Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

Island Lake First Nation

It's one of chief Big Bears many communities. Island Lake First Nation is now adjacent to Onion Lake First Nation. In 1876, chiefs Big Bear and Sitting Bull, led 10,000s of Montana Ojibway's to Alberta's and Saskatchewan's Cypress Hills. Chief Big Bear met with white treaty negotiators in either August or September of 1876, at Fort Carlton or Fort Pitt and told them he would sign treaty in 1877. However, it took him over six years to actually sign treaty. By late 1882, his subjects were demanding that he sign treaty which he did in December of 1882. He led his Ojibway subjects north of Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan and settled at many locations. One is Island Lake. They were originally a part of Onion Lake which is located in Saskatchewan. Many refused to accept treaty and it caused problems. In 1909, Island Lake First Nation was recognized by Canada's Department of Indian Affairs, after they requested for a Reserve in 1907. They probably came up from Montana. During those times (1900-1920) Americans were Deporting 1,000's of Ojibway's native to Montana. It was chief Rocky Boy that helped them find this land. In 1909, chief Rocky Boy and 100's of his Ojibway subjects, were Deported to Blackfeet Reservation, where they were granted a Reservation. Those Ojibway's who refused to recognize treaty, also settled at Island Lake. Island Lake is a community of Kasba Reserve or Treaty Five Reserve. According to a 2016 census, Island Lake has a population of 624. These Ojibway People are affiliated closely with Makwa Sahgaiehcan and Big Island. Makwa Lake is east of Island Lake, while Big Island is north of Island Lake. All are from chief Big Bears Ojibway's. Last battle of 1885's Northwest Rebellion, was fought at Loon Lake which is known today as Makwa Lake. In Ojibway, Makwa means bear. They may have changed it's name to honor chief Big Bear. Canada was supposed to honor treaty agreements and stay south of Saskatchewan River.

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