FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – Our neighbours in Fort William First Nation live in a beautiful area, surrounded by Lake Superior, and the Nor’Westers. The community was set aside under the provisions of the Robertson-Superior Treaty in 1850 – Before Canada was a nation. The traditional territories occupied and used by the Chippewa’s at Fort William and their residence stretch from Pigeon River to the south, north to Treaty 9 boundary and east to Nipigon.
Today, Fort William First Nation is a community in transition.
The First Nation has a population of about 1800 people. The on-Reserve population is about 900 residents.
The community has a growing population, and a growing economy. There are challenges, but the Chief and Council are working with the community toward positive solutions.
The annual Pow Wow is coming up at the end of June. This year, the Pow Wow will be held for the first time at the community’s new Pow Wow facility.
The City of Thunder Bay’s Clean, Green and Beautiful Committee presented the annual awards to celebrate organizations and businesses whose building and renovation projects enrich the life of the community through public art, beautification, heritage and environmental greening.
Fort William First Nation, Oshki-Aki LP, a joint venture partnership with True Grit Consulting Limited and project partner FORM Architecture Engineering, received the 2015 Public Spaces Award in recognition of Fort William First Nation’s completed Mount McKay Pow Wow Grounds project.
Fort William First Nation’s Joint Venture Partnership firm, Oshki-Aki LP led the initiative to manage the concept, design and construction. Oshki-Aki LP was established to assist the community of FWFN in building capacity by providing engineering services both on and off reserve, and throughout Ontario.
100% of the profit from the Joint Venture goes back to the community. Oshki-Aki LP creates employment opportunities for community members while also building important work and technical skills. During the construction of the Pow wow Grounds, 50% of the workforce included FWFN members that were able to secure employment with RML Construction
For thousands of years, people have gathered for ceremonial purposes on Anemki Wajiw. It is a special place.
This year, part of National Aboriginal Day will be hosted up on the Mountain at the Fort William First Nation.
The economy of Fort William First Nation includes a solar power farm, gas stations, restaurants, construction companies, the offices of Wasaya Airways, Aboriginal Affairs, Dilico Child Services, as well as offices for Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Ontario Native Women’s Association, and several local offices for regional First Nations. There is also law offices and other small businesses housed on the First Nation.
The Fort William Arena, a Bingo Centre, and cultural offices as well as youth programs running that help provide employment and positive activity for the people on Fort William First Nation.
Newly elected Chief Peter Collins is looking to expand educational opportunities on Fort William First Nation. The Chief is also working to find solutions to the ongoing issue of the James Street Bridge. The bridge burnt in 2013, and has caused a serious economic impact on both sides of the Kam River.
Take a drive out to Fort William First Nation, there you will see a community in transition. Take the time to visit, enjoy a delicious meal, and see that our neighbours to the immediate south in Thunder Bay are an important part or our entire region.