The Sillery “reduction” and Pachirini’s fief: first reserves for christian Indigenous

In 1637, missionaries of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, found a mission outside the village of Kébec. The Jesuits choose an important site for the First Nations, known as Kamisk8a 8angachitthe eel tip and the place to fish (known as Sillery).

Initially, the reduction of Sillery is called the St. Joseph Mission (not to be confused with its namesake created in 1680 in the Country of the Illinois Nation). The goal is sedentarization, conversion to Catholicism, and the education of the neighboring First Nations – Innu Nations, Atikamekw, Algonquin, the Wendat Nation, and even some converts from the Mohawk and Abenaki Nation. At the same time, unions between Nations, including that of the Settlers, are encouraged by missionaries because this type of union

will oblige all savages to love the French as their brothers. They testify to wish it with passion, for they never have more satisfaction with our speeches when we promise them that we will take their daughters in marriage, for after that there is a thousand applause. They tell us that when we do this marriage, they will hold us as their nation, considering the descent and kinship of families by their wives and not by men, all the more so, say he, that we know that the mother of the child, but not sternly who is the father.

At first, the Jesuits think that

These marriages can not produce any bad inconvenience, for never will savage wives seduce their husbands to live miserable in the woods, as do the peoples of New France, and the children who will be born of these marriages may be none other than Christians, nourished and raise up among the French and in their dwelling, besides that there is no appearance, in the docility of this people who is not warned of any other religion, that the married woman can not easily be solved. to follow the religion of her husband, in which, when she considers only the diversity of life, she will embrace a life of angels instead of the misery of other savage women

In the first decade, the mission was renamed in honor of Noël BRÛLARD de Sillery, a Frenchman turned Jesuit who donated his property to establish a mission to evangelize the First Nations of New France. Houses, a chapel, a mill and a bastioned enclosure are built there.

Thanks to the Sillery Register, which contains marriages and baptisms, the list of residents of 1666 and the Confession and Enumeration of 1678, we can see the acts of some 400 men, women and children who lived at the Mission.


The Sillery Register reflects the “Pan-Indigenous” role of Sillery’s mission. Representatives of several Nations visit or stay there: in addition to Montagnais and Algonquins of the beginning, there are Attikameks, Hurons, Nipissiriens, Abenaki, Socoquis, etc., who come to learn about the faith. . The presence or stay in Sillery of great figures of the Amerindian world like Noël Negabamat / Tekouerimat, Makheabichigiou, Pigarouich and Tgondatsa, confirm the role played by Sillery in Amerindian relations. Originally intended for the Algonquins and Montagnais, Sillery then welcomed the Abenaki, whose presence is reported from 1676 to 1688. This is the densest period of the register for the frequency of baptisms. In fact, most of the Aboriginal baptisms attributed to Sillery (1,099 out of 1,716, or 64%)

At birth, the child receives a Native American name of his own; at baptism, we give him a Christian name. Amerindians have no surnames and it is exceptional that the child has the same name as his father. Some
many Amerindians have inherited French nicknames, indicated in French in the Latin text: L’Arquebuze, Le Marchant, Castillon, Compere Colas, the great Jacques, etc.

From 1687, and for non-obvious reasons, the Pan-Indigenous families, now fluent in the French language, leave Sillery and the mission is abandoned.

At the same time, the Pan-Indigenous families of the late Charles PACHIRINI, Sachem of the Makwag clan of the WESKARINI Nation (nicknamed the Little Mission), leave the Montmagny Fief near the Tapiskwan River (known as the Saint-Maurice) where these Christian First Nations settled.

Trois Rivieres

From 1690 onward, we begin to find the families from these two sites at the Seigneury of the ile Dupas-et-du-Chicot, which Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye had conceded to Louis DANDONNEAU and his brother-in-law Jacques BRISSET. The site, which consists of a network of islands upstream of Lake Nebesek (also known as Angouleme and Saint-Pierre), had never been inhabited continuously before. The archipelago was a fishing and hunting area used by many neighboring First Nations.

