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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Inauguration of a seal skin treatment plant in Unamen Shipu (La Romaine)

Unamen Shipu (Quebec), December 7, 2004 – The band council of the Montagnais de Unamen Shipu and the governments of Canada and Quebec are pleased to announce the official inauguration of the Usine de délardage Atshuk, a business which specializes in the mechanical fat removal from seal skins. The opening of this new plant represents a significant gain for the socioeconomic development of the community of Unamen Shipu.

The Usine de délardage Atshuk could not have gone ahead without the financial contribution of various partners: the Government of Canada (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Economic Development Canada) provided $53 480, the Government of Quebec (Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones) contributed $53 240 and the band council of the Montagnais de Unamen Shipu provided a contribution of $30 160. The Tannerie du Nord inc. company provided its expertise.

"The economic development of Aboriginal communities is at the heart of the priorities at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The creation of the Usine de délardage Atshuk tangibly demonstrates what can be achieved when Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people join their efforts. This is the type of partnership that my department firmly supports," said the Honourable Andy Scott, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and non-Status Indians.

The Honourable Jacques Saada, Minister of Canada Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Francophonie, added for his part that "the creation of a seal skin processing plant is a project whose economic benefits are sure to become the pride of the whole Unamen Shipu community. Thanks to its dynamism, the population is finding ways to strengthen the community's economic base through the creation of skilled jobs and the acquisition of new expertise that will provide added value to the resource locally."

We believe, at the Government of Quebec, that an increased Aboriginal contribution to the economy of Quebec is essential for regional development. Through supporting this type of project, we want Aboriginal entrepreneurship to realize its full potential. I am convinced that this new plant will be an example of the success that can be achieved through partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people,” said Mr. Benoît Pelletier, Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs.

"For the members of the community of Unamen Shipu, the project of the Usine de délardage Atshuk represents an excellent opportunity to develop a resource within easy reach, which has not been developed yet, for lack of means. It is important to realize that government support will benefit both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of the communities from the Lower and Mid-North Shore. Our community is therefore proud to contribute to the economic and social expansion of our region," said Mr. Edmond Mesténapéo, Chief of the Montagnais of Unamen Shipu.

The Innu (Montagnais) community of Unamen Shipu has 972 members, 910 of which reside on the territory. It is located on the Lower-North Shore, approximately 400 kilometres to the north-east of Sept-Îles and can only be accessed by boat or plane.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the March 2004 federal budget.

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For more information:

Hélène Philippe
Regional Communications Manager
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
(418) 648-7675

Daniel Dezainde
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jacques Saada
Economic Development Canada
(514) 496-1282

Damir Croteau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs
(418) 646-5950

Serge Lechasseur
Economic Development Advisor
Regroupement Mamit Innuat
(418) 295-1334 or (418) 962-5094

Signature gouvernementale
Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
905, avenue Honoré-Mercier, 1er étage - Québec (Qc)  G1R 5M6 - 418 643-3166

Online as if : December 7, 2004