Indigenous Peoples

An introduction to the Indigenous peoples who have always been part of a territory now called Canada. Ten First Nations, the Inuit and the Metis who are now re-establishing their presence, their culture and their rights. 

275x137A white pine that stands for the original presence of indigenous peoples in Montreal.

In 2017, the Canadian Government dissolved the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and replaced it with two new ministries, the Indigenous Services and the Crown Indigenous Relation and Northern Affairs.

"Our federal government Indian Act is essentially an outdated statute that, despite a great deal of opposition, continues to resist change.

Instead, a number of agreements, such as the First Nations Land Management Act of 1999, have allowed First Nations governments to move toward some level of self-government without abolishing the Indian Act."

The Abenaki Peoples of the Rising Sun

Although many traditional practices and ceremonies were suppressed by restrictive federal policies and legislation, the Abenakis of the Algonquian family still defend and still persist with their traditions, their culture and their values.

Their ways of life are forever rich with their long-term traditional stories, dances, baskets, sun masks, totems... French is the language spoken by most Abenakis followed by English. The Abenakis are, in Abenaki, the people of the east.

The Abenakis preserved their dances and their significations, They view stories with a life of their own. For them, storytelling is a way of teaching  proper behavior to their children. Instead of punishing their young, they tell them a story. 

The Abenakis kept most of their ways of life, including their government constitution, their chief, their council of elders and their tribal citizenship. Their two communities, Odanak and Wôlinak, are located on the south shore of the St-Lawrence River.

The Anishinaabe Peoples of the Land

Anishinaabe singular, Anishinaabeg plural is what the Algonquian call themselves. Anishinaabe which, in their Anishinaabemowin language, means the true people who proudly preserved their traditions, remained close to their ancestral ways of life and carry on with their traditional lifestyle. 

English is the language spoken in six of their communities, French is spoken in the other three and Algonquian is spoken by many for a total of nine Anishinaabe communities.The economic activities of the Algonquians are closely related to tourism, handicrafts and to the government services they administer themselves.

Band councils, nine of them, are elected by Algonquians. Councils and Councillors who manage their respective communities. Other organizations such as the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council and the Algonquin Nation Secretariat both defend their interests.

The Atikamekw Peoples of the Bark

The Atikamekw, also of the Algonquian family are aboriginal peoples who managed to keep their traditional lands, their language and their culture. Today, the Atikamekw concentrate their efforts on their economic development and on respecting and maintaining their traditions and their environment. Atikamekw means whitefish in Atikamek.

The Atikamekw created various organizations such as the Services forestiers Atikamekw Aski Inc. categorized under logging camps and contractors. They also created Mamo Ateskewin, an association that brings together the hunters, fishermen, trappers and gatherers of their communities. 

The Atikamekw created the Atikamekw Sipi also called the Conseil de la nation Atikamekw where services such as education, social and technical services, language, culture, economic development and document management are provided in their Manawan, Obedjwan and Wemotaci communities.

The mission of the Atikamekw Sipi is to represent the Atikamekw and to promote their rights and their interests. Atikamekw peoples who are also famous for their birch bark expertise and for the canoes and the household objects they create.

The Abenakis, the Anishinaabeg and the Atikamekw, three out of ten Indigenous peoples and societies, along with the Inuit located in Inuit Nunangat, the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska.

Montreal CLUB Kit
Indigenous Peoples by Rachel Louise Barry


Discovering the many aspects that characterize Montreal and Montrealers