Native American Culture

Native American Culture

The original "peoples" of the Bruce Peninsula

Have lived in the land for 1000's of years. Neyaashiinigmiing, or Cape Croker is the name of the reserve located just north of Wiarton on the shores of Georgian Bay. It is a spectacular location , and the annual Pow Wow at Cape Croker should not be missed. Please find below same information on the native history and native culture of the Bruce Peninsula.

At one time, both by oral history and archaeological evidence, all of the modern Bruce Peninsula (or the "Saugeen Peninsula" as referred by the Ojibway) was home to the Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Territory. From time immemorial, hunting and fishing were plentiful in this area. Archaeologist are able to find arifacts from Early Woodland Period (1000 BCE to 1000 CE) calling the culture that left artifacts in the Saugeen Ojibway Territory as the Saugeen Culture. Other than pottery, the projectile points called Saugeen Point are typical characteristics of the Saugeen culture. Consequently, associated with both the Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Territory and the Saugeen Culture peoples were winter camps around Owen Sound, Cape Croker and the Collingwood area, as well as summer camps in Walkerton, Wiarton, Goderich, Tobermory and Red Bay. Traditional territory also included all of the Saugeen River watershed. Thus, places such as Tobermory, Meaford, Goderich, Cape Croker, Owen Sound and Orangeville are located in the traditional Saugeen Ojibway Nation Territory. The permanent settlement at the outlet of the Saugeen River which lent its name to the region and its people was called Zaagiing, meaning "at the river's outlet," i.e. "at the mouth of the river."

The Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Territory are a member of the Council of Three Fires of the Ojibway, Odawa and Potawatomi Nations. The Confederacy came to help in the Battle of Skull Mound and in the Battle of Blue Mountain. Though the Council of Three Fires often fought against the Iroquois Confederacy (or the Naadowe as they are called in the Anishinaabe language), the Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Territory peacefully shared the territory with the Wyandotte/Wendat Nation who also made the area their home. The Ojibway Nation called the Wendat peoples Ni'inaa-Naadowe ("The 'Nadowe' within our homeland"), but the French referred to them as "Huron" and lent their name to the Lake.

People from many nations moved into Saugeen Ojibway Territory after the War of 1812. They came from Ohio and from the State of New York. As a result of the American Indian Removal Policies of the 1830s more people came from Michigan and Wisconsin. Some were on their way to the Manitoulin Island project. Some moved from Coldwater on the Narrows. Others came from the Toronto and Niagara regions after European and Loyalist newcomers affected their territory. Due to these influxes of people from other areas, the history of the original Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Territory is often confused with that of other Anishinaabeg who settled in Saugeen Ojibway Territory after the American Revolution. In addition, often confused together are the histories of those Anishinaabeg who settled in Cape Croker in 1854 with the history of the original Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Territory.


One of the earliest documents recognizing Nation to Nation relations between the Crown and Indigenous peoples, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 stated "Indian land" could only be sold to the Crown. However, the document did not differentiate between those who were the original resident of the land cession in question and those who settled as part of the refugee migration, which has caused long-held animocity among the Anishinaabe commuities located in the Saugeen Ojibway Territory.

In the Saugeen Surrenders, due to development pressures of the European Canadians, mainly in the form of farming, the Saugeen and Owen Sound Indian Reserve was ceded to The Crown. However, five smaller areas were reserved for the Chippewas of the Saugeen Ojibway Territory.

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