Elnu Abenaki Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan and I have an appearance in this newly released documentary from the Connecticut River Conservancy. At 8:40 into the video, we share some indigenous perspectives on the essential role the Kwenitekw plays in the landscape of life here.
Since people have lived in New Brunswick, there have been highways, though not all were created equal.
n 2015, the provincial government closed the neglected Jemseg Bridge, leaving a large section of the former Trans-Canada Highway still standing — abandoned and inaccessible. Part of a so-called “modern highway,” the route has decayed past the point of use just a few decades after it was built. But underneath it runs another highway, thousands of years old, and still in working condition.
The Jemseg River, along with hundreds of other rivers, creeks, and streams make up the highways used for centuries by First Nations communities for trade and travel using birch-bark canoes. Some of these routes are well-recognized today, their winding routes shared though the oral history of several First Nation communities. Others were thoroughly recorded by famed New Brunswick cartographer and historian William Francis Ganong.
Some are less known, and some may be lost to history, but researchers are working to map those possible routes using a combination of computer software and linguistics study.