Discovering Mashteuiatsh, Quebec: A Rich Blend of History and Culture
Introduction to Mashteuiatsh, Quebec
Mashteuiatsh is a First Nations reserve nestled in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec, Canada. Located approximately 6 kilometres north from the centre of Roberval, it is home to the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation. The reserve is situated on a headland known as Pointe-Bleue, jutting out on the western shores of Lake Saint-Jean. Although geographically within the Le Domaine-du-Roy Regional County Municipality, it is administratively independent.
The Name and Meaning of Mashteuiatsh, Quebec
Originally known as the Ouiatchouan Reserve, the community was renamed Mashteuiatsh in 1985. The name, derived from Ka Mesta8iats, translates to "where there is a point" or "seeing one yet again at the point". Before its official establishment as a reserve under the Indian Act in 1856, Mashteuiatsh was a frequented gathering and passage sector for the Ilnuatsh. The majority of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation members reside in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, primarily in Mashteuiatsh.
Exploring the Geography of Mashteuiatsh, Quebec
The Indian Reserve of Mashteuiatsh is strategically located at the junction of Roberval and Saint-Prime, on the shore of Lac Saint-Jean in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec. It covers an expansive area of 1,443 hectares and is conveniently linked to Roberval to the south via boulevard Horace-J.-Beemer.
The Historical Journey of Mashteuiatsh, Quebec
The history of Mashteuiatsh dates back to before the arrival of Europeans when it served as a frequently used stopover and camp for the indigenous Innu. Around 1775, a trading post was established by English merchants Thomas Dunn and John Gray. The Innu were officially allotted an area of 23,040 acres in 1856, known as the Ouiatchouan Reserve. The Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post there in 1867, attracting an Oblates' mission in 1875. However, due to various factors, the reserve's size was significantly reduced over the years. In 1985 and 1986, the Lac St-Jean Innu began claiming compensation and recovery of most of these lost lands, culminating in a settlement agreement with the Government of Canada in 2000.
The Mashteuiatsh Native American Museum, Quebec
Founded in 1977, the Mashteuiatsh Amerindian Museum is a cultural treasure that preserves and shares the history and culture of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh. The museum offers knowledge on the Ilnuatsh and other First Nations of Quebec and America. It features a permanent exhibition, three temporary exhibitions, a visit to the Nutshimitsh outdoor garden, artistic creation workshops, and a boutique area.
Demographics of Mashteuiatsh, Quebec
As of 2022, the band counted 8,373 members, with 2,104 persons living in the community. The population has seen a steady increase over the years, with a 2.7% population change from 2016 to 2021. The community is predominantly French-speaking, with 87.1% of the population listing it as their first language.