On 12 June 2009, the Minister of Canadian Heritage approved a $93,528 Canadian Culture Online Program grant for a new Atlantic Canada Virtual Archives website -- Contested Terrain: Aboriginal Land Petitions in New Brunswick, 1786-1878. This website will make available images and transcriptions of 90 land petitions written by or about Aboriginal land in New Brunswick. The original documents are housed in the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, which is a partner with the Electronic Text Centre, University of New Brunswick, in this important and timely initiative.
With the creation of New Brunswick in 1784 to accommodate the Loyalists, the original Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, and Passamaquoddy inhabitants were obliged to petition for land in the same manner as the newcomers to the British colony. This website, scheduled to be launched in March 2010, will include learning materials for students of all levels and serve as a foundational documentary collection for anyone interested in New Brunswick’s colonial heritage.