Algonquin (Algonkin) are a group of communities of Algonquian-speaking people living in western Québec and adjacent Ontario, centering on the OTTAWA RIVER and its tributaries. They call themselves Anissinapek ( Anishinabeg) or by the name of their local community.
Algonquin (Algonkin) are a group of communities of Algonquian-speaking people living in western Québec and adjacent Ontario, centering on the Ottawa River and its tributaries. They call themselves Anissinapek ( Anishinabeg) or by the name of their local community. The Algonquin have been known to Europeans since 1603, when they were allies of the French and of the Montagnais-Naskapi and Huron against the Iroquois. This conflict, which had its origins in the competition over the European fur trade, lasted throughout much of the historic period.
The Algonquin language has been classified as a dialect of Ojibwa, one of the languages of the Algonquian family. As the dialects of Ojibwa merge one into another, it is not possible to establish a definite linguistic boundary between other Ojibwa dialects and Algonquin. However, the Algonquin are politically distinct from the Ojibwa. Neighbours of the Algonquin include Cree, Ottawa, Huron and Iroquois.
Early Economic and Social Systems
Since Algonquin nations or local communities were largely independent of one another, relations between an individual Algonquin band and other groups depended largely on local conditions. Marriages took place between Algonquin and other groups and generally relations between neighbouring communities were tempered by kinship ties regardless of language or other designations. Relationships with the Iroquois nation were turbulant, with hostilities most pronounced during the 17th and 18th centuries; however, some Algonquin lived peacefully alongside Catholic Iroquois at Oka, a mission reservation near Montréal.
The Algonquin were hunters who lived in communities comprised of related families. The communities were egalitarian, with leadership provided by respected elders and heads of families. In the southern-most locations where both climate and soils permitted, some groups were also agricultural communities.
During the 19th century, modern Indian reserves and communities emerged, often near the former trading posts. Hostilities with Iroquoians ceased as Algonquin and Iroquois worked together for the betterment of conditions for native peoples as a whole. More recently Algonquin nations have joined with the Cree and other nations to develop projects to help prevent the erosion of their traditional way of life. The number of registered Algonquin was 10 457 in 1996.