Nutshimit

Nutshimit is a word and concept from the Innu.  Previously known by the name given to them by the French, Montagnais, they inhabit a huge, sparsely populated region of Quebec and Labrador.

For many Innu, life in the village is marked by idleness and a sense of loss and alienation, in strong contrast to being in nutshimit, which roughly translated means “back in the country,” where life is active, rich and meaningful…

For many western societies, the shift (or dislocation) away from living in a deep relationship with nature, nestled in the rhythms of a culture adapted to a particular place has occurred gradually, gathering momentum over centuries…

In contrast, for the Innu and for many indigenous peoples, the shift from the traditional to the modern has occurred all at once, and largely without their consent…

Nutshimit is not a practice, but a place – a place where traditional Innu culture can be lived, and where the impositions of the dominant culture are less intrusive.  It is a place of healing, where families are able to reconnect, away from the pressures of village life.  And more fundamentally, it is a place rich with meaning, where the Innu language comes alive, where the stories that connect people to the places can be told in their full context, and where even dreams are part of the reality.

With so much of bushcraft and outdoor living the emphasis is on skills.  For the Innu, their traditional life is about place.  Only there can can the lifestyle, including skills, be lived.  For me, each passing year bushcraft becomes more about lifestyle and less about skills.   Put another way, the skills are the means, not the end.

Quote from chapter 16; Duct Tape And Rabbit Wire; Getting By In The Big Land by Larry Innes in the book Nature First; Outdoor Life The Friluftsliv Way, edited by Bob Henderson and Nils Vikander.

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