Antoine Ménard, ordinary hero of exploration in Western Canada

History has retained the names of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes and La Vérendrye and his explorations across Western Canada. The names of those who accompanied him on his adventures, however, have often been forgotten. This is the case of Antoine Ménard, a 17th century traveler who ventured to Manitoba and whose personal history helps to better understand the great History.

When Pierre Gaultier de Varennes and de La Vérendrye set off from Montreal in 1738 to explore the pristine territories west of New France, he had among his companions a 43-year-old experienced traveler named Antoine Ménard. No book has been written on him, it does not appear in history textbooks and there is no stele in his name.

However, it is this figure from the great History that the anthropologist and specialist in Quebec military history, André Gousse, devoted two conferences this week in Winnipeg, at the Heritage Center and at the University of Saint-Boniface.

Antoine was born in Michilimakinac, a trading post where the town of Mackinaw in the state of Michigan in the United States is located today.

His family is already involved in the fur trade. His grandmother, Marie Mite8agami8k8e, is of Algonquin origin and his father is a trading post interpreter for diplomatic relations with Indigenous People, says André Gousse.

When La Vérendrye hired him, he was a man who already had 30 years of experience in the field. He knows the ways and masters several Indigenous languages. Leader of men, his profile means that he is paid twice as much as his companions.For Ménard, this expedition with La Vérendrye which will lead him to Manitoba is a high point in his career, because he takes part in a great expedition to find the West Sea. He participated in the establishment of Fort La Reine, where the city of Portage-la-Prairie is located today, says André Gousse.

However, Antoine Ménard will not finish the expedition with La Vérendrye and will not meet the Mandans, an Indigenous People whose territory was located in present-day North Dakota. Antoine Ménard was hired for a year and chose to return to Montreal at the end of his contract. He became a farmer and later a militia captain. He will no longer travel.

At the time, Voyageurs were the truckers of today, their mission was not to harvest pelts, but to transport them on what was a bit like the Trans-Canada Highway of the 17th and 18th century, explains André Gousse.

He probably wanted to make a very well-paid trip to be able to offer capital to his family, says André Gousse.

André Gousse, a former Park Canada official and specialist in military history, went to Winnipeg at the invitation of the La Vérendrye Company.

According to the historian, these Voyageurs, who participated in the fur trade and the exploration of the West, represent an infirm minority of people in the society of the time.

We are talking about at most a few hundred men out of a population estimated at 80,000 at the end of the French regime, notes André Gousse.

But they are people who have their importance because they are the ones who will discover the territory, establish relationships with the Indigenous Peoples everywhere and who will push the Francophone presence in America a little further.

Translated from article written by Pierre Verrière and published on ICI Manitoba on November 23 2019. See original French version

Before the Indian Act: Laws that separated Lower Canada First Nations and Métis

Why are Métis different from First Nations in Québec (previously known as the Province of Canada and Lower Canada)?

On Quebec’s unceded lands along the St-Lawrence valley, First Nations at Wendake, Odanak, Wolinak, Kanesatake and Kanahwake lands were “gifted” to its community.

Interestingly, many Lower Canada Métis lived in one of Métis Nicholas Montour’s (son of Sally Ainse & Andrew Montour, grandson of Anne Abenaki & Jean-Baptiste Couc and great-grandson of Marie Mite8agami8k8e and Pierre Couc) seigneuries he purchased: Pointe-du-Lac (also known as Normanville or Tonnancour), Gastineau, Pierreville and Rivière-David (also called Deguire).

Nicholas Montour also owned land along Deskan Zibii (Antler river, now known as Thames river) in Upper Canada, which he inherited from his mother.

None of “his” communities were transformed into communal land like it had been done for First Nations with the creation of “reserves”.

Prior to 1763, both in nominal and legal terms, all French territorial claims in North America belonged to the French king. French monarchs did not impose feudal (seigneurial) land tenure on New France and the king’s actual attachment to these lands was virtually non-existent. (Pritchard, James S. (2004). In Search of Empire : The French in the Americas, 1670–1730. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN0-521-82742-6)

The Act for the better protection of the Lands and Property of the Indians in Lower Canada was enacted in 1850. It was one of the first pieces of legislation that included a set of requirements for a person to be considered a legal Indian.

People were “considered as Indians” if they were of “Indian blood”. All descendants of such people, non-Indians who “intermarried with such Indians,” people whose parents would have been considered Indians, and adopted in infancy by any such Indians, were considered to be Indian.

