NATIONS OF QUEBEC

NATIONS OF QUEBEC

The Native people of Quebec will be well represented at our 2018 Pow-wow.

They were the first inhabitants of the territory. They consist of eleven separate nations by ethnicity, language, culture and history: Abenaki, Algonquin, Attikamekw, Cree, Huron (or Wendat), Malecite, Naskapi, Micmac, Innu (or Montagnais) Mohawk. They belong to two language families: the Algonquian languages, Iroquoian and the Quebec Native people are politically and collectively represented by the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL).

We have representatives of:

the Mohawk Nation (Kanien’kehá:ka), one of the major native groups in the province of Quebec. They are found in the communities of Akwesasne, Kahnawake and Kanesatake. The Mohawks are also present in Ontario and in the State of New York.

In the history of the America, the Mohawk nation has always been regarded as a terrifying warrior power, often in conflict with other nations. In 1570, with four other tribes, it formed the Iroquois Confederacy (League of Five Nations which became 6 in 1722: Mohawk, Onondega, Seneca, Oneida, Cayuga, and Tuscarora). In 1649 the Mohawk were close to destroying the Huron nation as a whole. During the Franco-English wars, which shook the New France, the Mohawks allied with the British. In 1701, a treaty signed in Montreal committed them to remain neutral in the conflict between French and English. It was then the most powerful political entity in North America.

 

The social organization is matrilineal and matrilocal: it is the mother who determines the lineage, and these are the women who own the land. When married, the husband moves in with his wife, and his children to become members of the mother’s clan. Equally, it’s the women who choose the clan leaders.

 

The Mohawk were essentially farmers, beans, squash and corn formed the basis of their diet. Hunting, fishing and foraging was only supplementary.

Their settlement consisted of the ‘long house’ considered by the ethnologists as the oldest form of permanent structure. About 100 meters long (and 5 to 7 meters wide) it housed around twenty families.

 

Who were the most civilized?

 

« Liberty, Equality, Fraternity », without ever having been written were the fundamental principles of the Iroquois Confederacy. Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers, was a friend of the Iroquois people. In the face of the fratricidal wars between the 13 colonies, he asked the Iroquois chiefs to translate their constitution, which served as the basis and inspiration to the American confederation.

The Innu Nation

 

The North Shore of Quebec was populated since the retreat of the glaciers nearly 10,000 years ago. A succession of different cultures inhabited the area before making way for the Innu. It was the Basque fishermen who, at the beginning of the 16th century, established the first contact with them. At the time, they lived by hunting, fishing and foraging. Over time more and more Europeans made their appearance on their territories for the fur trade.

The Innu Nation, which today counts nearly 20,000 members, is the second Nation of Quebec. Seven of the nine Innu villages are established on the North Shore, the other two being located at the Lac-Saint Jean. The Innu language (an Algonquian language) is still spoken by the vast majority of the population.

Their traditions have been preserved. For about thirty years, they have added ceremonies from the Native people of the great plains to their culture and participate in the Pow-wows.

The Innu communities are very different from each other, both by their geographical situation that by their socio-economic development. The main economic activities include retail, businesses, outfitters, as well as activities related to hunting, traditional fishing and commercial fishing (salmon rivers). The Innu and the government of Quebec spared no effort to improve the socio-economic situation of the communities.

                           

Incomplete list, change in progress.

Liste incomplète, modification en cours.