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Table of Contents
Foreword
Preface
Glossary

Chapter 10: First Nations Settlements

Introduction

The two driving forces influencing the layout of settlements in southern Manitoba—railway lines and the Dominion Lands Survey systems—do not apply in the case of First Nations settlements. In most cases there is no road pattern, the only influencing factor being the land/water (river or lake) contact.

10.1: The Location of St. Theresa Point

 

The St. Theresa Point First Nation is one of three—St. Theresa Point, Wasagamack, and Garden Hill—located at the west end of Island Lake in northeastern Manitoba, about 470 air kilometers northeast of Winnipeg. The landform, St. Theresa Point, is a north/south trending peninsula jutting north into Island Lake.

This medium-scale photo shows the St. Theresa Point First Nation. Which “is not on the Manitoba highway system, and is thus regularly accessible only by air. For this purpose there is a 3,500 foot (1067 m) gravel strip serviced by scheduled flights.”[i] The airstrip 1 is located on St. Mary Island 2, a location which poses problems: “during freeze up and spring thaw, when the ice is thin or breaking up, helicopters are the only way to get from the reserve community where everyone lives to the island…where the Northern Store [formerly the Hudson’s Bay Company store] 3 is located, with its supplies of fresh food and gas, the mail depot, and banking services.”[ii]

There are also dock facilities for floatplanes and “in mid-winter months the reserve is also accessible by winter roads constructed across the lake from Garden Hill and then south along the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg.”[iii]

In 2006 the population was 2,632. The photo shows clearly the absence of any road pattern. One roughly north/south road 4 runs along the peninsula with side roads 5 off to the coast where jetties are located 6. Those in the north 7 serve boats traveling across the strip of water separating St. Theresa Point from St. Mary Island on the south side of which are several jetties 8. A group of large buildings in the north 9 probably includes the band office and the school. Other rectangular buildings on cleared land just off the roads 10 are individual dwellings.

This area is located in the Northern Coniferous Forest vegetation zone.[iv] Coniferous trees—medium dark tone—11 cover most of the uncleared land. Note the specular reflection from the water surface east of the peninsula 12.

Figure 10.1: The Location of St. Theresa Point

Figure 10.1: The Location of St. Theresa Point

Figure 10.1

Vertical air photograph: A26696-37

Flight height: 10,800 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.031 mm

Scale: 1:20,000 (approx.)

Date: June 5, 1985

Location: Location of the north end of St. Theresa Point: Latitude 53º 50' N; Longitude 94º 51' W

Map sheets: 1:250,000 53E Island Lake

                    1:50,000 53E/15 Island Lake

Notes

[i] Mason, R. and Annis, R. C. “St. Theresa Point: Band No. 298” in The Geography of Manitoba: Its Land and Its People. eds. J. Welsted, J. Everitt, and C. Stadel. Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press, 1996, 134.

[ii] Mason, R. and Annis, R. C. op. cit., 1996, 134.

[iii] Mason, R. and Annis, R. C. op. cit., 1996, 134. A map of Manitoba’s winter roads can be found in Foster, R. H. “Winter Roads” in Welsted, Everitt, and Stadel op. cit., 1996, Figure 12.2.1., 175.

[iv] Scott, G. A. J. “Manitoba’s Ecoclimatic Regions” in Welsted, Everitt and Stadel op. cit., 1996, figure 4.2, 45.



10.2: The Central Section of St. Theresa Point

This large-scale photo shows the central part of the St. Theresa Point First Nation. It was taken at an earlier date than figure 10.1, a point that is made obvious by inspection of the peninsula 1. In this photo there are only two small clearings, but on figure 10.1 several houses can be seen. The larger scale of this image enables identification of more detail than on 10.1 For example, several jetties can be identified 2, and in at least three cases, small boats can be seen beside them 3. Also two small boats can be seen offshore in the northeast 4. The main north/south road 5 with numerous side roads 6 can be identified, as can numerous rectangular dwellings 7. In the north is a cluster of larger buildings 8, one of which 9 seems to be in the process of construction. Nearer the centre of the photo are several long narrow objects on both sides of the road 10 which may be storage tanks for diesel fuel. Note specular reflection from the water surface in the southeast 11.

