Manicouagan or Côte-Nord Kawawachikamach Nitassinan! – The manic

Is the Quebec Federal Electoral District Redistribution Commission on its head? That’s the question I asked myself when I learned that its three members decided to rename the Manicouagan equestrian area “Côte-Nord-Kawawachikamach-Nitassinan” to testify to the First Nations presence on the territory Côte -North.

The commission, composed of a former judge and two retired university professors, decided to ignore the poll conducted by the MP for Manicouagan on the name of their equestrian sport. The latter received 1,140 responses and the majority of respondents favored the name “Côte-Nord-Nitassinan”. Respondents rejected the proposal retained by the Commission, namely “Manicouagan-Uapishka-Kawawachikamach”.

As I explained in a post of February 22nd, from the beginning I was in favor of the status quo, that is to say that the name of the equestrian sport remains the name known since 1968, namely Manicouagan. The name of this great river, derived from the Montagnais language, which the French called “Black River”, “the great river of Manikouaganistikou”, evokes the ancient presence of the Innu on the territory of the north coast. Jacques Cartier was already fascinated by this magnificent waterway in 1535.

Why would you want to rewrite history? In this case, the Commission carried out consultations. She consulted with the chief of the Naskapi First Nation, who confirmed in a virtual session that she supported the mention of Kawawachikamach in the new name of the Manicouagan equestrian area. It would have been illusory to believe that the leader of the Naskapi nation would refuse such recognition. You should know that Naskapi Country was created in 1978 as part of the Northeast Quebec Agreement and as of 2021 had a population of just 641. That’s less than 1% of the North Shore population.

The commission therefore decided to impose a name on the voters of a northern region to their sole satisfaction. In their report we can read: “The Commission cannot fully accept the proposal (Editor’s note: Côte-Nord-Nitassinan) as it would jeopardize its desire to have all First Nations and the Inuit nation on the Quebec federal electoral map should be represented.” . The place name Kawawachikamach reflects the presence of the Naskapi First Nation on the territory, it must remain in the name of the rider.”

The dice are rolled here! The commission insists and signs, enforcing a name that the majority of citizens rejected in an unscientific poll, but which is still valid. Furthermore, the addition of the phrase “Nitassinan” in the constituency name is a political fantasy. That’s like telling the majority of the 90,000 North Shore residents that the North Shore isn’t their home because they’ve lived in the traditional Innu hunting grounds for two or three centuries. We have the impression that we are being led into believing that we live in “unceded territory”, as some politicians are fond of saying.

I have great respect for First Nations, but the inclusion of the phrase “nitassinan” in the name of the horse is inappropriate in the context of the territorial negotiations begun by the Quebec government with First Nations nations for more than fifty years, and these nations have not met with any success. They trample. With every small step, the recoil is even more impressive.

Personally, I conclude that there is no real will to push them forward to allow First Nations to achieve the creation of autonomous governments within a large nation like Canada and one of its provinces, Quebec. Whose fault is it? It’s not my place to judge, even though I know I won’t make many friends by expressing my thoughts. My conclusion: Why make fun of a constituency name when the current name is far more consistent than those we are trying to push through for noble reasons ourselves?

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Andrea Hunt

Twitter enthusiast. Organizer. Explorer. Reader. Zombie aficionado. Tv specialist. Thinker. Incurable internet maven.

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