The 1850 Act for the Better Protection of the lands and property of the Indians of Lower Canada also appointed a “Commissioner” and designated the land as held in trust by the Crown but began to limit certain rights of the “Indians”.

In 1854, the feudal (seigneurial) system was formally abolished through the passage of the Feudal Abolition Act by the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, which received royal assent on 18 December 1854.
The Act provided for the conversion of all feudal tenure into that of allodial title – which constitutes individual ownership of real property that is independent of any superior landlord.

In 1857, the Gradual Civilization Civilization Act sought to enfranchise the Lower Canada Métis who had been designated as “Indians” by the 1850 law – likely to facilitate selling them the seigneurial land they had lived on for centuries.

Une chronologie sur le Blanchiment de l’identité autochtone et l’extinction des Droits intrinsèques

Malgré l’établissement colonisux européens depuis 1534, 229 ans se sont écoulées sans législation de l’identité autochtone.

Nous avons tendance à nous référer à la loi constitutionnelle de 1867 comme étant la principale loi qui aura permi au gouvernement d’imposer le statut d’Indien, de gérer les terres des réserves et les fonds communautaires.

Mais l’intention de mettre fin aux droits des Peuples autochtones aura débuté 104 ans avant la Loi sur les Indiens.

Voici la chronologie:

1763: La proclamation royale. Proclamée «Magna Carta indienne». Elle garantissait certains droits et protections et établissait comment la Grande-Bretagne pouvait acquérir des terres.

1850: Loi pour une meilleure protection des terres et des biens des Indiens du Bas-Canada. Sont inclus tous les descendants de ces personnes, les non-Indiens qui «se sont mariés avec de tels Indiens», les personnes dont les parents étaient considérés comme des Indiens et «toutes les personnes adoptées par eux»

1857: La cinquième législature de la province du Canada adopte l’Acte pour encourager la civilisation graduelle des tribus sauvages en cette Province. Tout Indien qui sait lire ou parler anglais ou français, n’a aucune dette et qui est de bonne moralité, est considéré comme une «personne morale» et «civilisé» aux yeux du gouvernement britannique.

1869: l’Acte pourvoyant à l’émancipation graduelle des Sauvages. Cette définition plus restreinte de qui était considéré comme un Indien. Seules les personnes d’un quart de sang indien pouvaient être reconnues indiennes.

1870: Loi sur le Manitoba. Les particuliers résidant à proximité de la ville de Winnipeg actuelle se sont vus offrir Scrip, un billet à ordre donnant à chacun une propriété privée de 64 hectares en échange de leur titre foncier indien.

1876: Loi sur les Indiens. Destinée à consolider toutes les ordonnances précédentes visant à mettre fin à la culture des Premières Nations en faveur de l’assimilation à la société euro-canadienne. Une grande partie de la loi relative à l’identité et aux exclusions fondées sur le sexe a depuis été abrogée et la loi a fait l’objet de plusieurs modifications.

Tous les descendants des personnes qui ont été exclues par l’une de ces lois restent victimes d’injustices historiques du fait de leur colonisation. Nous sommes notamment empêchés d’exercer nos droits au développement conformément à nos propres besoins et intérêts, et notre droit à l’autodétermination est refusé.

Update on Métis baptisms absent from recorded History

This post is an update of my December 28, 2018 post which lists and provides original Métis baptisms.

There’s a claim that Québec’s study of its inhabitants has been thoroughly examined since 1966, when the Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH, Research Programme in Historical Demography) at the Université de Montréal undertook the exhaustive reconstruction of the population of Quebec from the beginnings of French colonization in the seventeenth century. This objective has been realized in the form of a computerized population register.
This basic information is complemented by various socio-demographic characteristics drawn from documents: socio-professional status and occupation, ability to sign his or her name, place of residence, and, for immigrants, place of origin. (direct quote from their website)

The PRDH continues to be an important reference tool used by genealogists, researchers and academics worldwide. Its claim to have computerized each and every baptisms, marriages and burials have directed the course of all modern-day theses on french colonization.

After more than 10 years of inquiry concerning the lack of inclusion of Métis baptisms in the parish of Ste-Geneviève de Berthier, I received a casual response from one of directors and founders of the PRDH, Professor Bertrand Desjardins:

Translation: Cf. the PRDH: The acts of the Métis have been raised like all the others, but we do not consider “Mitif” and “Mitive” are surnames. We add them to the Genealogical Dictionary when the father can be identified”

Two sentences. No official response from the group who purports to rely basically on exhaustive gathering of data from the parish registers of old Quebec. By systematic attribution of baptism, marriage, and burial certificates to the respective individuals – a “family reconstitution” made on the basis of names and family ties.

