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Picture of a ash basketThe Abenaki are part of the Algonquian linguistic family. There are nearly 2,000 Abenaki in Quebec, of which 400 live on-reserve. Their territory is located on the south shore of the Saint-Lawrence, near Trois-Rivières. There are two Abenaki communities in Quebec: Odanak et Wolinak. In the past, the Abenaki lived on hunting, fishing, trapping, small fruit gathering and cultivated corn, beans, squash, potatoes and tobacco.

Did you know that, in Odanak, there is one of the most important Native Museum in Quebec ?


by Annabelle Dionne

Ash pounding techniqueAccording to a legend, the Abenaki would have been born in an ash basket. If they were not born in one, they have been making them for many generations. In the Odanak community, they are about then people who are making ash baskets.


Picture of layers of woodAt a coordinated rythm, they process the ash by hitting it with an ax, after taking care of rounding the edge so not to split the wood. Afterwards, they delicately separate the layers of wood in order to thin them towards making the baskets. They then take off the rough layer of wood and let the long layers of ash created to dry. Once dry, they are ready to be rolled up and sold to craftsmen.

Clothes industry of basket« Ash is getting very difficult to find », says Clément N'Sadoquos, of the Odanak Band Council who had to get ash in Maniwaki, this year. Even if its resource is becoming scarce, it does not decrease. An ash planting project is currently in the process of materializing, in Odanak. "However, we must wait some fifteen years prior to utilizing our own trees » .

Picture of a ash basket

The Abenakis / The Algonquins / The Attikameks / The Crees
The Hurons-Wendat / The Malecites / The Micmacs
The Mohawks / The Montagnais / The Naskapis / The Inuits

  Last Updated: 2004-04-23 top of page Important Notices