To Whom It May Concern:
Fort Folly First Nation fully supports the initiative to make “Pont Petigotiag Bridge” the name of the new bridge that is being built to replace the Petitcodiac Causeway between Moncton and Riverview. The Petitcodiac River lies at the heart of Fort Folly’s traditional territory. The name Petitcodiac comes from “Petigotiag”, the Mi’kmaq name for the river, which means “river that bends like a bow”. Our community has been here for over 7,000 years, with a summer settlement now known as Beaumont, near Folly Point, located at the tip of the narrow ridge of land separating the Memramcook and Petitcodiac Rivers where the two meet in Shepody Bay. Construction of the Petitcodiac Causeway in 1968 closed off the Petitcodiac River, excluding traditionally important species such as salmon and shad that the river was once known for, and contributing to their collapse regionally.
Our history is the root of Fort Folly First Nation’s long-standing interest in the Petitcodiac River, and what has motivated us to take an active role in shaping its future through the Fort Folly Habitat Recovery Program (FFHR), which has been active in the monitoring and recovery of species at risk since 1998. Fort Folly has led the way in the stewardship and restoration of aquatic habitat on the Petitcodiac focused on the recovery of the endangered inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Parks Canada Fundy National Park, and Provincial partners as well as private industry and the wider community. Since the permanent opening of the Petitcodiac Causeway gates in April of 2010, and the return of free tidal flow, FFHR has worked with the Province to monitor the return of fish species to the river, with a focus on salmon, and interest in other traditionally significant species, such as eels and striped bass.
In 2021, we will see the christening of the new bridge along with the opening of the river channel flowing beneath it. This will mark the start of a new chapter in the history of the Petitcodiac River. Pont Petigotiag Bridge is a name fit for that future, as it respects tradition and geography, and works well in the languages of each of the three cultures that together, have formed a community along the river’s banks.
Chief Rebecca Knockwood
Fort Folly First Nation
To sign the declaration of support click here.