Canada | Opinion

Wolf Lake Algonquin

"Some news has come across my e-mail that the Wolf Lake Algonquin community in Quebec has been given a grant of some $200,000 by the Quebec government to rebuild a camp located on the shore of Lake Kipawa, which will be developed into a centre for ecotourism.

Wolf Lake is a small community of people who live in what used to be called the Hunter’s Point settlement, on an island in the middle of Lake Kipawa, and is one of nine Algonquin communities in Quebec, seven of which I visited over the years when I was more active.

I made a trip around these communities in 1969, when I first started writing about native communities as a reporter for The Montreal Star. My guide was the chief of Timiskaming band, Mike Mackenzie, who was interested in signing up as many of the Algonquin people as he could to become members of the Indians of Quebec association, in which he held some executive position. Mike had been for many years a worker in the paper mill in Temiskaming, and he took me not only by plane to the community of Hunter’s Point, but north along the course of the Ottawa river to Ville Marie, and then east by logging roads to the community of Winneway, today an Algonquin village of 461 people which is the site of the Long Point band.

Already as we moved on from one Algonquin community to the next I had become accustomed to the fact that none of them ever appeared on the maps of Quebec, and that their few people --- there are still, even today, only a total of some 6,000 people in the nine communities --- were existing on tiny reserves that had been carved out for them, usually without their participation or consent. I was surprised to find in these remote, hidden places that people were still speaking their Algonquin language, but there was a fairly common assumption in those days that the language was doomed."

Get the Story:
Boyce Richardson: The Algonquin Resurgence (The Media Co-Op 8/3)