Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve

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Coordinates: 45°42′24″N 81°42′59″W / 45.70667°N 81.71639°W / 45.70667; -81.71639

Wikwemikong
Reserve
Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve
Welcome sign
Welcome sign
Nickname(s): Wiky, Wiikwemkoong
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Manitoulin
Government
 • Type First Nation
 • Chief Duke Peltier
 • MP Carol Hughes (NDP)
 • MPP Michael Mantha (NDP)
Area
 • Land 412.97 km2 (159.45 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 2,592
 • Density 6.3/km2 (16/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code span P0P 2J0
Area code(s) 705
Website www.wikwemikong.ca

Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve (usually known as Wikwemikong or Wiky or Wiikwemkoong) is an Indian reserve in the north-eastern section of Manitoulin Island in Manitoulin District, Ontario, Canada. Wikwemikong is an unceded Indian reserve in Canada, which means that it has not "relinquished title to its land to the government by treaty or otherwise."

The name Wikwemikong means "bay of beavers".

Wikwemikong Name Change - On August 20, 1968 Wikwemikong Band changed their original name Manitoulin Unceded Indian Reserve to Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve.

The reserve is occupied by Ojibwa, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples, under the Council of Three Fires. The current band chief is Duke Peltier.

Geography[edit]

Wikwemikong occupies a large peninsula on the eastern end of Manitoulin Island, which is connected to the rest of the island by an isthmus separating South Bay from Manitowaning Bay. The reserve's primary access is via Wikwemikong Way, which continues off the reserve as Cardwell Street and connects to Highway 6 at Manitowaning. The reserve has a land area of 412.97 km² and is the fifth-largest Indian reserve in Canada by area. It is bordered on its west by Assiginack township, by which the peninsula is connected to the rest of Manitoulin Island. The vast majority of the reserve's border is, however, a water boundary with Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, by which it is nearly surrounded except for its border with Assiginack.

The smaller Point Grondine reserve, located on the mainland near Killarney, also belongs to the Wikwemikong band.

History[edit]

From 1836 to 1862, the entirety of Manitoulin Island was set aside as the "Manitoulin Island Indian Reserve" under the Bond Head Treaty. The most important of the pre-confederation treaties were the Robinson Treaties because all subsequent treaties were modeled after these. In 1850, William B. Robinson, a government negotiator and former fur trader, proposed that First Nations reserves be created on the Crown Land acquired through treaties. These Reserves were intended to be the answer to what the immigrant settlers needed for land settlement. First Nation peoples would be set apart on reserves from the new settlers. The Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior treaties were signed in September 1850 for large territories north of the two Great Lakes.

According to written records, Lake Huron and Lake Superior area leaders surrendered nearly 15 000 000 hectares of land in exchange for the establishment of 24 reserves and a payment of approximately $10 000 to be followed by additional annual payment of $2700. However, First Nations leaders were led to believe that the agreement was to share the land with the colonists and retain their rights to hunt and fish throughout the area.

Soon after, two other treaties were negotiated. These tracts of land were smaller, and the government (Canada) attempted to reduce the financial compensation offered with the two treaties - the Saugeen First Nation in 1854 and the Manitoulin First Nation in 1864. Several leaders, Jesuit missionaries, and the entire Odawa First Nations community refused to sign the deal for less money.

In 1862, most of the island was ceded to the government of Canada under the MacDougall Treaty for new settlement by non-natives, resulting in the creation of new reserves at West Bay, Sheguiandah, Sheshegwaning, Cockburn Island and Sucker Creek. However, two bands which occupied the land that now comprises Wikwemikong refused to sign the treaty, and thus continued to exist as a remnant of the Manitoulin Island Indian Reserve.

Wikwemikong as it exists today was created in 1968, when the two unceded bands and the Point Grondine band amalgamated as the Wikwemikong band.

Communities[edit]

In addition to the primary settlement at Wikwemikong, smaller settlements on the reserve include Buzwah, Kaboni, Murray Hill, South Bay, Two O'Clock, Wabozominissing and Wikwemikonsing.

The reserve is served by four churches, two elementary schools and Wasse Abin High School.

Culture[edit]

The reserve is also home to the Wikwemikong Cultural Festival (Wikwemikong Pow Wow) which is held annually every Civic Holiday Weekend (first weekend in August).

This annual event is touted as the largest and oldest Pow Wow in Eastern Canada. Considered to be one of the major Pow Wows in North America, it is attended by many Aboriginal dancers who participate in competition of all age ranges, demonstrating Traditional, Grass, Jingle, and Fancy Dancing.

Wikwemikong is also home to a professional theatre company, De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group, which stages and produces plays about First Nations life and culture..

People[edit]

Notable people from Wikwemikong include country music artist Crystal Shawanda, Federal Court of Canada judge Leonard S. Mandamin, former NHL player Chris Simon and artist Daphne Odjig.

External links[edit]