Première Nation des Abénakis de Wôlinak

The Waban-Aki Nation has two communities located near the mouth of the Bécancour River, in the Center-du-Québec region, of Quebec

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Located near the mouth of the Bécancour River, in the Center-du-Québec region, Wôlinak is one of two Abenaki communities that are part of the Waban-Aki Nation in Quebec. Wôlinak means in Abénakis “the river with long bends” and in the 17th century, the Abenakis used this river to access their winter hunting territory located in the great forest. During milder seasons, these same Abenakis would come down to the mouth of the Bécancour to set up their summer camp and practice subsistence agriculture. Their historical presence in the region is contemporary with the founding period of New France. In fact, as early as 1637, only three years after the founding of Trois-Rivières, we find “cabanés” Abénakis very close to the new French habitation. Some thirty years later, in 1669, it was the turn of the coureurs des bois of Trois-Rivières to visit three Abenaki winter camps located along the Bécancour River (see map 1). Furthermore, from 1675, groups of Abenaki from New England settled in the region, joining those already present along the Bécancour River.

At the same time, missionaries regularly visited the Abenakis and a small chapel was built not far from the mouth of the Bécancour. In 1681, the Abenaki village was populous enough to be visited by the Bishop of Quebec. In many ways, this town can be considered the first mission located in the seigneury of Bécancour, although no land has yet been granted to the Abenakis. However, in 1708, under pressure from the military and religious authorities, the Lord of Bécancour granted land to the Abenakis on the condition that they received a mission there .

between 1758 and 1763 the Abenakis will welcome and share part of their land with Acadian refugees who, little by little, will settle down, especially south of Lake Saint-Paul. At the turn of the 19th century, however, colonization took on the appearance of arbitrary dispossession. Indeed, during the colonial war of 1812, and in the absence of the Abenaki warriors, English-speaking speculators will plunder the majority of the lands of the mission.