That’s all I received. Two casual sentences that say so much about patriarchy and erasure that plague the mindset of Academics.

How many such records have been excluded from the tool used by academics who study Indigenous Peoples who lived in the territory of “Nouvelle-France” prior to effective control and whose conclusions project the erasure of Indigenous Peoples and historic communities?

Nouveau conflit territorial entre Premieres Nation au Québec: mon opinion personelle en tant que Métis

Ici au Québec, les gouvernements fédéral et provinciaux ont à nouveau réussi à s’impliquer dans la gouvernance territoriale des peuples autochtones et ont réussi à se diviser pour conquérir.

Le gouvernement a transformé un traité de paix et d’amitié de 1760 entre la nation Wendat et les Britanniques en un conflit foncier territorial.
Voici le document en question:

“Ceci certifie que le chef de la tribu des Indiens Hurons, venu à moi au nom de sa nation, pour se soumettre à sa majesté britannique afin de faire la paix, a été reçu sous ma protection avec toute sa tribu; et aucun officier ou parti anglais ne doit les molester ou les interrompre en revenant à Lorette, et ils sont reçus dans les mêmes conditions, avec les Canadiens, être autorisés à faire librement de leur religion, de leurs coutumes avec la liberté de commercer avec les Anglais – recommandant aux officiers commandant les postes de les traiter avec bonté sous ma main à Longueuil, ce 5 septembre 1760.
Par ordre du général, John Cosman, adjut. Genr.

Je ne peux même pas imaginer les pertes en vies humaines et la terreur que la nation Wendat avait traversée pour parvenir à ce point de soumission, après plus d’un siècle de protection des Français.

Depuis des temps immémoriaux, bien avant l’arrivée des colons européens, les Premières nations Innu, Maliseet, Abenaki et Atikamekw ont vécu de façon continue sur le territoire de leurs ancêtres.

Historiquement, en ce qui concerne les zones de chevauchement, ils ont toujours été en mesure de partager et de gérer l’utilisation des terres de manière harmonieuse. Il appartient aux peuples autochtones de décider ce que nous voulons ou ne voulons pas sur leurs territoires.

En tant que peuple de contact post-européen, les Métis qui partagent les territoires doivent respecter le fait que les Premières Nations sont les premiers intendants de la terre et que nous devons suivre leurs conseils sur ces questions.

La population autochtone du Québec ne représente que 2,29% (1,43% si l’on exclut les Métis de la population autochtone totale); déjà moins de la moitié de la moyenne canadienne de 4,87% – (2016).

Nous séparer en groupes encore plus petits et distincts facilite leurs objectifs de division qui régissent depuis longtemps.

Pire encore: ils nous obligent à nous battre pour chaque morceau de terre nécessaire à la continuité de nos traditions. C’est l’enfer.

Nous sommes plus forts quand nous sommes unis.

My humble opinion for Métis in Québec, as we face a new territorial battle between First Nations.

Here in Quebec, the provincial and federal governments managed again to involve itself into Indigenous territorial governance and succeeded in its regular operation of dividing to conquer.

The government turned a 1760 Peace and Friendship Treaty between the Wendat Nation and the British into a territorial land dispute.
Here’s the document in question:

“This is to certify that the Chief of the Huron Tribe of Indians, having come to me in the name of his Nation, to submit to his Britannick Majesty, to make peace, has been received under my protection with his whole Tribe; and henceforth no English officer or party is to molest, or interrupt them, in returning to their settlement at Lorette, and they are received upon the same terms, with the Canadians, be allowed the free excursion of their Religion, their Customs with Liberty of trading with the English – recommending it to the Officers commanding the posts to treat them kindly given under my hand at Longueuil, this 5th day of September 1760.
By the General’s command, John Cosman, adjut. Genr.

I can’t even imagine the loss of lives and the terror the Wendat Nation had gone through to get to this point of submission, after more than a century of protection from the French.

“From time immemorial, well before the arrival of European settlers, the Innu, Maliseet, Abenaki and Atikamekw First Nations have lived continuously on the territories of their ancestors.

Historically, when it came to areas of overlap, they have always been able to share and manage land use harmoniously. It’s up to Indigenous Peoples to decide what we want or do not want in their territories.”

As a People of post-European contact, Métis who share the territories need to respect that First Nations are the the first stewards to the land and we need to follow their guidance on such issues.