In 1699, both Sillery and Pachirini’s fief were removed from the “Savages” and handed over to the Jesuits. The document indicates that the “Indians” had abandoned the sites near the Jesuit lands. The document was made between Hector de CALLIÈRES and the Jesuits, without any participation or consent of any First Nations representative or their descendants.

Further research is needed to examine the impacts of this legal document on the land claims of First Nations and Metis descendants who had their rights revoked in these territories.


Pierre de SESMAISONS, Raisons qui peuvent induire Sa Saincteté à permettre aux François qui habitent la Nouvelle-France d’espouser dez filles sauvages, quoyque non baptisées ny mesmes encorre beaucoup instruictes à la foy chrestienne [avant 1635] MNFIII

Léo-Paul HÉBERT, Évangéliser les Amérindiens : Le vieux Registre de Sillery (1638-1688) Je me souviens… Numéro 31, automne 1992 URI :

Jean COURNOYER, La Mémoire du Québec, de 1534 à nos jours, Stanké 2001



Les multiples noms des Métis: un peu plus sur l’origine du Chicot

En tant que document d’accompagnement d’un blog précédent: Iles Dupas et du Chicot , je veux partager avec vous les origines du terme parfois utilisé pour désigner les Métis.


Auparavant mentionné, mes aïeux Jacques BRISSET et Louis DANDONNEAU étaient les détenteurs de la seigneurie:

Le nom Chicot a été documenté en 1860, lorsque Johann G. Kohl a décrit dans un passage de son livre: Kitch-Gami, Vie Parmi les Ojibwés Lac Supérieur dans lequel il raconte sa discussion en français avec un homme métis qu’il rencontrait lors de ses voyages:

En l’absence d’autres informations, Kohl et beaucoup après lui déduit que Chicot signifiait sa traduction française comme “souches mi-brûlées”, et associé avec le teint des Métis qu’il rencontrait.
Chicot, comme beaucoup de noms donnés aux Peuples Autochtones tels que Nipissing, Ahousat, Yellowknives, Mississaugas etc., est en fait un nom de lieu. Chicot est une rivière qui se jette dans l’archipel entre Trois-Rivières et Montréal, entre Berthier et Sorel à l’île Dupas.

La rivière Chicot, en amont, prend son départ entre St-Gabriel de Brandon et St-Didace court en direction Sud à travers les communautés de St-Cuthbert, Saint-Norbert et se décharge dans le Saint-Laurent à l’île Dupas. Il est l’un des nombreux cours d’eau utilisés par les Voyageurs, ayant connus sa navigation à partir de leurs famille des Premières Nations. Comme les îles et les villes voisines étaient devenues bondés de colons attirés par le poste de traite à proximité, les Métis et les Premières Nations pagayèrent leur chemin en amont et se construsirent des communautés le long de ses rives.


Il est remarquable de souligner les noms des communautés qui ont été utilisés par les Chicots lorsqu’ils s’installèrent dans les communautés le long de la rivière Rouge dans ce qui est devenu le Manitoba: «Brandon» et «St-Norbert».

Le Centre du patrimoine au Manitoba, gardien du patrimoine francophone et métis de l’Ouest canadien a récemment souligné que la municipalité de Taché, Manitoba a récemment reconnu l’importance de Saint-Cuthbert non seulement comme lieu d’origine de sa famille mais aussi comme lieu d’origine de plusieurs familles. Cliquez ici pour plus d’informations

Enter a caption


Une Langue of à Nous: La genèse du michif, la langue crie mixte-française des Métis du Canada, Peter Bakker, Oxford University Press, 5 juin 1997

Autres lectures: (version française non-disponible – titres traduits à titre informatif seulement)

Kitchi-Gami: la vie parmi les Ojibway, Johann Georg Kohl, St.Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1985

One of the Family: Métis Culture in Nineteenth-Century Northwestern Saskatchewan, Brenda Macdougall, UBC Press, 1 janvier 2011

Contours d’un peuple: Metis famille, mobilité et d’ histoire, Nichole St-Onge, Carolyn Podruchny, Brenda Macdougall, University of Oklahoma Press, 18 déc 2014

Foire aux questions, Métis Nation of Ontario (cliquer pour le lien –en Anglais seulement)

The Many Names of the Métis: here’s more about Chicot

As a companion piece of a previous blog: Iles Dupas et du Chicot, I want to share with you the origins of the term sometimes used to designate Métis.

