Naskapi

The Naskapi (Nascapi, Naskapee, Nascapee) or Naskapi Innu are the Innu First Nation inhabitants of an area referred to by many Innu to as Nitassinan, which comprises most of eastern Quebec and Labrador, Canada. The Naskapi themselves use a different word in their language to refer to this land, st'aschinuw, ᒋᑦ ᐊᔅᒋᓄᐤ (chit-aschinuw) which is the second person plural inclusive possessive form of the noun ᐊᔅᒋᔾ (aschiy[2]) 'land' or 'earth'.

Innu people are frequently divided into two groups, the Neenoilno (called Montagnais by French people) who live along the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, in Quebec, and the less numerous Naskapi who live farther north. The Innu themselves recognize several distinctions (e.g. Mushuau Innuat, Maskuanu Innut, Uashau Innuat) based on different regional affiliations and various dialects of the Innu language.

The word "Naskapi" (meaning "people beyond the horizon") first made an appearance in the 17th century and was subsequently applied to Innu groups beyond the reach of missionary influence, most notably those living in the lands which bordered Ungava Bay and the northern Labrador coast, near the Inuit communities of northern Quebec and northern Labrador. The Naskapi are traditionally nomadic peoples, in contrast with the territorial Montagnais. Mushuau Innuat (plural), while related to the Naskapi, split off from the tribe in the 20th century and were subject to a government relocation program at Davis Inlet. The Naskapi language and culture is quite different from the Montagnais, in which the dialect changes from y to n as in "Iiyuu" versus "Innu"[1]. 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.

Naskapi
(ᓇᔅᑲᐱ)
Kawawachikamach Band of the Naskapi Nation
Flag of the Kawawachikamach Band of the Naskapi Nation
Total population
1,080 (2016 census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Canada (Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador)
Languages
Naskapi, English, French
Religion
Christianity, other
Related ethnic groups
Innu, Cree

History

Post-European Contact

Nascaupee Native American 1921 Frank Weston Benson
"Nascaupee" native American by Frank Weston Benson (1921)

The earliest written reference to Naskapi appears around 1643, when the Jesuit André Richard referred to the "Ounackkapiouek", but little is known about the group to which Richard was referring, other than that they were one of many "small nations" situated somewhere north of Tadoussac. The word "Naskapi" appeared for the first time in 1733, at which time the group so described was said to number approximately forty families and to have an important camp at Lake Achouanipi. At approximately the same time, in 1740, Joseph Isbister, the manager of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s post at Eastmain, reported being told that there were Indians, whom he called "Annes-carps" to the northeast of Richmond Gulf. In later years those Indians came to be called variously "Nascopie" and "Nascappe". Not many years later, in 1790, the Periodical Accounts of the Moravian Missionaries described a group of Indians living west of Okak as "Nascopies". The Naskapi came under the influence of Protestant missionaries, and remain Protestant to this day. In addition to their native tongue, they speak English, in contrast to their Montagnais cousins who are for the most part Roman Catholic, speaking the native language and French. It should be noted that the Montagnais are far more numerous than the Naskapi.

Naskapi women, wearing woolen ad deerskin clothing
Naskapi women, wearing woolen and deerskin clothing, 1908

The years 1831 onwards were characterized by the first regular contacts between the Naskapi and western society, when the Hudson’s Bay Company established its first trading post at Old Fort Chimo.

The relationship between the Naskapi and the Hudson’s Bay Company was not an easy one. It was difficult for the Naskapi to integrate commercial trapping, especially of marten in Winter, into their seasonal round of subsistence activities, for the simple reason that the distribution of marten was in large measure different from the distribution of essential sources of food at that season. In consequence, the Naskapi did not prove to be the regular and diligent trappers that the traders must have hoped to find, and the traders seem to have attributed this fact to laziness or intransigence on the part of Naskapi.

In the 1945 census (in the Dominion of Newfoundland) the total Innu population in Labrador (consisting of both Montagnais and Naskapi) was 100 in Davis Inlet,[3] 33 in Nain[4] and 137 in North West River/Sheshatshiu[5] (270 in total, it has since increased to over 2,000). The previous census in 1935 only counted Innu in David Inlet. Some surnames listed in the census including Rich, Michimagaua, Mishimapu and Pokue.[6] Most Innu in Labrador did not have surnames until after confederation in 1949. None of the Innu lived in modern houses but instead camped in tents near North West River, Nain and Davis Inlet (all Inuit settlements) during the summer.

Relocations

Between 1831 and 1956, the Naskapi were subjected to several major relocations, all of which reflected not their needs nor interests, but those of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The major moves were:

  • 1842 – Fort Chimo to Fort Nascopie
  • 1870 – Fort Nascopie to Fort Chimo
  • 1915 – Fort Chimo to Fort McKenzie
  • 1948 – Fort McKenzie to Fort Chimo
  • 1956 – Fort Chimo to Schefferville

Numerous cases have been documented in which the Hudson’s Bay Company relocated the Naskapi from post to post purely for its own commercial purposes, and without any concern as to whether the areas where the posts were situated offered the Naskapi the possibility of harvesting the fish and game that they required for food as well as the fur-bearers that the Company sought. In several instances, individual managers, apparently dissatisfied with the Naskapi’ seeming lack of commitment to trapping withheld from them the ammunition that they needed to hunt for food, thereby directly causing a considerable number of deaths from starvation.

20th century

By the late 1940s, the pressures of the fur trade, high rates of mortality and debilitation from diseases communicated by Europeans, and the effects of the virtual disappearance of the George River Caribou Herd had reduced the Naskapi to a state where their very survival was threatened.

The Naskapi had received "relief" from the Federal Government as early as the end of the 19th century, but their first regular contacts with the Federal Government began only in 1949, when Colonel H.M. Jones, Superintendent of Welfare Services in Ottawa, and M. Larivière of the Abitibi Indian Agency visited them in Fort Chimo and arranged for the issuing of welfare to them.

In the early 1950s, the Naskapi made a partially successful effort to re-establish themselves at Fort McKenzie, where they had already lived between 1916 and 1948, and to return to an economy based substantially on hunting, fishing and commercial trapping. They could no longer be entirely self-sufficient, however, and the high cost of resupplying them, combined with the continuing high incidence of tuberculosis and other factors, obliged them to return to Fort Chimo after only two years.

Move to Schefferville

For reasons that are not entirely clear, virtually all of the Naskapi moved from Fort Chimo to the recently founded iron-ore mining community of Schefferville in 1956. Two principal schools of thought about this move exist. One of them holds that the Naskapi were induced, if not ordered, to move by officials of Indian and Northern Affairs, while the other believes that the Naskapi themselves decided to move in the hope of finding employment, housing, medical assistance, and educational facilities for their children.

Although officials of Indian and Northern Affairs were certainly aware of the intention of the Naskapi to move from Fort Chimo to Schefferville and may even have instigated that move, they appear to have done little or nothing to prepare for their arrival there, not even by warning the representatives of the Iron Ore Company of Canada ("IOCC") or the municipality of Schefferville.

The Naskapi left Fort Chimo on foot to make the 400-mile (640 km) journey to Schefferville overland. By the time they reached Wakuach Lake, some 70 miles (113 km) north of Schefferville, most of them were in a pitiable state, exhausted, ill, and close to starvation.

A successful rescue effort was mounted, but the only homes that awaited the Naskapi were the shacks that they built for themselves on the edge of Pearce Lake, near the railroad station, with scavenged and donated materials. A short time later, in 1957, under the pretext that the water at Pearce Lake was contaminated, the municipal authorities moved them to a site adjacent to John Lake, some four miles (6 km) north-north-east of Schefferville, where they lived without benefit of water sewage, or electricity, and where, despite their hopes in coming to Schefferville, there was no school for their children and no medical facility.

