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Aboriginal encounters

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Lanaudière Lac Taureau
Photo prise par © Paul Villecourt

A stay in an Aboriginal community in Québec is an unparalleled opportunity to encounter people rich in tradition and heritage who seek to reconcile ancestral values with the demands of modern life. Some communities showcase ancestral customs; others focus on adventure or cultural discoveries, while still others offer community-managed accommodations.

Dwelling adaptation

While most First Nations peoples now live in North American-style houses, they once had to adapt their dwellings to a sedentary, nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle, as well as the climate and their location. As such homes can still be found across Québec’s landscape, travellers can visit a longhouse or sleep in a tepee. In the Great North, it’s even possible to stay in an igloo! These traditional Aboriginal dwellings feature all the comforts of modern life.
 
 
musee des premières nations
  Photo :  Jean-François Hamelin, Hôtel Musée Premières nations
 

Legends and traditions

The Pow Wow is one of the foremost celebrations of ancestral culture among the myriad of Aboriginal rites and traditions. Music, art, handicraft and cuisine are showcased during weekends all summer long. Dressed in traditional garb, participants dance and sing to the beat of drums. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is forbidden during these events. Other shows, festivals and events celebrate Aboriginal traditions. These offer an interesting look into lesser-known customs that are worth discovering!
 
 

Traditional Aboriginal dishes

As hunters, gatherers, fishermen and trappers, Québec’s Aboriginal peoples lived mostly off nature’s bounty and the St. Lawrence River’s plentiful fish. They got their sustenance from game animals, fish, mushrooms and berries they found where they set up their camp. Meat, fruits and vegetables were smoked and occasionally salted to help preserve them longer. Bannock, a type of flat, yeast-free, easy-to-make bread, was a staple food among Aboriginals. In fact, several restaurant chefs have  re-introduce traditional Aboriginal cuisine.
 
 

Artwork and handicraft

Aboriginal art is expressive, evocative and beautiful. Sculptures, paintings and everyday items created by various communities are all unique and often depict scenes from these peoples’ lives. The Cree are renowned for their leatherworking skill, while Inuit sculptures are famous throughout the world. Combining ancestral culture and modern elements, Aboriginal artworks and handicrafts evoke raw, often unfiltered emotions that make an impression on everyone.

 

UASHASSIHTSH
  
Photo :  André Quenneville, À l'Abri de la Tempête, ïles-de-la-Madeleine



KINAWIT | DISCOVER THE ANCIENT TRADITIONS

www.kinawit.ca

Go back in time and land in Anicinabe territory on the shores of Lac Lamoine, home to a rich Indigenous culture. A peaceful place where you can learn more about Québec’s First Nations through guided tours and cultural workshops.

 

WENDAKE | WITNESS ANCIENT TRADITIONS COME TO LIFE

www.tourismewendake.ca

The Wendake International Pow Wow is the place to be for this festive display of First Nations cultural heritage. Discover traditional dance and song, drum competitions, handicraft booths, children’s activities, and more.



NUNAVIK | ENTER A NORTHERN STATE OF MIND

www.facebook.com/nuuhchimiwiinuu

L'aventure fait partie du mode de vie au Nunavik. Ici, l'expression «nature sauvage» prend tout son sens. Laissez votre regard se perdre dans un paysage immaculé, passez la nuit dans un igloo ou expérimentez la vraie vie nordique lors d'un voyage de chasse ou de pêche en compagnie d'un guide inuit.

 

Indegenous Traditions

With its rich Aboriginal heritage, Québec offers an unusual experience steeped in history and authenticity. Learn about the 11 distinct First Nations and be rewarded with the artistic expressions and deep knowledge of age-old cultures. Learn the traditional techniques that allowed early Europeans to adapt to the Québec wilderness and are still used today. Indigenous peoples pride themselves on their knowledge — passed down from generation to generation—of culture, gastronomy and spirituality, as well as their great respect for nature.

 

UASHASSIHTSH | SITE OF CULTURAL TRANSMISSION ILNU
1514 rue Ouiatchouan, Mashteuiatsh,QC G0W 2H0 
www.cultureilnu.ca

ashassihtsh which means "Little Bay" opened its doors in 2012. This site which enjoys an exceptional location on the edge of the Pekuakami (Lake Saint-Jean) will allow you to be in direct contact with the millennial traditions of Pekuakamiulnuatsh. By visiting the various entertainment trays recreating life during the summer on the edge of the majestic Pekuakami, you will learn how the Pekuakamiulnuatsh lived on a daily basis. At the Pavillon des Arts et des Traditions, a guide will introduce you to the lifestyle of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh, a nomadic people who lived mainly along the Lac-Saint-Jean watershed and who moved there by its various streams.


PEKUAKAMIULNUATSH | NATIVE MUSEUM OF MASHTEUIATSH
www.cultureilnu.ca

Since 1977, the Native American Museum of Mashteuiatsh has been transmitting the history and culture of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh (Ilnus of Lac-Saint-Jean). Not only do you find knowledge about the Ilnuatsh, but also the other First Nations of Quebec and even the rest of the Americas. In addition to its permanent exhibition, the Amerindian Museum offers between two and three temporary exhibitions, as well as an outside visit and a shop space. These activities are also available as a guided tour by members of the community.