As previously mentioned, Jacques BRISSET and Louis DANDONNEAU were the holders of the title to the area:


The name Chicot was later documented in 1860, when Johann G. Kohl wrote a passage in his book: Kitch-Gami, Life Among the Lake Superior Ojibwa in which he retells his discussion in French with a Métis man he encountered during his travels:


With no other information, Kohl and many after him deduced that Chicot meant its literal translation from French as “half-burnt stumps”, and associated it with the complexion of the Métis he met.

Chicot, like many names given to Indigenous Peoples such as Nipissing, Ahousat, Yellowknives, Mississaugas etc., is in fact a place-name. Chicot is a river that runs into the archipelago between Trois-Rivières and Montréal, between Berthier and Sorel and known today as île Dupas.


The Chicot travels downstream, beginning between St-Gabriel de Brandon and St-Didace and flows South through the communities of St-Cuthbert, St-Norbert to discharge into the Saint-Lawrence at île Dupas. It is one of the many rivers used by Voyageurs, who learned to navigate it from their First Nations kin. As the islands and neighbouring towns became crowded with Settlers attracted to the nearby trading post, Métis paddled their way upstream and built communities along its shores.



It is noteworthy to highlight the names of the communities that were used by Chicots who set up communities along the Red river in what became Manitoba: “Brandon“, “St-Cuthbert” and “St-Norbert“.


Excerpt from:

A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Métis, Peter Bakker, Oxford University Press, Jun 5, 1997

Further readings:

Kitchi-Gami : life among the Ojibway, Johann Georg Kohl, St.Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1985

One of the Family: Metis Culture in Nineteenth-Century Northwestern Saskatchewan, Brenda Macdougall, UBC Press, Jan 1, 2011A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Métis, Peter Bakker, Oxford University Press, Jun 5, 1997

Contours of a People: Metis Family, Mobility, and HistoryNichole St-Onge, Carolyn Podruchny, Brenda Macdougall, University of Oklahoma Press, Dec 18, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions, Métis Nation of Ontario  (click for link)


Would anyone ever dare write THIS?

The following is a Critical, Satiritical Comment of Settler Colonial construct of identity.

The Inuit Fantasy of Being ‘Indian’?:)

By Qallunette
Twitter: @Qallunette

This is a response to the piece which was published in Alberta Poliblog Monday, 18 ApriL, 2016 by Professor Daniel Leroux, and retrieved from

To illustrate the bias of the Writer and the agenda of exclusive Métis organizations, the author of the present piece simply interchanged Métis, metis and corresponding Indigenous community names with Inuit, inuit, Inuk, inuk and Inuit communities. ed: Inuk is and actual Indigenous word meaning “person“; Inuit means “many persons” or “People“.

It has been several days since the Daniels decision came down from the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), and not surprisingly, it is being welcomed by an incredible range of organizations and individuals. To be clear, I’m cautiously favourable to some of the decision’s likely impacts, but I want to take a moment to focus on the section that is getting the most attention among those organizations and individuals that I am familiar with given my research.

Let me begin with the following statement, offered by Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella on behalf of the court, which is being repeated over and over again by nascent “inuit” organizations a little bit all over: “’Inuit’ can refer to the historic Inuit community in Nunavut Settlements or it can be used as a general term for anyone with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage,” Abella wrote. “There is no consensus on who is considered Inuit, nor need there be. Culture and ethnic labels do not lend themselves to neat boundaries.”
The statement seems relatively inane, but taken to its logical conclusion – as these organizations and individuals wasted no time doing – it explicitly argues for a position that fulfills the always-appealing Inuit fantasy of being “Indian.”

