Combined Council of Labrador
Labrador Innu
Labrador has two Innu Communities, Sheshatshiu & Natuashish.

Natuashish is a new community which was developed in 2002, prior to this, the second community was located in Davis Inlet.

Naskapi and Montagnais were names given to the Innu people by Europeans.The Montagnais live mainly in Sheshatshiu and the Naskapi live mainly in Natuashish.

Both of these groups of Innu stem from one culture, caribou hunters.The Innu were referred to as Indians by Europeans, but rarely referred to themselves as Indians.Recent reserve creation classifies the Innu under the Indian Act.However, Innu is preferred and commonly used name, which means “human being.”
Innu Governance
Together, both communities from the Innu Nation.The Innu Nation was firstincorporated in 1977 as the Naskapi-Montagagnais Innu Association and protects the rights, lands and way of life of the Innu people.The Innu Nation continues to take this role.

Each community also has an elected Band Council that works closely with the Innu Nation.Both communities are equally represented on the Board of Directors, and also equally represented by gender.For more information visit
Innu Language - Innu-aimun
Innu in both communities speak Innu-aimun, but have slightly different dialects.Despite these dialect differences, the two groups can communicate fluently.The Innu of Labrador are very proud that they have been able to retain their language.
The Importance of the Innu Way of Life
The Innu were traditionally nomadic, traveling the interior of Labrador and Quebec in the winter to hunt mostly for caribou, and migrating to the coast in the summer to fish.There is archeological evidence that Innu have been traveling the interior for thousands of years.

A permanent settlement was built at Sheshatshiu in the 1950’s.Davis Inlet was built in the 1960’s but the Innu from this community have recently chosen and relocated to Natuashish, on the mainland of Labrador.

The strength of the Innu culture has proven to be remarkable.In spite of the tremendous pressure to assimilate, they have maintained a strong cultural orientation toward traditional homelands, their nomadic roots and way of life.

The Innu relied on caribou not only for food, but also for clothing.The Innu women would make footwear as well as coats from the caribou.These items protected the people from the harsh elements of winter in Labrador.The Innu people are highly skilled crafters.

After a successful hunt, an important communal meal is held, known as the Mokoshan.It is held in honor of the spirit of the caribou and continues to this day.

The Innu are great story tellers.Many of the stories have been passed on for years and include narratives on how the world began, how the sun was born, and other worldly beliefs.

© 2011 Combined Councils of Labrador

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