The Indigenous population of Quebec is only 2.29% (1.43% if we exclude Métis from the total Indigenous population); already less than half of Canada’s average of 4.87% – (2016).

Separating us into even tinier, distinct groupings facilitates their longstanding goals of division to rule.
Even worse: they force us to fight each other for every piece of land necessary for the continuity of our traditions. It’s Hell.

We are stronger when we are united.

Nicholas Montour: first Indigenous member of Quebec’s National Assembly

The Quebec National Assembly must change its description of the first Indigenous representative, Nicholas Montour:

They have bleached his identity:



“Probably born in the United States, in 1756, and baptized on October 31, 1756, in the Dutch Church of Albany, in the colony of New York, son of Andrew (Henry) Montour, Indian Agent and Interpreter, and his second wife, Sarah Ainse (was later a shopkeeper).

Trained as a clerk in the fur trade, most notably for Joseph Frobisher in 1774. He stayed in the West for many years and then, around 1792, settled in Montreal. Was a shareholder of the North West Company. Purchased in 1794 the Distillery Company of Montreal; also invests in real estate and real estate in Montreal, in the seigneuries and in the townships. In 1799, moved to Pointe-du-Lac, near Trois-Rivières. He was a justice of the peace.

Elected Deputy for Saint-Maurice in 1796; generally supported the Party of Bureaucrats. Not represented in 1800. Admitted in 1790 to the Beaver Club of Montreal.

Died in the lordship of Pointe-du-Lac, on August 6, 1808, at the age of 51 or 52 years. Buried in the Protestant cemetery of Trois-Rivières, August 8, 1808.

Had married Geneviève Wills, daughter of Meredith Wills, merchant, and Geneviève Dunière, on February 17, 1798, in Montreal’s Christ Church.

Father-in-law of Charles-Christophe Malhiot. Nephew by marriage of Louis Dunière and Pierre Marcoux.

Source: DBC.

Date of update of biography: May 2009″

Nicholas is actually the son of Sarah (Sally) Ainse, Oneida Nation diplomat, and Sattellihu Andrew Montour, a prominent interpreter and negotiator in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The great-grandparents of Nicholas Montour were Marie Mite8agami8k8e of the Algonquin Nation and Pierre Couc, from the small mission to the Pachirini Trois-Rivières fiefdom.

This Indigenous man, described in his day as Métis, made his fortune in the fur trade and was a shareholder of the North West Company.

80 years after the small mission granted to the Sachem Pachirini of the Algonquin Nation was removed from the Indigenous Peoples, Nicholas chose to use his fortune to buy a seigneury at Pointe du Lac, near Trois-Rivières, where he built houses, “at his own expense and on land owned by him, provide refuge of wandering and vagabond savages” (HISTORY OF THE PARISH OF YAMACHICHE BY ABBE N. CARON PRIEST, CHANOINE, CURÉ OF MASKINONGÉ, 1892.)

Nicolas was justice of the peace and deputy for the great county of Saint-Maurice, which at the time covered the entire territory from Berthierville to Batiscan.

The Montour family remained responsible until the abolition of the seigneurial regime in 1855.

Many of his descendants are recognized members of the Manitoba Métis Nation:

The National Assembly of Quebec must modify the description of this Great Man to celebrate the identity of the first Indigenous MNA in Québec.

Nicholas Montour: Premier député autochtone du Québec

L’assemblée nationale du Québec se doit de modifier sa description du premier représentant autochtone, Nicholas Montour:

Ils ont blanchi son identité.

Nicholas est le fils de Sarah (Sally) Ainse, diplomate de la Nation Oneida, et de Sattellihu Andrew Montour, un interprète et négociateur important en Virginie et en Pennsylvanie.

Les arrière-grands-parents de Nicholas Montour étaient Marie Mite8agami8k8e de la Nation Algonquine et Pierre Couc, de la petite mission au fief Pachirini Trois-Rivières.

Cet homme autochtone, décrit dans son temps comme étant Métis, a fait fortune dans la traite de la fourrure et fût un des actionnaires de la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest.

80 ans après que la petite mission accordée au Sachem Pachirini de la Nation Algonquine a été retirée des autochtones, Nicholas a choisi utiliser sa fortune afin d’acheter une seigneurie à la Pointe du Lac, près des Trois-Rivières, où il a bâti des maisons, “à ses dépens et sur un terrain à lui appartenant, pour y réfugier des Sauvages errants et vagabonds” (HISTOIRE DE LA PAROISSE D’YAMACHICHE (PRÉCIS HISTORIQUE) — PAR — L’ABBE N. CARON PRÊTRE, CHANOINE, CURÉ DE MASKINONGÉ, 1892.