In the immediate aftermath of the decision, Pam Palmater has explained the impacts well in, “Don’t partake in celebrations over new Supreme Court ruling on Inuit just yet”: “To my mind, the Daniels decision is less about reconciliation and more about erasure of Indigenous sovereignty and identity. It takes John Ralston Saul’s idea of ‘we are all Inuit people’ together with the newest Canadian slogan ‘we are all treaty people’ and opens the floodgates to every person in Canada claiming a long lost Inuk ancestor and asserting their identity and control over our lands and rights. It has the potential to effectively eliminate any real sovereignty or jurisdiction Indigenous Nations have over our own citizens and territories. It does not bolster Inuit claims, but instead confuses them. It does not address the discrimination faced by actual non-status Indians, but paints them with the Inuit “mixed identity brush.”

Indeed, demographic research in Québec has demonstrated that a significant majority of the descendants of 17th-century French settlers today have at least one Indigenous ancestor, likely from one of the 13 Indigenous women who married settlers prior to 1680. I am one of those descendants, who, due to intermarriage among French-Canadians for 11 generations, has multiple Indigenous ancestors. But keep in mind that having 2, 3, or 5 Indigenous ancestors in the 17th century or 10+ generations ago represents no more than 0.1-1% Indigenous ancestry, a fact borne out over and over again in both genealogical (family history) and genetic (DNA ancestry testing) research in Québec. – ed: This factoid is running contrary to the Esteemed Dr. Gérard Bouchard, Historian, Sociologist and writer actually from Quebec, Canada, affiliated with the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. His brother is Lucien Bouchard, founding member of the Quebec Sovereigntist movement. See Professor Bouchard’s article here: (translated via Google for Readers and Esteemed Unilingual Academia)

In fact, the same studies, conducted by Québécois researchers in French, strongly suggest that it’s still more likely that today’s French-descendant population have English ancestry and ancestry from another European ethnicity (e.g., German, Portuguese, Irish) than Indigenous ancestry. In my own ancestral history prior to 1700, I am related to the daughter of a German aristocrat who later became the proprietor of an infamous brothel in Montréal and to an English woman who migrated to New France with her French husband.
Of course, in today’s world, Inuit obsessively mark our long-ago Indigenous ancestry, often in order to claim Indigenous identity. It has become integral to Inuit strategies to dispossess Indigenous lands, as the days-old response to the Daniels case is making clear. The glee with which these new “inuit” groups are claiming a slew of “rights” and even territorial jurisdiction is breathtaking. What’s more, many of these organizations – for example, a couple of “inuit” organizations in NunatuKavut and the largest in Nunavik, Québec, – actively oppose Indigenous peoples today through a variety of innovative revisions to history and political claims. It’s disheartening to see these efforts come to fruition in the Daniels decision.

In, “The Supreme Court ruling on Inuit: A roadmap to nowhere,” a noted Inuk scholar laid out what’s at stake in the Daniels decision for the Inuit people, hours after the decision: “If Inuit identity really is simply about mixed aboriginal and non-aboriginal ancestry, can a distant ancestor located in an archival document or even a DNA test now serve as bases for adjudicating claims of Inuit identity rather than culture, community or link to the Inuit people? … Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Thursday that the government of Canada plans to respect the Daniels decision and will work toward reconciliation – let’s hope that governments are clear on what it means to reconcile with historically rooted indigenous peoples rather than more recently identifying individuals.”

Without a doubt, the new “inuit” – who often openly admit to identifying as “inuit” either because they’re not accepted as Indigenous by those Indigenous peoples whose territories they inhabit and/or as a way to access Charter rights – are largely French-descendant people whose claims to Indigeneity must be challenged. While there are certainly parallel claims by peoples who have been unjustly disenfranchised by the Indian Act regime – and I am personally quite sympathetic to such claims – the new “inuit” employ the language of colonialism, violence, and victimhood as a symbolic weapon against Indigenous peoples.

