Fort Albany First Nation
|Main reserve||Fort Albany 67|
|Land area||363.457 km2|
|Population (June 2022)|
|On other land||95|
Fort Albany First Nation (Cree: ᐲᐦᑖᐯᒄ ᐃᓕᓕᐗᒃ pîhtâpek ililiwak, "lagoon Cree") is a Cree First Nation in Cochrane District in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, within the territory covered by Treaty 9. Situated on the southern shore of the Albany River, Fort Albany First Nation is accessible only by air, water, or by winter road.
The community is policed by the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, an Aboriginal-based service. It shares the Fort Albany 67 Indian Reserve with the Kashechewan First Nation, which officially separated from Fort Albany First Nation in 1977. Fort Albany First Nation controls the Fort Albany Indian Settlement on the south shore of the Albany River, and the Kashechewan First Nation controls the Kashechewan Indian Settlement directly across the river.
Fort Albany was established in 1679 as one of the oldest and most important of Hudson's Bay Company posts. It was also involved in Anglo-French tensions leading to the Battle of Fort Albany in 1688. The current community is not the site of the old post, which was re-located several times including on Anderson Island, Albany Island (c.1721) and a location just northeast of the current community. The last trading post was closed up around the 1950s. All the post sites have disappeared and naturalized, leaving no trace of their former use.
The community of Fort Albany is accessible by air, water, and the winter road. The winter road is used only between January and March. Air Creebec provides Fort Albany with daily passenger flights, with connecting flights to Toronto, Montreal and/or other points of travel. These arrangements are done in Timmins on Air Creebec, Air Canada, Thunder Airlines, or Bearskin Airlines.
Fort Albany is also accessible via the waters of James Bay and the Albany River. Moosonee Transportation Limited provides barge service, carrying supplies at least once or twice each summer by traveling up and down the coast to each community. Freighter canoes can travel from Fort Albany to Calstock and return whenever the water levels are sufficient to make river travel possible.
During the summer months, people use outboard motors and canoes for other activities, such as hunting, trapping, and fishing. During the winter months, skidoos are the main transportation around the community. There are pick-up trucks, vans, and all-terrain vehicles owed by both businesses and individuals.
The winter road was completed in the early spring of 1974. It is also used extensively during the winter months. This road is maintained by contractors. The road links all the surrounding communities, such as Attawapiskat, Moosonee, Moose Factory, and Kashechewan. Feasibility studies have recently been undertaken on construction of a permanent all-season road to the communities. The project, if undertaken, will entail a "coastal road" connecting the four communities with each other, as well as a road to link the coastal road to the provincial highway system at Fraserdale, Kapuskasing or Hearst.
In January 2021, the 311-kilometre James Bay Winter Ice Road was under construction, to connect Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Moosonee. It opened some time in winter 2021 and was said to accept loads up to 50,000 kilograms in weight. The road is operated by Kimesskanemenow LP, "a limited partnership between the four communities it connects".
Air Creebec transports passengers and provides freight services through Fort Albany Airport. The present passenger rate is $921.90 for an adult return trip to Timmins. These rates increase on an annual basis. Seat sales are available, which are less expensive than the regular fare price. Air Creebec also provides charter flights when required.
Air Creebec also handles patient transportation up the coastal communities on a daily basis, Mondays to Fridays. These flights are intended only for hospital patients requiring out of the community hospital care. Other private small airlines, like Thunder Air and Wabusk Air, also provide charter services, which sometimes are cheaper than a regular flight on Air Creebec.
Fort Albany has a subarctic climate (Köppen Climate Classification Dfc) with mild summers and severely cold winters. This is characterised by a yearly mean temperature below the freezing point at −2 °C (28 °F). There are very short transitional periods. Fort Albany's climate becomes colder after the bay freezes over. During summer, temperatures reach an average high of 22 °C (71.6 °F). However, October temperatures are relatively mild, on average six degrees milder than April. The annual precipitation rate averages 569 millimetres (22.4 in), which is noticeably higher in summer than at other times of the year.
|Climate data for Fort Albany|
|Average high °C (°F)||−15
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−22
|Average low °C (°F)||−28
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||26
The basic economy of the area is a subsistence allowance. There are seasonal jobs that involve construction work for the major capital projects like the dyke, the new school, and the Mid Canada Line. There are the traditional economic activities like trapping, fishing and hunting. There are a small number of employment opportunities including the Fort Albany First Nation Administration office, Mundo Peetabeck Education authority, Peetabeck Health Services. Fort Albany Power Authority, James Bay General Hospital, Northern Store, Air Creebec, and other small private owned businesses.
