The Innu (or Montagnais) are the Indigenous inhabitants of an area in Canada they refer to as Nitassinan ("Our Land"), which comprises most of the northeastern portion of the present-day province of Quebec and some eastern portions of Labrador.
Their ancestors were known to have lived on these lands for several thousand years as hunter-gatherers. They used portable tents made of animal skins. Their subsistence activities were historically centred on hunting and trapping caribou, moose, deer, and small game. Some coastal clans also practised agriculture, fished, and managed maple sugarbush.
Their language, Innu or Ilnu (popularly known since the French colonial era as Montagnais), is spoken throughout Nitassinan, with certain dialect differences. It is part of the Cree language group, and is unrelated to neighboring Inuit languages.
In 1999, Survival International published a study of the Innu communities of Labrador. It assessed the adverse effects of the Canadian government's relocating the people far from their ancestral lands and preventing them from practising their ancient way of life.
|27,755 (2016 census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Innu, Naskapi, English, French|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Cree, Algonquin people, Naskapi, Atikamekw|
The people are frequently classified into two groups: the Neenoilno, often called by Europeans as Montagnais (French for "mountain people", English pronunciation: /ˌmɔːntənˈjeɪ/), or Innu proper (Nehilaw and Ilniw - "people"), who live along the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, in Quebec; and the less numerous Naskapi (Innu and Iyiyiw), who live farther north. The Innu recognize several distinctions (e.g. Mushuau Innuat, Maskuanu, Uashau Innuat) based on different regional affiliations and speakers of various dialects of the Innu language.
The word Naskapi was first recorded by French colonists in the 17th century and was subsequently applied to distant Innu groups beyond the reach of missionary influence. It was particularly applied to those people living in the lands that bordered Ungava Bay and the northern Labrador coast, near the Inuit communities of northern Quebec and northern Labrador. It is here that the term came to be used for the Naskapi First Nation.
The Naskapi are traditionally nomadic peoples, in contrast with the more sedentary Montagnais, who establish settled territories. Mushuau Innuat (plural), while related to the Naskapi, split off from the tribe in the 1900s. They were subject to a government relocation program at Davis Inlet. Some of the families of the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach have close relatives in the Cree village of Whapmagoostui, on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay.
Since 1990, the Montagnais people have generally chosen to be officially referred to as the Innu, which means human being in Innu-aimun, while the Naskapi have continued to use the word Naskapi.
The Innu were historically allied with neighbouring Atikamekw, Maliseet and Algonquin against their enemies, the Algonquian-speaking Mi'kmaq and Iroquois nations. During the Beaver Wars (1640–1701), the Iroquois repeatedly invaded their territories from areas near the Great Lakes, enslaving women and young warriors, and plundering their hunting grounds in search of more furs. Since these raids were made by the Iroquois with unprecedented brutality, the Innu themselves adopted the torment, torture, and cruelty of their enemies. The Naskapi, on the other hand, were usually in conflicts with the southward advancing Inuit in the east.
Samuel de Champlain befriended members of this group who insisted that he help them in their conflict with the Iroquois, who were ranging north from their traditional territory around the Great Lakes in present-day New York and Pennsylvania. On July 29, 1609, at Ticonderoga or Crown Point, New York, (historians are not sure which of these two places), Champlain and his party encountered a group of Iroquois, likely Mohawk, who were the easternmost tribe of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. A battle began the next day. Two hundred Iroquois advanced on Champlain's position as a native guide pointed out the three Iroquois chiefs to the French. Champlain fired his arquebus and legend says he killed two of them with one shot before one of his men killed the third. The Iroquois then supposedly turned and fled. This was to set the tone for French-Iroquois relations for the next 100 years.
The Innu of Labrador and those living on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence in the Canadian Shield region have never officially surrendered their territory to Canada by way of treaty or other agreement. As European-Canadians began widespread forest and mining operations at the turn of the 20th century, the Innu became increasingly settled in coastal communities and in the interior of Quebec. The Canadian and provincial governments, the Catholic, Moravian, and Anglican churches, all encouraged the Innu to settle in more permanent, majority-style communities, in the belief that their lives would improve with this adaptation. This coercive assimilation caused a decline in the Innu people's traditional activities (hunting, trapping, fishing). Because of these social disruptions and the systemic disadvantages faced by Indigenous peoples, community life in the permanent settlements often became associated with high levels of substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide.
