The Maliseet Tribe are the Indigenous people of the Saint John River valley and its tributaries, and their territory extends across the current borders of New Brunswick and Quebec in Canada, and parts of Maine in the United States.

At the time of European encounter, the Wəlastəkwewiyik were living in walled villages and practicing horticulture (corn, beans, squash and tobacco). In addition to growing crops, the women gathered and processed fruits, berries, nuts and natural produce. The men contributed by fishing and hunting. Written accounts in the early 17th century, such as those of Samuel de Champlain and Marc LesCarbot, refer to a large Malecite village at the mouth of the Saint John River. Later in the century, sources indicate their headquarters had shifted upriver to Meductic, on the middle reaches of the Saint John River.

The French explorers were the first to establish a fur trade with the Wəlastəkwewiyik, which became important in their territory. Some European goods were desired because they were useful to Wəlastəkwewiyik subsistence and culture. The French Jesuits also established missions where some Wəlastəkwewiyik converted to Catholicism. With years of colonialism, many learned the French language. The French called them Malécite, a transliteration of the Mi'kmaq name for the people.

 The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, based on the Meduxnekeag River in the Maine portion of their traditional homeland, are since 19 July 1776, the first "foreign" Treaty allies with the United States of America and a federally recognized tribe of Maliseet people by the United States. Today Maliseet people have also migrated to other parts of the world. Maliseets are forest, river and coastal people within their 20,000,000 acre, 200 mile wide, and 600 mile long Saint John river watershed homeland.