Nicolas fût juge de paix et député pour le grand comté de Saint-Maurice, qui à l’époque couvrait le territoire entier de Berthierville jusqu’à Batiscan.

La famille Montour demeura responsables de leurs censitaires jusqu’à l’abolition du régime seigneurial en 1855.

L’assemblée nationale du Québec se doit de modifier la description de ce Grand Homme afin de célébrer l’identité du tout premier député autochtone du Québec.

A brief story of Élisabeth Couc, who became known as Isabelle Montour.

Translated from an article entitled “De remarquables oubliés – Isabelle Montour“, published by Radio-Canada in November 22, 2016.

A woman of rare intelligence and great beauty, Isabelle Montour is a prominent figure in the young history of the United States.

Élisabeth Couc was born in 1667 at the fiefdom of Algonquin Sachem Pachirini in Trois-Rivières. Her mother Marie Mite8ameg8k8e is Algonquin. Her father, Pierre Couc, from Cognac, is one of the first settlers.

In 1676, the family moved to Saint-François, on the other side of the river from Trois-Rivières. In 1679, Jeanne, the eldest child, was raped and killed by a man called Rattier, an employee of Lord Jean Crevier.

This tragedy illustrates the Settler’s disregard for the Métis. Elizabeth is 12 years old and she will never forget the incident.

From Couc to Montour

It is Elizabeth’s brother, Louis, who adopts the name of Montour when baptizing his children. In 1687, Elizabeth became Isabelle and she married Joachim Germaneau, a much older coureur des bois. Her sisters also marry coureurs des bois. The men know each other and do business together.

A desired woman

In 1692, Isabelle Germaneau and her two sisters moved to the Michillimackinac area, the strategic post between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, then ruled by Lamothe-Cadillac. In 1693, Isabelle’s husband disappears in the woods: she is widowed at 26 years old. Isabelle is very beautiful and leads a libertine life. Lamothe-Cadillac had her arrested and returned to Quebec.

A sparkle

In Quebec, Isabelle Montour is kidnapped by an Indian chief Ottawa, Outoutagan, a very handsome man, who brings her back to Michilimackinac. They marry. It is from this moment, in 1697, that Isabelle becomes an interpreter: she speaks Algonquin, Huron and Iroquois, which is unique. Around 1701, she separated and married a French soldier: she became La Téchenet and moved to Detroit.

The beginning of a saga

Étienne de Maubourg, who came from France to inspect the Cadillac colony, becomes Isabelle’s new lover, who is nearly 40 years old. Meanwhile, Louis Montour fur trade with the English who want to break to the west. He is very powerful. In Detroit, many people desert to follow him, including Isabelle and Etienne.

Maubourg had an affair with a married woman, Madame Tichenet, known as “La Chenette”, at Fort Pontchartrain. After his desertion in 1706, the couple met up and lived among a group of deserters on an island in Lake Erie

The French go after them. They do not find them, but their heads are priced.

In 1709, Louis Montour was murdered by Private Joncaire on the orders of Governor Vaudreuil.

A clan mother

Isabelle takes over from her brother. After having entrusted her daughter to her sisters in Trois-Rivières, she returned to Albany. She moved to Iroquois territory. She becomes accepted by the Oneida Nation and definitively adopts the name of Montour. She marries the chief Karontowa:nen, known also as Robert Hunter, of whom she is very in love. She is a diplomat who participates in all major conferences. Despised by the French, she is greatly respected by the English. She perpetuates the legend of her brother Louis.

Descendants of Marie Mite8ameg8k8e (click to enlarge)

A big liar

During her old age, her son Andrew manages to get her a big stone house. She receives a lot and likes to tell her life, but by inventing all sorts of stories! That’s why there are passages that remain unknown in this unusual life. Isabelle Montour died in 1751, at the age of 85.

She left a large Métis descent named Montour.

At the beginning of the story

In 1670, the population of New France was barely 6,700 people against 120,000 in New England. The Hudson’s Bay Company has just been created under the influence of Médard Chouart des Groseilliers and Pierre-Esprit Radisson. In 1676, the defeat of the Indians in New England gave European settlers control of the North American coast.


In 1850, in Pennsylvania, in memory of Madame Montour and her descendants, Montour County was created in the Susquehanna Valley named in honor of Madame Montour. In the United States, there are, in New York State, the Montour Falls and the city of Montour.