The new De Beers Diamond mine in James Bay may also provide many new opportunities.
Health care in Fort Albany is provided by a 17-bed Fort Albany Hospital staff 24/7 by nursing staff with consultation by doctors from Weeneebayko Area Health Authority as well as transfers to Timmins and Kingston.
The band runs Peetabeck Education, which administers Peetabeck Academy, a K–12 school that had its grand opening in 2015, at the same time the rectory of the old St. Anne's Indian Residential School burned.
The majority of the population speaks Mushkegowuk Cree. Many men and women, younger and to the age of fifty, are bilingual in Cree and English. Children are taught in Cree and English at an early age. The community consists of quite a mixture of linguistics, with English, French, Cree, Ojibway, and Oji-Cree spoken.
Hudson's Bay Company Post
The area was explored by Charles Bayly, the first overseas governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, around 1675, and the original Fort Albany was established in 1679. It was one of the original Hudson's Bay Company trading posts, the others being Moose Factory on the south shore of James Bay, Charles Fort (later Rupert House) on the east, York Factory in the Port Nelson region, and New Severn (aka Fort Severn).:21 In these early days of the company, each fort was run by a governor, who served for a number of years and oversaw the company employees, managing the trade of their fort.:22
The original fort was built inland from the mouth of the Albany River, partly for defense, and moved several times. Ships from England had to lay at the river mouth at Albany Roads. In 1683, Governor Henry Sergeant was directed to make it the primary trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company; it was the largest fort on the Bay at that point, with four bastions and forty-three guns.:51 In 1684 a Monsieur Péré reached the fort from French Canada. He was arrested and his two companions sent to Charlton Island. In 1685, the French built Fort des Français at the juncture of the Albany and Kenogami Rivers to block the indigenous people from coming north to trade with the HBC.
In 1686, all three posts on James Bay (Moose Factory, Rupert House, and Fort Albany) were captured by an overland expedition from Quebec. Fort Albany was named Fort Saint-Anne by the French. In 1688 the English sent ships to reestablish their posts but were defeated by French ships that had come to re-supply the forts. In 1693 the English retook the fort and held it thereafter.:52 By the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, Albany was to be returned to the French, but nothing was done until war resumed in 1702. In 1709 the French tried and failed to capture the fort. In 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht gave Hudson and James Bays (along with the rest of Rupert's Land) to the English.
Following the end of decades of conflict with the French, sloops from Albany traded along the east coast until a new post was built on the Eastmain River in 1723-24 and Moose Factory was reestablished in 1730. However, even by 1771, one ship serviced Albany, Moose Factory, and the East Main sub-house on the east shore.:112
Around the mid-1700s, the company's policy was to primarily engage in trade with indigenous people at their forts on the coast. By 1743, Chief Factor Joseph Isbister had found that trade at Albany was being undercut by coureurs des bois that had established trading posts upriver from the fort. So, going against company policy, he took a team 160 miles up river to establish the subsidiary Henley House and re-establish HBC authority. This policy officially changed in the 1770s, and the company began establishing series of inland posts that fed into the coastal forts and factories, which would function as depots for storage and ports for trade back to Europe. According to a report by long-time company factor Andrew Graham, by 1771, around the time of the change in policy, Fort Albany was staffed by 30 men in addition to the chief factor and his officers, and oversaw the sub-houses Henley House and East Main, each with eleven men governed by a sloop master.:111
Another official policy of the company was to not allow any of the indigenous people they traded with into any forts. This policy, relaxed by Chief Factor George Spence (1747-1752), was strictly enforced by Chief Factor Joseph Isbister when he returned to the fort in 1752. This sudden removal of access to Fort Albany and Henley House angered Wappisis, a Cree man influential over the indigenous people of the area, and in December 1754 he and a few others destroyed Henley House, killing the five HBC men there and raiding the stores, threatening death to anyone that told the Company people that they had done it. Wappisis went to Albany in May 1755 to trade and attempted to blame "French Indians" on the destruction of Henley House. Isbister heard in June from another indigenous person that Wappisis had done it, and Isbister hanged Wappisis and his two sons on June 21, 1755. The employees at Moose and Albany were concerned following the destruction of Henley House, since this was the first such incident of indigenous violence in the company's history. Henley House was re-established under Chief Factor Humphrey Marten by 1768.