The Naskapi shared the site at John Lake with a group of Montagnais, who had moved voluntarily from Sept-Îles to Schefferville with the completion of the railroad in the early 1950s.

Initially, the Naskapi lived in tiny shacks that they built for themselves, but by 1962 Indian and Northern Affairs had built 30 houses for them, and a further four were under construction at a cost of $5,000 each.

Move to Matimekosh

In 1969, Indian and Northern Affairs acquired from the reluctant Municipality of Schefferville, a marshy, 39-acre (160,000 m2) site north of the town centre and adjacent to Pearce Lake. By 1972, 43 row-housing units had been built there for the Naskapi, and a further 63 for Montagnais, and most of the Naskapi and Montagnais moved to this new site, known today as Matimekosh.

For the first time in their lengthy history of relocations, the Naskapi were consulted in the planning of their new home. Indian and Northern Affairs sent officials to explain the new community to the Naskapi, a brochure was published, models built, and progress reports issued. Particular interest among the Naskapi centred on the type of housing that they would receive. Possibly for financial reasons, Indian and Northern Affairs wanted them to live in row houses, whereas the Naskapi had a strong preference for detached, single-family residences. In the event, Council was persuaded to accept row housing, but it did so only on the condition that the houses were adequately sound-proofed, which turned out not to be the case.

Perhaps because it was the first such process in which they had been involved, the Naskapi placed considerable faith in the consultation undertaken by Indian and Northern Affairs. It is a source of considerable bitterness even today that, in the minds of many Naskapi, not all of the promises or reassurances that were made were lived up to. Two examples are most commonly cited: the insistence of Indian and Northern Affairs’ representatives that the Naskapi live in row houses that, in the event, proved not to be adequately soundproofed and that had a variety of other faults; and the fact that the brochure prepared by Indian and Northern Affairs showed a fully landscaped site with trees and bushes, whereas no landscaping was done, and no trees or bushes were ever planted.

Incidents like those may seem very minor to persons with long experience of large and impersonal institutions such as government departments, but they happened to the Naskapi when they were in a very formative stage of their relations with Indian and Northern Affairs and when they had still not forgotten their callous treatment by the Hudson’s Bay Company. It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that these matters are still spoken of frequently today and that they maintain very considerable importance and significance for many Naskapi.

James Bay Agreement

A pivotal event in the history of the Naskapi occurred in early 1975, when, after separate visits to Schefferville by Billy Diamond, Grand Chief, Grand Council of the Crees (of Quebec) ("GCCQ"), and Charlie Watt, President, Northern Quebec Inuit Association ("NQIA"), the Naskapi decided to become involved in the negotiations leading to the signature of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement ("JBNQA").

The Naskapi entered into a contract with the NQIA, under which the latter was to provide logistical support, legal advice, and representation to a small team of Naskapi negotiators based in Montreal. That arrangement was not very successful, however, and the JBNQA was signed on 11 November 1975, without the Naskapi.

Shortly before the signing of the JBNQA, realizing that the demands on the Inuit were too great to allow them to represent the interests of the Naskapi in addition to their own interests, the Naskapi negotiators retained their own non-Native advisors and started to function as an independent negotiating body.

The signatories of the JBNQA were fully aware that it provided for the extinguishment of the Naskapi’ Aboriginal rights in the Territory without granting them any compensatory rights or benefits. They also knew that the Naskapi, unlike certain others of Quebec’s First Nations at that time, were willing to negotiate a settlement of their Aboriginal claims.

Thus, although the Naskapi had never filed a formal statement of claim or similar document, except for a draft history prepared by the late Dr Alan Cooke, the parties to the JBNQA accepted the legitimacy of their claims, and they entered into an agreement-in-principle with the Naskapi in the Spring of 1977 to negotiate an agreement that would have the same principal features as the JBNQA. The result of the negotiations was the Northeastern Quebec Agreement ("NEQA"), which was executed on 31 January 1978.

