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Attikamekw [archive]

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The Attikamek language is part of the Algonquian linguistic group. This nation, in fact, has been very successful in maintaining the use of its language over the years. Between 97% and 100% of all members of the Attikamek communities in Quebec speak their language. The name Attikamek can be translated as "white fish". Also known as the "Têtes-de-Boules", a French language name that stuck with them from the 18th century onwards, they officially declared their Native name in 1972.

Total Population

The Attikamek Nation exists only in Quebec. Their population is estimated at 4,900 people, with nearly 4,000 residents in one or the other of the three Attikamek communities.


The history of the Attikamek people is a difficult one. Nearly destroyed by epidemics in the 1600's, they were reduced to a few families who took refuge in an area bordering on the territories of the Algonquin, Cree and Montagnais Nations. The wealth of their land came at a cost. Their communities were forced to suffer the consequences of each major development in the following centuries. The threat to their traditional way of life with the fur trade and the missionary crusades of the 1700's; the loss of their territories with the first developments of the forestry industry in the 1800's; the flooding of their settlements caused by damns and reservoirs at the beginning of the 1900's; and, finally, the arrival of mercury poisoning with the creation of hydro-electric power in the 20th century, marked the evolution of this people. That they have preserved their language and culture today, is evidence of the strength of the Attikamek people.


Three communities make up the Attiakmeks Nation: Manawan, Obedjiwan, and Weymontachie.


Each community has its own band council for the administration of local affairs. The Nation is represented politically by the Conseil de la Nation Attikamekw, also known as Attikamekw-Sipi.

Each Attikamek community has a community radio station linked to the network of the Société de communication Attikamekw - Montagnais (SOCAM).

Celebrated Personalities

Judith Kawiasiketct - Elder

Charles Coocoo - Elder

César Newashish - Craftsman, known for his birch-bark canoes (Deceased)

Pierre-Paul Niquay - Singer-songwriter

Additional Reading

 The Atikamekw
 Cree Cultures
 Cree Legends

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