In 1777, Gloucester House was built 243 miles upriver from Henley House and in 1786, Osnaburgh House was built at the outflow of Lake St. Joseph. This westward expansion significantly increased the trade of Fort Albany. In 1793, the Governor of Albany Fort established posts on the Rainy River and Winnipeg River. Posts supplied from the HBC-run Fort Albany competed with North West Company men from Lake Superior and even HBC posts supplied from York Factory, until the union of the two companies in 1821.[verification needed]
Fort Albany was the headquarters of the Albany District of the Hudson's Bay Company, which, as of 1830, bordered Severn District to its northwest, Moose District to its southeast, the far western reaches of Upper Canada to its south, Lac La Pluie District to its southwest, and Winnipeg District to its west. The east-flowing Albany River drew furs from as far west as Lake St. Joseph. From there a portage ran west to Lac Seul, the English River, the Winnipeg River and beyond. A north-flowing branch, the Kenogami River led upstream toward Lake Superior at Wawa, Ontario and another branch, the Ogoki River led toward Lake Nipigon.
Following the 1821 merger of HBC with the North West Company, Albany District thrived, recovering from the decline in trade caused by competition while the supply of fur-bearing animals dwindled. In order to curb the extinction of fur-bearing animals, the Governor of Rupert's Land George Simpson established beaver preserves throughout the district.
As of 1856, the Hudson's Bay Company estimated that there were 1,100 Indians living in the Albany District, which at the time included the trading posts of Fort Albany, Marten Falls, Osnaburg, and Lac Seul.:489
Surrender of Rupert's Land
In 1868, the Hudson's Bay Company surrendered their North American territory known as Rupert's Land to Great Britain, which then gave it to the newly-formed Dominion of Canada with an 1869 "deed of surrender". Following this transfer to the Dominion, the province of Ontario engaged in litigation, arbitration, and negotiation to define its northern and western borders. In 1878, arbitrators granted Ontario territory north to the English and Albany rivers, causing Fort Albany to become part of the province. The Canada (Ontario Boundary) Act, 1889 officially expanded the province of Ontario north to Albany River and west to Lake of the Woods. At the suggestion of magistrate E. B. Borron, Ontario initially allowed the old HBC regime to manage the territory, until the province was able to more substantially take on its management, which began by appointing HBC officers as justices of the peace.
Split with Kashechewan
Old Fort Albany, which was on an island between the modern day communities of Fort Albany and Kashechewan First Nations, became separated into Anglican and Roman Catholic sections. Subsequently, the Roman Catholic mission and the Roman Catholic portion of the community moved to the current site of modern-day Fort Albany, on the southern shore of the river. The Anglican portion of the community some years later moved to the current site of Kashechewan, on the north shore. Up until the 1970s Fort Albany and Kashechewan shared the same chief and council. In the 1977 they came to have separate Band Councils. Fort Albany and Kashechewan are treated as separate bands, and function as separate bands today. New Fort Albany is mostly a Roman Catholic community, while Kashechewan is mainly Anglican.
Chief Factors of Fort Albany
Following the Hudson's Bay Company's rigid corporate structure, the original trading post of Fort Albany was run by a Chief Factor, who oversaw the business of the fort (and consequently, the district). Some of the chief factors are listed below, along with the year of their appointment. The term "governor" is sometimes used to refer to the employee overseeing the operations of the fort.
|1686-1692||--||The French controlled the fort at this time.|||
|1705-1708||Anthony Beale||Returned to England in 1708 at his own request.|||
|August 1711||Henry Kelsey||Formerly Deputy Governor (i.e. Second); replaced Fullartine after his departure before Beale arrived the following month.|||
|1711-1714||Anthony Beale||Recalled in the aftermath of the Treaty of Utrecht as the Company re-oriented itself.
