Burnt Church First Nation

Published on July 22, 2012 by Amy

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New School for Burnt Church First Nation
New School for Burnt Church First Nation

Burnt Church Band or Burnt Church First Nation (Míkmaq: Eskɨnuopitijk or Esgenoôpetitj) is a Mi’kmaq First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada, centred south of the community of Lagacéville (approximately 4.5 km) and southwest of the village of Neguac (approximately 7 km) on Miramichi Bay. It covers two Indian reserves in Northumberland County (Burnt Church 14, and Tabusintac 9) and two reserves in Gloucester County (Pokemouche 13) (Pabineau). The population was 1,715 as of 2011.

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The lands at Burnt Church have long been occupied by First Nations peoples, likely long before European adventurers first explored the Atlantic Coast of Canada. As William Francis Ganong notes, “a map by Sieur I’Hermitte, … shows there was a village here in 1727.”

Ganong also comments on the origin of the name, noting that in 1758, during the Gulf of St. Lawrence Campaign (1758), British General James Wolfe directed Colonel James Murray to destroy the French settlements at Miramichi. Thus, Murray destroyed an Acadian community which had been established at Burnt Church, including burning the first stone church built in New Brunswick (hence the name).

Burnt Church was a favorite resort of the Mi’kmaq and was, therefore, included in one of the very earliest Indian reserves set aside by New Brunswick. The reserve was officially established March 5, 1805, with 2,058 acres (8.33 km2). At the time of Ganong’s writing it was “still a favorite Micmac settlement, and much the largest in all New Brunswick”.

Following the Seven Years War, several Acadian families returned to lands adjoining the reserve. They were followed by a wave of new Scottish settlers. Thus, the Burnt Church name is now used in reference to both the local First Nation, and to the adjoining non-native community.

In recent years, Burnt Church First Nation members have militated strenuously for their traditional lobster fishing rights, culminating in the Burnt Church Crisis with the provincial and federal governments as well as local non-native fishermen.

Source: wikipedia

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