In 1999, Survival International published a study of the Innu communities of Labrador. It assessed the adverse effects of the Canadian government's relocating the people far from their ancestral lands and preventing them from practising their ancient way of life. Survival International considered these policies to violate international law in human rights, drawing parallels with the treatment of Tibetans by the People's Republic of China. According to the study, from 1990–1997, the Innu community of Davis Inlet had a suicide rate more than twelve times the Canadian average, and well over three times the rate often observed in isolated northern villages.
By 2000, the Innu island community of Davis Inlet asked the Canadian government to assist with a local addiction public health crisis. At their request, the community was relocated to a nearby mainland site, now known as Natuashish. At the same time, the Canadian government created the Natuashish and Sheshatshiu band councils under the Indian Act.
The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, of Quebec, is the only Quebec First Nations community that has signed a comprehensive land claims settlement, the Northeastern Quebec Agreement; they did so in 1978. As a consequence, the Naskapi of Kawawachikamach are no longer subject to certain provisions of the Indian Act. All the Innu communities of Quebec are still subject to the Act.
The New York Power Authority's proposed contract in 2009 with the province of Quebec to buy power from its extensive hydroelectric dam facilities has generated controversy, because it was dependent on construction of a new dam complex and transmission lines that would interfered with the traditional ways of the Innu. According to the Sierra Club:
[t]he "New York Power Authority is in preliminary discussions and considering the liability of a new contract with Hyrdo Quebec," a Canadian supplier of hydroelectricity.— Legislative Gazette
The Innu community, the Sierra Club, and the National Lawyers Guild are fighting to prevent this proposed contract, which would have to be approved by New York's Governor, under his regulatory authority. The problem is that construction of required electric transmission lines would hinder the Innu's hunting-gathering-fishing lifestyle:
Chief Georges-Ernest Gregoire of the Innu community in Eastern Quebec urged the governor not to proceed with a plan to buy hydroelectric power from Canada, saying the dam complex that would be built would affect the traditional way of life for his people.— Legislative Gazette (caption for a photo of Chief Gregoire)
Although Innu have been only in Sheshatshiu since fur trading posts were established by the Hudson's Bay Company in Northwest River in the mid-1700s and only in Davis Inlet/Natuashish since the Moravians set up along the Inuit Coast in 1771, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams struck a deal on September 26, 2008, with Labrador's Innu to permit construction of a hydroelectric megaproject to proceed on the proposed Lower Churchill site. They also negotiated compensation for another project on the Upper Churchill, where large tracts of Actual traditional Innu hunting lands were flooded.
Traditional Innu craft is demonstrated in the Innu tea doll. These children's toys originally served a dual purpose for nomadic Innu tribes. When travelling vast distances over challenging terrain, the people left nothing behind. They believed that "Crow" would take it away. Everyone, including young children, helped to transport essential goods. Innu women made intricate dolls from caribou hides and scraps of cloth. They filled the dolls with tea and gave them to young girls to carry on long journeys. The girls could play with the dolls while also carrying important goods. Every able-bodied person carried something. Men generally carried the heavier bags and women would carry young children.
Men wore caribou pants and boots with a buckskin long shirt, all made by women. With the introduction of trade cloth from the French and English, people began replacing the buckskin shirts with ones made of cloth. Most still wore boots and pants made from caribou hide. Women wore long dresses of buckskin and moccasins. Contemporary Innu women have often replaced these with manufactured pants and jackets. Women traditionally wore their hair long or in two coils. Men wore theirs long.
Both genders wore necklaces made of bone and bead. Smoke pipes were used by both genders, marked for women as shorter. If a man killed a bear, it was a sign of joy and initiation into adulthood and the man would wear a necklace made from the bear's claws.
Animals traditionally eaten included moose, caribou, porcupine, rabbits marten, woodchuck, squirrel; Canada geese, snow geese, brants, ducks, teal, loons, spruce grouse, woodcock, snipe, passenger pigeons, ptarmigan; whitefish, lake trout, salmon, Arctic char, seal (naskapi) pike, walleye, suckerfish (Catostomidae), sturgeon, catfish, lamprey, and smelt. Fish were eaten roasted or smoke-dried. Moose meat and several types of fish were also smoked. Bannock made from oats, introduced by the French in the 16th century, became a staple. Meat was eaten frozen, raw or roasted, and caribou was sometimes boiled in a stew. Pemmican was made with moose or caribou.
