In 1861, the Innu exchanged the Manicouagan Reserve for an expanse of 25,500 hectares of land at the mouth of the Bersimis River. It was a summer gathering place where salmon fishing was practised. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate established the administrative centre of their Côte-Nord missions there in 1862. In 1981, the Bersimis reserve was renamed. Pessamit means "where the lampreys are".
Number of persons within the community: 2830
Number of persons outside the community: 779
Territory Name: Betsiamites Reserve
Surface: 25 242 hectares (62 373 acres)
Localisation: The reserve is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, 54 kilometres southwest of Baie-Comeau.
Tribal Council : None
The Société d'aménagement et de développement forestier de Betsiamites is a corporation operating autonomously from the Band council and whose consists primarily in logging the forests making up a sizeable portion of reserve territory. The Société ranks second, after the Band council, as community employer. Its mission is to manage the reserve's logging and forest management activities and to promote job creation.
The Société de développement économique de Betsiamites is the organization responsible for overseeing economic development and the promotion of entrepreneurship.
The corporation known as Développement touristique de Betsiamites is charged with running the Centre de villégiature Papinachois, a resort, and the Pourvoirie du Lac-des-Îles, an outfitter's.
Projects involving mining resources, wind power and hydroelectricity are currently underway.
École Nussim: Pre-Kindergarden to Elementary 6
Number of students: 372
École Uashkaikan: Secondary 1 à Secondary 5
Nombre d’élèves: 225
COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURES
Fire protection: Fire station, fire engine, firefighting equipment
Police services: Provided by the Aboriginal police force recognized under an agreement between the Band council, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec.
Medical care: Nursing station managed by the Band council under a transfer agreement with Health Canada.
Main community facilities: Community radio station, church, outdoor skating rink, resort, cable system, community centre, arena, youth centre, hardware store
Housing Units: 698
Statistics Canada (2006 Census)
2:47 min. - There was a row of dwellings on the point, most certainly made of bark. A church was built in Arnaud and Babel’s time. The Oblates and the Eudistes fought over who would own the Indians.
Paul-Émile Dominique - According to the Whites, Pessamit was founded around 1865-66. But the Innu had already been living near their river for a long time. When the government agreed to create a community, it also said: "Now, I will take care of you, educate you, feed you". We were already here and we lived on salmon. We're always out on the land because we're nomads. Our parents didn't go to school to become farmers and grow potatoes.
Evelyne St-Onge - Did you play cowboy when you were little?
Paul-Émile Dominique - Yes, but I didn't like being the Indian, because I'd always lose. You see the point, there was a row of dwellings over there, most certainly built from bark. A church was built here, in Arnaud and Babel's time. The Oblates and the Eudists fought amongst themselves about who the Indians would belong to. Their bishop decided and the Oblates won us and stayed.
Music - Philippe Mckenzie
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