I’ll leave you with this thought: under the SCC’s recent argument, upwards of 10 million descendants of the earliest French settlers now living in Rigolet, in Yellowknife, in Goose Bay, in Nain, and other locations, can be considered Inuit, simply because they have one Indigenous ancestor (often the same!) prior to 1700, a period in which no more than a few thousand French settlers lived in a dozen settlements along Northern rivers.
The SCC’s inability or unwillingness to adopt Indigenous forms of governance and self-determination – including when it comes to community membership and/or citizenship – in its own boundary-making exercise, speaks to its role as a colonial institution. I hope the ensuing conversation presents a coherent challenge to the white fantasy of becoming “Inuit” that Daniels has authorized.

capital M

Qallunette is an *actual* keeper of her family’s Oral History. As Métis from unceded Atikamekw Nation land of Nitaskinan, her grandparents did not let her forget her kinship. She grew up Métis with her parents in Lanaudière and Nunavut and currently resides at Tiohtià:ke unceded land.

Qallunette is neither Academia nor Polity, but grows increasingly irritated at its lateral violence while Indigenous Peoples attempt to Own Ourselves, and would like to see more effort on Decolonization of Academic spaces – or at a bare minimum, respectful discourse towards Indigenous communities who share land outside their own. Policing identity and belonging must be left to the communities who share common land.

If the Supreme Court of Canada does allow to do so, strange that Professor Leroux allow himself there from an external standpoint.
Whether Inuk, First Nation or Métis, it is our ties to the land that identify us – certainly not persons who are (or who have chosen) to self-identify as Easterners-White-With-Indigenous-Ancestor-Yet-White-Nevertheless-Pride.


#Métis Ruling: So now what?

Yesterday was the Supreme Court Ruling about giving Thanks and acknowledgement to the people who sacrificed so much to get to the highest court in the land. For a plain language interpretation of the ruling, my friend Dr. Sébastien Malette, who helped the Métis Federation of Canada prepare their Factum for the cause, has taken the time to explain to me what the ruling means. Click here to see his take on it.

Today and henceforth, the hard work begins.

So now what?

This is where the Nation – or Community – comes to play.

Metis ruling

Nations AND CommunitiesPlural.

I refuse to wallow in negativity – it’s standing room only in there already. I have no desire , claim to fame or recognition because it’s not even close to being part of my wheelhouse. Notice: no PayPal button anywhere on my blog.

My community is Nitaskinan. My ties are tied to the land of my Indigenous ancestors. The home and hearth of my many First Nations ggggrandmothers. The Settler construct of ownership is not part of my wheelhouse either.

Treaty Métis (Otipemsiwak?) needs are different than Unceded-Land Métis (Abitawisiwak?). Even though some of us have indeed kinship connections, the land which claims us is as different as the harvest she gives to nourish us.

My community sits on Atikamekw land for which a Comprehensive Land Claim and Self-Government Negotiations currently being negotiated with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

My community may need to re-learn our Oral History. My community may need healing. My community may need Economic Development.

Settlers living on Atikamekw Land need Truth, Humility, Honesty, Wisdom, Respect, Courage and Love and implement all 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

My community will need to rekindle our kinship with the Atikamekw Nation and help our Community as Stewards of Nitaskinan.

Kwei. Qallunette nit icinikason!  Nitaskinan ni otcin. Ni mireriten!


Historic Ruling

by Dr. Sebastien Malette, Consultant to the Metis Federation of Canada, Intervenor in SCC Daniels Appeal

I have attached the Metis Federation of Canada (MFC) Factum of the Intervener for the Daniels case per a drop box link here.

At the last page you can see the argument brought forward the Court: that if any consideration should be given to the Métis question about identity, it should be in line with the most progressive International standards when it comes to the recognition of both Indigenous diversity (and thus Métis diversity within Canada as already recognized by the SCC), and the ability for each Métis/Non-Status community to self-define their identity and relationship with the Federal government.

For that reason, MFC has submitted to the SCC that:
(1) self-identification,
(2) ancestral connection and
(3) community acceptance

should suffice as criteria under the section 91(24), not only for the Métis peoples, but in fact also for the Non-Status Indians, in fact for all Indigenous peoples of Canada.