Section 20 of the NEQA offered the Naskapi the possibility of relocating from the Matimekosh Reserve to a new site.

Move to Kawawachikamach

Between 1978 and 1980, technical and socio-economic studies of the potential sites for the permanent Naskapi community were carried out. On 31 January 1980, the Naskapi voted overwhelmingly to relocate to the present site of Kawawachikamach, built largely by Naskapi between 1980 and 1983. The planning and building gave Naskapi training and experience in administration and in construction and maintenance trades.

Between 1981 and 1984, the self-government legislation promised by Canada in Section 7 of the NEQA was negotiated. The outcome of those negotiations was the Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act ("CNQA"), which was assented to by Parliament on 14 June 1984.

The overriding purpose of the CNQA was to make the NNK and the James Bay Cree Bands largely self-governing. In addition to the powers then exercised by band councils under the Indian Act, most of the powers that had until then been exercised by the Minister of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development ("DIAND") under the Indian Act were transferred to the NNK and to the James Bay Cree bands, to be exercised by their elected councils. The NNK and the James Bay Cree bands were also given powers not found in the Indian Act, powers normally exercised by non-Native municipalities throughout Canada.

The NEQA had been negotiated under the assumption that Schefferville would continue to be an active centre of mining, outfitting and exploration for the foreseeable future. Enquiries by the Government of Quebec to the Iron Ore Company of Canada ("IOCC") in the late 1970s had confirmed that assumption. Nevertheless, IOCC announced in 1982 its intention to close the mines at Schefferville immediately.

The closing of the mines at Schefferville had profound implications for the implementation of the NEQA, particularly for those provisions dealing with health and social services and with training and job-creation. Consequently, in the late 1980s, the NNK and the Government of Canada undertook a joint evaluation of Canada’s discharging of its responsibilities under the NEQA. The evaluation was motivated more by the change in the circumstances of Schefferville and of the Naskapi than by any belief on the part of the Naskapi that Canada had wilfully neglected any of its responsibilities under the NEQA.

Northeastern Quebec Agreement

The outcome of those negotiations was the Agreement Respecting the Implementation of the Northeastern Quebec Agreement ("ARINEQA"), which was executed in September 1990. Among other things, the ARINEQA established the model for funding capital and O&M expenditures over five-year periods, created a Dispute Resolution Mechanism for disputes arising from the interpretation, administration, and implementation of the NEQA, the JBNQA, and the ARINEQA, and created a working group to address employment for Naskapi.

Economic and Community Development

The Naskapi are now developing their homeland, notably through economic development and community reinforcement.

Economic Development Projects

  • Schefferville Airport Corporation - Runway Maintenance (with Naskapi Development Corp./Montagnais of Matimekosh/Lac John )
  • James Bay TransTaiga Road Maintenance (with Naskapi Adoshouana Services/NDC subsidiary)
  • Naskapi Typonomy Project (with Naskapi Adoshouana Services/NDC subsidiary)
  • Menihek Power Dam and Facilities (with Kawawachikamach Energy Services Inc.)
  • Enterprise, Resource, Planning, and Management Software (Naskapi Imuun Inc. (Naskapi Nation))

Sectors of Activity currently being developed:

  • Commercialization of Caribou (Naskapi Caribou Meat Company/Nunavik Arctic Foods)
  • Caribou Hunting and Fishing Operations (TUKTU- Hunting/Fishing Club/Naskapi Management Serv.)

Naskapi First Nations

Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach

The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach (the "Nation") (originally known as the “Naskapis de Schefferville Indian Band” and later as the “Naskapi Band of Quebec”) is a First Nation with a population of approximately 850 registered First Nations people, who are also beneficiaries of the Northeastern Quebec Agreement ("NEQA"). The majority reside in Kawawachikamach, Quebec, located approximately 16 kilometres (10 mi) northeast of Schefferville. The village covers an area of approximately 40 acres (16 ha) and is situated on 16 square miles (41 km2) of Category IA-N land. There is ample room for expansion, whether for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes.