Figure 10.2: The Central Section of St. Theresa Point

Figure 10.2: The Central Section of St. Theresa Point

Figure 10.2

Vertical air photograph: NW82775-8

Flight height: 3,800 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.670 mm

Scale: 1:6,800 (approx.)

Date: July 2, 1975

Location of the cove in the northwest of the photo

Latitude: 53º 50' N: Longitude: 94º 52' W

Map sheets: 1:250,000 53E Island Lake

                    1:50,000 53E/15 Island Lake


10.3: St. Theresa Point, Northern Section

This very large-scale image was obtained after the photo in figure 10.2. Given the large scale of the photo much detail can be identified. For example individual dwellings 1 can be identified on what was an uninhabited peninsula in figure 10.2 Also the main north/south road 2 with side roads leading from it 3 can be identified; in 1992 there were approximately 6.7 km of internal roads on the point.[i] The scale is large enough that several trucks 4 can be seen on the road. Jetties are located around the coast 5; that in the west has at least four boats moored at it 6.

The large building under construction in figure 10.2 is now complete 7; the nearby hockey rink 8 suggests that it might be a school. North of this are several large buildings, one with a pointed roof 9 that may be the band office. In the centre of the photo a large building has been constructed 10 on what was wooded land in figure 10.2

Scattered throughout the photo near large buildings are cylindrical structures, some vertical 11 and some horizontal 12, with a large cluster in the southeast 13. These are probably diesel storage tanks; the large cluster has near it several large poles 14 indicated by their shadow. St. Theresa Point is not on the Manitoba Hydro grid and gets its electricity by diesel generation at the plant in the south 15. The towers, some of which can be seen along the main road 16, carry electricity lines.

The fact that shadows fall just north of west indicates that this is an early morning photo.

Figure 10.3: St. Theresa Point, Northern Section

Figure 10.3: St. Theresa Point, Northern Section

Figure 10.3

Vertical air photograph: MH 9133090402-30

Flight height: 3,300 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 52.028 mm

Scale: 1:5,000 (approx.)

Date: July 16, 1991

Location of the cove in the west of the photo: Latitude: 53º 50' N; Longitude: 94º 52' W

Map sheets: 1:250,000 53E Island Lake

                    1:50,000 53E/15 Island Lake

Notes

[i] Mason and Annis op. cit., 134.



10.4: Norway House

The Norway House Cree Nation (population 4,071 in 2006) is located at the northern end of Lake Winnipeg. The Jack River 1 empties into Little Playgreen Lake  2 that empties into the upper part of the Nelson River. Most of the land on the photo lies within the First Nation, but a small area in the west is outside it (the boundary is indicated by the dashed line 3). West of Jack River is Fort Island 4. PR 373 roughly follows the coast of Fort Island 5, crosses Jack River 6, and then trends northward 7. It leads on to Jenpeg on the Nelson River, where a control structure (hydroelectric power plant) is located, and joins up with PTH 6 that leads to Thompson.

As is characteristic of First Nations reserves, there is no real road pattern. Some individual dwellings are located in a bend of PR 373 8. Also numerous dwellings are located on short side streets off Walter Margaret Road 9 and Paupanekis Road 10 and the northern part of PR 373 11. 

In the north is the settlement of Rossville 12. Dwellings are located along roads that have a haphazard arrangement 13. There are also two large buildings, one of which is the Norway House Cree Nation office 14 and the other probably a school 15. Other large buildings at the end of a peninsula 16 are probably associated with the numerous jetties 17 in the area. The RCMP office is located on another peninsula 18 outside the First Nation.

Figure 10.4: Norway House

Figure 10.4: Norway House

Figure 10.4

Vertical air photograph: MB98010-163

Flight height:   lens focal length:

Scale: 1:12,000 (approx.)

Date: September 16, 1998

Location: Township 57 and 58; Range 3 WI

Map sheets: 1:250,000 63H Norway House

                    1:50,000 63H/13 Norway House


10.5: Cross Lake First Nation

The Cross Lake First Nation along with Norway House and the First Nations of Island Lake is one of the larger First Nations in terms of population (3,854 in 2006) in northern Manitoba. It is located at the south end of Cross Lake, part of the Nelson River system and was profoundly affected by water level variations associated with Lake Winnipeg regulation and the development of hydropower on the Nelson River.