In short, the MFC has offered a way forward to cut across all these arbitrarily lines and red tapes that now divide Indigenous identities from a head of power standpoint.

It is hoped in my understanding that this suggestion could potentially limit the propagation of animosity between the different Indigenous groups and identities, due to governmental selective recognition and action.

Hence MFC tried their best to be fair and mostly inclusive for any Indigenous involved under section 91 (24), and for all future generations.

It is also my understanding that this would not have been possible without the precious pro-bono help from Christopher Devlin and Métis lawyer Cynthia Westaway and their Law firm (Devlin, Gailus Westaway), who stood up with us shoulder to shoulder.

Tomorrow, many hope a new direction. I take this opportunity to salute the memory of Harry Daniels, and the courage of his son, Gabriel. I also salute Leah Gardner, from Ontario; Terry Joudrey, from Nova Scotia.



La question: Aaniin odoodemaayan?


Aaniin odoodemaayan?

Je ne peux pas répondre à cette question. Je sent parfois comme si la réponse m’a été volée. Mais je continue à la chercher.

Le nom d’origine de la rivière St-Maurice était “Métabéroutin”, nom Algonquin qui signifie “décharge du vent”; la Nation Atikameks de Haute-Mauricie la nomme toujours “Tapiskwan Sipi”, la “rivière de l’aiguille filée”.La Nation Abénaquis la nomme “Madôbaladenitekw” ou la “rivière qui se termine”.

Une rivière. Plusieurs noms. Des noms qui veulent dire quelque chose, qui informent du terrain. Des noms Autochtones.

En cherchant ma généalogie matriarchale, beaucoup de mes ancêtres “apparaissent” de nulle part. Des irrégularités d’orthographe dans les registres de l’Église, des entrées manquantes, des espaces vides. Pleins de culs-de-sac.

État et l’Église; Église et l’État. Travaillant ensemble en étroite collaboration aussitôt les Jésuites remplacés par les Sulpiciens en tant que curatelle des registres de Kebec / Nouvelle-France / Bas-Canada / Canada-Est / Québec. La Société Notre-Dame de Montréal, fondée par De la Dauversière , avait pour but de convertir et civiliser les Peuples Autochtones, suite aux directives du Roi Louis XIV et la dissolution de la Compagnie des Cent-Associés de la Nouvelle-France.  

Séminaire Saint-Sulpice, Tiohtià: ke.

Comment pourraient-ils civiliser mes ancêtres?

Traduire leurs noms, il semble. Les * Franciser *, peut-être?

En lisant les “Relations des Jésuites” (1632-1673),  on peut conclure que Lallemont, LeJeune, Bréboeuf et autres ont fait une tentative d’enregistrer les noms sous la forme écrite plus proche possible. On peut reconnaître les protagonistes communs des différents auteurs même si l’orthographe diffère.

Par exemple, Noël Negabamat, Tekouerimat, Tek8erimat était un guide constant des premiers Jésuites. Plus tôt dénommé Noël Negabamat, Père LeJeune a veillé expliquer son changement de nom qui refléta son ascendant au rôle de capitaine de sa communauté. Ironie du sort, capitaine dechasse est le terme également utilisé par les Métis Otipemsiwak des Prairies.

Comme nous pouvons constater dans la correspondance plus tard, Capitaine Noël Negabamat Tekouerimat pouvait converser en français et en anglais – après avoir passé du temps avec les Anglais dans la terre des Abénakis:


Correspondance entre Noël Negabamat Tekouerimat, Capitaine Chrétien, à Père LeJeune en France, Relations des Jésuites, 1654.

Qu’en est- il de *l’autre* Noël? Mon ancêtre Noël Langlois?

Enregistré en tant que Pilote (capitaine) du Fleuve Saint-Laurent et pêcheur. Dont l’ identité est vivement débattue, mais dont la généalogie est bien documentée. Dont les descendants vivent sur la terre Atikamekw de Nitaskinan que les colons appellent Lanaudière et Mauricie?

