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Bear Island First Nation


This Ojibway community is located on an island in a lake in northern Ontario. Bear Island First Nation is unique. These Ojibway's came up from a southern location. Possibly from north of Toronto. Their reason for leaving was broken treaties. They retreated north of Lake Nipissing into northwestern Ontario and northwestern Quebec, to avoid whites. They never signed treaty and continue to insist they have never signed treaty ceding their land. Their territory extends east into Quebec and up to James Bay and further west. It be that region east of 1850's Robinson-Huron Treaty and Robinson-Superior Treaty. Hudson Bay Company established a trade post where Bear Island First Nation is and sought out minor Ojibway leaders to buy. One was chief Tonene who was bought to accept a very tiny island to be his Bear Island First Nation Reserve. This happened in 1877. Soon after a few Ojibway's commenced living there. In 1945, Canada bought this tiny island and in 1970 it became Bear Island First Nation Reserve. Their on-Reserve population is 153 according to 2016's census. They have 93 dwellings with 65 lived in. Average household size is 2.3 persons per household which is below normal for Ojibway communities. Ojibway Language is no longer spoken there. Their Reserve is very small. It covers a land area of 2.91 sq. km. or 1.1 sq. mi. After Ojibway leaders learned those evil people mentioned in Seven Fires Prophecy had invaded in very early 16th century, they sent 10,000's of their soldiers and their families east, to fight those white invaders. They were led by ogima Sagima. He led large numbers of Ojibway's to Ottawa River from Manitoulin Island, then sailed up river. They scattered about between James Bay, Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Obedjiwan, Quebec. They eventually colonized St. Lawrence River Valley. One of their descendants are from Bear Island First Nation of Ontario.



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