The photograph shows part of the First Nation located on either side of a channel between Cross Island 1 and the mainland 2. On Cross Island uniformly sized residences are dispersed along the shore 3 with a jetty in the north 4. A winter road follows the shore crossing an inlet in the process 5. Similarly in the east, residences are dispersed along the shore 6. In the north are many jetties 7 with one large building 8 which may be associated with them. A small island 9 is connected to the mainland by a winter road 10. South of the island some of the land has been cleared 11—for agriculture? —with well defined stripes 12. Most of the rest of the buildings are located on a southern peninsula 13. Some are small residences, but one large building 14—possibly a tourist venue—is located near the tip of the peninsula. A hockey rink 15 is located nearby.

Tonal variations in the water suggest that the water level has risen, flooding areas previously above water 16. A north/south linear feature 17 is probably the route of a hydro line, but the function and origin of light-toned squiggly lines 18 is unknown.

Figure 10.5: Cross Lake First Nation

Figure 10.5: Cross Lake First Nation

Figure 10.5

Vertical air photograph: A20052-130

Flight height: 6,623 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.47 mm

Scale: 1:12,000 (approx.)

Date: July 28, 1967

Location: Township 65; Range 3WI

Map sheets: 1:250,000 63I Cross Lake

                    1:50,000 63I/12 Cross Lake


10.6: Part of South Indian Lake

 

The First Nations settlement of South Indian Lake (population 857 in 2006) is located at the south end of Southern Indian Lake on the east side of a channel leading to South Bay 1. The photo shows the central part of the isolated settlement. It is, however, served by a ferry which travels south across South Bay to link with a gravel road which in turn leads to Leaf Rapids on PR 391 (between Thompson and Lynn Lake). It is also served by floatplanes. On the photo two large jetties can be seen 2 that may serve as terminals for these services. Other smaller jetties 3 also occur especially in the north.

The buildings of the settlement are strung out along a road that roughly parallels the lakeshore 4. Two residential bays are seen in the south 5 with more residences along side roads in the north 6. Also in the north are several large buildings, one of which may be a school 7 with a hockey rink 8 nearby.

The small island in the west 9 has a clearing 10 along which a hydro line runs. Its continuation on the mainland is not obvious but the shadows of hydro poles 11 can be seen in several locations. Although there are several roads, only one vehicle 12 can be located. The settlement lies within the northern coniferous forest zone.[i] Coniferous trees can be identified by the shape of their shadows in locations along the shore 13.

Figure 10.6: Part of South Indian Lake

Figure 10.6: Part of South Indian Lake

Figure 10.6

Vertical air photograph: MB 90032-145

Flight height: 3,950 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.025 mm

Scale: 1:6,000 (approx.)

Date: August 5, 1990

Location: Township 90; Range 10 WI

Map sheets: 1:250,000 64B Uhlman Lake

                    1:50,000 64B/15 Cousins Lake

Notes

[i] Scott, G. A. J. op. cit., 1996, figure 4.2, 45.


 


10.7: Oxford House

The Bunibonibee Cree Nation (population 1,947 in 2006) lies at the northeast end of Oxford Lake 1, part of the Hayes River System that drains to Hudson Bay. A channel in the northeast 2 drains into Buck Lake, part of which is visible in the east 3.

The photo shows the essential elements of many northern reserves: settlement strung out along a road parallel to the shore 4 with a nearby gravel landing strip 5. The northeast/southwest strip about 5,000 feet (1,524 m) long is not well-oriented given the frequency of northwest winds in this area, but it is probably all that was possible given the lay of the land and water. Oxford House is also served by floatplanes and by winter roads that link it to Gods Lake to the southeast and Cross Lake to the west.

Tracing the settlement from south to north there is first a cluster of residences at Hyers Point 6 followed by a gap to the east 7; then a string of settlements between the lake shore and the road 8 with a large building—possibly a school 9—at the south end. Numerous paths lead down to the lakeshore from the residences 10. In the north the road veers away from the lakeshore with numerous residences along it 11.