Plants traditionally eaten included raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, wild grapes, hazelnuts, crab apples, red martagon bulbs, Indian potato, and maple-tree sap for sweetening. Cornmeal was traded with Iroquois, Algonquin, and Abenaki First Nations peoples, and made into apon (cornbread), which sometimes also included oat or wheat flour when it became available. Pine-needle tea kept away infections and colds resulting from the harsh weather.
Traditionally, buckskin was a most important material used for clothing, boots, moccasins, house covers and storage. Women prepared the hides and many of the products made from it. They scraped the hides to remove all fur, then left them outside to freeze. The next step was to stretch the hide on a frame. They rubbed it with a mixture of animal brain and pine needle tea to soften it. The dampened hide was formed into a ball and left overnight. In the morning, it would be stretched again, then placed over a smoker to smoke and tan it. The hide was left overnight. The finished hide was called buckskin.
In traditional Innu communities, people walked or used snow shoes. While people still walk and use snow shoes where necessary for hunting or trapping, many Innu communities rely heavily on trucks, SUVs, and cars; in Northern Innu communities, people use snowmobiles for hunting and general transportation.
Although Sheshatshiu and Natuashish are home to most of the province's Innu people, some also live at Labrador City, Wabush, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, St. John's, and elsewhere.
The Innu people of Labrador formally organized the Naskapi Montagnais Innu Association in 1976 to protect their rights, lands, and way of life against industrialization and other outside forces. The organization changed its name to the Innu Nation in 1990 and functions today as the governing body of the Labrador Innu. The group has won recognition for its members as status Indians under Canada's Indian Act in 2002 and is currently involved in land claim and self-governance negotiations with the federal and provincial governments.
In addition to the Innu Nation, residents at both Natuashish and Sheshatshiu elect Band Councils to represent community concerns. The chiefs of both councils sit on the Innu Nation's board of directors and the three groups work in cooperation with one another.
The Innu Nation's efforts to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of a mining project in Voisey's Bay were documented in Marjorie Beaucage's 1997 film Ntapueu ... i am telling the truth.:342
The best-known members of the Innu nation are the folk rock duo Kashtin, a popular Canadian folk rock duo in the 1980s and 1990s, and one of the most commercially successful and well-known First Nations musical groups. The band was formed in 1984 by Claude McKenzie and Florent Vollant, two Innu from the Maliotenam reserve in northern Quebec. Shauit and Geneviève McKenzie-Sioui are singer-songwriters performing in the Innu language.
Two Innu politicians, Peter Penashue of the Conservative Party and Jonathan Genest-Jourdain of the New Democratic Party, were elected to the House of Commons in the 2011 election, following which Penashue, as a member of the governing party caucus, became the first Innu person ever appointed to the Cabinet of Canada.
Indigenous peoples in Quebec (French: Peuples autochtones du Québec) total 11 distinct ethnic groups. The 10 First Nations and the Inuit communities number 141,915 people and account for approximately 2% of the population of Quebec, Canada.Innale Innu
Innale Innu is a 1977 Indian Malayalam film, directed by I. V. Sasi and produced by Thiruppathi Chettiyar. The film stars Prem Nazir, Sheela, Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Jose Prakash in the lead roles. The film has musical score by G. Devarajan.Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam
Innu Takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam is an Innu First Nation in Quebec, Canada. It is based in Sept-Îles in the Côte-Nord region on the North shore of the Saint Lawrence River. It owns two reserves: Maliotenam 27A and Uashat 27 located at both ends of Sept-Îles. In 2018, the band has a total registered population of 4,670 members. It is governed by a band council and part of the Mamuitun Tribal Council.Innu language
Innu-aimun or Montagnais is an Algonquian language spoken by over 10,000 Innu in Labrador and Quebec in Eastern Canada. It is a member of the Cree–Montagnais–Naskapi dialect continuum and is spoken in various dialects depending on the community.Innu music
The Innu are among the First Nations of Canada. They have maintained a vibrant folk music culture, especially involving dance and percussion-based music. Philip Mackenzie is an especially important modern musician, known for being the creator a kind of singer-songwriter tradition using the Innu language. Though he originally used only guitar and teueikan (a Montagnais frame drum with snares), subsequent performers in his folk Innu style have added electronic and acoustic instruments.The Innu Nikamu (The Innu Sings), held annually in Quebec, is an important festival of Native American music of all kinds. The most famous Innu folk-rock band, Kashtin, began their popular career at Innu Nikamu.L-Innu Malti
"L-Innu Malti" (in English: The Maltese Anthem) is the national anthem of Malta. It is written in the form of a prayer to God; It was composed by Robert Samut and the lyrics were written by Dun Karm Psaila.La Romaine, Quebec
La Romaine, also known as Unamenshipit in Innu-aimun, is an Innu First Nations reserve in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec, Canada, at the mouth of the Olomane River on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. It belongs to the Innu band of Unamen Shipu. Being an enclave within the Municipality of Côte-Nord-du-Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, it is geographically within Le Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent Regional County Municipality but administratively not part of it. Directly adjacent to the reserve is the community of La Romaine consisting of a small French-speaking population.