Beginning in 1715, above the governor/chief factor of the fort, there seems to have been the position of "governor-in-chief" overseeing the whole region from York Factory.
|1714-1715||Richard Staunton||Recalled upon his own request in 1715, following the rejection of a pay raise, though he may have been abused by the "unruly men" at the fort.|||
|1716-1721||Thomas McCliesh||Returned to England in 1721.|||
|1721-1723||Joseph Myatt||Demoted in 1723 to Deputy Governor (i.e. Second) following a price drop caused by intervention of coureurs des bois and for teaching an indigenous boy to read and write.|||
|1726-1730||Joseph Myatt||Served until his death from "gout of the stomach".|||
|1735, 1736||Thomas McCliesh||Appointed in 1735, and then again in 1736, but was unable to take up his post at Albany both times due to illness, and returned to England.|||
|1737-1739||Thomas Bird||Served until his death, believed to be "hastened by an immoderate use of liquors".|||
|1739-1740||Rowland Waggoner||Died before the orders for a three-year appointment as Chief Factor could reach Albany.|||
|1740-1747||Joseph Isbister||Established the first inland HBC post, Henley House. Had to relinquish his post due to illness.|||
|1792||Edward Jarvis||Retired due to ill health.|||
|1800-1810||John Hodgson||Was in England for the 1807-08 year. Dismissed following much mismanagement of the fort and its subsidiaries.|||
|1821||Merger of the Hudson's Bay Company with the North-West Company|
|1829-1830||Alexander McTavish||Chief Trader, no Chief Factor present||:456|
|1830-1837||Jacob Corrigal||Chief Trader, no Chief Factor present||:457|
|1830||Alexander Stewart||Governor George Simpson appointed Stewart to be Chief Factor, but on his journey to the fort he suffered a "slight paralytic affection" and was given leave of absence.||:461|
|1837-1855||Thomas Corcoran||Chief Trader, no Chief Factor present. Departed in 1851-52 to receive medical attention.||:458, 461|
|1855-||William H. Watt||Chief Trader, no Chief Factor present||:461|
|1858-1860||William H. Watt||Chief Trader, no Chief Factor present. Given leave of absence in 1860.||:462|
Ontario Justices of the Peace
Once the settlement was made part of the Dominion of Canada (1869), and later the province of Ontario (awarded by arbitrators in 1878), the province appointed Justices of the Peace to assert its authority in its new northern reaches.
|Date of appointment||Justice of the Peace||Notes||Ref|
|May 20, 1882||William Broughton||Former HBC officer, later became Chief Factor at Moose Factory in 1892.||:88|
Albany Band Council composition (1909-1977)
|Date of selection||Chief||Councillors||Notes||Ref|
|July 1920||Moses Wesley||
|July 26, 1926||
|July 16, 1929||Isiah Nashootaway (Sutherland)||
|July 1947||Simeon Scott||
|July 30, 1951||
|July 29, 1957||James Wesley||
|June 17, 1960||
|August 12, 1964||Abraham Metat[sic]||
|July 28, 1967||James Wesley||
|August 27, 1969||William Stephen||
|June 15, 1971||William Wesley Sr.||
||Lawrence Mark resigned January 17, 1972. Moses Nakogee resigned May 16, 1972.|||
|June 15, 1973||John Nakogee||
|June 24, 1975||Silas Wesley||
||This was the last band council before the official split between the Fort Albany and Kaschechewan First Nations, from 1977 onwards, each community had its own band council.|||
Albany band council composition (1977-present)
This section needs expansion with: additional information on band council composition from 1994 to present. You can help by adding to it. (July 2022)
Kashechewan First Nation began having its own band council in 1977.
|Date of Selection||Chief||Councillors||Notes||Ref|
|June 21, 1977||John Nakogee||
|June 21, 1979||Alex Metatawabin||
||Chief Alex Metatawabin was removed February 24, 1980, and replaced in a by-election.|||
|March 3, 1980||Louie[sic] Nakogee|
|June 2, 1981||Alex Metatawabin||
|July 16, 1983||Louie[sic] Nakogee Sr.||
|February 27, 1985||Simeon Solomon||
||Gabriel Loone and Marius Spence resigned in September 1985, and were replaced by Peter Nakogee and David Sutherland in a by-election on September 11, 1985. Peter Nakogee then resigned on May 13, 1986.|||
|August 13, 1986||Louie Nakogee Jr.||
|July 6, 1988||Edmund Metatawabin||
||William Sutherland and Rita Scott resigned during their time on Council, and were replaced by David Sutherland and George Sackanay in a by-election on May 21, 1989.|||
|July 6, 1990||
|July 13, 1992||
|Date of Selection||Chief||Deputy Chief||Councillors||Notes||Ref|
|August 13, 2018||Leo Metatawabin||Robert Nakogee||
|August 23, 2020||Robert Nakogee||Charlotte Nakoochee||
Custom Election Code
A referendum of the First Nation's members on June 13, 2022 approved a Custom Election Code, with 22 of 39 votes cast in favour of the code. This Custom Election Code replaces the electoral process laid out in the Indian Act. The October 1, 2022 election will be the first election in Fort Albany held under the custom code.
