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Native American Nations in Eastern Canada

Updated on April 22, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

A descendant of Mohawk Nation and trained in anthropology, Patty has researched and reported on indigenous peoples for over four decades.

A Cree in Saskatchewan.
A Cree in Saskatchewan. | Source

Northern First Nations

Cree Nation is the largest group of First Nations people living in the province of Quebec. It is divided into smaller groups called "bands" that are found in Quebec, some western provinces, and Montana in the United States.

The Cree people make include 200,000 members as of 2018, with nearly 15,000 of these residing in Quebec, where the groups include at least nine different bands.

This First Nation is Algonquian, as are many other larger groups in Canada.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
These Northern Saskatchewan Cree people are performing an outdoor ceremony near the Waterhen River in Northern Saskatchewan.Cree people at Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan in 1884.A Cree family in 1919.
These Northern Saskatchewan Cree people are performing an outdoor ceremony near the Waterhen River in Northern Saskatchewan.
These Northern Saskatchewan Cree people are performing an outdoor ceremony near the Waterhen River in Northern Saskatchewan. | Source
Cree people at Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan in 1884.
Cree people at Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan in 1884. | Source
A Cree family in 1919.
A Cree family in 1919. | Source

Map of Major Cree Bands in Quebec

A
Chisasibi, Quebec Canada J0M 1E0:
Québec J0M 1E0, Canada

get directions

B
Eastmain, Quebec Canada:
Eastmain, QC J0M, Canada

get directions

C
Mistissini:
Mistissini, QC G0W, Canada

get directions

D
Nemaska:
Nemiscau, Baie-James, QC J0M, Canada

get directions

E
Waskaganish Quebec:
Waskaganish, Fort-Rupert, QC, Canada

get directions

F
Waswanipi:
Waswanipi, QC J0Y, Canada

get directions

Also know as the people who are "Light on the Water."

G
Wemindji:
Wemindji, QC J0Y, Canada

get directions

H
Whapmagoostui:
Whapmagoostui, QC J0M, Canada

get directions

I
Ouje-Bougoumou Crees:
Oujé-Bougoumou, QC G0W, Canada

get directions

The Cree also include these groups:

  • Cree People of Northern Quebec
  • Cree bands living in Fort George, Nemiscau, Neoskweskau, Nitchequon, Old Factory, and Old Post.

Written language: the Cree Syllabic language chart.
Written language: the Cree Syllabic language chart. | Source

The Cree First Nation and Tradition

A lovely Cree First Nation tradition of old is the child's Walking-Out Ceremony. This ceremony is conducted in the spring and begins one morning at dawn as the child's family awakens.

The meaning of this ceremony is that the Cree child touches Mother Earth in first contact. He/she is walking outside and touching nature and the universe for the first time. The child is introduced to Mother Nature by meeting the sunrise and carrying all of the implements that symbolize the role he or she will play in a lifetime.

The First Snowshoe Walk is performed in winter to symbolize that the child is ready to travel with adults on his or her own and does not need to be a burden to carry. The child is usually age five or six for this ceremony. This would be done traditionally when the family moved to a winter lodge.

Parents or grandparents would prepare the first snowshoes for the child and ensure that when the day came for the move, everything was ready, including provisions.The parents now walk the child to the lodge as of old and everyone joins a feast there to honor the child's First Snowshoe Walk.

First Kill

There is no frivolous killing among the Cree.

When a boy or girl is still very young, each will hunt with parents' help and secure a small bird or game animal (boys) or a fish (girls) that is accepted and cooked by the eldest grandmother in the family. The family gives thanks for this food and celebrates the child's achievement and food offering to the family.

These rites of passage help to make childhood memorable and sacred in the culture of the Cree.

Other First Nations in Quebec Province

Quebec Province is east of Ontario Province in Canada and borders the Maritime Provinces that include Newfoundland/Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.

Over 50 separate bands of First Nations peoples live in Quebec, speaking a mix of French, their own indigenous languages, and English. The large number of Native North American groups in Quebec is similar in size to that of First Nations in Ontario, but likely has experienced a larger amount of French Influence.

Besides the Cree, Algonquians include the Abenaki, Atikamekw, Malecite, Miqmac, Montagnais/Innu, and Naskapi.

In addition to First Nations, 11 groups of Inuits also live in the province, primarily in the far north in the sections called "Nunavik."

Iroquois Confederacy, Mohawk Territory

The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory is a Mohawk Reserve on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, across from Montreal.

These indigenous people were stumbled upon by French explorers as they built a Jesuit Mission in 1719. In the 20th century, fifty men from the Kahnawake Preserve volunteered to fight with the United States military during the Vietnam Conflict.

Map of the Bearskin Lake Mohawks of Kahnawake

A
Kahnawake:
Kahnawake, QC J0L, Canada

get directions

The Mohawk Nation is a strong political group in Quebec, recognized in Canada as a First Nation, but also living in New York State on a reservation.

In the United States, three groups of Mohawk people live in New York. One group is federally recognized and operates a casino near the NY-Canada Border. Of the other two groups, the Traditional Mohawk is the smaller, and totally unrecognized by federal, provincial, or state governments.

