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Montagnais-Naskapi Indians of Canada

Montagnais-Naskapi. The first component, a French word meaning "mountaineers," and so called from the character of their country; and the second, a term of reproach applied by the Montagnais themselves to their more northern kindred. Also called:

Chauhaguéronon, Huron name.
Kebiks, said to have been so named on account of their warning cry of "Kebik!" when approaching in
  canoes the rapids of the St. Lawrence near Quebec.
Ne-e-no-il-no, a name used by themselves, meaning "perfect people."
Shoudamunk, Beothuk name, meaning "good Indians."
Tshe-tsi-uetin-euerno, a name used by themselves and said to signify "people of the north-northeast."
Ussagane´wi, Penobscot name, meaning "people of the outlet."
Ussaghenick, Malecite name.

Connections. The Montagnais-Naskapi belong to the Algonquian linguistic stock, their nearest relatives being the Cree from whom they are set off by certain phonetic peculiarities.

Location. Between St. Maurice River and the hinterland of Labrador, and from the River and Gulf of St. Lawrence to James Bay, including also the entire interior of the Labrador Peninsula. The Labrador division has sometimes been made independent under the name "Nascapee" (Naskapi) but without sufficient justification.

Bands

The southern bands of this group were encountered by Europeans early in the seventeenth century while the northern ones, except for some on James Bay, were but little known until the nineteenth century. To this circumstance, more than anything else, we owe the two names Montagnais and Naskapi. Bands which probably existed in some form or other in 1650, although not necessarily under the names given, were the following:

Bersimis, on Bersimis River.
Chicoutimi, at Chicoutimi and northward.
Chisedec, on Seven Islands and Moisie River.
Escoumains, on and near Escoumains River.
Godbout, on Godbout River.
Mistassini, about Lake Mistassini.
Nichikun, about Nichikun Lake.
Ouchestigouetch, at the heads of Manikuagan and Kaniapiskau Rivers.
Oumamiwek or Ste. Marguerite, on Ste. Marguerite River and to the westward.
Papinachois, at the head of Bersimis River and eastward.
Tadousac, on the west side of the lower Saguenay River.
By 1850 (following Speck, 1942) we find that some of these, including the Chisedec, Oumamiwek, and Papinachois, have disappeared or been renamed, and the following added: Barren Ground, on the middle course of George River.
Bersimis, on Bersimis River.
Chicoutimi, at Chicoutimi and northward.
Chisedec, on Seven Islands and Moisie River.
Escoumains, on and near Escoumains River.
Godbout, on Godbout River.
Mistassini, about Lake Mistassini.
Nichikun, about Nichikun Lake.
Ouchestigouetch, at the heads of Manikuagan and Kaniapiskau Rivers.
Oumamiwek or Ste. Marguerite, on Ste. Marguerite River and to the westward.
Papinachois, at the head of Bersimis River and eastward.
Tadousac, on the west side of the lower Saguenay River.
By 1850 (following Speck, 1942) we find that some of these, including the Chisedec, Oumamiwek, and Papinachois, have disappeared or been renamed, and the following added: Barren Ground, on the middle course of George River.
Big River, on Great Whale and Fort George Rivers.
Davis Inlet, south of the Barren Ground band.
Eastmain, on and to the northward of Eastmain River.
Kaniapiskau, at the head of Kaniapiskau River.
Michikamau, around Mishikamau Lake.
Mingan, on Mingan River.
Musquaro or Romaine, on Olomanoshibo River.
Natashkwan, on Natashkwan River.
Northwest River, north of Hamilton Inlet and on Northwest River.
Petisikapau, on Petisikapau Lake and in the surrounding country.
Rupert House, on Rupert Bay and River.
St. Augustin, on St. Augustin River.
Shelter Bay, on Shelter Bay River, a modern subdivision.
Ungava, southwest of Ungava Bay.
Waswanipi, on Waswanipi River.
White Whale River, between Lake Minto and Little Whale River and eastward to Kaniapiskau River or even to
  Whale River.

The territory of the Kaniapiskau and Petisikapau seems to be within that of the earlier Ouchestigouetch. The Shelter Bay band is of very recent origin and seems to have been in the land of the Oumamiwek. The Mingan, Musquaro or Romaine, Natashkwan, Northwest River, and St. Augustine bands are in a region formerly occupied by Eskimo.

Villages

Appeelatat, on the south coast of Labrador.
Assuapmushan, a mission, probably at the entrance of Ashuapmouchouan River into Lake St. John.
Bonne Espérance, at the mouth of Eskimo River on the north coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Chicoutimi, a mission, on the right bank of the Saguenay at the present place of the same name, Quebec Province.
Esquimaux Point, on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, about 20 miles east of Mingan.
Godbout, on the north shore of St. Lawrence River at the mouth of Godbout River.
Itamameou, a mission, on the north bank of St. Lawrence River east of Natashquan.
Islets de Jeremie, probably Montagnais, on lower St. Lawrence River.
Mingan, on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, near the mouth of Mingan River.
Moisie, a summer village of Montagnais and Naskapi, at the mouth of Moisie River.
Mushkoniatawee, on the south coast of Labrador.
Musquarro, on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, opposite Anticosti Island.
Nabisipi, on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, opposite Anticosti Island.
Natashkwan, on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, at the mouth of Natashkwan River.
Pashasheebo, on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Romaine, at the mouth of Olomanoshibo River on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
St. Augustine, with Naskapi, on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

History. Montagnais were met by Champlain in 1603 at the mouth of the Saguenay. Missionary work was begun among them in 1615 and they remained firm friends of the French. During the wars between the French and Iroquois, the latter drove some Montagnais bands out of their old seats, but they reoccupied them again on the restoration of peace. The first explorers of the Gulf of St. Lawrence found its northern shore as far west as Mingan in possession of the Eskimo, but the latter people soon retired from this region and the Montagnais took their places. They have gradually adjusted themselves to the new conditions brought about by European colonization, the fur trade serving to protect them from the expropriation suffered so much by the Indians farther south.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates the Montagnais and Naskapi together as numbering 5,500 in 1600. In 1812 they were supposed to total 1,500; in 1857 they were estimated at 1,100; and in 1884 they were officially reported at 1,395, but this figure includes only seven bands. In 1906 the Montagnais in the same territory, together with the Naskapi, numbered 2,183.

The Indian Tribes of North of America, by John Swanton, 1953

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