Un autre de mes ancêtres et l’ancêtre de nombreux Voyageurs, Hivernants et de Métis Otipemsiwak.

C’est peut-être seulement qu’une coïncidence que ces 2 Noël du même âge vivaient côte à côte à Kamiskoua-Ouangachi – la Mission de Sillery. un Chef chrétien Autochtone et un Colon. L’un capitaine et pêcheur – l’autre un pilote et pêcheur.

Regardons d’autres noms Autochtones qui ont été francisé par les missionnaires sulpiciens:




Aaniin odoodemaayan?

I can’t answer that question. Sometimes it feels like the answer was stolen from me. But I keep trying to look for it.

The original name of the St-Maurice river was “Métabéroutin”, given by Algonquin, which means “discharge of the wind”; the Atikameks of Haute-Mauricie still call  “Tapiskwan Sipi”, the “river of the threaded needle”. The Abenaki call it “Madôbaladenitekw” or the “river that ends”.

One river. Multiple names. Indigenous Place Names.

So many of my ancestors just “appeared” out of nowhere. Spelling irregularites in Church Registries, Missing Entries, Blank Spaces. Dead Ends.

State and Church; Church and State. Working closely together since the Jesuits were replaced by Sulpicians as curators of Kebec / New France / Lower Canada / Canada-East / Québec records. The Société Notre-Dame de Montréal, founded by De la Dauversière, aimed to convert and civilize Indigenous Peoples.

Séminaire Saint-Sulpice, Tiohtià:ke.

How would they CIVILIZE my Ancestors?

Translate their names, it seems. *Frenchify*, if you will?

Reading “Relations des Jésuites” (1632 to 1673) from the first year the annual diary was published, one can tell that Lallemont, LeJeune, Bréboeuf et al tried to record a person’s name in the closest written form of how Indigenous Peoples called themselves. Common protagonists of the different authors are recognizeable, even if the spelling differed.

An example, Noël Negabamat, Tekouerimat, Tek8erimat was a constant guide to the early Jesuits. Earlier referred as Noël Negabamat, Père LeJeune made sure to explain his change of name to reflect his ascendance to the role of Captain to his community. Ironically, Captain of the Hunt is the term also utilized by Otipemsiwak Métis out in the Prairies. 

Studio_20160401_190129.pngThe Western Abenakis of Vermont: War Migration, and the Survival of an Indian People by Colin G. Calloway UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA PRESS | March 1, 1994 |

As we can see in later correspondence, Capitaine Noël Negabamat Tekouerimat could converse in both French and English – having spent time with the English in the land of the Abenaki:


Correspondence between Noël Negabamat Tekouerimat, Capitaine Chrétien, à Père LeJeune en France, Relations des Jésuites, 1654.

What about the *other* Noël? Noël Langlois?

Recorded as a Pilote (Captain) of the Saint-Lawrence river and fisherman.  Whose identity is hotly debated, but whose genealogy is well documented. Whose descendants live on the Atikamekw land of Nitaskinan. Lanaudière, as the Settlers call it.

Another Ancestor of mine and of many Voyageurs, Hivernants and Otipemsiwak Métis.

It is perhaps coincidental that these 2 Noël lived side by side in Sillery: one Indigenous man and one Settler. One a Captain, a Chief and fisherman – the other a Pilote and fisherman.

But then we look at other Indigenous names that were Frenchified by the Sulpician missionaries:





ANÉN:TAKS and L’HÉRISSON means porcupine in Kanien’kéha and French

And she was also recorded in Latin as SILVESTRI:  “De la Forêt” or “of the Forest”.


The missionaries at Sillery used the term to refer to either baptisms in the forest and as reference to Indigenous Peoples who had been baptised:



And the name of her father on her marriage record was Nicolas ARENDAKE:


Could Nicolas ARENDAKE also be known as SILVESTRI?


There are probably more Indigenous men with Frenchified historical records since the creation of the Sulpician Order. While they may not be solely responsible for our enfranchisement, their assimilation techniques set the tone.

