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Garden River First Nation

The Garden River First Nation Reserve lies on the St. Mary's Straits ,just east of Sault Ste Marie, along the route of the early French voyageurs and fur-traders.

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The Garden River First Nation Reserve was created in 1850 with the signing of the Robinson-Treaty. Before that date however, Garden River did exist.

The Ojibway-Chippewa-Algonquin Indians controlled a vast area of land stretching from the Atlantic Coast to the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains.

Little is known about the Band before the non-natives came into the area and began recording events. In the Ojibway tradition, your history was as old as the eldest member of the Band. The recorded history of Garden River begins, or seems to, with Shingwaukonce and carries on through his two sons, Augustine and Buhgujjenene, to the present day.

A great event in the history of the Ojibway people is a battle at the west end of the St. Mary’s Straits where Saulter, Ottawa, Nipissing and Anikouets claimed victory over an Iroquois war party. This occurred in the 1660’s.

Between 1794 and 1798, a series of attacks were carried out on traders in the St. Mary’s Straits, by the local Band. This forced the various traders in the area to ask for British protection and fostered fears that Native hostility might turn against whites in general. After the British colonial government and the traders became more disposed to respect Native prerogatives, the raids stopped.

Different Trade and Intercourse Acts passed by the U.S. Congress attempted to restrict the movement of Natives across the border in 1796, 1799 and 1802.

Chief Shingwaukonce planned to develop an Ojibway homeland near Sault Ste. Marie where thousands of Natives would be able to live. The British and American governments became aware of this plan and stopped the idea from happening.

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