Friday, June 24, 2011

A visit with Iskatewizaagegan (Shoal Lake First Nation #39) Ontario

Shoal Lake First Nation is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes drive from Winnipeg Manitoba. The Reserve is located northwest of the Lake of the Woods Ontario and is signatory to Treaty number three. The current Chief is Eli Mandamin.

The land is typical Canadian Shield; lot of bedrock, granite, some swamp and deep cold water lakes. The scenery is spectacular. It is like you are in one of those National Geographic documentary film.

The Shoal Lake is almost prestine water. No development has taken place near the Lake or in the Reserve. The beneficiary of the Lake is not really the Anishinabe of Iskatewizaagegan, but the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Winnipeg has NO agreement with Shoal Lake for the water. The Water is pumped from Shoal Lake Ontario to Winnipeg Manitoba. It is a 135 kilometer "aqueduct". There are NO agreements in place for Shoal Lake  to compensate them for the water and the impact the aqueduct and the loss of water rights and some land has caused. I don't know much about the situation, so I won't comment on what is taken place.
However, the Shoal Lake people are getting tired of being ignored by the city of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba. Winnipeg is getting their water free from them and are now in the act of selling the water to other neighbouring municipalities. Shoal Lake has lot of patience, but that they should be treated better by Winnipeg and Manitoba.
There is a barge that takes people across the lake to the other side of the Reserve. A new road is being planned that will eliminate the need for a barge.

My visit came at an opportune time, the Reserve was celebrating Treaty Days. The events that took place were great. Lot of children came out to take part to have some fun.
The day was gorgeous with the Sun shinning and the air filled with laughter of children. You could not ask for anything better.

The school was the site for the Treaty Day Celebrations.

Green house

Band Office

Sagkeeng Lacrosse boys

Two man three leg race

The title holder

Shoal Lake muscles

Organizing the games


Karate Kid Flying Swan Kick

Look what I won

I'm taking home food
The Reserve has a very beautiful Powwow arbor. When we drove by I notice that there was a Teaching Lodge set up near by the Powwow site. My sister told me that Mediwiwin initiations were taking place in Shoal Lake this week. I asked the Chief if Ceremonies were taking place and he said yes. I didn't get to take a picture of the Powwow grounds. My brother tells me that people are very Traditional in Shoal Lake. It is good to hear a lot of Anishinaabe Language being spoken. They are strong in that area as well.

To serve and protect - with style!


Behave yourself, she's an Officer of the Law

The food was plenty, the cooks were busy, the people were friendly and generous. Lot of laughter and some good feelings. There were some good people: Chief Eli, Marion, Charlene, Barb, Christine Chan (school principal), Chuck and all the people on hand.

Sagkeeng High School principal Allan Courchene, along with Teacher Rich Bruyere brought a group of boys to demonstrate Lacrosse. Sagkeeng is very active and very good in Lacrosse. The boys did drills and had some of the Shoal kids taking part in shooting at the goalie.

A very handsome young man was eating a watermelon. He was cute as can be. Don't you love little Indian kids?

Shoal Lake people showing some good hospitality to the Sagkeeng visitors.


  1. Watermelon guy looks like he'll give heck to anyone who tries to take away his fruit!

  2. My grandma is Ojibway.!! Shes from Band #39 too.!! P.S. Your site is a reference for my school project.! Thanks.!!!

  3. Kasia, You're welcome and thank you for looking at the blog.

    All the best


    London, the kids are cute, for sure.

  4. Im a member of #39 and am living in the southern US right now. Seeing these pics of family members and people I spent long summer days with as a kid makes me miss home. Even though I was visiting the same time you were. Shoal Lake is truly a beautiful place.Thank you for posting the pics.

  5. Hello,
    I just happened to stumble across your blog here. My Grandfather is from Shoal Lake. Sadly, I don't know too much about his family or the history of Shoal Lake. I am trying to find out, and keep running into dead ends. His name was Fraser Kesick/Kejick. I know he hadn't lived in Shoal Lake for many years, but there are still members of his family there. I don't know where else to look.

    Alison Manitowabi (Kesick)

  6. Contact this young man from Shoal Lake on facebook, He is very friendly and may be able to help.
    Ron Indian-Mandamin (Ron Seacrest)


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