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Aboriginal peoples in Québec

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Francophone–anglophone relations may be the principal concern of most Québécois – eighty percent of them have French as their mother tongue – but the province’s population also includes eleven nations of aboriginal peoples, the majority of whom live on reservations. Aboriginal grievances are particularly acute in Québec as most of the province’s tribes are English-oriented – the Mohawks near Montréal even fought on the side of the British during the conquest. Still, relations are even bad between the authorities and French-speaking groups. The Hurons near Québec City battled in courts for eight years to retain their hunting rights; while around James Bay the Cree fought and won the right to block the expansion of Québec’s hydroelectric network which, had it been completed as planned, would have covered an area the size of Germany. Begun in 1971, the project nonetheless resulted in the displacement of Cree and Inuit.

Aboriginal peoples have categorically voted against separation and have used mostly peaceful methods to register their land claims, which amount to 85 percent of the province’s area. There was violence at the Mohawk uprising at Oka near Montréal in 1990, which, though condemned by most Canadians and aboriginals, drew attention to the concerns of aboriginal Canadians.

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