Elder William Commanda, up until his death, was the keeper of the three figure welcoming wampum belt from the 16th century. This belt inscribes the understanding of Indigenous Peoples about the sharing of their native land and their values with the newcomers: the English and the French.

When people came from other lands first to explore and to trade with Indigenous Peoples and then eventually to settle here, Algonquin Anishinaabe welcomed and befriended them and indeed assisted them to survive in difficult conditions.

 The Royal Proclamation of 1763  and the Treaty of Niagara in 1764 between First Nations and the Crown required agreement on both parts for any of the land to be sold to settlers.  However, settlers gradually took over the land, pushing Algonquin people aside with no regard for their cultural, material or spiritual needs or for the land and water that sustained them.  Algonquins were forced to move up river and in land to find hunting grounds in order to survive.  When the government established the Pikwakanagan reserve in 1873, many refused to leave the homes that they had established. Further, the Indian Act including the residential school system was created with the intention to assimilate Indigenous people into western society.

Today there are nine other Algonquin First Nations Communities that are not reserves that include both status and non-status Indigenous people: Shabot Obaadjiwan, Snimikobi (Ardoch), Bonnechere, Mattawa/North Bay, Greater Golden Lake, Antoine,Bancroft, Whitney and Ottawa.

History of the relationship between Settlers and Algonquins of Ontario: Watch this space for future content.

https://www.aafna.ca/ Snimikobi (Ardoch)
https://bafn.ca/ (Bonnechere)
https://kijichomanito.com/ Bancroft

Currently non-status Algonquin people of Ontario are tracing their lineage to establish Indigenous heritage and are also working with the federal government on a Land Claim Agreement. There is now a proposal on the table but some Algonquin people are not yet satisfied with the terms.

In our area –that is, Lanark County – there are no reserves. In the south-western corner are the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation and the Ardoch First Nation Communities; to the north of us in Renfrew County, is the Pikwakanagan reserve. About 500 people with Indigenous heritage live in Mississippi Mills.

Here in Mississippi Mills, there is evidence that Indigenous people traveled the Mississippi from the interior of Lanark county to the Ottawa River.