What Are Some Facts About the Algonquin Tribe?

The Algonquin, a collection of tribes in what is now Quebec, were among the first Native Americans contacted by the French, becoming staunch allies with them. Being on the losing side of the French and Indian War, they eventually found themselves reduced to living on a reservation in Quebec.

France was eager to establish an alliance with the Algonquin tribe because of the abundance and quality of their furs. To cement the deal, they gave the Algonquin, as well as other allies in the region, firearms for fighting the Iroquois Confederacy. The Algonquin suffered two major defeats, first in 1650 to the Iroquois and then to both the British and Iroquois in the 1760s. Both defeats saw them lose the majority of their lands.

The Algonquin tribe survived by hunting, so they needed to constantly move to keep up with animals. Living along the waterways of eastern Canada, they used birch bark canoes for quick travel, and they used boards to carry supplies over land. In the winter, they utilized toboggans and snow shoes.

The religious beliefs of the Algonquin centered on Kitchi Manitou. Kitchi Manitou is a powerful spirit that created the universe and exists within all living things, as well as water and the heavenly bodies. Kitchi Manitou binds the physical and spiritual worlds together.

The Algonquin tribe is often confused with the Algonqian Peoples, a larger group of Native Americans.