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"My body is here but my spirit is always there": The Innu Language of the Forest [Innu Version]

Community of Ekuanitshit

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Introduction:

Community of Ekuanitshit, 2007

"My body is here but my spirit is always there." These are the words of Mathieu Mestokosho, in his accounts of his life as a hunter. They clearly express the intimate connection between Innu hunters and their hunting grounds.

The Innu are descendents of a nomadic people who travelled in all directions, from east to west, from north to south, in search of caribou. The Innu of Québec's North Shore, known as Mamit innuat, have always hunted caribou. When they kill an animal, nothing is wasted. It is important to use every part of the animal and to hang the bones in a tree as a sign of respect. As the Elder and great Innu hunter Mathieu Mestokosho says, "The fruit of the hunt is precious. Wasting it is a serious thing." Hunters communicate with the Master of the caribou, Papakassik, in their dreams, or through the songs of the drummer and sometimes when they are in the shaking tent.

The Innu also hunt fur-bearing animals like marten, mink, otter and wolf, exchanging their pelts for supplies like flour, sugar, lard, bullets and hides when they arrive at North West River. This town in Labrador is a gathering place for the Innu where fur trading is carried out. They arrive there in December after five months of travelling in canoes, over portages and on snowshoes. They are glad to see other Innu in North West River and to spend the rest of the winter there with them. In March they start their long journey down to the St. Lawrence River. When the ice breaks up in spring, they take their canoes from where they left them in fall and paddle downstream to the coast (Uinipekut). The Innu now meet once again, sharing the fruit of the hunt at a great gathering, a communal feast.

Still today, the Innu shape their world according to their traditional values of respect, helping each other and sharing. Our people are also caught between two worlds because the youth must be guided in learning the language of the forest, a language they can learn by taking part in traditional activities such as hunting.


ACC3559.1-2
© Musée McCord
Raquettes
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu ou Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1915-1925, 20e siècle
39.5 x 48.7 cm
Don de Hayter Reed
ACC3559.1-2
© Musée McCord

ACC5703
© Musée McCord
Chapeau
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1900-1925, 20e siècle
24.5 x 26.3 cm
Don de E. S. Holloway
ACC5703
© Musée McCord

L105.30.1
© Musée McCord
Arc
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu ou Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1900-1909, 20e siècle
3.3 x 147.3 cm
Don de Mr. Hugh A. Peck
L105.30.1
© Musée McCord

M450.0-1
© Musée McCord
Jambières
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu ou Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1875-1900, 19e siècle
21.5 x 56 cm
Don de Mr. David Ross McCord
M450.0-1
© Musée McCord

M977.98.3
© Musée McCord
Racloir
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone: Naskapi
Jimmish Einish
1965-1975, 20e siècle
4.1 x 31.4 cm
Achat de la Canadian Guild of Crafts
M977.98.3
© Musée McCord

M986.67.3.A-B
© Musée McCord
Raquettes
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu ou Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1906-1909, 20e siècle
34.5 x 41 cm
Don de Miss Sybil Ross
M986.67.3.A-B
© Musée McCord

M993.151.3.1-2
© Musée McCord
Bottes
Arctique de l'Est
Inuit : Kablunangajuit
Anonyme - Anonymous
1850-1875, 19e siècle
40.7 x 15 x 22.7 cm
Don de Ms. Priscilla Evans
M993.151.3.1-2
© Musée McCord

M998.10.11
© Musée McCord
Louche
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1940-1945, 20e siècle
11.1 x 6.1 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.11
© Musée McCord

M998.10.18.1-3
© Musée McCord
Plomb à filet
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1945, 20e siècle
7.1 x 11.5 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.18.1-3
© Musée McCord

M998.10.20
© Musée McCord
Hameçon
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1940-1945, 20e siècle
12.1 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.20
© Musée McCord

M998.10.22
© Musée McCord
Bourse à cordonnet
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1940-1945, 20e siècle
19 x 21.7 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.22
© Musée McCord

M998.10.27
© Musée McCord
Lance-pierre
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1940-1945, 20e siècle
3.3 x 7.5 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.27
© Musée McCord

M998.10.28
© Musée McCord
Aiguille
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1940-1945, 20e siècle
1.9 x 6.6 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.28
© Musée McCord

