On September 23, 2023, we gathered for a Guided Nature Walk & Inaugural Land Acknowledgement Reading in Riverfront Woods Preserve ("Sipuhsisuwi Kchiq" in Passamaquoddy/Maliseet, one of the Wabanaki dialects still spoken today in this territory. The event was a collaboration between The event was a collaboration between YCARE, the town's Parks & Lands Committee, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, the Royal River Conservation Trust and local master naturalists.
We gathered to witness the town's Parks and Lands Committee read their newly written land acknowledgement and to walk the trails newly named in the Passamaquoddy/Maliseet language. Local Wabanaki neighbors opened the event with words, song, and drumming that oriented us to the significance of our gathering and then we all heard the town committee acknowledge the forceful removal of Wabanaki peoples from the land we now call Yarmouth and their vital presence here today. When you visit, you can read the land acknowledgement in the signage right at the parking lot (see photo below)... beautifully framed by Wabanaki symbols.
We then broke into small groups led by master naturalists and used the newly published trail maps featuring trail names in the Wabanaki dialect! YCARE and Parks and Lands staff developed the names after walking the preserve trails in December 2022 with Passamaquoddy language keeper Dwayne Tomah. The new trail names reflect the native perspectives of the living landscape and the people that have lived here for thousands of years. Plans are underway for new trail signage with QR codes which will allow visitors to hear the trail names in the Passamaquoddy/Maliseet language!
Another huge piece that we learned about was all the hard work that the Rotary and the Royal River Conservation Trust volunteers and staff have done and continue to do to make the park accessible. Use this link to learn more: Use this link to learn more. NOTE: The event was videotaped by the Yarmouth Community TV and we will let you know when the video is released! If you'd like to be involved in any aspect of this project, we welcome you! Please be in touch!