p. 2829

No. 1138.



Montagnais (French 'mountaineers,' from the mountainous character of their country). A group of closely related Algonquian tribes in Canada, extending from about St. Maurice r. almost to the Atlantic, and from the St. Lawrence to the watershed of Hudson bay. The tribes of the group speak several well-marked dialects. They are the Astouregamigoukh, Attikiriniouetch. Bersiamite, Chisedec, Escoumains, Espamichkon, Kakouchaki, Mauthaepi, Miskouaha, Mouchaouaouastiirinioek, Nascapee, Nekoubaniste, Otaguottouemin, Oukesestigouek, Oumamiwek, Papinachois, Tadousac, and Weperigweia. Their linguistic relation appears to be closer with the Cree of Athabasca lake, or Ayabaskawininiwug, than with any other branch of the Algonquian family. Champlain met them at the mouth of the Saguenay in 1603, where they and other Indians were celebrating with bloody rites the capture of Iroquois prisoners. Six years later he united with them the Hurons and Algonkin in an expedition against the Iroquois. In the first Jesuit Relation, written by Biard (1611-16), they are spoken of as friends of the French. From that time their name has a place in Canadian history, though they exerted no decided influence on the settlement and growth of the colony. The first missionary work among them was begun in 1615, and missions were subsequently established on the upper Saguenay and at L. St. John. These were continued, though with occasional and long interruptions, until 1776. The Montagnais fought the Micmac, and often the Eskimo, but their chief and inveterate foes were the Iroquois, who drove them for a time from the banks of the St. Lawrence and from their strong-holds about the upper Saguenay, compelling them to seek safety at more distant points. After peace was established between the French and the Iroquois they returned to their usual haunts. Lack of proper food, epidemics, and contact with civilization are reducing their numbers. Turner (1lth Rep. B.A.E., 1894) says they roam over the areas s. of Hamilton inlet as far as the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Their western limits are imperfectly known. They trade at all the stations along the accessible coast, many of them at Rigolet and Northwest r. . . . .
The bands and villages of the Montagnais are: Appeelatat, Assuapmushan, Attikamegue, Bonne Esperance, Chicoutimi, Esquimaux Point, Godbout, Ile Percee (mission), ltamameou (mission), Islets de Jeremie (mission), Kapiminakouetiik, Mauthaepi, Mingan, Moisie, Mushkoniatawee: Musquarro, Nabisippi, Natashquan, Pashasheebo, Romaine, and St. Augustine.


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