Portrait of the Naskapi Nation


13:46 min. - The Naskapi nation began negotiations with the Quebec government in 1966 at the same time as the Baie-James Cree, and came to a reciprocal agreement. That is how the Convention du Nord-Est québécois was signed.


Roby Sandy-Robinson - Negotiations began in 1966 for the Northeastern Agreement. An agreement was signed in 1978. As the agreement, the government gave the Naskapi people a sum of nine million dollars.
We then founded a corporation, the Naskapi Development Corporation, duly registered according to the laws of the Development Association.
Five principles had to be respected. Efficiently manage the money in a way that is advantageous to Naskapi development. Invest the money in a way that would generate interest. Cure poverty. Promote education as a way of insuring the economy of the population. Create an adequate environment to improve the quality of life for the population.
This is what justified the relocation and construction of a new village named Kawawachikamach. The work was finished in 1984.
The mandate of the Naskapi Development Corporation was to safeguard and promote the Naskapi language, culture, and way of life.
Many resources are offered to those who want to be autonomous, or who demonstrate a willingness to become so. The corporation is a nonprofit organization, except for the store, which is a commercial enterprise.
Paul Mameanskum - As Supervisor of Public Works, I supervise road maintenance, housing, construction, water, and the water purification systems. I also manage the summer worker, are located to construct the building that houses the Band Council.
At the time, we were not affected by any severe storms, but in order to be ready for any situation, we instalated a large generator, as well as woodstove in all houses, which satisfied both heating and cooking requirements. In case of a power failure, the generator will supply power to five buildings, the radio station, Manekin, the local store, the garage, the fire station, and the clinic.
John Mameanskum - In 1978, the Naskapi Band Council signed an agreement with the Inuits and the Crees of James Bay.
Twenty-five years later, a clause concerning game wardens has not been settled.
Previously, it had been a woman who was the game warden, but she passed away. Reading the agreement, we can see the many changes that have been made. For example, in Schefferville the administration is different than what it was before the agreement, which now includes the presence of the Naskapis. There is also another change in Section 10 in the chapter pertaining to Health and Social Services. At the closing of the Schefferville, we met the minister with the aim of developing the health and social services sector.
Since then, the Naskapis have taken control of the sector, and created the first autonomous CLSC in the area.
Changes have also been imposed on the educational sector. There was already a school commission in Schefferville, but now there is a committee in charge of the dossier. In a democratic fashion, the Naskapis elect a chief and councilors, a General Director is also chosen, this is my job.
In addition, there are also consultants, and different committees that come from each sector of the Band Council, such as the police Committee, the Personnel Committee, the Leisure Committee, the Hunting Committee, and the Justice Committee.
The process is a lengthy one, and throughout the course of the year each committee must inform the population of its actions. The Naskapis are conscious of this weighty task, but they accept it and get involved by asking questions.
Philip Einish - In our society there is no one authority, and this sometime makes things difficult. The Naskapis have request but we cannot always grant them, I do not make any decisions alone, I always consult with the other council members.
Tomorrow, we will meet with the population to present them with what we have accomplished, as well as what we were unable to accomplish. We carefully follow our budget in order to avoid any deficit.
To me, the brotherhood is the most important thing, to have the ability to work together with all the members of the community. As our children grow, we must show them that it is possible to work together, they will eventually replace us, and they must learn to work within our system.
Our work is taught in the schools in order to preserve our language and culture.
Bill Jancewicz - This is where I developed the program for keyboarding, typing in Naskapi aimun. And it’s really simple, it’s set up so that you can type the way it sounds, so if you can speak the language and say the word, then you type the same words the way it sounds on the keyboard. If the word is mashinaikan, book or paper, the spelling is m-a-s-h-i-n-a-i-k-a-n, and it comes out on the screen in Naskapi syllabics, m-a-s-h-i-n-a-i-k-a-n. And that’s the way…
Theresa Chemaganish - I always advise the children to follow their studies, I warn them of all the difficulties they will confront if they don’t finish high school.
We offer different types of training, whether it is in daycare management, construction, or in the operation of heavy machinery.
We have both permanent and seasonal work in our society.
While proper schooling does not guarantee employment; people who are trained will have a better chance of finding a job.
Music - Philippe Mckenzie

1 Comment

Barbara Little Theriault 7 years, 11 months ago

I grew up for 20 yrs. in Schefferville. Many of the names and faces I remember...Went to school with Judas Sandy, Susan Tooma, Charlotte Pien, Johnny Mameusmkum....I made so many friends in school and their parents worked for IOC and were well paid. The government could have done more to help those people....I would give anything to go back to revisit my childhood community. Left so many friends, and still keep in contact with them through social media.....Great videos....

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