Alderville First Nation is intersected by County Road 45, and is located on the south side of Rice Lake, Ontario, approximately 30km north of Cobourg. Alderville has been home to the Mississauga Anishinabeg, a sub-division of the Ojibway Nation since the mid-1830’s.
Official Name: Alderville First Nation
Band No. 160
Traditional Name: Mississauga Anishinabeg
Aboriginal Status: Status Band
Tribal Affiliation: Anishinaabe (Ojibway)
Governance: Ogemawahj Tribal Council
Political Organizations: Union of Ontario Indians
Reserve No. 37
Location: Alderville consists of six non-contiguous areas surrounded by the township of Alnwick/Haldimand.
Size: 1,199.8 hectares (2,965 acres).
Communities: Their main reserve, the Alderville First Nation (formerly designated as Alderville Indian Reserve 37, is located near the south shores of Rice Lake in Ontario. It consists of six non-contiguous areas within the Alnwick/Haldimand Township approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Cobourg, Ontario.
Reserve No. 37A
Name: Sugar Island 37A Reserve
Location: It is an island within Rice Lake in southern Ontario.
Size: 40.5 hectares (100 acres)
Communities: It has been home to the Mississauga division of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) Nation since the mid-1830s.
Treaties: Williams Treaties, Treaty 20
Population: Approximately 950 members, with 300 living on the reserve.
Alderville has been home to the Mississauga Anishinabeg of the Ojibway Nation since the mid-1830s. Before that time the people lived in their traditional lands around Bay of Quinte (Grape Island) but with the influx of refugee settlement after the American Revolution their existence found itself under increased pressure.
The British having lost the American colonies after 1783, were forced to relocate the soldiers and civilians that had been loyal to the King during the conflict.
For this reason, the Bay of Quinte became one area of settlement for those who became known as the United Empire Loyalists. The Mississauga then were directly involved in early “land surrenders” along the St. Lawrence River and the Bay, allowing this resettlement to occur.
Along this corridor the traditional economy of the Mississauga found itself under continued pressure for the next 40 years.
The creation of Upper Canada and its colonization, and later the War of 1812, were events much larger than the Mississauga and other related groups could contain.
Eventually, by the 1820’s, they found themselves forced to adapt and during this period a number converted to Christianity, primarily Methodism, from the Bay to the Western end of Lake Ontario.
By 1826 the Methodists at the Bay had convinced the Mississauga to take up the development of a mission and attempts were made at teaching the people a new agrarian economy.
On tiny Grape Island, the people learned to read, write, and to worship in a different manner, becoming a major target group of the early assimilation policies of Canadian church and state.
While the people basically accepted the value of learning to read and write and adapting to a new economy, at the same time their sense of identity would not allow for a complete surrender of their cultural values and language.
The Methodist experience among the Mississauga can best be described as a hybrid, or a mixed composition of traditional and western values and spiritual worldview.
The Mississauga actually maintained a hold on many of their traditions including the Ojibway language all through the early decades of the Methodist experience.
In realizing that harsher policy was being designed to eradicate these traditions did a stronger resistance develop in the communities.
For ensuing generations, this resistance toward their complete assimilation existed and it has become the basis upon which the cultural survival of the people has been maintained.
Prior to its current location, the people of the community had lived in their traditional lands around the Bay of Quinte – located approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) east of its current location.
In the seventeenth century, the Southeastern Ojibwe began to expand into what is now known as Southern Ontario, an area then occupied by the Iroquois.
By the eighteenth century, the Southeastern Ojibwe had settled into the areas around the Bay of Quinte, Lake St. Clair, the valleys of the Grand River and the Thames River and along the north shore of Lake Ontario.
The Mississaugas of Alnwick (ancestors of the people of Alderville First Nation) settled on Grape Island in the Bay of Quinte in the mid 1800s. Here they lived for 11 years, subsisting on agriculture and hunting.
However, with the influx of refugee settlements following the American Revolution, the community found itself under increased pressure.
Having lost its American colonies, the British were forced to relocate the soldiers and civilians loyal to the crown (also known as the United Empire Loyalists) around the Bay of Quinte area.
In 1830, the Alderville reserve was created from a block of crown lands in the Township of Alnwick granted to the Band by Lieutenant Governor Sir John Colborne.
The area is now home to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation (also known as Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), the land having been promised to Joseph Brant, leader of the Mohawks that were loyal to the British Monarchy.
Approximately 60 members are employed by the First Nation, and many others are small business owners in and outside of the community.
People of Note:
In the News:
RiceLakeReserves.com – A comprehensive history of the Rice Lake Indians written by one of their members.