Following various social upheavals linked to epidemics at the time of contact and during the violent IROQUOIS WARS in the mid-17th century in these regions, a complete reorganization took place among nomadic hunters in Québec, and various groups, hitherto distinct, began to band together. It is known that ethnic boundaries remained relatively flexible over the years and that today's Attikamek have discovered genealogical links with several neighbouring groups.
Although these people numbered 500-550 in the mid-17th century, by 1850 there were only about 150 scattered over 7000 km2 and divided into 2 major bands, the Kikendatch and the Weymontachie. The Manouane BAND appeared a little later (around 1865-75) as an offshoot of the Weymontachie.
Despite a long history of involvement in the fur trade, continuous contact with missionaries did not begin until about 1837. After 1830 Attikamek ancestral lands were actively coveted by lumber merchants. In 1910 the railway reached Weymontachie and the harnessing of the St-Maurice and Manouane rivers added to environmental and social pressures. A wage-earning class appeared during WWII, along with various social-security benefits.
See also NATIVE PEOPLE: SUBARCTIC.
Author NORMAN CLERMONT
Norman Clermont, La Culture matérielle des indiens de Weymontachie (1982) and "Qui étaient les Attikamèques?" in Anthropologica 16, 1 (1974); J. Helm, ed, Handbook of North American Indians, vol 6: Subarctic (1981).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.