The Wolastoqiyik, or Maliseet (English pronunciation: //, also spelled Malecite), are an Algonquian-speaking Native American/First Nations/Aboriginal people of the Wabanaki Confederacy. They are the Indigenous people of the Saint John River valley and its tributaries, crossing the borders of New Brunswick and Quebec in Canada, and Maine in the United States. Today Maliseet people have also migrated to other parts of the world.
Although generally known in English as the Maliseet or Malecite, their name for themselves, or autonym, is Wolastoqiyik. They are known in French as Malécites or Étchemins (the latter collectively referring to the Maliseet and Passamaquoddy, both Eastern Algonquian-speaking groups.)
They called themselves Wolastoqiyik after the Wolastoq River at the heart of their territory. (In English it is commonly known as the St. John River.) Wolastoq means "Beautiful River". Wolastoqiyik means "People of the Beautiful River," in Maliseet.
The term Maliseet is the exonym by which the Mi'kmaq people referred to this group when speaking about them to early Europeans. Maliseet or Malesse'jik was a Mi'kmaq word meaning "broken talkers", "lazy speakers" or "he speaks badly". Although the Wolastoqiyik and Mi'kmaq languages are closely related, the name expressed what the Mi'kmaq perceived as a sufficiently different dialect to be called a "broken" version of their own language. The Europeans met the Mi'kmaq before the next Algonquian people, and adopted their term for the Wolastoqiyik.
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At the time of European encounter, the Wolastoqiyik were living in walled villages and practicing horticulture (corn, beans, squash and tobacco) In addition to growing crops they subsisted from fishing, hunting and gathering fruits, berries, nuts and natural produce. While written accounts in the early 17th century such as those of Samuel de Champlain and Marc LesCarbot reference a large village at the mouth of the St. John River, sources from later in the century indicate their headquarters had shifted to [Meductic Indian Village / Fort Meductic|Meductic]], on the middle reaches of the St. John River.
The French explorers were the first to establish a fur trade with them that became important through their territory. Some European goods were desired because they were useful to Wolastoqiyik subsistence and culture. The French Jesuits also established missions, where some Wolastoqiyik converted to Catholicism; with years of colonialism, many learned the French language. The French called them Malecite, adapting the name they had been told by other tribes.
 Colonial Wars
In the wake of King Phillips War, the Maliseet became members of the Wapnáki (Wabanaki Confederacy), an alliance with four other Algonquian-language nations: the Abenaki, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Maliseet. 
The Wabanaki Confederacy were allied with Acadia. Over a period of seventy-four years, there were six wars in Acadia and Nova Scotia in which the Mi'kmaq fought to keep the British from taking over the region (See the four French and Indian Wars as well as Father Rale's War and Father Le Loutre's War). While France lost political control of Acadia in 1710, the Maliseet never conceded land to the British. During the French and Indian War, the Maliseet assisted the Acadians in resisting the British during the Expulsion of the Acadians. The military resistance ended with the French defeat at the Siege of Louisbourg (1758) in Cape Breton. After the war, the Maliseet soon found themselves overwhelmed by increasing numbers of British people, who seized much of their land without payment.
During the American Revolution, the Malecite were caught between the colonists of New Brunswick, loyal to the British, and rebellious colonists of Massachusetts to the south. They were believed to hold the balance of power north of the Bay of Fundy, and both sides vied for their support. Suffering economically because of the decline of the fur trade, the Malecite sought to accommodate both sides rather than fight. Peter Tomah, a Malecite chief and a staunch Roman Catholic, negotiated with the American colonists in council at Machias (Maine) on 27 December 1779. Eventually the tribe split, with Tomah's people allying with the British side.
In the Jay Treaty of 1794, the Maliseet were granted free travel between the United States and Canada because their territory spanned both sides of the border. During the 19th century, intermarriage among the Maliseet and Passamaquoddy and European-American settlers was common.
When the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the War of 1812 and settling the border between Canada and the US, Great Britain ceded a significant portion of the Maliseet/Passamaquoddy territory to the United States. It became part of what is now northern Maine.
The Wolastoqiyik differed from the Mi'kmaq by pursing a partial [Agriculture|agrarian]] economy. They also overlapped territory with neighboring peoples. The Wolastoqiyik and Passamaquoddy languages are similar enough that linguists consider them slightly different dialects of the same language. Typically they are not differentiated for study.
