Parks Canada has been working with the Innu First Nation of Ekuanitshit for over 40 years and has supported the creation of the Maison de la culture innue, which opened in 2015 in Ekuanitshit. Since then, various projects have been carried out in partnership with community members including cultural activities, Mingan Archipelago: Witnesses of a Great People, and the hiring of Innu employees. Since 2020, other initiatives have continued to move forward, including the Innu camp development project and the Indigenous guardians project.

Île du Havre de Mingan / Ekuanitshiu Minishtiku


  • On May 27, 2022, Parks Canada acquired l’Île du Havre de Mingan (IDHDM), one of three private islands that had not yet been annexed to Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve during its establishment (MANPR).
  • The island, named Ekuanitshiu Minishtiku in Innu aimun, has an approximate area of 1.5 km² and faces the Innu community of Ekuanitshit (500m from the shore) and la Maison de la cluture innue. 
  • The Innu of Ekuanitshit practice traditional hunting and gathering activities as well as cultural activities on the island. It is therefore of significant importance to the members of the Innu First Nation of Ekuanitshit.
  • In recent years, the Head of Ekuanitshit has expressed concern about the transfer of ownership of IDHM to a potential private buyer.
  • Parks Canada has long wanted to acquire this island in order to foster positive relations with the Innu First Nation of Ekuanitshit.
  • Parks Canada seized a historic opportunity to acquire this island to promote the development of Innu culture and conserve the island's natural and cultural wealth for present and future generations.
  • Parks Canada seized a unique opportunity that may not have presented itself again given the seller's increased interest in selling the island in 2021-2022.  
  • The sale price between Parks Canada and the owner of the island was $2,685,000.
  • Parks Canada is open to establishing a shared governance model with the Innu First Nation of Ekuanitshit. The terms of collaboration, conservation, management, and use of the island will soon be co-developed with the First Nation.
  • The Chief of Ekuanitshit supports the community's efforts to showcase cultural activities in collaboration with Parks Canada. Discussions will take place in the coming months within the community and with Parks Canada to develop a shared vision and the next milestones for collaboration.


  • Parks Canada's acquisition of this island represents an opportunity to advance several Government of Canada priorities, including reconciliation, commemoration, and conservation. 
  • Local economic spinoffs: The island has great potential for recreational tourism development for the region. Parks Canada is currently funding an Innu encampment project worth $150,000. L’Île du Havre de Mingan/Ekuanitshiu Minishtiku represents a strategic location that will create opportunities for cultural and intergenerational exchanges and introduce Innu culture to visitors to the region. Easy to access due to its proximity to the Quai de Mingan and the Maison de la culture innue, the IDHDM camp project is considered an experiential extension of the activities held at the Maison de la culture innue. Indigenous Services Canada also contributed financially to the project with the purchase of a dock, gangway, boat, and life jackets.
  • Protection of natural/cultural resources : The acquisition of this island contributes directly to the Government of Canada's commitments to nature protection (protection of 25% of the land by 2025) and the eventual establishment of an Indigenous protection and conservation area. It will eventually enhance the protection of the natural resources of the MANPR. The island stands out from the rest of the archipelago by the presence of an archaeological site testifying to the period of contact between Europeans and Indigenous peoples. Since 2016, Parks Canada has supported the Innu community of Ekuanitshit in conducting archaeological excavations on other islands within the MANPR.

Indigenous Guardians Program

  • On April 4, 2022, a request for support for the implementation of a Nitassinan Guardians Program was sent to the Superintendent of the Mingan Field Unit at Parks Canada by the Muteshekau-shipu Alliance, which includes the Innu Council of Ekuanitshit, la MRC de Minganie, la Société pour la Nature et les Parcs (SNAP Québec) et l’Association Eaux-Vives Minganie. 
  • The Alliance sought strategic technical assistance to help implement the Nitassinan Guardians Program of Ekuanitshit, particularly in the western sector of the territory administered by Parks Canada to the MANPR.
  • Parks Canada is currently funding Phase 1 of a $30,000 Innu Guardians Project with the Innu Council of Ekuanitshit. The community wishes to be able to carry out the activities of the Indigenous Guardians Program on Île à Bouleaux de Terre and Île à Bouleaux du Large of the MANPR, in order to promote reconnection, a sense of belonging, local pride, and the sharing of traditional knowledge within the community between Elders and Innu youth, education, spiritual practices on ancestral lands and the protection of natural and cultural resources.


  • The Indigenous guardians project is logically linked to the request of representatives of the Innu community of Ekuanitshit who expressed, during an annual review meeting, that they wanted to make their youths and visitors discover their rich culture.
  • One of the key strategies of the MANPR management plan is "A distinct relationship with the First Nations" and includes one of the following main actions: "organize, in collaboration with Innu communities, activities related to the park reserve, mainly for Innu youth".
  • Phase I of the Indigenous Guardians Program was consolidated during the May 24 event in the community of Ekuanitshit where the Nitassinan Guardians Program Manager with the Innu Council of Ekuanitshit, presented the framework of the guardian program, developed with key community members in 2022 and the collaboration of Parks Canada.   
  • The implementation of a guardians program at MANPR in collaboration with the Innu First Nation of Ekuanitshit between 2023-2026 has been approved.


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