The vast majority of the residents of Kawawachikamach are Naskapi. Naskapi is their principal language. It is spoken by all of them and written by many. English is their second language, although many younger persons also speak some French. The Naskapi still preserve many aspects of their traditional way of life and culture. Like many northern communities, the Naskapi rely on subsistence hunting, fishing, and trapping for a large part of their food supply and for many raw materials. Harvesting is at the heart of Naskapi spirituality.

Kawawachikamach is linked to Schefferville by a gravel-surfaced all-season road. Rail transportation is available on a weekly basis between Schefferville, Wabush and Labrador City, and Sept-Îles. The train is equipped to transport passengers and freight, including large vehicles, gasoline and fuel oil, and refrigerated goods. Schefferville, which has a 5,000-foot (1,500 m) paved landing strip, is connected to points south by means of year-round, five-day-per-week service.

Mushuau Innu First Nation

The Mushuau Innu First Nation is located in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1967 the Mushuau Innu were settled in Utshimassits (Davis Inlet) on Iluikoyak Island located off the coast of Labrador Peninsula, which inhibited the ability of the Mushuau Innu to continue their traditional caribou hunt on the mainland. Therefore, they were relocated in the winter of 2002/2003 to their new main settlement Natuashish (pronounced: ‘Nat-wah-sheesh’), about 295 km north of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and 80 km southeast of Nain. Natuashish located on the mainland is only 15 km west of Utshimassits; ethnically they are Naskapi, speaking the Eastern Dialect (Mushuau Innu or Davis Inlet variety) of Iyuw Imuun and writing in Eastern Cree syllabics, but split up and sent to Eastern Labrador, very few (if any) are able to write in syllabics any more. The majority of the tribe is Catholic, which use the Montagnais Bible (which does not use syllabics) and therefore use the Latin alphabet, Reservation: Natuashish #2, ca. 43 km², Population: 777)[7][8]

Past name spelling variations

  • Es-ko-piks—Walch, Charte von America. (Augsburg, 1805).
  • Nascapee—Hodges, Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, 2:30. (Washington, 1910).
  • Nascopi—Stearns, Labrador: a sketch of its people, its industries and its natural history, 262. (Boston, 1884).
  • Nascopie—McLean, Notes of a twenty-five years' service in the Hudson's Bay territory, 2:53. (London, 1849).
  • Nascupi—Stearns, Labrador: a sketch of its people, its industries and its natural history, 262. (Boston, 1884).
  • Naskapis—Hocquart (1733) quoted by Hind, Explorations in the interior of the Labrador peninsula, the country of the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians, 2. (London, 1863).
  • Naskapit—Kingsley, The Standard Natural History, 6:149. (Boston, 1885).
  • Naskopie—Turner in 11th Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 183. (Washington, 1894).
  • Naskopis—Kingsley, The Standard Natural History, 6:149. (Boston, 1885).
  • Naskupis—Hocquart (1733) quoted by Hind, Explorations in the interior of the Labrador peninsula, the country of the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians, 2:96. (London, 1863).
  • Nasquapees—Stearns, Labrador: a sketch of its people, its industries and its natural history, 262. (Boston, 1884).
    • Naspapees—Stearns, Labrador: a sketch of its people, its industries and its natural history, 262. (Boston, 1884).
  • Nasquapicks—Cartwright (1774), quoted by Hind, Explorations in the interior of the Labrador peninsula, the country of the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians, 2:101. (London, 1863).
  • Ne né not—Turner in 11th Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 183. (Washington, 1894).
  • Neskaupe—Kingsley, The Standard Natural History, 6:148. (Boston, 1885).
  • Ounachkapiouek—Jesuit Relations for 1643, 38. (Québec, 1858).
  • Ounadcapis—Stearns, Labrador: a sketch of its people, its industries and its natural history, 262, (Boston, 1884).
  • Ounascapis—Hind, Explorations in the interior of the Labrador peninsula, the country of the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians, 1:275. (London, 1863).
  • Ounescapi—Bellin, Partie orientale de la Nouvelle France ou de Canada. (1855).
    • Cuneskapi—Laure (1731) quoted by Hind, Explorations in the interior of the Labrador peninsula, the country of the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians, 1:34 (London, 1863)
  • Scoffies—Gallatin in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 2:103 (1848)
  • Secoffee—Brinton, Library of aboriginal American literature: The Lenâpé and their legends., 5:11 (Philadelphia, 1885)
  • Shoüdamunk—Gatschet in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 409. (Philadelphia, 1855). From the Beothuk language, "Good Indians".
  • Skoffie—writer c. 1799 in Massachusetts Historical Society Collection (First series), 6:16. (Boston, 1800).
  • Unescapis—La Tour, [Carte de] L'Amérique Septentoinale, ou se remarquent les États Unis. (Paris, 1779).
  • Ungava Indians—McLean, Notes of a twenty-five years' service in the Hudson's Bay territory, 2:53. (London, 1849).

