• Saint Croix Island in middle of river

    Saint Croix Island

    International Historic Site Maine

National Park Service Plans Special Activities for 404th Anniversary

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Date: June 17, 2008
Contact: Meg Scheid, 207-454-3871

Join National Park Service rangers at Saint Croix Island International Historic Site for a day of fun and activities. June 26, 2008, marks 404 years since Pierre Dugua Sieur de Mons founded a French settlement on Saint Croix Island in today’s Calais, Maine. In recognition of this important date, park staff have prepared a day of ranger-guided walks, demonstrations, and activities to highlight the significance of the short-lived settlement and the important relationship that developed between the French and Passamaquoddy.

The day’s events will be held at the site’s mainland interpretive trail, eight miles south of Calais on US Route 1. “Visitors and community members can join the fun. Everyone is welcome,” said Meg Scheid, park ranger and lead interpreter at the historic site.

On Thursday, June 26, at 9:30 a.m. (all activities are in Eastern Time), an opening ceremony will be conducted by Passamaquoddy Elders. From 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., a costumed National Park interpreter dressed as Pierre Dugua will be available to answer questions -- in English and French -- about the history of the 1604 expedition and his experience on Saint Croix Island. Throughout the day, a Passamaquoddy national park ranger will be conducting basket-weaving demonstrations to highlight the living culture of today’s Passamaquoddy people. Hands-on children’s activities will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Adult accompaniment is required. At 11:30, 2:30, and 4:30, adults can join a park ranger on the guided walk, “In the Shoes of the Settlers,” a participatory program designed to introduce park visitors to the history and significance of the Saint Croix Island settlement and clarify the Acadians’ connection to Saint Croix Island.

The site’s book sales area will also be open. Operated by Eastern National, a cooperating association of the National Park Service, sales items include: Champlain’s Island by W. F. Ganong and Heritage Sites of the Saint John Valley by Louise Martin and the Maine Acadian Heritage Council, as well as post cards, bilingual Passamaquoddy children’s books, a bilingual map of Champlain’s journeys, a Passamaquoddy music CD, and more.

The mainland interpretive trail is wheelchair-accessible. The trail depicts life in 1604 and features displays and bronze sculptures of French settlers and the region’s First Peoples—the Passamaquoddy. A bronze model of the French settlement is located at the trail’s end, overlooking Saint Croix Island. The park is open until dusk.

Questions can be directed to Meg Scheid at 454-3871.

Did You Know?

Native Americans assist French settlers.

Native Americans helped the French adapt to life on Saint Croix Island. Several Native parties even made temporary camp on the island and assisted the colonists in various endeavors. The island is protected today as part of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.