Eabametoong First Nation, also known as Fort Hope, is an Ojibway First Nation band government in Kenora District, Ontario, Canada located on the shore of Eabamet Lake in the Albany River system.
The community is located approximately 360 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, 347-air km Northeast of Sioux Lookout, and 217-air km northwest of Geraldton. The nearest road/railway town is Armstrong, 155 km southwest.
Tribal Name: Eabametoong First Nation
Address: P.O. Box 298, Eabamet Lake ON P0T 1L0
Official Website: https://eabametoong.firstnation.ca/
Band No. 183
Alternate Names: Fort Hope
Aboriginal Status: Status Band
Tribal Affiliation: Ojibwe
Treaties: Treaty No. 9 – the James Bay Treaty
The Fort Hope Band came into existence in 1905 when a treaty was signed by 500 people.
The Ojibwe language (spoken and written) is the working language used by the mature population while English (spoken and written) is predominant as the working language with the younger generation.
Eabametoong First Nation is accessible only by airplane to Fort Hope Airport or water, or by winter/ice roads, which connect the community to the Northern Ontario Resource Trail.
Docking facilities are available for floatplanes during the open water season. Snowmobiles and trails are also in use between isolated communities during the winter months.
Eabametoong has a relatively new school, John C. Yesno Education Centre, which was rebuilt in 1998-2000, which handles grades K4-10. The authorized capacity of the school as per INAC guidelines is 289 students.
Secondary and post secondary students attend schools in Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout and Sault Ste. Marie.
Before modern housing was available through the Government, most everybody constructed their own dwelling made of earth, bark, hide, logs, lumber, tarpaper, and canvas.
The first two houses constructed in the new community (1962) were made of local lumber frame with sawdust for insulation. Eventually, plywood 2×4 frame housing units were built with fiberglass insulation.
Today, all newly constructed houses are made of R2000 construction.
The Housing Authority oversees all habitable housing units on-reserve, which currently consists of 267 units of which 155 units are older (1975-95) and 112 units are newer (1997-2004).
The newer units are mortgaged houses, which are rented out to tenants. The older houses (non rental units) are maintained and repaired for health and safety, then eventually replaced when condemned.
All new units are covered for fire loss while the older units are not. All homes use wood for heating, the newer units have forced air furnaces while the older homes use radiant heaters.
There are currently 246 occupied First Nation homes most of which are built under Government subsides – INAC Minor capital funding or Private Lending Financing (Bank).
Eabametoong First Nation adopted a 10-year Rental Housing Program in 1997 to construct 100 new houses and renovate 150 existing homes.
Eabametoong has a fire pumper truck along with street fire hydrants throughout the community, maintained by the water and sewage maintenance workers employed by Eabametoong First Nation.
Eabametoong has three full time constables, trained by the Ontario Provincial Police at the Police College in Aylmer Ontario. Police service jurisdiction is under Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service.
Four active churches service Eabametoong.
- St. Anglican Church
- Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church
- Fort Hope Full Gospel Church
- Fortress of Hope Ministries
There is also a group of people that practice a traditional culture way of life.
Eabametoong came to be during the fur trade era when the Hudson’s Bay Company set up a trading post by Eabamet lake in 1890.
The new community of Eabametoong started in 1982 with the official name of Eabametoong First Nation being adopted in 1985.
The name Eabametoong has a significant meaning in the Anishinaabe language; the name means, “the reversing of the waterplace.”
The water flow from Eabamet lake into the Albany River reverses each year, resulting from runoff water, such that water flows into Eabamet lake from the Albany River for a short period of time.
The main draw of this area for the people of Eabametoong before the fur trade was the multitudes of various fish including: sturgeon, walleye and whitefish, which still inhabit the waters today.
On October 23, 2010, Chief Lewis Nate declared a state of emergency because of excessive community violence and crime, including the attempted arson of the reserve’s only school.
Between January, 2010 and mid 2012 there had been three confirmed homicides and approximately 50 incidents of arson in the community. Speculation from the local police force suggested prescription drug abuse amongst the youth was fueling the violence.
On April 7, 2016, the First Nation lost its community center to fire. The cost of replacing the center was estimated at $1 million.
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