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Territory : Nitassian

For thousands of years, the Innus have been living on Nitassinan, a boreal territory even larger than Labrador for which they are the guardians. With time, they have immortalized their knowledge on this land by bestowing it, in their Vernacular, with a very precise toponymy. Thus, there is no such appellation as “Sheldrake River” or “Saint Lawrence River”; only designations as Uanuaku (“round lake that has no charge nor discharge”) or Makatinau (“region of the highest mountain at the mouth of Mekatina River”) or Mashkuanu (“place looking like the tip of a bear tail”). Because the Innu language is a language of nomads, it is very utilitarian. Accordingly, a place is named to create a bearing that can be passed on by word of mouth. In substance, this is what can be observed by visiting the land and listening to Philippe Mckenzie’s song about the state of Nitassinan.


  • Mashkuanu
    Description Meeting place meaning: "at the end of the bear's tail"
    Latitude 50.216129
    Longitude -61.063213
  • Makatinau
    Description The highest spot at the mouth of the Mekatina River
    Latitude 50.537654
    Longitude -59.601688
  • Kuakushuanashkuat ka tshimishut
    Description Where poletimbers were set
    Latitude 51.557863
    Longitude -65.963287
  • Uashikuteu
    Description River from where you can see something hanging from afar
    Latitude 50.338887
    Longitude -60.749588
  • Kakatshitshau
    Description Terraced rise
    Latitude 50.487876
    Longitude -66.155548
  • Uashekamu
    Description Place with clear water
    Latitude 51.581337
    Longitude -65.813599
  • Ashuanipi
    Description Place to wait for good weather
    Latitude 52.534602
    Longitude -66.077271
  • Uteitinau
    Description Heart-shaped mountain
    Latitude 54.800685
    Longitude -66.908112
  • Mishta-ashini
    Description Big rock
    Latitude 50.729502
    Longitude -73.861084
  • Minai-nipi
    Description Lake where you find a kind of burbot
    Latitude 51.800972
    Longitude -61.399498
  • Minaiku-nipi
    Description Lake with white spruce
    Latitude 53.776312
    Longitude -66.467285
  • Pakuau-shipu
    Description River with very little water
    Latitude 51.252461
    Longitude -58.669739
  • Mishtamu
    Description Big spawning grounds
    Latitude 51.559144
    Longitude -65.703735
  • Tutushat
    Description Place that looks like two breasts
    Latitude 48.149138
    Longitude -69.739151
  • Aitu-mamiu
    Description River that splits in two
    Latitude 50.67253
    Longitude -59.600143
  • Pitashkueiau
    Description Long, winding river that cannot be navigated
    Latitude 52.44199
    Longitude -65.806046
  • Uauaku
    Description Round lake with no headwaters and no outfall
    Latitude 52.412472
    Longitude -65.642624
Map (GoogleMaps) of points of interest on Innu Territory

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