Northern First Nations
Indigenous peoples from the top of Canada down to the tip of South America are known as Native North Americans. In Canada, the indigenous groups are also called First Nations.
Cree Nation is the largest group of First Nations people living primarily in the province of Quebec, divided into smaller groups (bands) that are found in Quebec. Some are also found in 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.
Major Cree Bands in Quebec
Additional Cree Groups
- Cree People of Northern Quebec
- Cree bands living in Fort George, Nemiscau, Neoskweskau, Nitchequon, Old Factory, and Old Post.
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.
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
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"
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
New Brunswick (NB) Large Groups
- Union of New Brunswick Indians; 75 Melissa Street, Unit 1; Richibucto Road, New Brunswick E3A 6V9
- 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
- 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; 153 Willowdale Drive, Dartmouth, NS B2V 0A5
- 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
- Bumsted, J.M. Canada's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. ABC-CLIO; November 17, 2003.
- Indigenous Canada
- Quebec Aboriginal Tourism
- The Canadian Encyclopedia: Eastern Woodlands Indigenous Peoples in Canada
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
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 24, 2008:
Thank you, William! The article by your daughter sounds really good.
William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on March 24, 2008:
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 (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 02, 2007:
Thanks, Everyone; I am overwhelmed by the comments. It is a real pleasure to do this series.
MrMarmalade from Sydney on December 02, 2007:
Great stories and pull in phptos. It is a magic experience following you
gabriella05 from Oldham on December 01, 2007:
It is a great pleasure to me to learn about other culture
Thank you very much
Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on December 01, 2007:
Patty! Another great continuance to your Hub series.
teeray from Canada on December 01, 2007:
Excellent hub, including the photos and videos! I will return to watch these again