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Fort Folly Land Claim

This report deals with the history of the original reserve; Fort Folly Indian Reserve No. 27; its people; the sale of that reserve, and the creation of a new reserve, Palmers Pond Indian Reserve No. 1. Since Palmers Pond Reserve was renamed Fort Folly Indian Reserve No. 1, the use of that name to describe the original reserve leads to confusion. For the purpose of this report, the original reserve will be referred to as Beaumont Reserve as it was often called that since it is situated near the village 

of Beaumont.

It is useful to know its geographical location as the colonial administration often dealt with the Mi’kmaq by the county they inhabited. Beaumont Reserve was situated in Dorchester Parish, Westmorland County. The reserve fronted the Petitcodiac River, although the Memramcook River is 

not far away.

According to documents collected by the researcher, the Mi’kmaq of the Beaumont Reserve are linked with the Aboushagan Reserve. Both tracts of land were used as sites for settlements. These people moved about using different tracts of land during the various seasons. One census taker in 1874 indicated the population of the Beaumont Reserve decreased by the same number as the increase of the population at Aboushagan, and concluded that they had moved to Aboushagan I.R. 29. For the purpose of this report, the history of Aboushagan does not need to be presented in any detail. In 1825, it was created by a licence of occupation and granted to several Mi’kmaq. Chief Joseph Knockwood through his genealogical research, claims to be descended from one of those grantees, Francis Xavier Nocoute. Research reports are found on departmental files.

Research into the early history of the reserve was conducted at the National Archives of Canada and at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. Given that New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were one province until 1784, there are most likely some documents at the Provincial Archives of Nova Scotia pertaining to the Mi’kmaq of the Dorchester area. However, the researcher was hired to document the history of the reserve from 1840 to the 1970's. A more detailed history of the reserve and the Mi’kmaq settlements in Westmorland County is provided in a report by Helen Kristmanson, entitled: “The Beaumont Site (BIDd-12), Westmorland County, New Brunswick.”

Departmental files at Headquarters and at the Regional Office were reviewed. The band’s trust fund accounts (1901-1918; 1965-1972) were also copied with the purpose of confirming the financial transactions relating to the exchange of lands. The main issues requiring research were the following:

A) Setting aside and confirmation of the lands at Fort Folly as a reserve (1840).

B) Relocation of Band members from the Fort Folly lands to the Robinson lands outside of Richibucto (approximately 1918).

C) Attempts to exchange the Fort Folly lands for the Robinson lands (1930-1950).

D) Actions taken by Canada and New Brunswick to exchange or vest the Fort Folly lands in Canada (1950-1970).

E) Documentation relevant to the Band’s land after 1970.

Unfortunately, there was a dearth of documents pertaining to the Weldon Deed of 1840. Yet, various RG 10 files did provide information about the Beaumont Reserve before 1900. Also, a great number of documents were found regarding the provincial act which transferred the title of the reserve to Canada. The document from the Department of Energy and Natural Resources (formerly the Crown Lands Office of Fredericton) indicates why the Beaumont Reserve was not included in the 1958 transfer. A memo indicates that it was not transferred to the federal government as it was unoccupied.

The acquisitions of the properties near Dorchester are well documented and additional documents were found on Departmental files.

It should be noted that the report submitted by the Fort Folly First Nation, called “Overview of Claim - Summary” included many documents from a Regional file numbered 271/30-1-7. The researcher reviewed the same file, but on the file cover, number “7" was scratched over and number “009" was written. Given that the same documents were found on file 271/30-1-009, it is believed that it is the same file as 271/30-1-7.