The Innu (or Montagnais) are the Aboriginal inhabitants of an area in Canada they refer to as Nitassinan (“Our Land”), which comprises most of the northeastern portion of the province of Quebec and some western portions of Labrador. Their population in 2003 included about 18,000 people, of which around 14,000 lived in Quebec, under 3000 in Labrador, and the rest outside their traditional territory.
Their ancestors were known to have lived on these lands as hunter-gatherers for several thousand years, living in tents made of animal skins. Their subsistence activities were historically centred on hunting and trapping caribou, moose, deer and small game. Some coastal clans also practised agriculture, fished, and managed maple sugarbush.
Their language, Innu or Ilnu (popularly known as Montagnais), is spoken throughout Nitassinan, with certain dialect differences. It is part of Cree language group, and unrelated with neighboring Inuit language.
The Innu were allied with neighbouring Atikamekw, Maliseet and Algonquin against their traditional enemies, the Mi'kmaq and Iroquois. During the Beaver Wars (1640 –1701) the Iroquois repeatedly invaded their territories, and enslaved women and warriors, as well as plundering their hunting grounds in search of more furs. Since these raids were made by the Iroquois with unprecedented brutality, the Innu themselves adopted the torment, torture, and cruelty of their enemies. The Naskapi, on the other hand, were usually in conflicts with the southward advancing Inuit in the east.
Innu is the second album by Canadian folk rock band Kashtin, released in 1991. The album was certified platinum in Canada.
It contains the band's biggest chart hit, "Ishkuess", as well as a cover of Willie Dunn's "Son of the Sun", the only song the band ever recorded in a language other than their native Innu tongue.