When the Europeans first arrived, the Naskapi First Nation were living off caribou hunting, an activity that provided them with food, clothing and tools.
A life that forced the Naskapis to live as nomads, to follow the cariboo herds during their migration and to benefit from the self-sufficiency associated with those large hoofed animals.
In the late 1980s, the nomadic Naskapis left Kuujjuaq on the west shore of the Koksoak River and settled in Shefferville in Northern Quebec and in the heart of the Naskapi and Innu territory.
Nowadays, Naskapi of the Algonquian language is spoken by the Naskapis of Quebec and Labrador and written by some. English is their second language and French is spoken by many.
The only Naskapi First Nation in the province of Quebec is located near Schefferville in a village called Kawawachikamach which, quite rightly, means "the winding river that changes into a large lake".
The Village of Kawawachikamach is well equipped with a primary and a secondary school, a CLSC, a fire hall, a police station, a shopping center, a community center, a recreation center and a Naskapi radio station.
The local Naskapi Société de développement commercial, the SDC was created to ensure the socioeconomic development of the community through an outfitting business, a shopping center, an arts & crafts store, a construction company and through road maintenance and services.
Their village is quite modern but the Naskapis preserved many aspects of their traditional culture, values and justice. Harvesting is at the center of their spirituality and they still partly rely on hunting, fishing and trapping for their subsistence and raw materials.
Based on the profound knowledge of their land and their wildlife, the Naskapis develop, offer and organize lodging as well as hunting, fishing and trapping expeditions across their partly swampy coniferous forests.
The Chief and the Council of the Naskapi Nation are both responsible for managing their land and all its natural resources.
The Council is also responsible for promoting the development of their community, for managing their finances, negotiating agreements and making sure that building regulations are safe, healthy and high-performing.
The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement signed in 1975 by the Cree and the Inuit, slightly modified and signed in 1978 by the Naskapis laid the foundations of a new relationship between the Crees, the Inuits, the Naskapis and the Governments of Quebec and Canada.
The Abenakis, Anishinaabeg, Atikamekw, Crees, Huron-Wendats, Innus, Maliseets, Mi'kmaq, Mohawks, Naskapis First Nations and, the Inuit in Inuit Nunangat, the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska.
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