- Ogg, Arden (August 19, 2015). "Cree Place Names Project". Cree Literacy Network. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
- "Ontario's far north one step closer to building all-season road". CBC Sudbury, September 17, 2017.
- "All Season Road". Mushkegowuk Council.
- "Construction of the James Bay Winter Road underway". Retrieved 15 March 2021.
- "THE JAMES BAY WINTER ROAD IS OPEN TO HEAVY LOADS UP TO 50 000 KGS". Retrieved 14 March 2021.
- "Albany, Ontario Kppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)".
- "Albany, Ontario". Weatherbase. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "Site histories". Weeneebayko Area Health Authority. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
- "Fort Albany First Nation". 211 North. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
- Baiguzhiyeva, Dariya (November 13, 2021). "Each day is a blessing, a gift: former Fort Albany chief". Timmins Today. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
On the day of Peetabeck Academy’s grand opening, the old residential school was burning, Metatawabin says adding that the building had already been burning for about three days.
- Bryce, George (1910). The remarkable history of the Hudson's Bay Company : including that of the French traders of North-western Canada and of the North-west, XY, and Astor Fur Companies. London: Sampson Low, Marston.
- Van Kirk, Sylvia (1969). "ISBISTER, JOSEPH". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Thorman, George E. (1974). "WAPPISIS". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Pannekoek, F. (1979). "MARTEN, HUMPHREY". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Arthur S Morton,"A History of the Canadian West"
- Mackie, Richard (1997). Trading beyond the mountains: the British fur trade on the Pacific, 1793-1843. Vancouver: UBC Press. pp. xvi. ISBN 0774805595.
- Reimer, Gwen; Chartrand, Jean-Philippe (March 14, 2005). "A HISTORICAL PROFILE OF THE JAMES BAY AREA'S MIXED EUROPEAN-INDIAN OR MIXED EUROPEAN-INUIT COMMUNITY" (PDF). Prepared for Department of Justice Canada.
- "James Knight". HBC Heritage. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Dodge, Ernest S. (1969). "KNIGHT, JAMES". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- "BEALE, ANTHONY". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. 1969. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Johnson, Alice M. (1969). "McCLIESH, THOMAS". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Rich, E. E. (1969). "STAUNTON, RICHARD". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Thorman, G.E. (1969). "MYATT, JOSEPH". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Thorman, G.E. (1969). "ADAMS, JOSEPH". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Johnson, Alice M. (1969). "BIRD, THOMAS". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Thorman, G.E. (1969). "WAGGONER, ROWLAND". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Williams, Glyndwr (1979). "HUTCHINS, THOMAS". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Pannekoek, F. (1979). "JARVIS, EDWARD". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- "M’Nab, John (Dr.) (ca. 1755-ca. 1820) (fl.1779-1812) January 1987 (MGM:wg based on research by MF); REV. June 1992, 99/07 JHB". Hudson's Bay Company Archives. Archives Winnipeg.
- Brown, Jennifer S. H. (1987). "HODGSON, JOHN". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Brown, Jennifer S. H. (1987). "VINCENT, THOMAS". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- Anick, Norman (1976). "The Fur Trade in Eastern Canada Until 1870" (PDF). Parks Canada. II.
- "Chiefs and Councillors - Ontario Region" (PDF). Government of Canada Publications. 1: 3–5. November 11, 1993.
- "Chiefs and Councillors - Ontario Region" (PDF). Government of Canada Publications. 1: 6–8. November 11, 1993.
- Baiguzhiyeva, Dariya (August 24, 2020). "Fort Albany elects new chief and council". Timmins Today. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
He [Robert Nakogee] [has] been on council for 10 consecutive years. Nakogee started off as a councillor and then served as a deputy chief for six years.
- "Chief and Council | Fafn". Fort Albany First Nation. Archived from the original on April 19, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- "Governance". First Nation Profiles. Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. June 2022. Archived from the original on July 7, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
- "Revised REFERENDUM RESULTS NOTICE" (Press release). Fort Albany, ON: Fort Albany First Nation. June 13, 2022. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
- "NOTICE OF GENERAL ELECTION" (Press release). Fort Albany, ON: Fort Albany First Nation. June 17, 2022. Retrieved July 6, 2022.