Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
August 2004

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia





[This text was originally published in 1907 by the Bureau of American Ethnology as part of its Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. It was later reproduced, in 1913, by the Geographic Board of Canada. The work done by the American Bureau was monumental, well informed and incorporated the most advanced scholarship available at the time. In many respects, the information is still useful today, although prudence should be exercised and the reader should consult some of the contemporary texts on the history and the anthropology of the North American Indians suggested in the bibliographic introduction to this section. The articles were not completely devoid of the paternalism and the prejudices prevalent at the time. While some of the terminology used would not pass the test of our "politically correct" era, most terms have been left unchanged by the editor. If a change in the original text has been effected it will be found between brackets [.] The original work contained long bibliographies that have not been reproduced for this web edition. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]


[Contemporary information on the Algonquin language and people may be found at the following sites: the Encyclopedia of North American Indians, the Canadian Encyclopedia, at the American Indian Languages' site. Several links are given at this site.



Algonkin. (A name hitherto variously and erroneously interpreted, but Hewitt suggests that it is probably from (Micmac ) algoomeaking, or algoomaking, 'at the place of spearing fish and eels [from the bow of a canoe]'). A term applied originally to the Weskarini, a small Algonquian tribe formerly living on the present Gatineau r., a tributary of Ottawa r., E. of the present city of Ottawa , in Quebec. Later the name was used to include also the Amikwa, Kichesipirini, Kinonche, Kisakon, Maskasinik, Matawachkirini, Missisauga, Miohaconbidi Nikikouek, Ononchataronon, Oakemanitigou, Ouasouarini, Outaouakamigouk, Outchougai, Powating, Sagahiganirini, and Sagnitaounigama. French writers sometimes called the Montagnais encountered along the lower St. Lawrence, the Lower Algonquins, because they spoke the same language; and the ethnic stock and family of languages has been named from the Algonkin, who formed a close alliance with the French at the first settlement of Canada and received their help against the Iroquois. The latter, however, afterward procured firearms and soon forced the Algonkin to abandon the St Lawrence region. Some of the bands on Ottawa r. fled W. to Mackinaw and into Michigan , where they consolidated and became known under the modem name of Ottawa . The others fled to the N. and E., beyond reach of the Iroquois, but gradually found their way back and reoccupied the country. Their chief gathering place and mission station was at Three Rivers, in Quebec Nothing is known of their social organisation, The bands now recognised as Algonkin, with their population in 1900, are as follows. In Ottawa : Golden Lake , 86; North Renfrew , 286; Gibson (Iroquois in part), 123. In Quebec : River Desert , 393; Timiskaming, 203; Lake of Two Mountains (Iroquois in part), 447; total, 1,536. As late as 1894 the Dept. of Indian Affairs included as Algonkin also 1,679 "stragglers" in Pontiac, Ottawa co., Champlain, and St Maurice in Quebec, but these are omitted from subsequent reports. In 1884 there were 3,874 Algonkin in Quebec province and in e. Ontario , including the Timiskaming. Following are the Algonkin villages, so far as they are known to have been recorded: Cape Magdalen, Egan, Hartwell, Isle aux Tourtes (Kichesipirini and Nipissing), Rouge River, Tangouaen (Algonkin and Huron).

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Source: James WHITE, ed., Handbook of Indians of Canada , Published as an Appendix to the Tenth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa , 1913, 632p., p.13. Consult the entry under Algonquin languages at the Encyclopedia of North American Indians.

© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College