The Aamjiwnaang First Nation is located on the Sarnia 45 Indian Reserve in southwestern Ontario, Canada. The reserve is south of Sarnia, Ontario on the shores of the St. Clair River, across from Port Huron, Michigan. Aamjiwnaang was originally a Chippewa hunting ground, but the area was turned into a First Nations reserve in 1827, after the British government snatched up an enormous amount of Native land.
Official Tribal Name: Aamjiwnaang First Nation
Address: 978 Tashmoo Avenue,SARNIA, Ontario N7T 7H5
Phone: (519) 336-8410
Fax: (519) 336-0382
Official Website: https://www.aamjiwnaang.ca/
Band No. 172
Alternate names / spellings:
Also known as Chippewas of Sarnia First Nation. The name Aamjiwnaang (pronounced am-JIN-nun), or more fully vocalised as Aamijiwanaang, means “at the spawning stream – where the water flows spiritually like a braid.”
Geographic Region: Iroquoian
Aboriginal Status: Status Band
Tribal Affiliation: Chippewa (Ojibwe)
Governance: Southern First Nations Secretariat
Political Organizations: Union of Ontario Indians
Name: Sarnia 45 Indian Reserve
Location: The reserve is within 24 kilometres of “Chemical Valley”, a region along the U.S.-Canada border near Lake Huron with more than 50 industrial facilities, including oil refineries and chemical manufacturers.
Approximately 40 per cent of Canada’s chemical industry is clustered in the area, according to a 2007 report by the Canadian environmental group Ecojustice.
A 2006 community survey by Aamjiwnaang’s environment committee cited a number of health issues, including miscarriages, chronic headaches and asthma. Forty per cent of band members surveyed required an inhaler.
Strangely, twice as many baby girls are born than baby boys.
Treaties: Upper Canada Treaties Area 2
There are approximately 2,300 band members and roughly 932 live on Aamjiwnaang First Nation.
In the mid eighteenth century Aamjiwnaang territory covered a vast expanse of land on both sides of the waterway between Lakes Huron and Erie. Bounded by the Maitland River in the east and the Flint River in the west it contained some nine villages supporting a population of 15,000.
Aamjiwnaang is an Ojibwa word denoting an important gathering place that had been used by First Nations for millennia. This gathering place was located at the foot of Lake Huron.
The people who lived in this vibrant and prosperous band called Aamjiwnaang were members of the Anishnaabek First Nation. The French called us Saulteaux Ojibwe. The British and later the Americans called us Chippewa.
Beginning in the 1750’s Aamjiwnaang’s prosperity and population came under siege. They were allies first with the French and then the British. Multiple wars took their toll on the young men.
At the same time outbreaks of cholera and small pox further decimated the population.
In 1827 their population was estimated at 440 on the Ontario side of the border and 275 in Michigan.
Aamjiwnaang’s territory had also been reduced by several land cessation treaties to seven small reserves containing a total of approximately 25,000 acres.
In 1807 the Aamjiwnaang signed the Treaty of Detroit ceding all of their territory in Michigan.
The treaty created two reservations, one at Swan Creek just south of Algonac and one at the mouth of the Black River at Port Huron.
In 1827 they signed Treaty 29 ceding the remainder of their lands in Ontario to the British Colonial Government. This treaty created four reserves, one along the southern boundary of St. Clair Township, one at Sarnia, and two on Lake Huron, one located at Kettle Point and the other at the mouth of the Au Sauble River.
The name Aamjiwnaang would disappear from the written record and fall out of general use until recently when it was revived and adopted as the name of the reserve located at Sarnia.
During the decades between 1850 and 1950 the community of Sarnia began to encroach upon the north end of Aamjiwnaang. Through a series of treaties their lands were reduced from over 10,000 acres to approximately 3,100 acres.
People of Note:
The Chippewa Tribe-Une is an Aamjiwnaang First Nation community information newsletter that advertises and informs the community about issues and events happening in and around Aamjiwnaang. The paper is published every other Friday.
The paper is delivered (by request) to Band Members and is also available via Canada Post, e-mail, or online. The paper is also available to non-band members via email.
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