Mashteuiatsh (Pointe-Bleue)


In 1856, the Pekuakamiulnuatsh «exchanged» the two reserves previously identified for one of 23,040 acres circumscribed by the limits of the Ouiatchouan district.  Over the next ten years, three important events in history definitely made Pointe-Bleue the main location for their operations on the lake: the Hudson Bay Company transferred all its activities in the region to the reserve post – closing the Métabetchouan post; the Oblates moved the Métabetchouan chapel to Pointe-Bleue over the ice of Pekuakami and lastly, the Federal Government officially named the first «Indian Agent» for the reserve.

Even though it became an Indian reserve, this establishment always represented for us a permanent home-away-from-home that was used as a resting-place for us between our sojourns in the territory.  Traditional activities were practised there, but it was still the territory that remained the very best place for our ancestral practices. 

Where the effect of the guardianship was truly felt, was in education.  The clergy soon established schools and boarding schools that upset the members of the nation, by imposing a form of education totally foreign to the culture and life-style that existed for the Pekuakamiulnuatsh.  From the age of 5 years, the children were removed from their families who left for the territory for all of autumn, winter and spring, and they were placed in conditions where even their original language had no place. 

Long called the Pointe-Bleue Reserve, it was only recently that the Mashteuiatsh word was used to designate the community. This nehlueun word which signifies «at the point» in connection with the meeting place on one of the headlands jutting out into the lake.

Over the years, Mashteuiatsh was redrawn to the profit of neighbouring municipalities of Saint-Prime and Sainte-Hedwidge.  The surface area of the land is 15,24 km² acres.