Sillery

Sillery was the first reserve created by Europeans for Aboriginal peoples in what is now Canada. It was established in 1637 near Québec City. It was funded by a French nobleman, Noël Brûlart de Sillery, in response to an advertisement placed by Father Paul Le Jeune in the Jesuit Relations.


Sillery was the first reserve created by Europeans for Aboriginal peoples in what is now Canada. It was established in 1637 near Québec City. It was funded by a French nobleman, Noël Brûlart de Sillery, in response to an advertisement placed by Father Paul Le Jeune in the Jesuit Relations. Le Jeune was looking for a suitable place to attempt to convert Aboriginal people to Catholicism. His aim was to instill an agricultural lifestyle in the semi-nomadic Algonquin and Innu people of the area in order to more easily evangelize them. The land was granted as a seigneury to Christian Aboriginal people under Jesuit supervision. By the 1670s, alcoholism, epidemics and the difficulties of adapting to a sedentary lifestyle had depopulated the settlement until a number of Abenaki refugees from New England sought shelter there. By the late 1680s, the last Aboriginal peoples had left Sillery, driven away by epidemics and unproductive agricultural lands. The Jesuits remained and built the celebrated Jesuit House, which is now a museum in the town of Sillery.


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