References

  1. ^ "Aboriginal Ancestry Responses (73), Single and Multiple Aboriginal Responses (4), Residence on or off reserve (3), Residence inside or outside Inuit Nunangat (7), Age (8A) and Sex (3) for the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2016 Census - 25% Sample Data". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
  2. ^ MacKenzie, Marguerite (1994). Naskapi Lexicon. Kawawachikamach, Quebec: Naskapi Development Corp.
  3. ^ http://ngb.chebucto.org/C1945/45-davis-ind-lab.shtml
  4. ^ http://ngb.chebucto.org/C1945/45-nain-ind-lab.shtml
  5. ^ http://ngb.chebucto.org/C1945/45-nw-river-lab.shtml
  6. ^ http://ngb.chebucto.org/C1935/35-davis-inlet-lab.shtml
  7. ^ The Innu Nation
  8. ^ Mushuau Innu Natuashish School

External links

Administrative divisions of Quebec

The province of Quebec is divided into units at the regional, supralocal and local levels. The primary types of subdivision are administrative regions, regional county municipalities (RCMs), metropolitan communities (CMs), the Kativik Regional Government (KRG), unorganized territories (TNOs), agglomerations, northern villages, Cree villages, Naskapi villages, a variety of local units which may collectively be referred to as local municipalities and boroughs.

Central Algonquian languages

The Central Algonquian languages are commonly grouped together as a subgroup of the larger Algonquian family, itself a member of the Algic family. Though the grouping is often encountered in the literature, it is an areal grouping, not a genetic grouping. In other words, the languages are grouped together because they were spoken near one another, not because they are more closely related to one another than to other Algonquian languages. Within the Algonquian family, only Eastern Algonquian is a valid genealogical group.

Within the Central Algonquian grouping, Potawatomi and Chippewa, otherwise known as Ojibwe, are closely related and are generally grouped together as an Ojibwa-Potawatomi sub-branch. David J. Costa speculated in his 2003–2004 web publications that Central Algonquian has a specific language sub-branch that he refers to as "Eastern Great Lakes". The hypothesis for the subgroup is based on lexical and phonological innovations.

Cree language

Cree (also known as Cree–Montagnais–Naskapi) is a dialect continuum of Algonquian languages spoken by approximately 117,000 people across Canada, from the Northwest Territories to Alberta to Labrador. If classified as one language, it is the aboriginal language with the highest number of speakers in Canada. The only region where Cree has any official status is in the Northwest Territories, alongside eight other aboriginal languages. The places that Cree is spoken are mainly in Fort Smith and Hay River.

Davis Inlet

Davis Inlet was a Naskapi community in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, formerly inhabited by the Mushuau Innu First Nation. It was named for its adjacent fjord, itself named for its non-aboriginal discoverer, John Davis.

