Importance of the river for the Pekuakamiulnuatsh
Situated directly on the historic fur route, this important river once allowed a connection between the Métabetchouan and Nicabau (or Ashuapmushuan) trading posts. Ilnuatsh families still recall having stayed, lived and grown-up at Lake Ashuapmushuan near to the trading post. A few years ago, Madame Hélène Blacksmith Napané went to the area with members of the community who planned to revive this trading post within a plan for tourism. She showed the precise place where her brothers and sisters were buried at the time when she lived and frequented this territory with her family.
(Photo of Madame Hélène Napané with Mr. Johnny Bossum at the site of Lake Ashuapmushuan, 1990) EISD
Thus, in all our occupation of the territory, we have always considered the Ashuapmushuan as being the river of supply and abundance. Nowadays, we must conduct our traditional activities while co-habiting with non-Amerindians who have established camps here and who also have the right to practice hunting in autumn.
The Ashuapmushuan River is mainly bordered by birch and spruce that have long been the envy of the forest industry that has not delayed in laying waste to it. A good part of this immense forest has already suffered deforestation, in those times when clear cutting was practised, i.e. leaving no tree standing. For us, this phenomenon of cutting has always been considered as a disruption to the environment and the natural equilibrium.