 Current situation
Today, within New Brunswick, approximately 3,000 Maliseet live within the Madawaska, Tobique, Woodstock, Kingsclear, Saint Mary's and Oromocto First Nations. There are also 600 in the Houlton Band in Maine and 1200 in the Viger First Nation in Quebec. An unknown number of 'off-reserve' Wolastoqiyik live in other parts of the world.
About 650 native speakers of Maliseet remain, and about 500 of Passamaquoddy, living on both sides of the border between New Brunswick and Maine. Most are older, although some young people have begun studying and preserving the language. An active program of scholarship on the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language takes place at the Mi'kmaq - Maliseet Institute at the University of New Brunswick, in collaboration with the native speakers. David Francis Sr., a Passamaquoddy elder living in Sipayik, Maine, has been an important resource for the program. The Institute has the goal of helping Native American students master their native languages. The linguist Philip LeSourd has done extensive research on the language.
Surnames associated with Maliseet ancestry include: Sabattis, Gabriel, Saulis, Jenniss, Atwin, Launière, Athanase, Nicholas, Brière, Bear, Ginnish, Solis, Vaillancourt, Wallace, Paul, Polchies, Tomah, Sappier, Perley, Aubin, Francis, Sacobie, Nash, Meuse. Also included are DeVoe, DesVaux, DeVou, DeVost, DeVot, DeVeau.
 Notable Maliseet
- Sandra Lovelace Nicholas, a Maliseet activist, is known for challenging discriminatory provisions of the Indian Act in Canada, which deprived Aboriginal or Indigenous women of their status when they married non-Aboriginals. It imposed a patriarchal idea of descent and identity on peoples who traditionally had matrilineal systems, whereby children belonged to the mother's people. Nicholas was instrumental in bringing the case before the United Nations Human Rights Commission and lobbying for the 1985 legislation which reinstated some rights of First Nation women and their children in Canada via Bill C31. Retaining status for future generations is still an issue for Maliseet and all Aboriginal groups. Nicholas was appointed to the Canadian Senate September 21, 2005 
- Graydon Nicholas was named the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, Canada, in September 2009, a Viceregal position in which he acts as the Queen's representative in the province.
- Peter Lewis Paul was a Maliseet oral historian (1902-1989) who lived on the Woodstock Reserve (N.B.) on the banks of the St. John River. Raised by his grandfather Newell Polchies, and known as Wapeyit piyel, he became a fountain of traditional knowledge and generously shared information with numerous professional linguists, ethnohistorians, and anthropologists. The recipient of many honors, he was awarded a Centennial Medal in 1969, received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of New Brunswick, and the Order of Canada in 1987. 
- Gabriel Acquin was the founder of the Reserve created in 1867, which is now part of St. Mary's First Nation.
- David Slagger represented the Maliseet people as their first tribal representative to the Maine House of Representatives
- Erickson, Vincent O. (1978). "Maliseet-Passamaquoddy." In Northeast, ed. Bruce G. Trigger. Vol. 15 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, pg. 123.
- LeSourd, Philip, ed. 2007. Tales from Maliseet Country: the Maliseet texts of Karl V. Teeter, Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, p. 17, fnote 4
- Erickson 1978, pg. 135
- The allied tribes occupied the boundaries the French named Acadia. The tribes ranged from present-day New England in the United States to the Maritime Provinces of Canada. At the time of contact with the French (late 16th century), they were expanding from their maritime base westward along the Gaspé Peninsula /St. Lawrence River at the expense of Iroquoian-speaking tribes, hence the Míkmaq name for this peninsula, Kespek ("last-acquired").
- Penny Petrone, First People, First Voices, University of Toronto Press: (1984), p. 34
- Bayly, Julia (January 26, 2012). "King will caucus with Senate Democrats". Bangor Daily News.
- Karl V. Teeter, ed. 1993. In Memoriam Peter Lewis Paul 1902-1989.Canadian Ethnology Service, Mercury Series Paper 126. Hull: Canadian Museum of Civilization
Maps showing the approximate locations of areas occupied by members of the Wabanaki Confederacy (from north to south):
Western Abenaki (Arsigantegok, Missisquoi, Cowasuck, Sokoki, Pennacook
- Maliseet language and culture links
- Mi'kmaq-Maliseet Institute - University of New Brunswick
- Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Language Portal
- "Maliseet Indians". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.