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Indigenous Peoples and Subsistence Fishing

In Upper Mauricie, the Indigenous communities are part of the Atikamekw nation and live on ancestral lands  called  Nitaskinan, “our land” in Atikamekw. For many years, fishing was an important activity for them, along with hunting and trapping.

Nitaskinan 2018 map, territory limits as detailed in the Declaration of Sovereignty.

Territory limits as detailed in the Declaration of Sovereignty, 2018

Traditionally, each family occupied a territory on which to hunt, trap, fish and pick berries and medicinal plants.  The families were often quite large, and these daily activities ensured their survival.

 

Sepia-toned photo, several Aboriginal families are gathered to share a meal in the great outdoors

Sharing a meal in the great outdoors is part of Atikamekw tradition

This method of dividing up the territory by family is still common practice for traditional activities like harvesting, hunting and fishing. These activities are highly prized by the First Nations, both as pleasurable pastimes and ways to feed their families, and so the traditions continue. Hunting and fishing are literally part of their DNA.

Constant Awashish, Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation
(subtitling available in FR / EN) View this video with a transcript (EN)