Duplessis (electoral district)

Duplessis is a provincial electoral district in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec, Canada, that elects members to the National Assembly of Quebec. It includes the city of Sept-Îles, Fermont and Schefferville. It also includes a single municipality from the Nord-du-Québec region: the Naskapi village municipality of Kawawachikamach (not to be confused with the Naskapi reserved land of the same name, which Duplessis also includes, but is in Côte-Nord).

It was created for the 1960 election from parts of the Saguenay provincial electoral district.

In the change from the 2001 to the 2011 electoral map, it gained the unorganized territories of Caniapiscau and Lac-Juillet from Ungava electoral district.

The riding was named after former Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis who led the province from 1936 to 1939 and from 1944 to 1959 as leader of the Union Nationale.

Indigenous peoples in Quebec

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.

Innu

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.

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.

James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement

The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (French: Convention de la Baie James et du Nord Québécois) is an Aboriginal land claim settlement, approved in 1975 by the Cree and Inuit of northern Quebec, and later slightly modified in 1978 by the Northeastern Quebec Agreement (French: Accord Nord-est Québécois), through which Quebec's Naskapi First Nation joined the treaty. The agreement covers economic development and property issues in northern Quebec, as well as establishing a number of cultural, social and governmental institutions for Indigenous people who are members of the communities involved in the treaties.

Kativik Regional Government

The Kativik Regional Government (French: Administration régionale Kativik) encompasses most of the Nunavik region of Quebec. Nunavik is the northern half of the Nord-du-Québec administrative region and includes all the territory north of the 55th parallel. The administrative capital is Kuujjuaq, on the Koksoak River, about 50 kilometres inland from the southern end of the Ungava Bay.

Created in 1978 in accordance with the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, the Kativik Regional Government is elected by all the inhabitants of the Nunavik region, both Inuit and non-Inuit. The Regional Government is financed by the Government of Quebec (50%) and the Government of Canada (25%).

The Cree village Whapmagoostui, near the northern village of Kuujjuarapik, on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay, is an enclave in the Nunavik region and its inhabitants do not participate in the Kativik Regional Government. Whapmagoostui (village and reserved lands: 316 km2, 122 sq mi) is part of the Cree Regional Authority and the Grand Council of the Cree (Eeyou Istchee).

The Kativik Regional Government includes 14 northern villages, 14 Inuit reserved lands and one Naskapi village municipality. Each Inuit reserved land is near a northern village; the Naskapi village municipality of Kawawachikamach (north of the 55th parallel) is near the Naskapi reserved land that is also called Kawawachikamach, south of the 55th parallel in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec. The Kativik Regional Government covers a territory of about 500,000 km2 (190,000 sq mi) and includes a population of just over 10,000 persons, of which about 90% are Inuit.

The Inuit of Nunavik are also represented by the Makivik Corporation in their relations with the governments of Quebec and Canada on issues specifically pertaining to their indigenous rights (hunting and land use). The Makivik corporation favours greater autonomy for the Nunavik region and is headquartered in Kuujjuaq.

The police service is provided by the Kativik Regional Police Force, which also has its headquarters in Kuujjuaq.

Kawawachikamach, Quebec

Kawawachikamach (Naskapi: ᑲᐛᐛᒋᑲᒪᒡ/Kawâwâchikamach) is a Naskapi/Iyiyiw First Nations reserve and community at the south end of Lake Matemace (where it joins Lake Peter), approximately 15 kilometres (9 mi) northeast of Schefferville, Quebec, Canada. It belongs to the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach. The village was built by the Naskapi/Iyiyiw from 1980 to 1983. The language spoken is Iyiyiw-Imuun, a dialect closely related to Innu and Iynu (East Cree). The name means "the winding river".Access to the village is by way of Schefferville Airport or railway from Sept-Îles to Schefferville, then by way of a 15 km (9 mi) road from the centre of Schefferville. With the demise of Schefferville as a residential centre for the iron ore mining operations, Kawawachikamach and Matimékush are now the main communities in the region.

