Out of 12,607 Algonquin, some 6,000 live in the nation’s nine communities. Seven of the Algonquin communities are located in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, more specifically in Hunter’s Point, Kebaowek, Lac-Simon, Kitcisakik, Pikogan, Timiskaming and Winneway. The other two communities, Lac-Rapide and Kitigan Zibi, are in the Outaouais region.
The Algonquin language is spoken in most communities, with some elders knowing neither English nor French. The Algonquin use English or French as a second language, and many are trilingual.
The traditional Algonquin way of life revolved around hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering. As with other nomadic groups, subsistence activities varied with the seasons. Summer was the occasion for large gatherings, during which marriages were celebrated. In the fall, families returned to their hunting grounds to spend the winter.
The Algonquin increasingly settled in the early 20th century, when the Abitibi region opened up to colonization. Colonists, prospectors and loggers flocked to the area, gradually disrupting the nation’s traditional activities. Several reserves were created between 1940 and 1974, including Lac-Simon, Lac‑Rapide, Pikogan and Kebaowek. However, some communities are not reserves, such as Kitcisakik, Winneway and Hunter’s Point.
In general, the Algonquin administer their own government services, such as education, health care, housing and municipal infrastructure development, which is a major source of jobs. Other sectors of economic activity include forestry operations, tourism and arts and crafts. Kitigan Zibi is the largest and most populous Algonquin community. It has a number of small businesses, as well as a youth centre, a workshop for persons with disabilities, a drug treatment centre, a cultural centre, a police station, a group home for semi-autonomous community members and a service centre for Algonquin women in crisis, which includes a few rooms where they can stay.