In 1679: Cavelier de la Salle explores the Great Lakes region. Then he goes down the Mississippi River. He takes possession of Louisiana in the name of France.
In 1863: William Penn signs a peace treaty with the Delaware Indians.
In 1686: Pennsylvania attracts many German and French Protestants who chose exile after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
In 1691: a far cry from virginia condemns to banishment any individual who is married to a black man, a mulatto or an Indian.
In 1699: the first permanent French colony is established in Louisiana.

References and bibliography:

Madame Montour and her time, by Simone Vincens, published by Hébert publications.

Mrs. Montour, White Queen of the Iroquois, by George G. Struble, published at Lebanon Valley College.

Pachirini, Mite8meg8kwe, Couc, Lafleur and their offspring

Pachirini, an Algonquin appears as a young warrior wounded who was cared for by Jeanne Mance at the Hôtel-Dieu in Montréal in March of 1643.

He was baptized on April 2, 1643 in Montréal by Father Imbert Duperon. He was given the Christian name of Charles. One of the witnesses was Jeanne Mance.

His fellow tribesmen left for Trois-Rivières. Charles lived here for some time with the two Jesuits of the post and led them to explore the shore that was later to become Laprairie (a Jesuit mission). He rejoined his people at Trois-Rivières and, prior to 1648, became the captain of the Christian Algonquins, even during the life-time of TESSOUEHAT.

Sachem Pachirini was Chief of the Weskarini Band of the Algonkin Tribe. He was given a Fiefdom in Trois-Rivières. Governeur-general Montmagny had actually given him, for the use of the Algonquins, a plot with a frontage of four perches and a depth of eight, next to that of the Jesuits where the church was to be built. Governeur-general D’Ailleboust enlarged it and the land was called Pachirini’s fief, which is now the Place d’Armes.

Weskarini was an Algonquian tribe that lived on the north side of Ottawa river below Allumettes Island (Morrisson’s Island), Québec, with the people of which they appear to be closely associated in the Jesuit Relations.

They were known as Petite Nation des Algonquins, Little Nation of the Algonkin.”

The Weskarini Band also known Algonkin Proper, La Petite Nation, Little Nation, Ouaouechkairini, Ouassouarini, Ouescharini, Ouionontateronon (Huron word), Petite Nation were originally localed on the north side of the Ottawa River along the Lièvre and the Rouge Rivers in Québec.

Known variously as: Algoumequins de l’Isle, Allumette, Big River People, Gens de l’Isle, Honkeronon (Huron word), Island Algonkin, Island Indians, Island Nation, Kichesippiriniwek, Nation de l’Isle, Nation of the Isle, and Savages de l’Isle. Main village was on Morrison’s (Allumette) Island.”

It appears from PRDH documents that Pachirini had two wives. In any case, he fathered several children with two Algonquin women: Marie 8KI8TIABAN8K8E (Oukioutiabanoukoue – French spelling) and SEHAM8 (Sehamou).

One of my ancestors, Marie Mite8meg8kwe, aka MITOUAMEGOUKOUE (French spelling (pronounced: mee-tee-wa-mee-gou-kwee) was born around 1631-1632 in the “Nations des Ouionontateronon”(Huron word for Weskarini Band of the Algonkin Tribe), in the area between the Ottawa and the St-Maurice rivers in Québec.

She was baptized on November 6th, 1650 in Montréal.

Latin transcription  Anno D[omini] 1650 ego ide[m] baptizavi Mariam Mite8ameg8k8e nunc Kakesik8k8e dictam uxore[m] Asababich. Matrina fuit Maria uxor Lepine. 6 Novemb[ris]  Traduction française  En l'an du Seigneur 1650, moi, le même (Claude Pijart de la Société de Jésus, desservant de cette paroisse), j'ai baptisé Marie Mite8ameg8k8e maintenant dite Kakesik8k8e, épouse d'Asababich. La marraine fut Marie, épouse de Lepine. (Fait) le 6 novembre.  English Translation

Latin transcription Anno D[omini] 1650 ego ide[m] baptizavi Mariam Mite8ameg8k8e nunc Kakesik8k8e dictam uxore[m] Asababich. Matrina fuit Maria uxor Lepine. 6 Novemb[ris] Traduction française En l’an du Seigneur 1650, moi, le même (Claude Pijart de la Société de Jésus, desservant de cette paroisse), j’ai baptisé Marie Mite8ameg8k8e maintenant dite Kakesik8k8e, épouse d’Asababich. La marraine fut Marie, épouse de Lepine. (Fait) le 6 novembre. English Translation “In the year of Our Lord 1650, I, the same [Claude Pijart of the Society of Jesus], have baptized Marie Mite8ameg8k8e, now named Kakesik8k8e, the wife of Asababich. The godmother was Marie, wife of Lepine. [Executed] the 6 of November.

