Mehtawtik (Meductic) Village National Historic Site of Canada
Mehtawtik (Meductic) Village
Village de Mehtawtik (Médoctec)
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Mehtawtik (Meductic) Village National Historic Site of Canada is located near the confluence of the Eel River and Saint John River, in New Brunswick. The site, dating from before the 17th century, was originally situated on a plateau west of the Saint John River; but in 1968 the Mactaquac Hydroelectric Dam was built, flooding much of the Saint John River valley, including the entire site of Mehtawtik. A Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque and cairn marking the site is located nearby on Fort Meductic Road. Official recognition refers to the polygon around the archaeological remains.
Mehtawtik (Meductic) Village was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1924 because:
- the village of Mehtawtik (Meductic) was the principal settlement of the Welastekwiyik (Maliseets) from before the 17th century.
The fortified village of Mehtawtik was established by the Maliseet First Nation on a plateau on the bank of the Saint John River, west of the Eel River. Each spring, the lowlands around the plateau filled with water creating arable land for crops. Until the 17th century, the nomadic Maliseet would regularly visit the site in the spring to plant corn, returning later in the year to harvest their crops. In their battle for this valuable territory, the French settlers in the region allied themselves with the Iroquois, Maliseet and Penobscot, while the English allied themselves with the Mohawk. To defend themselves against the Mohawk and to protect their claim to this geographically significant settlement, the Maliseet established a fort on the plateau.
By the end of the 17th century, Mehtawtik had a Jesuit mission and was incorporated into a French seigneury. The mission changed the landscape of Mehtawtik, and by 1760 the Maliseet, who left to settle in other communities, abandoned the village. The land was then sporadically used as an Indigenous camp until 1841. Shortly thereafter, the site became part of a farm that was owned by the Hay family throughout the late 19th century. In 1968 the Mactaquac dam was built, flooding much of the Saint John River valley, including the entire site of Mehtawtik.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1924, 2008, 2020.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include:
- its location west of the confluence of the Eel and Saint John rivers in New Brunswick;
- its siting that is now under the waters of the Mactaquac Hydroelectric Dam;
- the integrity of any surviving or as yet unidentified archaeological remains which may be found within the site in their original placement and extent, including any surviving remains discovered during 1964-1967 excavations prior to flooding;
- viewscapes from the site across the Saint John River to the arable farmland in the Saint John River valley.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
- Peopling the Land
- Canada's Earliest Inhabitants
Function - Category and Type
- Civil Defence Site
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3
Cross-Reference to Collection