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Stéphanie Pety de Thozée

Nitassinan

Quebec 2009 - in progress

The explorers, missionaries, traders or European anthropologists called them the “Montagnais”. They called themselves the Innus, “the human beings”. On the Nitassinan, “our earth” in Inuit language, lives today an autochthonous population of about 16000 people. Under the Indian Act established in 1876 by the Canadian government, this nation is divided in twelve “reserves” in the Québec-Labrador peninsula. Some talk of being dispossessed, of acculturation, of silent genocide... Women that we have met told us about a past in the woods. Far away and mysterious for some, it stays as regret for others. The elderly ones mention the times in boarding schools where, after having being taken from their families, they weren't authorized to talk their language and lived sad encounters. Every family expressed to us its worry and sadness when facing social and identity problems linked to drug consumption, alcohol and the difficulties to get to know who one is. And then, there is tomorrow...