La Romaine is only accessible by boat or via the La Romaine Airport. It is serviced by a nursing station, community radio station, arena, community and recreation centre, municipal water and sewer system, fire station, and an aboriginal police force.The name La Romaine is the French adaptation of the word Ulaman. Before its spelling was standardized, the place has also been called in times past: Fort Romaine, Olomanshibu, Olomenachibou, Ulimine, Ouromane, Olomanoshibou, Olomano, Romaine, La Romaine, Grande-Romaine, Gethsémani-d'Olumen, Gethsémani, Uanaman Hipiht, Ulamen Shipit, and Ulaman Shipu. These names applied sometimes to the old post, sometimes the village or the reserve, or sometimes to the river that flows through the place. Except for Gethsémani, all these variations have the same source: Unaman Shipu, from unaman meaning "vermilion" or "red ochre", and shipu meaning "river". Deposits of this material are found on the banks of the Olomane River.Labrador
Labrador ( LAB-rə-dor) is a geographic and cultural region within the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It comprises the mainland portion of the province, separated from the island of Newfoundland by the Strait of Belle Isle. It is the largest and northernmost geographical region in Atlantic Canada.
Labrador occupies the eastern part of the Labrador Peninsula. It is bordered to the west and the south by the Canadian province of Quebec. Labrador also shares a small land border with the Canadian territory of Nunavut on Killiniq Island.
Though Labrador covers 71 percent of the province's land area, it has only 8 percent of the province's population. The aboriginal peoples of Labrador include the Northern Inuit of Nunatsiavut, the Southern Inuit-Métis of Nunatukavut (NunatuKavut), and the Innu. Many of the non-aboriginal population in Labrador did not permanently settle in Labrador until the natural resource developments of the 1940s and 1950s. Before the 1950s, few non-aboriginal people lived in Labrador year-round. The few European immigrants who worked seasonally for foreign merchants and brought their families were known as settlers.List of Indian reserves in Quebec
The following is a list of Indian reserves in Quebec, Canada. This list only includes the reserves that are officially designated as Indian reserve and fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, a department of the Canadian Federal Government. Therefore, the northern villages and associated reserved lands of the Cree and Inuit are not included, as they are governed under separate law. The Naskapi village and reserved lands of Kawawachikamach and the Indian settlement of Oujé-Bougoumou are also not include as reserves.
First Nation settlements on Crown Land are:
Kitcisakik (Grand-Lac Victoria) - Algonquin
Pakua Shipu (St-Augustin) - Innu
Winneway - AlgonquinMashteuiatsh
Mashteuiatsh is a First Nations reserve in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec, Canada, about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north from the centre of Roberval. It is located on a headland jutting out on the western shores of Lake Saint-Jean known as Pointe-Bleue, in the geographic township of Ouiatchouan, and belongs to the Montagnais du Lac St-Jean Innu band. It is geographically within the Le Domaine-du-Roy Regional County Municipality but administratively not part of it.
Previously officially known as Ouiatchouan Reserve, it was renamed Mashteuiatsh in 1985, from Ka Mesta8iats, meaning "where there is a point" or "seeing one yet again at the point".Mashteuiatsh is serviced by a health centre, community radio station, arena, library, community and sports centre, social services centre, municipal water and sewer system, fire station, and an aboriginal police force. The reserve is home to the Mashteuiatsh Amerindian Museum (Musée amérindien de Mashteuiatsh), which was founded in 1977 with a mission to preserve Innu cultural heritage.Mingan, Quebec
Mingan, also known as Ekuantshit in Innu-aimun, is an Innu First Nations reserve in the Canadian province of Quebec, at the mouth of the Mingan River on Mingan Bay of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. It belongs to the Innu band of Ekuanitshit. Geographically it is within the Minganie Regional County Municipality but administratively not part of it.
