Innu Nation Flag
Approximately 16,000 Innu (formerly
known as Montagnais or Naskapi) inhabit Nitassinan (eastern Quebec and
Labrador). They are based in 13 different communities - Utshimassit, Sheshatshiu,
Pakuashipi, La Romaine, Natashquan, Mingan, Uashat, Maliotenam, Betsiamites, Les
Escoumins, Mashteuiatsh, Schefferville, and Kawawachikamach.
The political realities of two provincial boundaries and the land rights negotiation process have led to the creation of regional political organizations which collectively represent the Innu people of Nitassinan.
Sheshatshiu and Utshimassit (Davis Inlet), the two Innu communities in Labrador, are represented by the Innu Nation.
On the Quebec North Shore, the Innu communities of Mashteuiatsh, Les Escoumins, Betsiamites and Uashat-Maliotenam (Sept-Iles) are represented by the organization Mamuitun, while the communities of Mingan, Natashquan, La Romaine and Pakuashipi (St. Augustine) are represented by Mammit Innuat.
A brief history of the Innu Nation
The Innu Nation is the governing body
of the Innu of Labrador. It represents the collective rights and interests of
approximately 1,700 Innu people in two communities, Sheshatshiu and Davis Inlet
(Utshimassit) under the direction of an elected Board of Directors. Legally, the
Innu Nation is a federally incorporated not-for-profit corporation, first
incorporated as the Naskapi-Montagnais Innu Association (NMIA) in 1977.
The Innu Nation's primary objective is to represent the Innu of Labrador in land rights (or comprehensive claims) and self-government negotiations. It has been engaged in this process since 1991, and is currently negotiating an Agreement-in-Principle with the governments of Canada and Newfoundland. The Innu Nation signed a Framework Agreement, the first major step towards a land rights settlement, in March of 1997.
The Innu Nation also exists to protect Innu land, Innu rights and the Innu way of life prior to a land rights settlement. Innu Nation maintains active cultural and environmental research and monitoring departments, both in support of negotiations with governments and to effectively intervene in major developments that might affect Innu interests. Since 1980, the Innu Nation has intervened in several major developments, including proposed hydroelectric projects on the Churchill River, military low-level flight training, and mining, road and forestry projects. Innu Nation continues to compile extensive documentation about Innu land use, culture and history, and continues to support the cultural aspirations of the Innu people.
Proposed developments on Innu territory
have also given rise to the need for Innu to deal directly with the developers.
'Impact-Benefits Negotiations' or 'IBAs' are becoming increasingly common ways
for companies and Aboriginal people to attempt to address issues arising from
proposed development projects. At present, Innu Nation is in IBA negotiations
with the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company (a subsidiary of INCO) around the proposed
Voisey's Bay mine, and is in discussions with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
about the proposed Lower Churchill Hydro development.
Relationship to other Innu Government Organizations
As a political organization representating of the Innu of Labrador, the Innu Nation works closely with the elected Band Councils in each community. The Chief of each Council is an executive member of the Innu Nation board.
Band Councils are responsible for the
administration of programs and services in each community. These include health
care, education, housing and social services programs. Innu Nation supports and
assists the Band Councils in negotiations with governments to secure funding and
local control over these vital services. The Band Councils have also established
the Innu Development Limited Partnership (known
as IED) to carry on economic development for the Innu people of Labrador.
The Killing of the Innu
Innu Nation : http://www.innu.ca
Innu Supportgroup -The Netherlands : http://home01.wxs.nl/~innusupp/innu-nl/index.html