Joveneau and Ottawa had a machiavellian plan of deportation

News 25 March, 2018
  • Photo BANQ
    Alexis Joveneau, aka the monster of the North Shore.

    Magalie Lapointe

    Sunday, 25 march, 2018 01:00

    Sunday, 25 march, 2018 01:00

    Look at this article

    PAKUASHIPI | Smell of dead fish, a rope as stairs, no toilet. The memories are still very present among the Innu who were forced to cram into the hold of a boat for two days during a deportation planned by Ottawa and the oblate father Alexis Joveneau.

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    It was not enough for the “Monster of the North Shore” of sexually abusing several Innu in his rectory, or even in the confessional, as reported in The Journal yesterday, it was also necessary that he tries to get them to abandon their ancestral territory.

    Madeleine Mestenapéo remembers the noise of the door when it is closed above it, in the month of August 1961, when she was 18 years of age.

    For 48 hours, she and 64 other Innu have lived in the darkness of the hold of the boat, the North Pioneer. They have almost nothing to eat and nothing to drink for the two days of the trip.

    The federal government, assisted by father Alexis Joveneau, has done everything to close the community of Pakuashipi, located 250 kilometres to the east of Unamen Shipu, and 750 kilometres from Sept-Îles.

    For the government, manage a single location was more convenient. For the priest, the idea of converting the Innu in the catholic religion without having to cross the 250 kilometers thrilled him.

    Photo Magalie Lapointe

    Christine Lalo

    “I found it very difficult from here (Pakuashipi). It is so well, ” said Christine Lalo, who has also lived through the deportation.

    Promises not kept

    For three years, Alexis Joveneau will make several promises that it will not convince them to leave Pakuashipi. It has also forced marriages between people of the two communities so that the women leave Pakuashipi to Unamen Shipu. Finally, he organized the deportation by boat.

    Photo BANQ

    Christine Lalo was a teenager when she experienced the deportation. She went to Pakuashipi at the foot two years later.

    “I wanted (the parish priest). He promised us many things. Houses were to be built already for us to Unamen Shipu. Once arrived there, there was nothing ready. He has lied to us, manipulated. No one was happy, ” said Ms. Mestenapéo.

    Some 57 years after this move organized and forced, Ms. Mestenapéo still remembers the smell.

    “We were in the hold of the boat. That stinks. It smelt like rotten fish. The children were crying and everyone was scared. Even the dogs were in the hold with us, ” she added.

    According to Agnes Poker, who has also lived through the deportation, when they arrived at Unamen Shipu, several have been sick for two weeks.


    Since the houses were not ready, the Innu have lived for two years in tents, or in other families.

    The inhabitants of Pakuashipi eager to return to their territory, but the father Joveneau threatened if they left.

    Despite the threats of the priest, four families have decided to return to Pakuashipi in April 1963. For a month, they marched and traveled by boat with all their belongings to arrive in their ancestral territory.

    “My boy Jean-Baptiste was as high as that, said Ms. Mestenapéo placing his hand to the height of the table. And he walked in dragging his toboggan on his back. The father Joveneau was so angry that the Innu return to Pakuashipi that he stole their checks and tried to convince Ottawa to cut off all aid.


    Telegram sent by the father Joveneau in Ottawa

    Photo BANQ

    Father Alexis Joveneau (right) has planned with Ottawa for the deportation of tens of Innu to the edge of the North Pioneer.

    “Four indian families stains have left The Roman on 2 April for re-establishing St. Augustine. These people are not supported by the authorities, are not entitled to any relief federal, because they have abandoned themselves their privileges after many warnings. ”


    Chronology of events


    Arrival of father Joveneau in Unamen Shipu.

    August 15, 1957

    Visit of the father Joveneau to Pakuashipi with a single man 26 years of Unamen Shipu. The priest celebrates a first marriage forced to clear the village.

    Spring 1960

    The parents of the first bride, accompanied by their children, will install in Unamen Shipu. Another couple also, with her six children.

    August 1960

    New visit of the father Joveneau to Pakuashipi, accompanied by a single man, 28 years of age. In celebration of a second marriage, forced. The departure of this couple and another family to Unamen Shipu. At this time, 28% of people have left Pakuashipi.

    August 16, 1961

    The father Joveneau organizes the deportation to Unamen Shipu to the 65 people who were still living at Pakuashipi.

    April 1963

    Return on foot to Pakuashipi a group of 19 people. They had walked for a month.

    Spring 1971

    The beginning of the construction of the houses to Pakuashipi.

    December 1971

    The people moved into the houses.

