Rocky Boy Tribe
Chippewa Indians of
Fort Severn 89
This Chippewa Treaty 9 Reservation settlement is located in extreme northwestern Ontario about 6 miles from Hudson Bay. Partridge Island is between Fort Severn and Hudson Bay. Fort Severn was settled largely by Odawah or Ottawa's after the whites (Hudson's Bay Company) were allowed to establish a trading post in 1689 there. When the whites made first contact with the natives of the Fort Severn region, they were from the Ojibwa's who were the military and police totem of the Anishinabe Nation. The Odawah were the merchant totem of the Anishinabe Nation. The Fort Severn Chippewa's are note worthy for the Ojibwa dialect known as the Severn dialect of the Anishinabe Language. The Ojibwa Severn dialect is spoken from northwestern Ontario, to northeastern Manitoba. It is also known as Oji-Cree but the language and the people are Ojibwa.
To some extent it is probably the closest dialect of the Ojibwa Language which was spoken in 1492. Either they are or the Anishinabe people who live around the western shores of James Bay are. For an example, the word for sun is Pi-sim in Severn Ojibwa. Further to the south, the word for sun in the other Ojibwa dialects is Gi-zis. In Anishinabe, Zis or Zez almost always represents something small. The settlement of Fort Severn was established in 1973. Actually it was relocated from another settlement which had been established with the 1929 Treaty 9 signing. It was originally located where the Sachigo River enters the Severn River which is 83 miles southwest of where Fort Severn is now situated. The Ontario Ojibwa's must reestablish another settlement at the original settlement. Below is a google earth photo of where the original Fort Severn settlement was located.
That is likely evidence they are related to the Ojibway's who were forced to relocate from either the interior of the north of Manitoba and interior of Nunavut (the Chipewyan or Chippewan), or Akimiski Island. So is the fact that they did not achieve full status until 1980. For more information about Akimiski Island, read further down below. Fort Severn and Chisasibi have to be related in some way. If in fact a forced relocation happened as stated below, it is likely the whites allowed many foreign Asian people to move to Chisasibi and the other settlements listed below including Fort Severn. Chisasibi has a significant Asian population.
Knowing about the Severn dialect, we know the southern Ojibwa word for sun Gi-zis, is obviously not the correct Ojibwa word for sun. The correct Ojibwa word for sun is obviously Pi-sim. As for the rest of the Severn Ojibwa dialect, we know from first hand accounts in the 20th century that the dialect has been corrupted. It happened while the youth of these isolated Ojibwa settlements in northwestern Ontario and northeastern Manitoba, were forced to attend boarding schools far from their settlements in the 20th century. We they returned to their homes their parents were extremely alarmed by the Ojibwa they spoke (they could hardly understand it) and their insistence that they were Oji-Cree and not Ojibwa. They protested that this was done without their consent. It is identical to what happened at most other Ojibwa Reservations, especially in the west.
Ojibwa parents quickly learned in the 19th century that if allowed to attend white boarding schools, their children would die (lose their nationality). Wars were nearly commenced by the Ojibwa's to prevent the whites from brainwashing Ojibwa children. Unfortunately, the Ojibwa's the whites refer to as Oji-Cree, are quickly losing their Ojibwa Nationality. However, their language is considered Ojibwa and they must identify with it. The region between northwestern Ontario and northeastern Manitoba has long been isolated. It has therefore preserved much of the original Ojibwa language. According to the 2011 census, the population of Fort Severn was 495. The number of housing units is probably over 225. The average household size is probably over 4.0 persons per housing unit. In fact, the population of Fort Severn is probably over 1,000. Since the citizens of Fort Severn are isolated, they need to help each other out. It is probably common for one house to have as many as 10 to 20 people living in it. Below is a link to a picture of the Chippewa Treaty 9 Reservation settlement of Fort Severn.
In 1980, a suspicious event changed the lives of the Fort Severn and Chisasibi Anishinabek. They were forced to relocate. The Chisasibi from an island they claim was named Fort George. The island is actually situated in what appears to be a delta. It does look like an island but only so far as the river which separates it from the mainland. The distance between the island and the mainland is a fifth of a mile or about 1,000 feet. In James Bay are several large islands. And we know the Anishinabe people were infatuated with islands. The largest is Akimiski Island. It's width at it's widest point is 27 miles. It's length at it's greatest length is 61 miles. It covers 3,001 sq. km. or 1,158 sq. mi. And it is a turtle shaped island. Since historical evidence tell of a forced relocation from an island, all of the James Bay communities are involved. If the relocation did not involve any islands, the forced relocation probably involved the Chipewyan or Chippewan, of the interior of the north of Manitoba and the interior of Nunavut. That commenced in either the 1940s or 1950s. The following communities are likely related to the forced relocations which probably commenced in the 1940s and continued up to the 1980s:
Eastmain or Kachimumiskwanuch
New Brunswick House
Though the whites have been up front about the forced relocations which include the forced relocation of the Chipewyan or Chippewan, from the interior of the north of Manitoba and the interior of Nunavut, the forced relocation from an island in James Bay is the one being carefully ignored. And the forced relocation of the York Factory Anishinabek to York Landing is definitely related. That commenced in 1957 or near the same time as the forced relocation of the Chippewan from the interior of the north of Manitoba and interior Nunavut, to the coastal sellements along Hudson Bay. So the actual time the forced relocations from Akimiski Island commenced, was either 1957 or shortly before. Below is a google earth photo of the turtle shaped island of Akimiski.
Photo of Fort Severn
Photo of the original area of Fort Severn
Photo of Akimiski Island