FIRST NATION CULTURES - AMISHK
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First nation cultures

By coming to visit us, you will be in touch with your Amerindian hosts, worthy ambassadors of their millennial culture in America. Amishk is not a folkloric site but a showcase on, certainly, the traditions but especially the contemporary way of life of the First Nations of Quebec.

Quebec has eleven Aboriginal nations, which are divided into fifty five communities ranging in size from hundreds to thousands. These communities live in very different environments. Some are established near major urban centers; others are only accessible by forest roads, by air or by boat.

These eleven nations belong to three language and cultural families. Inuit are related to the family called “kaléoute”; the Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) and the Huron-Wendat are part of the Iroquoian family, traditionally sedentary. And eight other nations are of the Algonquian family, traditionally nomadic. Diversity is at the heart of the Aboriginal reality in Quebec. It manifests itself in many ways, in the language, traditions, lifestyles, beliefs, and it is based on specific identities of each nation. It is through their national belonging that define most of the Native Americans and Inuit. Before being indigenous, they are Innu, Atikamekw, Micmac, Wendat, Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk), Inuit …

The Amishk’site features three of the 11 Native American cultures of Quebec: Innu, Atikamekw and Anishnabe

The Innu (Montagnais), the vastness of the Innu territory. They were nomadic and their livelihood was based on the products of hunting, fishing and gathering. Their ancestral territory covered the whole area between Quebec and Labrador and extended to the north of Schefferville. At the end of the nineteenth century, colonization and forestry lead to the gradual settlement of the Innu living in the south. Further north, the process does not really begin until the twentieth century and, in some cases after 1950. Today, the Innu are actively involved in tourism development and management of natural resources in their territory, including rivers salmon among the finest in the world. In the Innu communities, hunting and trapping of animals are still important activities as much for food as for their fur. Politically, both organizations now represent the Innu: Mamit Innuat and Mamuitun.

The Atikamekw, the People of the bark. The Atikamekw territory lies in Haute-Mauricie in the northern basin of the St. Maurice River. Formerly nomadic, Atikamekw lived by hunting, fishing and gathering. Their settlement slowly began in the early twentieth century, largely the result of the development of the forest industry in the basin of the St. Maurice. Today, the Atikamekw are very active in the reforestation sector and forestry. Relatively isolated, Atikamekw communities are accessible by logging roads. Despite significant changes in their lifestyle, the Atikamekw are still very attached to traditional life. Thus, several families regularly return to the forest to hunting, trapping, fishing or gathering. Politically, the Atikamekw are represented by the Council of the Atikamekw nation.

Algonquin Anishinabe or Mamiwinnik, the people of the land. Algonquin traditionally lived by hunting, fishing and gathering. Their territory was from the Ottawa River basin to the northern limits of Abitibi. From the nineteenth century, the settlement and development of the forest industry significantly disrupt their lifestyle. Their settlement began in the 1850s with the creation of the first reserves on Algonquin territory. It continues in the twentieth century, with the opening of Abitibi colonization. Today, Algonquin are active in the reforestation in the trapping of animals and crafts. Many of them are still engaged in hunting and fishing. Some families even live a nomadic existence akin to that of their ancestors. There are two Algonquin communities in Ontario, but the majority of Algonquin live in Quebec and are represented politically by the Council of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat Anishnabeg and the programs and services of the Algonquin Nation.

Source : Secrétariat Aux Affaires Autochtones du Québec

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