Sioux Lookout is referred to as the “Hub of the North” as it is uniquely positioned as the access point to many communities in Northern Ontario. The Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord was founded in 2017 and is an agreement between Cat Lake First Nation, Lac Seul First Nation, Slate Falls First Nation, and Kichenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, as well as the Municipality of Sioux Lookout.
The Friendship Accord was created to allow these communities to work collaboratively on many aspects of community management in order to share sustainable prosperity, inspire change and hope, and to foster healing and opportunities for future generations.
Cat Lake First Nation, located approximately 179km north of Sioux Lookout, is an isolated community that is accessible only by air or winter road. Their community is situated on the north shores of the Cat Lake River system. The First Nation calls itself Bizhiw-zaaga’iganiwininiwag “Men of Wild-cat Lake” or Bizhiw-zaaga’iganiing Nitam Anishinaabeg meaning “The First Nation at Wild-cat Lake,” referring to the Canada lynx.
The community of Cat Lake was originally established as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post in 1788 and later belonged to the Osnaburgh Band of Oji-Cree. The Cat Lake reserve is within the boundaries of the territory described by the James Bay Treaty of 1905 – Treaty 9. The reserve was formally established on June 1970. The total registered population in 2019 was 821 with an on reserve registered population of 648.
Cat Lake is a member of the Windigo First Nation Council, which is comprised of the Chiefs of seven First Nations that work together to deliver several programs and services. Chief Ernie Wesley is the current Chief of Cat Lake First Nation.
For more information on Cat Lake, visit the Windigo First Nation Council website at windigo.on.ca/article/chiefs-council-5.asp
Kichenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (“KI”), formerly known as Big Trout Lake is located approximately 400km northeast of Sioux Lookout and is located on the north shore of Big Trout Lake. The community is accessible only by air or winter roads.
When Treaty 9 was first signed in Osnaburgh, Ontario in 1905, KI was located in land that was, at the time, not considered part of Ontario but rather within the then North-Western Territory. When band members learned of the signing they sent repeated letters for treaty terms. Full reserve status was granted to Big Trout Lake in 1976.
In 1991, KI declared its independence from First Nation organizations and chose to pursue their community aspirations and objectives on a nation-to-nation basis with the Government of Canada.
KI’s total registered population in 2019 was 1,712, with an on reserve registered population of 1,160. Chief Donny Morris is the current Chief of KI First Nation.
For more information on KI First Nation, visit their website at bigtroutlake.firstnation.ca.
The Lac Seul First Nation is comprised of three pockets of reserve known as Obishikokaang, which are all located in Northern Ontario. These three communities are rich in culture and shaped by the hands of their ancestors:
It is suspected that the French name Lac Seul may be a mistranslation of the Anishinaabe term Obishikokaang to mean “sole abundance,” which should be Obezhigokaang. The meaning of Obishikokaang is not known but the typical translation of Obishikokaang provided is “Narrows [Abundant] with White Pine” or “White Pine Narrows,” which in common Ojibwe should be something closer to Obaazhingwaakokaang.
The Lac Seul First Nation’s total registered population in 2019 was 3,553 with an on reserve registered population of 922. Their people speak Ojibway, Oji-Cree, and English. The communities span across the southeast shores of Lac Seul Lake and southward to the north shores of Lost Lake. Chief Clifford Bull is the current Chief of Lac Seul First Nation.
For more information on Lac Seul, visit their website at lacseulfn.org.
Slate Falls First Nation is located approximately 122km north of Sioux Lookout and is accessible by air and one all weather road. The Slate Falls First Nation was once part of Mishkeegogamang First Nation and was recognized as a separate First Nation in 1985.
Slate Falls First Natoin is a member of the Windigo First Nation Council, which is comprised of the Chiefs of seven First Nations that work together to deliver several programs and services. Chief Lorraine Crane is the current Chief of Slate Falls First Nation. The total registered population in 2019 was 291 with an on reserve registered population of 34.
For more information on Cat Lake, visit the Windigo First Nation Council website at windigo.on.ca/article/chiefs-council-5.asp.