by the University of New Brunswick’s Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre. This means all of the resources are carefully curated and reviewed.

Why is this important? Because you can trust that you’ll only find high quality content that honours Indigenous perspectives, with the convenience of search, filters, and tags to speed you along to exactly what you need.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Wabanaki (meaning People of the Dawn) are a group of Indigenous peoples which include Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Mi’kmaq, Abenaki, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy. Traditional Wabanaki territory includes areas of what is now known as Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States – specifically New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, eastern Quebec, Maine (USA), and Vermont (USA).

This can be a confusing topic, especially as individual opinions and terms continue to shift over time. The simplest and most important approach is to speak with an open and respectful attitude, and allow your terminology to shift as your understanding grows.

That being said, here are the specifics:

Whenever possible, it is best to use the terms for local communities. In this case you may use “Wabanaki” or specifically identify the Passamaquoddy, Abenaki, Penobscot, Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik nations as appropriate.

Aboriginal, Indigenous and First Nation(s) are acceptable, but are prohibitively broad terms. It’s preferable for instructors to use the following local terminology for different communities whenever possible.

  • Aboriginal: This is a term defined in the constitution which includes First Nations, Metis, Innu and Inuit peoples of Canada.
  • Indigenous: This is inclusive of all original inhabitants, globally.
  • First Nation(s): includes all those communities defined as “bands” under the Indian Act.

Terms like tribe and band are outdated and should not be used in the classroom. Other terms which are incorrect or disrespectful should be avoided, including Native, Indian, and Reservation. The latter is a derogatory term, initially meant to refer to reserves for wild savages, in much the same way there are reserves for wildlife.

A respectful alternative is community. Terms such as First Nation community, First Nation administration office, and First Nation citizens are preferred in place of band, band office, and band members.

Wolastoq refers to the beautiful and bountiful river also known as the St. John River.

Wolastoqey is an adjective in reference to inanimate objects, e.g., Wolastoqey lodge, Wolastoqey language, Wolastoqey birch bark canoe, Wolastoqey Centre, etc.

When referring to the people, you would say Wolastoqi. For example, Wolastoqi teachers, Wolastoqi Elders, etc.

When referring to the people in the context of nationhood, you would say Wolastoqiyik or Wolastoqewiyik. (These words are interchangeable. It is simply a matter of preference). For example, “Wolastoqiyik established a clan system. Among Wolastoqewiyik, there were four villages.” Both Wolastoqiyik and Wolastoqewiyik mean the People of the River.”

Maliseet refers to the Wolastoqiyik and derives from their neighbours the Mi’kmaq. Generally the term Wolastoqiyik is preferred. In the Mi’kmaq language, the word Maliseet means lazy speakers or slow speakers.

Yes. Many of the resources are created by Indigenous authors, and all materials are vetted by Indigenous people or Elders to ensure they are accurate and respectful.

Yes, we are always expanding and looking for new resources to include in our collection. If you have something to share please submit it for approval here.

Yes! You’re very much encouraged to introduce Wabanaki perspectives into the classroom by inviting Elders and other community resource people to class. This approach will also provide an opportunity for students to ask questions, discuss issues, and request clarification.

Instructors will find that Elders and community resource people are always willing to share their knowledge and information with students attending public and First Nation schools. Typically they appreciate the recognition and acknowledgement given to their language, culture, traditions, teachings, and worldviews.

If you decide to request the assistance of Elders/resource people in achieving your curriculum objectives, it is recommended you contact the Director of Education at a local First Nation community or Education Workers employed by First Nations/school districts. They will usually have a list of community resource people who are willing to share their knowledge and information with your students. In fact, they will often initiate contact with a resource person on your behalf and make arrangements for subsequent planning meetings between instructors and resource people.