She, along with other members of the Weskarini tribe, lived in the Fiefdom Pachirini (today called Place d’Armes), in Trois-Rivieres.

She, along with other members of the Weskarini tribe, lived in the Fiefdom Pachirini (today called Place d’Armes), in Trois-Rivieres.

Marie caught the eye of the soldier-farmer, Pierre Couc dit Lafleur, who had purchased land and had established a farm in Trois-Rivieres.

Pierre had learned the Algonquin language and frequently served as an interpreter between the colonists and the Native Americans. Marie Mite8ameg8kwe had taken an interest and enjoyed his frequent visits to her village.

Pierre was 30 years old; Marie was an orphan and a widow who had lost two children. They married five winters (16 April 1657) after her family had been taken from her by the Agniers (Mohawks). The Jesuit priest, Father Paul Ragueneau officiated at this Christian-Algonquin marriage.
Their 1st child, Jeanne was born and baptized that year (1657). Pierre had purchased land from the Trottier brothers, enough to build a house and a small garden. He hired himself our as a laborer for Barthelemy Bertaux, ironsmith. Pierre and Marie had problems during those first years. Loans were reclaimed. Pierre injured himself and had enormous medical costs. He lost his employment as an ironsmith.

Two years after their marriage (15 Oct 1659), Pierre commissioned his friend Notary Severin Ameau to draw up a Marriage Contract to insure that his wife and children would be rightful heirs to his property.

That same year, Marie was pregnant with their 2nd child. Their son was born in the fall of the year and baptized as Louis.

The Agniers began their attacks once more. Pierre decided, two years later (1661) to move his family to Cap-de-la Madeleine where he had bought 4 arpents (acres) of land on the west bank of the river. This was an agricultural community where crops grew well and family life was better than at a trading post like Trois-Rivieres. Pierre built his house near the windmill and erected a palisade around it.

Marie Angelique, 3rd child of Pierre and Marie was born the year after the Couc family had moved to their new community (1662).

Two years later (1664), the 3rd daughter, Marguerite was born and baptized.
The quiet peace was again disturbed by Agniers raids. Over the next 5 years, the new governor convinced France to send soldiers, the Carignan Regiment, to finally quell the Iroquois attacks. Finally, a peace treaty was signed in the summer (1667) For the next 16 years, it was an era of calm and prosperity for everyone.

Elizabeth, the 5th child, was born and baptized that summer of the peace treaty, when the Iroquois finally renounced their domination of the Saint Lawrence valley.

Marie continued instructing her brood in the Algonquian language and culture; Pierre taught his children French and his heritage; and the Jesuits taught the children to read and write.

Over the next 6 years, two more children were born in the Couc family: Marie Madeleine and a son, Jean Baptiste.

During this time, the atmosphere in Cap-de-la Madeleine had begun to change dramatically. With the departure of the Jesuits in 1666, the Cap became contaminated by the illegal traffic of alcohol. On 10 Nov 1668, the sovereign Council granted permission for the legal sale of alcohol, even to the Natives.

The change in atmosphere undoubtedly prompted Pierre and Marie to move their family to the seigniory of Jean Crevier, in the Ile-de-Fort, which would eventually be known as St. Francois-du-Lac.

Jean Crevier had begun to distribute land grants in the fall of 1673. Marie must have been very proud of her husband, as one of the first five signers of a contract. Crevier had begun to clear the land, had built a village mill and had established justice for this seigniory. There was a poll tax system where a person paid for a right to farm and obtain 3 to 5 arpents (acres) in frontage by 30 to 40 in depth. The only charge was to leave the fourteenth milling as grinding costs.

There is no doubt that these favorable conditions prompted Pierre and Marie to decide to move their home to the other side of the river. Because of his revenues from land at Trois-Rivieres and Cap-de-la-Madeleine, the former soldier-peasant became a well-to-do land owner at St. Francois-du-Lac.

By the work of his hands during 15 years, Pierre Couc had the right to show justifiable pride in his home and land.

Life at St. Francois-du-Lac was very different than that at Trois-Rivieres and the Cap. The first 3 children had learned to read and write because the Jesuits took charge of teaching the basics. In St Francois there was total isolation. There were only traveling missionaries who came sporadically to administer the sacraments.