M998.10.40
© Musée McCord
Aiguillet à filets
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1945, 20e siècle
3.2 x 17.9 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.40
© Musée McCord

M998.10.62
© Musée McCord
Arc
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1940-1945, 20e siècle
45.8 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.62
© Musée McCord

M998.10.68
© Musée McCord
Collet
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1944, 20e siècle
18.6 x 7.9 x 49 cm
Don de M. Jérôme Rousseau Ph.D.
M998.10.68
© Musée McCord

M2004.32.1.1-4
© Musée McCord
Bottes et doublures
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone: Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1977-1978, 20e siècle
37 x 15.5 x 29.5 cm
Don de M. Serge R. Dubé
M2004.32.1.1-4
© Musée McCord

M2005.83.2.1-2
© Musée McCord
Mocassin
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1970-1979, 20e siècle
8.1 x 9 x 18.5 cm
Don de Mrs. Cynthia Gordon
M2005.83.2.1-2
© Musée McCord

M5048
© Musée McCord
Nettoyeur à peigne
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu ou Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1900-1925, 20e siècle
4 x 6.5 x 36.9 cm
Achat de C. F. Bellefleur
M5048
© Musée McCord

M5871.0-1
© Musée McCord
Raquettes
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone: Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1910-1920, 20e siècle
46.3 x 57.3 cm
Don de Mr. E. Lionel Judah
M5871.0-1
© Musée McCord

M8262.1-3
© Musée McCord
Modèle de canot
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu ou Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1909, 20e siècle
18.5 x 23 x 95 cm
Don de Mrs. James H. Peck
M8262.1-3
© Musée McCord

M10403
© Musée McCord
Modèle de toboggan
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu ou Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1865-1925, 19e siècle ou 20e siècle
3.5 x 2.5 x 15.7 cm
Don de la Natural History Society of Montreal
M10403
© Musée McCord

M12994.1-2
© Musée McCord
Raquettes
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Innu ou Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1900-1925, 20e siècle
52.5 x 61 cm
Don de Mr. E. H. Topham
M12994.1-2
© Musée McCord

ME957.11
© Musée McCord
Modèle de toboggan
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone: Naskapi
Anonyme - Anonymous
1945-1955, 20e siècle
Bois et babiche
16.7 x 10.7 x 72 cm
Achat de la Canadian Guild of Crafts
ME957.11
© Musée McCord

ME988.138.1A-B
© Musée McCord
Mitaines
Subarctique de l'Est
Autochtone : Cri de l'Est ou Innu
Anonyme - Anonymous
1970-1980, 20e siècle
25 x 39 cm
Don de Mrs. Helen Austin Shopalovich
ME988.138.1A-B
© Musée McCord

MP-0000.361.6
© Musée McCord
Photographie
Maison autochtone, Mingan, QC, 1920
George R. Lighthall
1920, 20e siècle
Gélatine argentique
5 x 8 cm
Don de Mr. W. D. Lighthall
MP-0000.361.6
© Musée McCord

MP-0000.361.11
© Musée McCord
Photographie
Groupe innu, Mingan, QC, 1920
George R. Lighthall
1920, 20e siècle
Gélatine argentique
5 x 8 cm
Don de Mr. W. D. Lighthall
MP-0000.361.11
© Musée McCord

MP-0000.361.18
© Musée McCord
Photographie
Armature de tente et chef autochtone, Mingan, QC, 1920
George R. Lighthall
1920, 20e siècle
Gélatine argentique
5 x 8 cm
Don de Mr. W. D. Lighthall
MP-0000.361.18
© Musée McCord

MP-0000.361.19
© Musée McCord
Photographie
Groupe d'autochtones innus devant une tente, Mingan, QC, 1920
George R. Lighthall
1920, 20e siècle
Gélatine argentique
5 x 8 cm
Don de Mr. W. D. Lighthall
MP-0000.361.19
© Musée McCord

MP-0000.1107.5
© Musée McCord
Photographie
Groupe innu devant une tente, QC, vers 1881
Jules-Ernest Livernois
Vers 1881, 20e siècle
Gélatine argentique
11 x 16 cm
Don de Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
MP-0000.1107.5
© Musée McCord

© Musée McCord Museum