Telephone and postal services are still provided from the Schefferville exchange by Telebec and from the Schefferville Post Office, while electricity is provided by the Schefferville Power Company. The Naskapi/Iyiyiw provide their own policing services. Naskapi Imuun provides broadband satellite Internet services to the Kawawachikamach/Schefferville region. Other services include a community radio station, a healthcare centre, a recreation centre and a gymnasium.

Kawawachikamach (Naskapi village municipality)

Kawawachikamach is a Naskapi village municipality in the territory of the Kativik Regional Government in northern Quebec; in fact, it is the only Naskapi village municipality, but nevertheless has a distinct legal status and classification from other kinds of village municipalities in Quebec: Cree village municipalities, northern villages (Inuit communities), and ordinary villages.

There is a counterpart Naskapi reserved land of the same name: Kawawachikamach, located some distance to the south. Because the village municipality is north of the 55th parallel and the reserved land is south of it, they are actually in different administrative regions of Quebec: Nord-du-Québec (within Kativik) and Côte-Nord, respectively.

Despite the title of "village municipality" and the formalities that go along with it (for instance, having a mayor), this is actually an uninhabited area with no resident population: the Naskapi population all live on the reserved land, and the village municipality is for the exclusive use of Naskapis for hunting or other economic activities.

Lac-John

Lac-John is a First Nations reserve on John Lake in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec, Canada, about 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) north-east from the centre of Schefferville. Together with the Matimekosh Reserve, it belongs to the Innu Nation of Matimekush-Lac John. It is geographically within the Caniapiscau Regional County Municipality but administratively not part of it.

The reserve is named after the adjacent John Lake. That name was assigned by the Labrador Mining and Smelting Company, which used it on one of its geological maps a little before 1947.

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 - Algonquin

List of census divisions of Quebec

Statistics Canada divides Quebec into 98 census divisions. Quebec has 87 regional county municipalities; of these, 82 are also census divisions.

Quebec's census divisions consist of numerous census subdivisions. The types of census subdivisions within a Quebec census division may include:

cities and towns (ville), "ordinary" municipalities (municipalité), parish municipalities (paroisse), townships (canton) and united townships (cantons unis), villages (village)

Cree villages (village cri), northern villages (village nordique, i.e., Inuit), and one Naskapi village (village Naskapi)

Land reserved to Crees (Terres réservées aux Cris), Inuit land (Terre inuite), Naskapi land (Terres réservées aux Naskapis)

Indian reserves and Indian settlements

Unorganized territories

List of village municipalities in Quebec

This is the list of communities in Quebec that have the legal status of village municipalities (village, code=VL) as defined by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy.

This does not include Cree villages (code=VC), Naskapi villages (code=VK), or Northern villages (Inuit, code=VN), which have a separate legal status.

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.

Schefferville

Schefferville is a town in the Canadian province of Quebec. Schefferville is in the heart of the Naskapi and Innu territory in northern Quebec, less than 2 km from the border with Labrador on the north shore of Knob Lake. It is located within the Caniapiscau Regional County Municipality and has an area of 25.11 square kilometres (9.70 sq mi). Schefferville completely surrounds the autonomous Innu community of Matimekosh, and it abuts the small community of Lac-John Reserve. Both of the latter communities are First Nations Innu reserves. Schefferville is also close to the Naskapi reserved land of Kawawachikamach.

The isolated town is not connected to the provincial road network but is accessible by airplane via the Schefferville Airport or by train. Schefferville is the northern terminus of Tshiuetin Rail Transportation (formerly operated by the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway) with service to Sept-Îles.

McGill University operates the McGill Subarctic Research Station in Schefferville.

Types of municipalities in Quebec

The following is a list of the types of local and supralocal territorial units in Quebec, including those used solely for statistical purposes, as defined by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy and compiled by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Not included are the urban agglomerations of Quebec, which, although they group together multiple municipalities, exercise only what are ordinarily local municipal powers.

A list of local municipal units in Quebec by regional county municipality can be found at List of municipalities in Quebec.

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