Language: Attikamekw or Tête-de-Boule is an Algonquian
language closely related to Cree; indeed, some consider it to be a dialect of Cree.
The entire Atikamekw tribe (four to five thousand in total) speaks their native language, but few are literate in it, and the lack of printed materials in
Attikamekw has some Indian language advocates concerned about the future of the language. French, rather than English, is the second language of
choice among the Attikamekw people. Like Cree, Atikamekw is a polysynthetic language with long, complex verbs.
People: The Attikamekw Nation is located in Quebec, in three communities: Manawan, Obedjiwan, and
Weymontachie. The Attikamekw (also known as the Attikameks, Atikameks, Atikamekw, or Tete-de-Boule) are
traditional allies of the Montagnais (Innu) and adversaries of the
Inuit. There are around 5,000 Attikamekw Indians living on reserves in Quebec today.
History: The Attikameks had little direct contact with Europeans, and no armed
conflict with them; indirect contact, though, brought them no end of grief. From their allies
the Innu they caught several devastating European epidemics. The fur trade
between the Montagnais and the French wound up drawing the Attikamekw into a war between the Montagnais Innu
and the powerful Iroquois, a war in which the Innu didn't fare so well. Dams and
reservoirs built near their territories flooded them out on more than one occasion, and most
recently the Attikameks, like the Innu, are suffering from mercury poisoning Canada's
hydroelectric plants have been contaminating their water supply with. For all these woes,
though, the Attikamekw people have not been displaced from their traditional lands, and they have
lost neither their language nor their traditional culture.
I was unable to find any Atikamekw bibliographies online. The best Atikamekw reference I know of myself is
Jean Pierre Béland's two-volume Atikamekw Morphology and Lexicon, published in 1978, which contains a
grammatical description and dictionary. Good luck finding a copy (a university library is your best bet).
Société de Communication Atikamekw-Montagnais:
Information about radio programming in Attikamekw and Montagnais. Page in French.
The Atikamekw Linguistic Institute:
Contact information for this organization is posted here (letters may be answered more easily if you write in French).
Native American Language Dictionaries:
Attikamekw and other American Indian dictionaries and language materials for sale.