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
Note: due to technological constraints, it is not currently possible to use the schwa symbol to accurately spell the name of the Welastekokewiyik First Nation and of the Welastekw (Saint-Jean) River in this text. The schwa, which is represented by an inversed "e", is replaced here with the letter "e".
Mehtawtik (Meductic) Village National Historic Site of Canada is located on the west bank of the Welastekw (St. John River) at the mouth of Hay Creek, west of the Eel River in what is now New Brunswick. The location of the former village site, dating from before the 17th century, has been under the waters of the Mactaquac Hydroelectric Dam since 1968 when the area of the Welastekw (Saint John River) valley was flooded. A Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque has been installed at a location overlooking the site of the ancient village of Mehtawtik. Official recognition refers to a polygon measuring 30 metres beyond the archaeological evidence identified in 1964.
Mehtawtik (Meductic) Village was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924. It is recognized because:
- the village of Mehtawtik (Meductic) was the principal settlement of the Welastekwiyik (Maliseets) from before the 17th century.
Mehtawtik was located in a strategic area, valued by the Welastekokewiyik for excellent hunting and fishing in the vicinity as well as its fertile soil. In the spring, the Welastekokewiyik would regularly visit the area to plant corn, returning later in the year to harvest the crops. For families who gathered here, the harvest was an occasion for social, cultural, and spiritual activities. In the 17th century, the French established seigneuries throughout the Welastekw (St. John River) valley. In Mehtawtik, they also established a Catholic mission and built a chapel. During the colonial wars, the Welastekokewiyik allied with the French, building fortified earthworks at Mehtawtik for defense and protection. When the region came under British control in the 1780s, Loyalists resettled the lower St. John River Valley. This forced many Welastekokewiyik to begin leaving the area and seek refuge elsewhere. Those who remained were eventually compelled to abandon Mehtawtik and settle on a reserve in Lower Woodstock in 1851, even though they still considered Mehtawtik to be their home.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1924, 2008, 2020.
Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
• its location west of the confluence of the Eel and Welastekw (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 identified 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
- Food Supply
- Hunting or Resource Harvesting Site
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Military Defence Installation
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