Activities and perspective
At the turn of the 21st century, we became partners in the development of this great river. Thus, by means of Pekuakami Ilnuatsh Development we have joined our expertise and our great knowledge of the territory with that of Hydro-Quebec. So, in 2003, the Council of the Montagnais signed the MANITUKAPATAKAN agreement and in 2004, started work on the Péribonka IV Power-station, at the confluence of the Péribonka and Manouane rivers.
However well before the start of the work on the dam, the expertise of the archaeologists came to the rescue, in preserving our heritage. Once more, the Pekuakamiulnuatsh took part in research which allowed us to make some excavations and do some drilling that confirmed, beyond all doubt, our multi-century long presence along this great river.
Recent excavations on the Péribonka were entrusted to the Archaeology Laboratory of the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi, under the supervision of Mr. Jean-François Moreau, and the preliminary results revealed occupation which could go back 1250 years, i.e. well before the contact period. The team was composed of 16 people, including 5 representatives of the Mashteuiatsh community. Flints of English and French manufacture were also found there, and at least four combustion structures superimposed showing occupation in the historic period. Two zones of activity dated from the end of the XVIIIth, and the start of the XIXth centuries.
In 2004, given the agreement between the Pekuakamiulnuatsh and Hydro-Quebec regarding construction of the power-station, the youth of the Kassinu Mamu Secondary School organised a trip down the river, in remembrance of the passage of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh on this part of the river which will be blocked by the dam. It was an unforgettable experience for these adolescents, who were guided by canoers, who had mastered this part of the river and could share their knowledge of the territory.
In 2005, given the flooding which will form the retaining basin of the Péribonka dam, some representatives of the families who had frequented this territory came to the location to make their last goodbyes to this part of the river.
Many there reminisced while others took stones from there that they carried to Mashteuiatsh. Homage was paid to the forest, rivers and mountains in the form of prayers and chants.