The Aboriginal Nations were first referred to as Indians and then as North American Indians. Nowadays, the terms Aboriginal or Indigenous nations refer to the First Nations, the Inuit and the Metis.
Since 1996, June 21 is National Aboriginal Day during which we celebrate the heritage, the cultures and the outstanding achievements of all our Indigenous and Aboriginal Nations.
The Mohawks are members of the Iroquian family. They succeeded in preserving their traditions while assuming control over their education, their health and their local services. Their strength is based on their social organization, sedentary traditions and spiritual values.
There are three Mohawk communities, Akwesasne, Kahnawake and Kanesatake.
In Kahnawake, the Mohawks have been in charge of most of their community activities for several years. The community has its own police force and their schools integrate many different aspects of the Mohawk culture in their teachings.
Akwesasne overlaps New York, Quebec and Ontario. The two Canadian provinces helped the Mohawk community build and organize their local education, their health and their justice services, their recreation activities and their social and training infrastructures.
Kanesatake however is confronted with territorial problems. The lands acquired by the Federal Government for the benefits of the Mohawks have, up to the present day, never been transferred to their community. A difficult situation that once resulted in the Oka Crisis also called the Mohawk Resistance.
The Naskapi Nation of the Kawawachikamach community are members of the Algonquian family and of our Aboriginal Nations. Naskapi is the language spoken by all and written by many. English is their second language and French is spoken by most.
The Naskapis preserved many aspects of their traditional culture, values and traditions. They, for a large part, rely on hunting, fishing and trapping for their subsistence and for raw materials. Harvesting is at the center of their spirituality.
The Chief and Council of the Naskapi Nation are both responsible for managing the land and its natural resources, regulating the use of their buildings, promoting the development of their community and managing their finances.
Based on the profound knowledge of their land and their wildlife, the Naskapis develop and organize various hunting and fishing activities along with tourist expeditions accross their partly swampy coniferous forests.
The Wendats are members of the Iroquian family known as great traders well before the European first contacts and colonization. Wendake is the only remaining Huron-Wendat community famous for its many tourist attractions and for promoting its cultural legacy. Wendat is the name and Huron is the nickname given by the French.
The Wendat, one of our most urbanized aboriginals nation, is led by a council composed of a Grand Chef and of eight Heads of Family.
The Nation offers a large variety of services to the Wendats including a school, a health facility and a police service. The community is also home to a hotel, a museum and an event center.
Historically, the Wendats led a semi-sedentary life. They grew corn in abundance as well as tobacco and used their surplus to trade with other Aboriginals in Canada. Nowadays, their local SDC offers technical expertise to their 60 or so local businesses that each provide jobs to aboriginals and to non-aboriginals.
Almost the entire Inuit Nation lives in Nunavik, the homeland of the Inuit of Quebec. Nunavik means "great land" in Inukitut, the language spoken by the majority. The Inuit of the region call themselves Nunavimmiut. The Inuit are an entirely separate ethnic group from all the other Aboriginal Nations.
English is their second language while French is progressing. Their 14 villages are located on the shores of the Hudson Strait between the Baffin Island and Nunavik and on the shores of the Hudson and Ungava Bay in the northeastern part of Canada.
During the last century or so, the Inuit went from a semi-nomadic to a more sedentary lifestyle. They slowly accustomed themselves to technology while remaining eager to preserve their values, their language and their culture.
Stone, bone and ivory carving are widely practiced by Inuit who carve entirely by hand, using an axe and a file. Inuit art carving is their most significant art activity, but Inuit printmaking is also enjoying its own popularity. Fiber arts, drawings and paintings are also produced in quantity, but without the same popularity.
The Mohawks, the Naskapis and the Wendats, three out of ten Indigenous or Aboriginal nations, plus the Inuit who live in Inuit Nunangat, the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska.