tells us that the Ojibway Nation was one of the largest nations in North
America. We migrated from the eastern seaboard to the west side of Lake
Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, pushing the Sioux further west.
We made our way into this area from the southern portion of Chippewa territory
in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Known as the
Chippewas of Lake Simcoe and Huron, our people are part of the Chippewa
Tri-Council, an alliance of three First Nation communities now known as
Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island, the Chippewas of Georgina Island
on Georgina Island, and Rama First Nation. Under the leadership of our
hereditary Chief, Chief Musquakie(Yellowhead) who served his community from
1818 to 1844, the Chippewa Tri-Council First Nations continue their
for our hospitality, we shared our knowledge and medicines with early
settlers which enabled them to survive their first difficult years in a
sometimes harsh land.
our community was moved to the Coldwater Narrows area by the Crown, part of
an “experiment” which shaped “Indian Reserves”.
We continued on as industrious people, building a road for commerce which is
known today as Highway 12, establishing farms, mills, and markets for selling
produce, fish and game to settlers and travellers.
move again after our land was taken in what is now being termed an “illegal
surrender”, we purchased land in Rama Township in 1836 and made a new
beginning for our people.
The land was
difficult to farm and, with the loss of our inherent right to fish and hunt
with the disputed Williams Treaty in 1923, we pursued other entrepreneurial
opportunities in the tourism market.
Mnjikaning Fish Fence Circle was established in 1993 by community members and
area residents for the purpose of protecting and promoting the weirs.
In 1982, the government recognized the Mnjikaning Fish Weirs as a National
Historical Site. In conjunction with Parks Canada and the Mnjikaning
Fish Fence Circle, strategic plans are in development to protect and promote
the weirs located in our territory.
fence at the Atherley Narrows, is located near Rama First Nation.
It is a complex system of underwater fences which was used for harvesting
Anishnaabeg telling of the creation of the world, each species of living
things was given a purpose to fulfill. The fish were told to come
together at certain times of the year and hold council. At these times,
the Anishnaabeg could more readily access them for food.
In spite of all
the changes the Narrows has undergone over the centuries, the fish still hold
to their role in creation and come together at Rama every spring and fall.
that the historical role taken on by Rama was important to the Chippewa
Tri-Council communities. We kept the fence and made sure that the
harvest garnered was distributed equally to the other communities involved.
Rama, over the centuries, was more than a place for fishing. It
was a traditional meeting place because of its unique geographical location
with respect to the convergence of lakes and tributaries.
Healing is a
long-standing practice among our people and is an important activity and,
since the Deer Clan are traditional caregivers, our community symbol is the
First Nation leadership believes in community consultation as a
primary tool for guiding policy, program and legislative development.
Since the mid-1980’s, Rama has undertaken ten-year
community visioning and consultation processes. The most recent
consultation process (2005/2006) included off-reserve members.
Council are committed to initiatives which move towards key goals identified
in the process including:
- Economic Development to ensure diverse investments and projects to sustain
our community well into the future
- Enhanced Health Care programs and facilities
- Community emergency response planning
- Housing continues to be a key focus as more of our members seek to return and
work in the community
- Language and Culture preservation and protection
- Education and career planning for all ages
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