CULTURE AND HISTORY
Traces of the discovery of North America can be seen on the Lower-North-Shore. An abundance of resources drew the attention of numerous people who came for the fish, whales, seal oil and furs. Due to the sparse population, several traces of the passage of Europeans have withstood the test of time and have remained on the surface. The coastline of the Lower-North-Shore was frequented by the Inuit, Innu, French, Basques and British.
The archaeological sites found on the territory are exceptional. They showcase the traces of human presence throughout the ages as far back as 9000 years ago until the period of European contact during the 16th century. The largest and most recent settlement wave came from Newfoundland in the 19th century.
The seemingly inexhaustible stock of codfish, that attracted so many of the pioneers and fishermen to the region, almost completely disappeared in the ‘90s. Trawl fishing and overfishing in the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence contributed to the depletion of this resource. Through necessity, the residents adopted other economic activities. The Lower-North-Shore is undergoing great economic and social changes.
The eventful history of the Lower-North-Shore, coupled with its remoteness, has brought about a unique local culture, which is palpable in the language, the crafts and the day-to-day living.
Approximately 5,000 people live in fourteen villages, several of which are not connected to a highway network. Still to this day, many residents practice fishing, trapping and seal hunting to earn their living. Of Innu, Inuit, Quebec, Acadian, Newfoundland, British and Jersey descent, the residents of today speak Innu, French or English, an unusual linguistic combination for the province of Quebec.
The Innu and Inuit people have invented many ingenious objects for their daily use such as the snowshoe, the kayak, the canoe, and the dogsled. Both simple and sophisticated, they are still being used today. There are two Innu communities on the Lower-North-Shore, in the village of Pakua Shipi and on the reserve of Unamen Shipu. Innu and Inuit words are similar but they represent two distinct groups. There are no modern Inuit communities in the region.