by Trudy Sable and Julia Sable
The Innu First Nation of Labrador inhabited lands that stretched throughout the eastern portion of the Quebec/Labrador peninsula. They called these ancestral lands Nitassinan. The word Innu, like the Mi’kmaq word, L’nu, means “people” and was chosen by the Labrador Innu to replace the names given to them by early French and English merchants and explorers — Montagnais and Naskapi (Tanner (http://www.heritage.nf.ca/aboriginal/innu.html).
Even today Labrador Innu continue to travel back and forth to French-speaking Quebec to visit relatives, crossing political boundaries that did not exist before the arrival of Europeans and the creation of Canada in the late 1800s. The Innu are closely related to the Cree, who extend from Quebec into western Canada. Innu Aimun, or the Innu language, continues to be their common language and is part of the Algonkian language family.
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