This year, on December 2 at the Lac du Bonnet Community Center, the Lac du Bonnet and District Historical Society partnered with the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation to celebrate the Anishinaabe for our Cultural Fundraiser (formerly the Wine and Cheese), presenting history, culture, song, food and dance.
The weather certainly cooperated, as we had a full house of guests coming from all areas of the RM of Lac du Bonnet and beyond. Many new and familiar faces enjoyed the evening of historical displays, entertainment, draws and food, featuring wild rice quiche, bison meatballs, salmon, pickerel, and, of course, bannock.
MC for the evening was Maryanne Folster, Events Coordinator, of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.
Elder Harry Bone, who is well known for working tirelessly and quietly throughout his life to bolster Indigenous rights, said the opening and closing prayers.
Chief Jim Bear, of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, spoke to the crowd about the background and origins of Brokenhead, in addition to reconciliation.
Entertainment for the evening was provided by the Southern Thunderbird Medicine Drum group, Hoop Dancer George Bear of Scanterbury, and ten year old singer Jordon Brooks of Whitemouth.
Isaac Cardinal and Autumn Abdilla, representatives of the Lac du Bonnet Senior School’s Indigenous Studies class, introduced their project, in partnership with the Lac du Bonnet District Museum. Students will paint an interior liner of the Museum’s newly acquired tipi depicting images of a “Winter Count” — a record of history done in pictographs by Indigenous peoples. This project will provide a self-guided Indigenous tour within the tipi for the upcoming season.
At the end of the night, members of the Lac du Bonnet and District Historical Society were taken completely by surprise when the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation presented them with a generous $5000 cheque from the South Beach Community Spirit Fund.
The Anishinaabe (comprised of the Ojibway, Chippewa and Saulteaux) are descendants of the original inhabitants of Turtle Island (North America), who have occupied the land for thousands of years. Long before to European contact, they had sophisticated civilizations based upon traditional laws and cultural practices, along with complex trading relationships between nations. Historically, the Anishinaabe peoples moved freely and frequently within their traditional use areas as dictated by the seasons and the abundance of plants and animals used for subsistence. By 1775, the Anishinaabe had pushed west from their ancestral strongholds of the Great Lakes into the Winnipeg River area. Come the 1820s, the Anishinaabe had displaced the Cree and the Assiniboine in the Lake Winnipeg watershed as far west as Portage La Prairie.
The Lac du Bonnet area is encompassed in both Treaty 1 and 3 territories.
Treaty 1 was signed at Lower Fort Garry on August 3, 1871 by representatives of the Crown and seven First Nations Indigenous Communities: Brokenhead Ojibway, Sagkeeng, Long Plain, Peguis, Rouseau River, Sandy Bay and Swan Lake. This boundary falls along the west side of the Winnipeg River, encompassing the Town of Lac du Bonnet and western half of the RM of Lac du Bonnet.
Treaty 3 was signed at the North-West Angle Hudson’s Bay Company post on Lake of the Woods October 3, 1873. Twenty-four Anishinaabe Chiefs signed the treaty, surrendering 55,000 sq. miles to the Crown for agricultural settlement and mineral discovery. This land extends to the east side of the Winnipeg River, including the eastern half of the RM of Lac du Bonnet. Chief Powassan, of the NW Angle, was spokesman. Chief Ma-we-do-pe-nais spoke some infamous words: “…I hope the promises you have made will last as long as the sun goes round and the water flows.”