This land so dear to our hearts was once occupied by the Malecite nation. The term "Madawaska" means "land of the porcupines" in the Malecite language.
Colonization of the Madawaskan territory began in 1785. At the time, Acadians from the Sainte-Anne-des-Pays-Bas (Fredericton) region sought refuge there, following the Deportation of the Acadians and the invasion of Loyalists fleeing American independence. The displacement of the Acadian population only lasted a few years, and was replaced by the arrival of many families originally from the Bas-Saint-Laurent region.
Being a borderless territory at the time, the region was claimed by the governments of New Brunswick, Quebec and Maine. Over the years the fight for ownership of the borders grew, and in 1842 the border between Canada and the United States was established along the banks of the Saint John River. This immediately led to many families finding themselves divided, following the Ashburton-Webster Treaty. In 1851 another blow divided the region's population. As per an Act of Parliament, the border between Quebec and New Brunswick was officially recognized.
Separated from the Acadians, a difficult geographical situation and disseminated by the new borders, the people of Madawaska learned how to be self-sufficient. The Madawaska people are a strongly-united group who strengthened their territory through the French language, good Catholic traditions and inherent cultural values.
A new identity slowly emerged from the meeting of two groups on Malecite land. A desire for peace and freedom gave birth to a people who are distinct from Quebecers and Acadians: the Brayons.