Winter time – As the snow has fallen, rabbits are harvested and shortly after smelt fishing will begin. On colder days, families gather in the warmth of their homes, to make crafts such as baskets and snow shoes. During this time they also tell many stories like the legend of the puglatmu’j.
Tucked neatly between a valley of mountains and the Restigouche River is the community of Listuguj. But the Mi’gmaq of Listuguj didn’t always live on the Quebec side of the river.
Before 1745, the Mi’gmaq were located at the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain, where the town of Atholville New Brunswick lies today. This was the first location of Listuguj, or Tigog, as it was traditionally called.
In 1860, a Roman Catholic organization called the Récollet Order built a mission near Tigog. The Récollet mission that was first built in Percé was destroyed by the English in 1690, and so their missionaries were displaced to Tigog.
During this time, the Mi’gmaq of Tigog still lived in wigwams made of birch bark, which were their traditional homes. However, but 1812 a number of the Mi’gmaq were living in log cabins.
In the year 1817, there were only fifty families in Listuguj. Many of the families lived at the mission set up by the Récollet order; others were spread out along the banks of the Restigouche River.
The community continued to develop; growing in size every day. And by 1858, there were roughly 40 homes and a few barns.
Despite the allure of the new European style of houses, many of the Mi’gmaq opted for traditional wigwams. And in 1858 there were still roughly 30 families living in their birch bark wigwams.
Like the Mi’gmaq in Gesgapegiag, the Mi’gmaq of Listuguj tapped maple trees for syrup at the mouth of the Restigouche River.
Feeding their sweet tooth some more, the women in the village also gathered blueberries along the Matapedia River in the fall.
Listuguj is now one of the largest Mi’gmaq communities on the East Coast. And is still a great place to get one mean slice of blueberry upside down cake.