Three separate groups of Mohawk people live in these groups:

  • Kahnawake People of Kahnawake and Doncaster: P.O. Box 720, Kahnawa'kehró:non Raonenhóntsa, J0L 1B0
  • Kanesatake People of Kanesatake
  • Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne in Akwesasne

Iroquois Confederacy: Wendat

Another group of Iroquois live in this province and are called the Wendats of the Huron-Wendat Nation. These approximately 3,000 people reside in the Wendake Reserve inside Quebec City, having migrated there from Ontario Province in the past.

Map of the Montagnais (Innu) Band or "Mountaineers"

A
Montagnais:
Le Montagnais Village Universitaire, 1970 Rue du Montagnais, Sherbrooke, QC J1K 2X9, Canada

get directions

Montagnais

The Montagnais or Innu peoples, who speak several Algonquian dialects, were found by the French as they built a trading post. A Christian mission followed under father Jean d'Albeau, in 1615. Today, a total of nine bands of these people live in Quebec.


Map of Maritime Province Nations

A
Innu Nation, Canada:
Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation Office, Sheshatshiu, NL A0P 1M0, Canada

get directions

B
Naskapi Nation:
Kawawachikamach, QC G0G, Canada

get directions

Mi'kmaq
Mi'kmaq
Mi'kmaq writing of the "Ave Maria."
Mi'kmaq writing of the "Ave Maria." | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Maliseet or Malecite home.A Malecite camp in Quebec Province.
A Maliseet or Malecite home.
A Maliseet or Malecite home. | Source
A Malecite camp in Quebec Province.
A Malecite camp in Quebec Province. | Source

Maritime Provinces: New Brunswick (NB) Large Groups

  1. Union of New Brunswick Indians
  2. New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council. Fredericton

Individual NB Groups

  • Big Cove Cultural Centre (Mi'kmaq) Big Cove County
  • Buctouche Micmac Band (Mi'kmaq) Buctouche
  • Burnt Church First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Legaceville
  • Eel Ground First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Eel Ground
  • Eel River Bar First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Dalhousie
  • Fort Folly First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Dorchester
  • Indian Island First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Rexton
  • Kingsclear First Nation (Maliseet or Malecite) Fredericton
  • Madawaska Maliseet First Nation
  • Oromocto First Nation (Maliseet) in Oromocto
  • Pabineau First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Bathurst
  • Red Bank First Nation (Micmac) Red Bank
  • St. Mary's Indian Band (Maliseet) Fredericton
  • Wolastokwik 'Negoot-gook (Maliseet) Maliseet Nation at Tobique. Perth
  • Woodstock Indian Nation (Maliseet) Woodstock First Nation

Newfoundland/Labrador Groups

  • Miawpukek First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Baie d'Espoir. Conne River, Newfoundland
  • Innu Nation. Sheshatshiu, Labrador
  • Labrador Metis Nation. Labrador.

Nova Scotia (NS) Large Groups

  • Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs
  • Elsipogtog First Nation; 249 A Unit Main Street, Elsipogtog, New Brunswick E4W 2X2;
  • Micmac Association of Cultural Studies; P.O. Box 961 Sydney NS B1P 6J4; PH 902-567-1752
  • Union of Nova Scotia Indians; P.O. Box 961 Sydney, NS B1P 6J4

Individual Groups in NS

  • Acadia First Nation of Mi'kmaq in Yarmouth
  • Afton First Nation (Mi'kmaq) in Afton, Antigonish County
  • Annapolis Valley First Nation (Mi'kmaq)
  • Bear River First Nation
  • Chapel Island First Nation (Mi'kmaq)
  • Chapel Island, NS
  • Eskasoni First Nation (Mi'kmaq) in East Bay
  • Horton First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Hansport
  • Membertou First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Sydney
  • Millbrook First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Truro
  • Pictou Landing First Nation [Language: MicMac; English] Trenton
  • Shubenacadie First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Shubenacadie
  • Wagmatcook First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Baddeck
  • Whycocomagh First Nation (Mi'kmaq) Whycocomagh

Prince Edward Island (PEI) Groups

  • Abegweit First Nation Mount Stewart, PE Is. Language:MicMac;English
  • Lennox Island First Nation Lennox Island, Prince Edward Is. Language: MicMac;English

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS

Comments & Additions

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thank you, William! The article by your daughter sounds really good.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Amazing, Patty. Nice videos, too. One of my daughter's was stationed with the U.S. Navy in Newfoundland some years ago and wrote a travel article about it. It's interesting to see all this history about Native Americans in Canada.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks, Everyone; I am overwhelmed by the comments. It is a real pleasure to do this series.

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 

      11 years ago from Sydney

      Great stories and pull in phptos. It is a magic experience following you

    • gabriella05 profile image

      gabriella05 

      11 years ago from Oldham

      It is a great pleasure to me to learn about other culture

      Thank you very much

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patty! Another great continuance to your Hub series.

      great HUB

      regards Zsuzsy

    • teeray profile image

      teeray 

      11 years ago from Canada

      Excellent hub, including the photos and videos! I will return to watch these again

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