Saguenay, Lac-Saint-Jean

The Jewels of the Kingdom

A country within a country, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean owes much of its deeply entrenched identity to its natural assets, like the Saguenay Fjord and Lac-Saint-Jean, but also just as much to the people who influenced its past and continue to build its future, like the Innu, or the Pekuakami Ilnu, to be exact.

Pekuakami is the Montagnais word for Lac-Saint-Jean. Nestled on the western shores of this veritable inland sea is the village of Mashteuiatsh, which means “where the point is,” a thousand-year-old meeting spot for the First Nations who inhabited the land. This land,

teeming with game, fish, and berries, ensured the survival of nomadic populations for generations. Blown away by the abundant natural resources here, Jacques Cartier himself gave the area its own special moniker: the Kingdom. In the 18th century, while trading posts were seemingly popping up everywhere, the Innu focussed their energies on fur trapping. Then came the 20th century with the expansion of the mining, forestry, and hydroelectricity sectors—the start of a new era for the Innu. Today, the First Nation of Pekuakamiulnuatsh has adapted to the modern world, all while remaining committed to passing down their ancestral know-how. By visiting Mashteuiatsh, you’ll discover the rich culture of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh.

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