Chippewas of Rama First Nation
Chippewas of Rama First Nation, also known as Chippewas of Mnjikaning and Chippewas of Rama Mnjikaning First Nation, is an Anishinaabe (Ojibway) First Nation located in the province of Ontario in Canada. The name Mnjikaning, or fully vocalized as Minjikaning, refers to the fishing weirs at Atherley Narrows between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching and it means “in/on/at or near the fence”.
Rama sits on approximately 2,350 acres (951 ha) of land on eight separate parcels. It was once known as Mnjikaning and Rama Mnjikaning but after a community referendum has since re-assumed the name of Chippewas of Rama First Nation. There are 1600 members with approximately 700 living on the reserve and about 900 living off the reserve.
The First Nation is adjacent to a 4,500-year-old wooden stake fishing weir system which at one time sustained many Native peoples but, it is not clear who actually built this structure. The First Nation's main reserve, the 908.4 hectares (2,245 acres) Mnjikaning First Nation 32 Indian Reserve, is located approximately 5 kilometres (3 mi) northeast of Orillia, Ontario. They also share the Chippewa Island Indian Reserve with two other First Nations, and the Indian River Indian Reserve with the Wahta Mohawks. Rama First Nation is geographically located within the Township of Ramara, but functions separately. Rama First Nation is also home to 195,000-square-foot (18,100 m2) Casino Rama and Entertainment Complex.
The people are descendants of the Chippewas of Lakes Huron and Simcoe (1800's) and were part of the Coldwater (1836) experiment before settling on the eastern shores of Lake Couchiching. While the ancestors used clan markings/drawings for signatures, original family names were replaced with English names. Many of the families currently living on and off the reserve include these original family names such as Benson, Ingersoll, Williams, Douglas, Shilling, Simcoe, Snache, St. Germain, Stinson, Yellowhead, Sandy, Sawyer, Anderson and York. Some later name additions (mainly due to marriage) include Comego, Cottrell, Cote, Desormeaux, Genno, Noganosh, Muir, Stiles, Watson, Graham, McPhee, McRae and others.
The First Nation's leadership consists of a chief and six councillors, elected under the Indian Act Electoral System put into place in the 1930s by Canada in the attempt to depose hereditary chiefs and headman as leaders. The current elected leadership (2014-2016) is Chief Rodney Noganosh and Councillors Ronald Douglas, Ted Williams, Tracey Snache, Nemke Quarrington, and Gina Genno. A by-election held in January 2015 elected a sixth councillor, Ted Snache. The First Nation is a member of Ogemawahj Tribal Council, a regional Chiefs' council, and in June 2016 rejoined the Union of Ontario Indians/Anishinabek Nation. Rama is also a part of the Chippewa Tri-Council which consists of Beausoleil First Nation and the Chippewas of Georgina Island as well as descendants in Neywash (Huron-Robinson Treaty). The Chippewa Tri-Council were once one reserve, the Coldwater Narrows Reserve established in 1830, under one principal chief, Chief Yellowhead. Further, before The Coldwater Narrows Reserve was established this group was the Chippewas of Lake Simcoe and Huron.
- "Chippewas of Rama First Nation Chief and Council". Retrieved 22 July 2015.