Source: Solving the Indian Problem › specialedition8

As I look for clues to help me answer which odoodem my ancestors belonged to, my sadness about the past and my uncomfort and anger grows at any present-day assimilation tactics.

With gratitude to Rebekah Ingram, linguist and PhD candidate. Her enlightened approach to reclaiming Indigenous Place Names and her allyship with Indigenous Peoples inspired me to look for these clues. 

With gratitude to Thohahente for the gift of Sacred oien’kwa – in a Red pouch.

Niawen’kó:wa. Tiatén:ro






Niska – Bernaches – Geese

Niska are flying due North this Miroskamin (Spring). They aren’t even pausing on the shores of Kitchi Sipi (Saint-Lawrence river) near Moriak.

Niska is the Atikamekw word for Geese. In French, they used to be known as Bernaches, but now are called Outardes.

My grandfather would take down the taps out of the maple trees whenever Niska flew due North without stopping. The rain would soon start and the sap would loose its sweetness.

Bernaîche is the name my early ancestors took when they were required by Colonists to take a last name.

Bernaiche ascendance
Bernèche, Bernaîche, Bernache

Sîkon is over; Miroskamin is upon us.

Perce-neiges. Moriak (Montréal), taken March 27th, 2016.

Wearing Medicine pouch as an act of Decolonization

I have to be honest: growing up, I’d never seen a Medicine pouch. But then again, neither had I even attended Powwow or Sweat Lodge. They were banned by the government in 1925.

Kill the Indian, Save the Man.

First time I saw a Medicine pouch was sometimes in the 1990s – I don’t remember exactly when, but I know that I was expecting at the time.

I was fascinated by how beautiful the “necklace” was: made of leather I could smell had been smoke-tanned. The smell of “home tanned” leather triggers some visceral response in me. But there was something more familiar about the pouch that kept niggling at the back of my mind.

Year after year, attending Powwows and other Indigenous cultural events, I’d see these “necklaces” at the vendor booths. Different patterns, differently crafted, each unique.

Out of all of the beautiful crafts, these were what attracted me the most. But I never had purchased one – concerned about First Nation appropriation.

But why did this Medicine pouch seem so familiar?

My grandmother.

My Métis grandmother. The one who really, really would have never self-identified as Métis. The gggggrandchild of Catherine Anenonta and Louis Durand.

Her Scapulaires Verts.


I think she must have had a stash of them everywhere. Each pouch contained a shiny medallion and a piece of camfor. Each time she’d see me without mine on, she’d pull another one out like magic.

I hated those Scapulaires Verts. They STANK and made me reek. She’d make me afraid something bad would happen to me if I didn’t wear it.

My grandfather hated them. Once, while we were driving out of town, he asked me to give it to him, rolled down his truck window, chucked it out without saying anything more about it


Here we are, over 40 years since the stinky “necklaces”. What the heck were they anyways? Why did my grandmother insist I wear one at all times?

I consulted the Catholic Encyclopedia , under Individual Small Scapularies; several different ones are described, but nothing about Green Scapularies.

Apart from information from obscure religious sources on prayers to go with the scapulary, all I found was this paragraph, translated from French, from Mary of Nazareth:

“The Green Scapular was the subject of two successive approvals of Pope Pius IX in 1863 and in 1870 ; but Satan, who knows its invaluable worth, succeeded long and still today to prevent the distribution in large numbers”

Oh Satan.

But, heeey – the cultural partimony department of the government of Quebec has it listed as a cultural icon in their Répertoire



Around the same time of the Gradual Civilization Act, the Scapulaire Vert became the tool used to replace the medicine pouch. In the book, published in 1877, the Annals of the Propagandation of Faith, a single passage of how the “Savages” were adopting the devotion.

The Catholic Church exchanged medicine pouches for Scapulaires Verts. They tried to enfranchise us with a piece of green felt and shiny medallions. They convinced women that camfor was better than our Meshki Ki.


I now wear a medicine pouch, filled with Meshki Ki as an act of decolonization. And it doesn’t stink.

All Our Relations.