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Material Culture

By “material culture” we mean a group of objects, skills or methods used by the Innu in everyday life, and characterized by their simplicity, efficiency, quality, and spiritual connotations. The drum, the snowshoes, the canoe, the hunt for small animals, or the sweat lodge, without forgetting to mention meteorological knowledge and also the art of making fire are examples of basic knowledge essential to the nomadic lifestyle. Innu introduce their snowshoes to sun, dream about their drum, communicate with their ancestors, and answer to Papakassiku, the master of earthly animals. “Watch me” says Nimushum to his son's son, or Nukum to her daughter's daughter. “This is how you walk in snowshoes, light a fire, track an animal, purify yourself in a matutishan, make moccasins, and so forth.”


Life in the bush is very pleasant in the middle of winter, sheltered from the wind in a tent with a thick carpet of fir branches and a small wood-burning stove.

Basic Knowledge

2:35 min. - In the middle of winter, in a tent equipped with a stove, you can always use bark to start the fire. It’s easier to start a fire with bark, no matter what temperature it is outside.

Video Transcription

Zacharie Bellefleur - Pass me another piece of wood. Pass the bark. You place the bark like this. Another piece of wood. Now we light it. Now we won't be cold.
Now you can make a fire. You can always use bark to start the fire. It's easier to start the fire with bark. No matter what the temperature is... like now.

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