Wikwemikong First Nation

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Wikwemikong
Unceded territory
Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve
Welcome sign
Welcome sign
Nickname(s): Wiky
Wikwemikong is located in Southern Ontario
Wikwemikong
Wikwemikong
Coordinates: 45°42′N 81°43′W / 45.700°N 81.717°W / 45.700; -81.717Coordinates: 45°42′N 81°43′W / 45.700°N 81.717°W / 45.700; -81.717
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
District Manitoulin
First Nation Wikwemikong
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

The Wikwemikong First Nation is a First Nation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario. The Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve (usually known as Wikwemikong or Wiky or Wiikwemkoong) is their First Nation 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".

The reserve's former name was Manitoulin Unceded Indian Reserve; the Wikwemikong Band changed it on August 20, 1968, 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, a considerable portion 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 and the islands in exchange for the establishment of 24 reserves and a payment of approximately $10 000 to be followed by additional annual payment of $2700.

In 1862, most of the islands were again 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 claimed that the bands that signed the Treaty did not represent them, 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 ceded Point Grondine band amalgamated as the Wikwemikong band. Point Grondine was created as Reserve #3 in the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850.

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, within the missions ruins next to Holy Cross Church.

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]