Obedjiwan, Quebec

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Not to be confused with the former unorganized territory of Obedjiwan, now part of La Tuque.
Obedjiwan
Opitciwan
First Nations reserve
Obedjiwan is located in Quebec
Obedjiwan
Obedjiwan
Coordinates: 48°40′14″N 74°55′43″W / 48.67056°N 74.92861°W / 48.67056; -74.92861Coordinates: 48°40′14″N 74°55′43″W / 48.67056°N 74.92861°W / 48.67056; -74.92861
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Mauricie
Census division La Tuque
Settled 1825 (trading post)
Formation March 21, 1950 (reserve)
Government[1]
 • Chief Paul Méquish
 • Federal riding Saint-Maurice—Champlain
 • Prov. riding Laviolette
Area[1][2]
 • Total 9.27 km2 (3.58 sq mi)
 • Land 8.68 km2 (3.35 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 2,031
 • Density 234.1/km2 (606/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal Code G0W 3B0
Area code(s) 819
Website www.opitciwan.ca
www.obedjiwan.ca

Obedjiwan (officially designated as Obedjiwan 28) is a First Nations reserve and village on the north shore of Gouin Reservoir in the Mauricie region of Quebec, Canada. It belongs to the Atikamekw d'Opitciwan band of the Atikamekw Nation.[3]

Geography[edit]

Obedjiwan reserve is situated on the north shore of Gouin Reservoir, at 143 kilometres (89 mi) (direct line) south of Chibougamau, 118 km north of Wemotaci and 217 km northwest of La Tuque. The reserve is located between Lake Kamitcikamac (west) and Wopisiw Bay (East). In front (south side), there is the tip Martel Kiwam jutting into the lake Mamette.

The reserve is an enclave within the City of La Tuque. It is the most isolated Atikamekw reserve in Quebec. It is accessible by a long gravel forest road of 146 km, which reaches towards the east Quebec Route 167 linking Saint-Félicien to Chibougamau. Hence the distance by road to reach Chibougamau is 124 km. From Obedjiwan, Forest road 1045 reaches westward Forest Road 1009, built in the north-south axis to circumvent the Gouin Reservoir to the west; this road goes up to Chapais. The road distance between Obedjiwan and La Tuque is 319 km, with a forest road bypassing the Gouin Reservoir on the east side. Toward West, the distance Obedjiwan-Senneterre is 260 km. In this context of distance, the aircraft is a mode of transportation widely used.

Etymology[edit]

The word Obedjiwan, written in the standardized Atikamekw spelling as Opitciwan, comes from the roots oba or obe meaning "strait", and djwan meaning "running". So, it can be translated as "current of the strait/narrows/pass".[4]

The name, first attributed to the lake, has undergone many spelling variations. In 1825, when the Hudson's Bay Company set up a post, they called it Waupatchinauganiskau, which is understood to be the original form of the toponym. In 1871, explorer John P. Bignell visited the place and made mention of the name Obidjouan. In 1904, the Fifth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada called it Obiduan and this remained the accepted form until 1964. Other variations included Obijuan and Wabijiwoine.[4]

History[edit]

The area of the upper Saint-Maurice River had long been the homeland of the Atikamekw indigenous people. Lake Obedjiwan (a lake at the headwaters of the Saint-Maurice River that was inundated during the construction of Gouin Reservoir) was located along important canoe routes to Lac Saint-Jean via Lake Necouba (Lac Nicabau) and to James Bay. In the 17th century, and perhaps since prehistoric times, the shores of this lake were a gathering and trading place for the Atikamekw, as well as other indigenous people of surrounding areas, where they engaged in social, economic, and cultural interaction. The Atikamekw procured wheat, flour, and perhaps firearms from the Hurons, in exchange for moose or beaver skins.[5]

