Maliseets of Viger
Home page of the Maliseet of Viger First Nation: www.malecites.ca
Maliseet people, calling themselves Wolastogiyik, which means "people of the beautiful river", originate from the valleys of the St. John River and its tributaries, located at the border separating the current provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, and also the state of Maine in the United States. The Maliseets were semi-nomadic people who largely depended on hunting and fishing, but also cultivated corn. Following an incentive of the Government of Canada, the Viger First Nation was established in 1827, when thirty families settled along the St. Lawrence River, near a site now known as Cacouna. The reserve had more than 3000 acres. The incentives of the Canadian Government however failed and in 1869, due to pressures from settlers of European origin for their fertile lands, the reserve of Viger was surrendered. Few years later, in 1876, the federal government created the Whitworth reserve, then the Cacouna reserve was established in 1891. The Maliseets nevertheless resisted a sedentary way of life and none of these reserves are permanently inhabited.
Nowadays, the Maliseets of Viger are involved in commercial fishing of several species, including northern shrimp, snow crab, certain species of ground fish, green sea urchin and sea cucumber. They also own a snow crab processing plant in Rimouski.