The reserve is accessible via Quebec Route 138, 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) east of the village of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan and 36 kilometers (22 mi) west of downtown Havre-Saint-Pierre. It is serviced by a health centre, community radio station, library, cultural centre, community store, municipal water and sewer system, fire station, and an aboriginal police force.The name Mingan, already appearing as mican on a map of 1631, is generally considered to originate from the Innu word maikan, meaning "timber wolf". But there is no certainty over this interpretation. It has also been proposed that it may have come from the Basque word mingain meaning "language", or the Breton term menguen that translates as "white stone".Naskapi language
Naskapi (also known as Iyuw Iyimuun in the Naskapi language) is an Algonquian language spoken by the Naskapi in Quebec and Labrador, Canada. It is written in Eastern Cree syllabics.
The term Naskapi is chiefly used to describe the language of the people living in the interior of Quebec and Labrador in or around Kawawachikamach, Quebec. Naskapi is a "y-dialect" that has many linguistic features in common with the Northern dialect of East Cree, and also shares many lexical items with the Innu language.
Although there is a much closer linguistic and cultural relationship between Naskapi and Innu than between Naskapi and other Cree language communities, Naskapi remains unique and distinct from all other language varieties in the Quebec-Labrador peninsula.Nitassinan
Nitassinan is the ancestral homeland of the Innu, an indigenous people of Eastern Quebec and Labrador, Canada. Nitassinan means "our land" in the Innu language. The territory covers the eastern portion of the Labrador peninsula.The area was known as Markland in Greenlandic Norse and its inhabitants were known as skrælingjar.PAL Airlines
PAL Airlines (formerly Provincial Airlines) is a regional airline with headquarters at St. John's International Airport in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. PAL operates scheduled passenger, cargo, air ambulance and charter services. PAL is the commercial airline arm of the PAL Group of Companies. In addition to its head office, it also has offices in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Halifax Stanfield International Airport) and Happy Valley-Goose Bay (CFB Goose Bay). PAL is the second largest regional airline operator in Eastern Canada next to Air Canada Express.Peter Penashue
Peter Penashue, (; born April 9, 1964) is a Canadian politician from Newfoundland and Labrador. He was elected as the Conservative Party of Canada Member of Parliament for the riding of Labrador in the 2011 federal election. Penashue was the first Innu from Labrador to be elected to the House of Commons of Canada and the first Innu cabinet minister in Canadian history. He was also the first centre-right MP to be elected from the riding of Labrador since 1968, and only the second ever to win it since Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada in 1949.Following allegations of irregularities in his campaign spending, Penashue announced on March 14, 2013 that he would resign and seek to regain his seat in a by-election. In the resulting by-election, held on May 13, 2013, he was defeated by Yvonne Jones of the Liberal Party. He unsuccessfully ran again in the riding in the 2015 federal election.Sheshatshiu
Sheshatshiu (Innu pronunciation: [ʃehatʃju]) is an Innu Federal Reserve in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, located approximately 30 kilometres north of Goose Bay. (Some references may spell the community's name as Sheshatshit, the t spelling is more traditional in the Innu-aimun language, but the u is used more commonly in English to avoid inappropriate connotations. The name means "a narrow place in the river".)
The community is inhabited by the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation, whose current chief is Eugene Hart.Tadoussac
Tadoussac (French pronunciation: [tadusak]) is a village in Quebec, Canada, at the confluence of the Saguenay and Saint Lawrence rivers. The indigenous Innu called the place Totouskak (plural for totouswk or totochak) meaning "bosom", probably in reference to the two round and sandy hills located on the west side of the village. According to other interpretations, it could also mean "place of lobsters", or "place where the ice is broken" (from the Innu shashuko). Although located in Innu territory, the post was also frequented by the Mi'kmaq people in the second half of the 16th century, who called it Gtatosag ("among the rocks"). Alternate spellings of Tadoussac over the centuries included Tadousac (17th and 18th centuries), Tadoussak, and Thadoyzeau (1550).
Tadoussac was first visited by Europeans in 1535 and was established in 1599 when the first trading post in Canada was formed there, in addition to a permanent settlement being placed in the same area that the Grand Hotel is located today.Tshiuetin Rail Transportation
Tshiuetin Rail Transportation Inc. (reporting mark TSH) (formerly TRT) is a Canadian regional railway that stretches 134 miles (217 kilometres) through the wilderness of western Labrador and northeastern Quebec. It connects Emeril Junction, Labrador with Schefferville, Quebec on the interprovincial boundary. The company is owned by the Innu Nation of Matimekush-Lac John, the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, and the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam.
|First Nations (Indian bands)|
See also: Category:Innu Category:Naskapi