Rapid Lake, Quebec

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Rapid Lake

First Nations reserve
Rapid Lake FN 1.JPG
Rapid Lake is located in Quebec
Rapid Lake
Rapid Lake
Coordinates: 47°15′N 76°42′W / 47.250°N 76.700°W / 47.250; -76.700Coordinates: 47°15′N 76°42′W / 47.250°N 76.700°W / 47.250; -76.700
Country Canada
Province Quebec
Regional countynone
Founded1961 (reserve)
 • ChiefCasey Ratt
 • Federal ridingPontiac
 • Prov. ridingGatineau
 • Land1.05 km2 (0.41 sq mi)
 (December 31, 2008)[3]
 • Total663
 Population for entire band, including off-reserve members
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Postal Code
J0W 2C0
Area code(s)819

Rapid Lake (French: Lac-Rapide) is a First Nation reserve on the western shore of Cabonga Reservoir in the Outaouais region of Quebec, Canada. It belongs to the Algonquins of Barrière Lake of the Algonquin Nation.[4]

The reserve is an enclave within the Lac-Pythonga unorganized territory and in the middle of the La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve. It is accessible by a short road from Quebec Route 117, approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Grand-Remous. In recent years, the community has been troubled by poor living conditions, financial difficulties, governance disputes, school closure, and protests.[3]


The Algonquin have long lived in the Outaouais, following a traditional nomadic life. Evidence has been found of Algonquin presence at Lake Barrière on the Ottawa River from the 18th century. Not until 1851 did the Hudson's Bay Company establish a trading post first at the former Lake Cabonga (named Kakabonga at that time). When this post burned down in 1873, it was replaced by a new post on Lake Barrière in 1874, that was identified as Mitakanabikong or Mitchikanabikong, and as Barrière from 1876 on.[5]

On September 7, 1961, the Rapid Lake Reserve was formed when the Government of Quebec transferred control and administration of 69 acres (28 ha) in the geographic township of Émard to the Government of Canada. It took its name from the former Rapide Lake, which was submerged below the waters of Cabonga Reservoir, created in 1929. Despite these lands being reserved for use by the Algonquins, they continued to regularly visit the site at Barrière Lake about 30 kilometres (19 mi) north because of their historic ties to it. Even today, many families continue to go to Barrière Lake to practice traditional activities.[5][6]

In 1995, because of a leadership dispute, some families left the reserve and settled on Jean-Peré Lake, not far to the south, also in La Vérendrye Park. Another result was that the traditional oral rules for leadership selection were codified in writing for the first time in 1996. However, leadership disputes arose again in 2006 when two separate band councils were selected by separate Elder Councils, embroiling the community in legal proceedings and governance disputes until today.[3]

On October 6, 2008, seventy-five members of the Barrière Lake Algonquins set up a roadblock on Highway 117, demanding that the federal and provincial governments honour a resource-sharing agreement signed twenty years earlier. This protest was repeated a month later on November 19. Both protests disrupted traffic for hours by dragging logs onto the road, and ending with police confrontation.[7]


There is one school on the reserve, Rapid Lake School, with classes for pre-kindergarten to Secondary grade 3. Since 1995, the school is under the jurisdiction of the Band Council, that can tailor the school's curriculum to local cultural realities in accordance with provincial standards. In addition to recognized provincial programs, the school also teaches the Algonquin language.[3]

Rapid Lake reserve with Cabonga Reservoir in background


  1. ^ Ministère des Affaires Municipales, Régions et Occupation du territoire - Répertoire des municipalités: Lac-Rapide
  2. ^ Statistics Canada 2006 Census - Lac-Rapide community profile
  3. ^ a b c d "Algonquins of Barriere Lake information sheet". Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
  4. ^ Aboriginal Community profile: Barrière Lake First Nation Archived 2009-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  5. ^ a b "Lac-Rapide (Réserve indienne)" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
  6. ^ Natural Resources Canada - Legal Surveys Division, Historical Review - Rapid Lake Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "RAPID LAKE, QUEBEC: Government responds to Algonquin demands with police violence". Christian Peacemaker Teams. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2010-03-18.

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