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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Micmacs

The Gaspé Penninsula has three Micmac communities totaling more than 5,000 people: Listuguj (3,300 people, including 1,900 residents); Gesgapegiag (1,500 people, including 1,200 residents) and Gespeg, whose some 500 residents live outside the reserve. The Micmacs of the Gaspésie region belong to a nation that is also present in the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The Micmac language is taught at school; it is still spoken in the communities of Listuguj and Gesgapegiag. Most Micmacs of Gaspé speak French, whereas the second language of the other two communities is English.

The originality of the Micmac culture lies in its adaptation to activities related to the off-shore fishery. The Micmacs notably developed the art of building boats intended for this type of fishing. At the end of the 18th century, following major socioeconomic changes having affected the Gaspésie society, many Micmacs became lumberjacks, labourers or construction workers.

Salmon fishing is still part of the social and economic life of the Micmacs. Since 1982, the aboriginal community of Listuguj has signed agreements on this subject with the gouvernement du Québec. The community is now applying its own fishing plan, in keeping with resource conservation objectives. During the 1980s, the community of Listuguj drew up a tourism development plan dealing, among other achievements, with the development of a Micmac culture interpretation centre located in the village’s old monastery.

As for the Micmacs of Gesgapegiag, they participated in the creation, in 1982, of the Société de gestion de la rivière Cascapédia, whose board of directors is composed of an equal number of aboriginals and non-aboriginals. The activities of the Société provide Micmacs with some thirty jobs related to salmon fishing. This community also runs a Micmac arts and crafts cooperative, and exports ash and sweetgrass baskets both within Canada and to the United States.

For its part, the Gespeg band inaugurated a community centre in 1987 and a traditional Micmac village in the summer of 1993. In 1999, the members began negotiations on self-government with the governments of Québec and Canada.

In 2001, the three communities teamed up to form a political and administrative organization, the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat, to offer common services, forge ties with non-aboriginal partners, in particular in the fisheries and forestry sector, and to prepare negotiations on comprehensive territorial claims. The Micmacs have also set up various services to improve the living conditions in their communities.

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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
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Last update: May 19, 2009
Online as of: November 11, 2004