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Fisherman's Corner

Lake Simcoe Ice Conditions Report

The following is a quote from a much more indepth history which can be found at the
Georginia Island Fist Nation "History of the People" pages.
Also please take the time to visit the Chipawas of Georgina website
for more information about activities and recreation on the island.

During the 1820's, the Lake Simcoe Indians came into vigorous contact with the Christianizing influence of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Gradually the Indians converted and accepted the arrival of the missionaries in 1828 on Snake Island.

There was pressure for them to farm, for decreasing the mobility of the people made the work of the missionaries easier. Ryerson proposed that native preachers would be more affective among their own people, so they implemented a strategy to train Indian orphans in this manner. Children were also encouraged to be sent to the Missionary schools.

      By 1830, Snake and Yellowhead agreed to settle together at the Narrows. Houses were built to accommodate the families, the Methodist minister and the Schoolmaster. The land was not considered good for cultivation and the yield was light. Expenditures of a lifestyle almost completely dependent on the government was higher than expected and cutbacks resulted. Also compounding this issue were the economic problems of Great Britain. Sir Francis Bond Head, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada proposed the removal of the tribes in Upper Canada to Manitoulin Island where they could live their lives removed from white contact. Consequently, Snake, Yellowhead and Aisance were urged to surrender the reserve. This compliance resulted in the surrender of 9,800 acres. By 1839 the reserve was deserted and Snake and his people returned to Snake Island.

      Again they were encouraged to farm and give up their hunting. To reinforce this, guns and ammunition were no longer part of the annuities received. Progress remained slow. The nomadic way of life was difficult to divert. The government contributed to this by uprooting the people and relocating them. Another attempt was made to move the people to Owen Sound and Manitoulin Island.

      By 1851 children from Snake Island, Beausoleil Island and Rama were attending a vocational school in Alderville. There were problems such as unfulfilled promises of blankets for the children. When some parents removed their children, the Indian Department threatened to curtail the annual presents. Pressure also came from other Indians to give up their heathen ways and listen to the good council of the whites. Alcohol had been introduced into their communities from profiteering traders and settlers, further complicating matters.

      In the 1860's as the white settlement increased around them, families gradually migrated to the larger Georgina Island, twelve miles to the east. They finally succumbed to the pressure to become farmers and were dependent of the government for most of their welfare. In a mere 80 years the people had moved from nomads to reserve residents.

      The water level on Lake Simcoe was quite low enabling residents to cross in wagons or walk in ankle deep water to the mainland. However when the Trent Severn Waterway was completed, the water table increased by several feet in the 1920's and early 1930's. This had a devastating impact on the progress of the community. It resulted in the drowning of all the wild rice around Georgina Island which was a main staple in their diet and also changed their means of travelling. Walking to the mainland was no longer an option except in the winter..................

The preceeding was a quote from a much more indepth history which can be found at the
Georginia Island Fist Nation "History of the People"

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