    * Source : Research of the amerindian in Quebec KA ATANAKANIHT : The “deportation” of the Innu of Pakuashipi (Saint-Augustin)


    In anger, he wanted to starve the Innu

    Photo Magalie Lapointe

    Madeleine Mestenapéo and Andrew Poker remember of the deportation in 1961, when The Newspaper met them in their home in Pakuashipi.

    PAKUASHIPI | father Alexis Joveneau was so angry that the Innu must be returned on their ancestral lands that he has not given the cheques of the government which they were intended.

    Joveneau took all of the means to achieve his purposes, even to destroy economically the Innu of Pakuashipi. Since it was one of the only ones to speak both innu and French, it is he who served as the government documents of many aboriginal people.

    The cheques were returned and distributed then to the Innu.

    Immense power

    It gave her an immense power over them. And he used it, according to the director of graduate programs in the Department of religious sciences at UQAM, the anthropologist Lawrence Jerome.

    When the Innu are returned to Pakuashipi, the father Joveneau has sent a telegram to the store of the village of Saint-Augustin, located on the other side of the Saint-Augustin river.

    He asked the trader does not do credit to the Innu. This measure, coupled with the theft of a cheque, had the objective to impoverish so that they come back in Unamen Shipu, believes Madeleine Mestenapéo.

    But the Innu knew how to feed themselves in the forest and did not return.

    Mr. Jerome explained that the father Joveneau occupied the role of an intermediary between the federal government and the Innu.

    “I felt stripped and stolen. I’ve never reviewed this money, ” added Ms. Mestenapéo.

    A man of St. Augustine, aware of the situation, has filled the papers for the Innu, a few months later so that they are now receiving their money in Pakuashipi.


    Forced marriages just before a move forced

    Photo courtesy Serge Jauvin

    Father Alexis Joveneau has celebrated several marriages aboriginal people. Here, a marriage not arranged celebrated in 1986 in the aboriginal community of Unamen Shipu.

    As soon as he arrived in Unamen Shipu, in 1953, the father Joveneau wanted to find a way to merge the community with Pakuashipi, and forced marriages were part of this plan.

    Pakuashipi housed only 90 Innu, was remote and therefore difficult to convert to christianity.

    The father Joveneau thought of marrying men of Unamen Shipu women from Pakuashipi to follow their new husband in Unamen Shipu, which would eventually kill that community.

    Photo Magalie Lapointe

    Laurent Jerome

    “There was also a context of competition, because Pakuashipi was in front of the community of St. Augustine. This was not in the same religious bodies. There has been a lot of projects moving and forced. For the religious authorities, it was a better control of the strategies of family to put in place “, explained the director of graduate programs in the department of religious studies, Lawrence Jerome.


    Divisions among Aboriginal people

    Photo Magalie Lapointe

    Dominique Pierre Mark

    UNAMEN SHIPU | in Spite of the evidence and the testimonies of the victims revealed by The Newspaper on Friday and yesterday, the Innu continue to affirm that the father Joveneau had a magical power and that the testimonies of the victims are all invented.

    One of them, Dominique Pierre, Mark, is the ringer of the bells of the church of Unamen Shipu. Every Sunday, the man of 70 years, announces the Good News. However, since the death of the father Joveneau, he saw the church empty. According to him, it is because the community is bored of the father Joveneau.

    Mr. Mark refuses to believe the stories of alleged victims. He lived in the father Joveneau at the age of eight years old when her mother was sick. He claims to have never seen the priest violent. However, he says that it was endowed with a power of attorney.

    “Alexis had a magical power. A big power to write all of the time. It is he who wrote the dictionary in innu. Now, the people want him of the evil, and I don’t like it pantoute, ” said Mr Mark.

    Dominique Pierre Mark argues that Mr. Joveneau could travel with members of the community to repair gas or oil furnaces and not asking anything in return. He is confident that the money raised through the donations of fur has been well spent.

    Family divided

    When the national Commission of inquiry on missing and murdered aboriginal women, the sister of Mr. Mark has testified to having suffered sexual assault.

    “He was next to me, he was in the process of licher my ear, I stroked the back, he went up into my buttocks. I thought it was normal to make me feel “, said in November Noëlla Mark.

    However, his brother did not believe in anything to the words of his sister.

    “When it is that you prefer to the father Joveneau to your sister, it says a lot about the secret that has been kept too long “, has launched the ringleader, Bryan Mark.


    In Belgium, close to Alexis Joveneau continue to defend it. Since the beginning of the revelations, the niece and victim, Marie-Christine Joveneau, which The Journal revealed the terrible story yesterday, has been rejected by members of his family.

    While some of her cousins refuse to believe the evidence of the victims heard at the national Inquiry on missing and murdered women, the niece of the parish priest, she defends tooth and nail the Innu. With the number of testimonials and letters incriminating written by the executioner, she wishes that her family realizes who was the “real” Alexis Joveneau.