The people of Sheshatshit and their fellow Innu attracted world-wide attention with a campaign against low level flying exercises conducted over their land by NATO airfoces. Thanks to Jose Maihot's thirty-year-long acquaintance with this Labrador community, The people of Sheshatshit gives us far more than the conventional media image of Native Canadian society. This study of Innu social organization is based on the aboriginal point of view rather than the anthropologist's own theories.
Readers will learn that contact between Europeans and the people of Sheshatshit created a particular from of hierarchy not seen in other Innu communities and that in the system of proper names, Innu given names and nicknames are more important than family names, which are European. The pattern of familial relationships explains how an individual from Sheshatshit can rely on a network extending far beyond Labrardor - just as long ago, a nomadic hunter could circulate throughout the entire Innu realm. Indeed, the broad historical survey encompassed in this book shows that the Innu of Labrador and the people known as Montagnais in Quebec are on the same, and that the tangle of personal connections between Native communities in Labrador and Quebec - although ancient - remain as vital as ever.
Jose Mailhot first visited Sheshatshit in 1963, when she was a student in the University of Montreal's Department of Anthropology. During the next three decades she was to conduct exhaustive research on the culture, language, and history of the Innu people in Quebec and Labrador. At present, she is also involved in projects in projects for Innu literacy development and text editing.