Marie Mite8meg8kwe’s quiet life was shattered in the fall of 1679 by the assault and death of her daughter, Jeanne. Marie’s husband had been wounded in coming to the rescue of his daughter. Jeanne’s assailant, Jean Rattier, was sentenced as a murderer. For the Couc family, life was not the same after the tragic loss of their daughter and the lengthy justice process. Pierre was a man of character, he respected the law and expected others to do so also. Justice had been carried out, but not to his satisfaction.

For the Couc family, life was not the same after the tragic loss of their daughter and the lengthy justice process. Pierre was a man of character, he respected the law and expected others to do so also. Justice had been carried out, but not to his satisfaction.

Marie and Pierre continued to see their family grow and become adults with a succession of marriages.

Angelique married Francois Delpee St.Cerny dit Belcourt. He was 35 years old and she was 20 years old. In the summer (30 Aug) 1682, they married and established a home on 12 arpents (acres) of land in St-Francois-du-Lac. They had 5 children.

Louis first married according to the Indigenous culture, a young woman from the Sokoki Nation named Madeleine (1681). This marriage was not recognized by the Catholic Church.

His first son, Francois, was listed as a natural child on baptismal certificate. Louis later married Jeanne Quiquetig8k8e in the winter of 1684.

Marie Madeleine married Maurice Menard dit Fontaine, the son of wheelwright Jacques Menard, They were married before the end of the year 1684.

Elizabeth married Joachim Germanau/Germano in the spring of 1684, at the same time as her brother Louis. She was also known as Isabelle. She was 17 and Joachim, who had arrived in 1665 with the Carignan Regiment, was in his forties. Germano had been a trader with the Indians for pelts, loading them on canoes to transport back to the colony.

During the winter of 1687, the French invaded the Seneca territory (one of the Iroquois Five Nations). A mediocre victory by the French only incited the summer raids of vengeance ravaging the banks of the Saint Lawrence. There was not one single fortified place to resist the enemy. Each seigniory was ordered to build a fort. Crevier received the help of the troops to build his fort. The village of Saint Francois was secure the following winter; the villagers followed their normal life. The summer of 1688, smallpox created havoc; the Mohawks forced themselves into Sorel, Saint Francois and Riviere-du-Loup (Louiseville). there were not many massacres, but the raids were enough to put fear in the inhabitants.

Elizabeth/Isabelle had been given land in Trois-Rivieres and settled there with a generous dowry from her father. Marie never learned to read and write. When she served as a witness to her daughter Isabelle/Elizabeth’s wedding, her mother simply affixed her mark-a totem of a bird to the marriage contract.
Marguerite married three times:

  1. Jean Gauthier dit Delisle, (b. 1632) who died in L’Assomption in 1683, shortly after their marriage
  2. Jean Fafard, (1657- Detroit 1702) Married in the winter of 1688 in Sorel, because there still was not a chapel at St.Francois-du-Lac.
  3. Michel Massé, (1671-1730)

Louis adoped the surname Montour. He had hired himself out to become a beaver hunter. He joined his two brothers-in-law Germano and Fafard who were experts in this field. The three men were on their return home during the following summer of 1689 when the massacre of Lachine, near Montreal spread its terror among the families. In November, St. Francois was attacked; the Iroquois did not attack the fort, but they killed two inhabitants and with flaming arrows burned the newly constrected chapel.

In 1690 Pierre died. Marie and Pierre had been married for 37 years and had combined two cultures into one unique way of life. Pierre Couc, one of the hard working founders of French Canada, in the presence of his family and a large friendly crowd, was buried at the age of 63 years, beneath the ruins of the chapel of St. Francois where he would stay while the rest of his family took refuge in the Trois-Riviere fort.
Jean Baptiste, the youngest child, married an Indigenous woman named Anne around 1705 in Lachine. She was either Algonquin, Sokoki or Abenaki.

Marie Mitew8meg8kwe is remembered in history by a simple Christian record, written by Elisee Crey, Recollet Priest, Pastor of Trois-Rivieres, on her burial certificate as a “Sauvagesse”-“a female Native or Savage.”

The year 1699, the eighth of January was buried in the cemetery of the parish of Notre Dame of Trois-Rivieres Madame Lafleur, native widow of Mister Lafleur after having received all the sacrements in the manner of a true Christian-by my hand, a Recolet priest having carried out the pastoral duties, Father Elisee Crey, Recolet.

Many thanks to Norm Leveillée (, Suzanne Boivin Sommerville, Mindy Ruffin for this research.