In 1825, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and the King's Posts Company established trading posts on Lake Obedjiwan, that quickly attracted indigenous hunters not only from the area, but also from the eastern James Bay and the upper Ottawa River regions. In 1840, the Hudson's Bay Company deserted Lake Obedjiwan and settled at Kikendatch Lake (now Kikendatch Bay at the outlet of Gouin Reservoir). Yet in 1911, the HBC transferred its Kikendatch Post back to Lake Obedjiwan, causing the Atikamekw also to return to the area. The HBC wanted to move away from competing dealers who undermined its trade at Kikendatch while the Atikamekw liked to avoid Europeans who became more and more numerous in the south. At that time, there was still no real settlement although the Oblates built a chapel in 1916, which was located on the left bank of the Saint-Maurice River opposite of the HBC Post, separated by the Obedjiwan Narrows.[4][5]

The area experienced a great change when the dam at La Loutre was constructed in 1917. The reservoir forming behind the dam flooded not only hundreds of lakes, including Lake Obediwan, but also the old settlement and its archaeological sites. A new village, 3 kilometers west at the current location, was not actually built until 1925 following arduous negotiations with the Commission des eaux courantes.[4][5]

On December 31, 1941, the Quebec Government proclaimed the Lands and Forests Act that provided for the reservation of lands for the benefit of "Indians". On January 14, 1944, an area of 2290 acres (9.27 km2) in the geographic township of Toussaint was transferred from the Government of Quebec to the Government of Canada, and was officially established as the "Obiduan Indian Reserve" on March 21, 1950. It was renamed to "Obedjiwan Indian Reserve" on January 23, 1964.[6]

Land history[edit]

  • 1941-12-31: Act of 1941, reservation lands not exceeding 133,550 hectares (330,000 acres) for the benefit of Indians by the transfer of the usufruct.
  • 1943-10-27: Surveying land for reserve Obedjiwan, Canton Toussaint (projected), Block A. Area: 926.72 hectares (2,290 acres).
  • 1944-01-14: Order in Council 160, transfer of the management and administration of the Government of Quebec to Government of Canada. Canton Toussaint (projected), Block A. Area: 926.72 hectares (2,290 acres).
  • 1950-03-21: Order in Council no. 1458, set aside the block acquired (1944) by Government of Canada to the use of Indians.

Current situation

  • Canton Toussaint (projected), Block A, acquired under the Act of 1941. Transfer governance and administration of Government of Quebec to Government of Canada, by Order in Council 160 (1944-01-14). Area: 926.72 hectares (2,290 acres)[7]

Demographics[edit]

Historic populations:[10]

  • Population in 2001: 1666
  • Population in 1996: 1464
  • Population in 1991: 1125

Language[edit]

Atikamekw language is still spoken by the vast majority of families, and therefore it is among the indigenous languages least threatened with extinction according to some studies. The language has some similarities with the Cree language spoken by the Cree communities of southern Quebec (Waswanipi and Oujé-Bougoumou). This parallel development of both languages may be the result of the frequent interaction between the nearby Cree and Atikamekw. The second language used in Obedjiwan is French.[11]

Mother tongue:[2]

  • English: 0%
  • French: 2.5%
  • Atikamekw: 97.0%
  • Other: 0.5%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ministère des Affaires Municipales, Régions et Occupation du territoire - Répertoire des municipalités: Obedjiwan
  2. ^ a b c d "Obedjiwan, Quebec (Code 2490804) census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  3. ^ Government of Canada, Aboriginal Canada Portal - Obedjiwan 28
  4. ^ a b c d "Obedjiwan (Réserve indienne)" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  5. ^ a b c Claude Gélinas (June 2001). "Le lac Obedjiwan, un lieu de rassemblement autochtone traditionnel" (in French). HISTOIRE QUÉBEC. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  6. ^ Natural Resources Canada - Legal Surveys Division, Historical Review - Obedjiwan
  7. ^ The application of laws and regulations in French Aboriginal 1627-1760 Ratelle, Mauritius, Ministry of Energy and Resources, 1991, 48 p... (Aboriginal studies).
  8. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  9. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  10. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001 census
  11. ^ "Cultures et traditions" (in French). Conseil des Atikamekw d'Opitciwan. Retrieved 2010-03-09.