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The History
of Wunnumin Lake First Nation

The environment of the Wunnumin Lake First Nation is utilized and preserved by the local native people as their aboriginal homeland; their rights to culture, language, fishing, gathering, hunting, and trapping were granted to them by the Creator. Their relationship with the land is a combination of respect and responsibility. Wunnumin Lake has many historical legends and sights such as the Broken Beaver Dam made by the Big Beaver that lived on the Pipestone River located across the lake from the community. Another historical site is the Wunnumin located approximately 5-6 miles northeast from the community. Wunnumin in the Oji-Cree language means white clay, this special clay was used by the local natives in the past for paint and patching their birchbark canoes mixed with other vegetation. Legend says that Weesaykajack, who used to roam in the wilderness, used to hunt for food and found the Big Beaver that lived on the Pipestone River and chased the Big Beaver and its Baby Beaver to the this area. When Wesaykajack caught up with the Big Beaver and its Baby Beaver, he killed the Baby Beaver and put it aside in this particular area of the foliage and as the Baby Beaver laid there in this foliage it bled from its wound. The blood seeped into the ground from the Baby Beaver’s wound and this blood made the ground turn into this clay called "Wun-num-mun". This is how the community of Wunnumin Lake got its name.

Residents of Wunnumin Lake originated from Big Beaver House, a meeting and trading centre, and is still considered a settlement on the map. The main trading post, Hudson’s Bay Company, and most of the community were ravaged by forest fires; therefore, the community was abandoned. Simon Winnepetonga stated the reason for deserting Big Beaver House is that the geographical region was inappropriate for building a community. A decision was made to relocate and two lakes were designated for relocation. The first location was Kingfisher Lake, approximately. 20 miles NE of Big Beaver House and the second area was Wunnumin Lake, approximately 40 miles east of Big Beaver House. Residents were given the choice to choose which lake to relocate, as a result, two communities were found.

In 1929-30, leaders of Wunnumin Lake First Nation were summoned to Big Trout Lake to participate in the signing of the treaty. Wunnumin Lake was established in the early sixties and is now located at its present location. It also obtained its Indian Reserve status on March 2,1976.

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www.shibogama.on.ca Shibogama First Nations Council
www.shibogama.on.ca