Wolf Lake’s traditional territory includes the upper Kipawa and Dumoine River drainages, extending southward to the Ottawa River.
The core families that historically made up the traditional Wolf Lake Anishinabek are Paul, Constant, Reynolds, St. Denis, and Tebiscon. For a century we have been known as the Wolf Lake Band. Our forms of social and political organization are based on the respect for our traditional practices which honour the extended family, interconnectedness with nature, and the integrity of the Nation. At first contact, the Algonquin Nation’s territory was subdivided into extended family territories, forming Bands which were usually organized around watersheds. According to Anishinabek custom, the Band is the traditional keeper of the land. Wolf Lake First Nation consists of 232 registered members lead by Chief Harry St. Denis and Councilors Sonia Young and Gerald Robinson.
A glimpse into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries reveals that Wolf Lake First Nation ancestral families were members of the Kiwe’gom’anishnabek (‘turn-back lake people’), also known as the Dumoine Lake Anishinabek. In 1915, noted American anthropologist, Dr. Frank G Speck, observed that our occupation and stewardship of this land had been quite long standing.
In the early 1800’s our home base was located at the north end of Kiwe’gom Sagahigan, Dumoine Lake. We were displaced by diseases and deforestation. An epidemic of diseases in the mid-1800s nearly annihilated our Band Surviving Band members had no choice but to relocate.
We moved east to Matashkweia sagahigan (Grassy Lake) about 25 km away, and started settling our new home along the lake’s shore which would serve as our base from the 1870’s until the early 20th century. For a time, we were aptly called the Matashkweia Sagahigan Anishinabek – the people of Grassy Lake.
Encroachment in the early 1900’s forced us to move 10km further East to Wolf Lake, where we became the Mahingan Sagahingan Anishinabek - the people of Wolf Lake. In the 1940s, the Indian Agent pressured us to portage our community another 32km East before settling at Hunter’s Point, our Band’s homebase today. This time we refused to change our name. We kept the Mahingan Sagahingan Anishinabek name as a symbol of protest for having been forced to move so many times.
Currently, our Band remains without a recognized land base. That is to say, we have never been allotted a Reserve. We are one of the few First Nations in Canada for whom this remains an issue. For over 140 years, our leaders have been demanding that Canada and the province of Quebec accommodate our people by honouring the oaths and pledges they made. However, both levels of government have consistently refused to work with us in good faith. As such, we the people of Wolf Lake are currently seeking to secure our rightful title to Reserve lands.