This northern part of Oxford Lake is shallow with numerous sand waves just off shore 12. In the northeast is a series of well-developed sand bars 13.

Figure 10.7: Oxford House

Figure 10.7:  Oxford House

Figure 10.7

Vertical air photograph: A26570-119

Flight height: 10,600 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.031 mm

Scale: 1:19,900 (approx.)

Date: October 1, 1984

Location: Township 69; Range 15 WI

Map sheets: 1:250,000 53L Oxford House

                    1:50,000 53L/14 Oxford House


10.8: Red Sucker Lake

This very large-scale photo shows part of the small Red Sucker Lake First Nation (population 845 in 2006) located in northeastern Manitoba just west of the Manitoba/Ontario border. It is located on a peninsula jutting into the eastern part of Red Sucker Lake 1.

As is usually the case with northern First Nations settlements, a landing strip—about 2,000 feet (609 m) of which are shown—is located just outside the community 2. The strip is oriented east/west; just to the south of it is a turning circle 3 for planes in front of a terminal building 4, and to the east are fuel storage tanks 5. The community is also served by floatplanes and by a winter road to Island Lake. Several jetties, one on the west side 6 and the others on the east 7, project into the lake. At least two of them have boats moored beside them 8 suggesting that fishing is practised in the community. Most of the buildings visible are of uniform size suggesting that they are individual residences 9, but in the extreme southwest corner is a large building 10 possibly a fishing lodge.

Figure 10.8: Red Sucker Lake

Figure 10.8: Red Sucker Lake

Figure 10.8

Vertical air photograph: MH9133090404-234

Flight height: 3,150 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.028 mm

Scale: 1:4,900 (approx.)

Date: July 29, 1991

Location of west end of air strip: Latitude: 54º 11' N; Longitude: 93º 34' W

Map sheets: 1:250,000 53K Stull Lake

                    1:50,000 53K/4 Red Sucker Lake


10.9: Brochet

 

The photo shows the small isolated community of Brochet of the Barren Lands First Nation (population 306 in 2006) located at the north end of Brochet Bay 1, a branch of Reindeer Lake that straddles the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border. The community is located on either side of an inlet of the lake joined by a bridge 2. Most of the buildings are rectangular residences 3 with one large building 4—possibly a school—with a nearby rink 5. A small jetty 6 is located southeast of this building, and a boat can be seen on the lake 7. The community is connected with the south, and other parts of the north, is by air: a northeast/southwest trending gravel runway 8 about 2,700 feet (823 m) long is located northwest of the community with which it is connected by gravel road 9. Terminal buildings can be seen at the southwest end 10. Vegetation has been cleared at each end of the runway 11 and along its sides 12. The clearing to the northeast has a fan shape 13. A winter road runs east then south to join PR 394 that leads to Lynn Lake.

The community is located near the northern edge of the Northern Coniferous Forest vegetation zone.[i] The mottled appearance of the vegetation on the island in the west 14 is characteristic of open lichen woodland the vegetation zone to the north, the trees being dark-toned 15 and the lichen-covered land between, light-toned 16.

Figure 10.9: Brochet

Figure 10.9: Brochet

Figure 10.9

Vertical air photograph: A23264-9

Flight height: 7,200 feet; lens focal length 152.678 mm

Scale: 1:12,200 (approx.)

Date: June 11, 1973

Location of point X: Latitude 57º 53' N; Longitude 101º 41' W

Map sheets: 1:250,000 64F Brochet

                    1:50,000 64F/13 Brochet

Notes

[i] Scott op. cit., figure 4.2, 45.


 


10.10: Brochet in 2006

This satellite image obtained from Google Earth in 2006 enables assessment of changes that have taken place since the photo in 10.9 was taken in 1973. The most obvious changes are:

1.     More roads can be seen in the main part of the settlement 1.

2.     Sewage lagoons 2 are now located south of the settlement.

3.     There are more roads and houses in the northern part of the settlement 3.

4.     A road runs west 4 and north 5 of the runway leading to a clearing 6 in the north.

5.     The runway has been lengthened slightly in the north 7, but the fan-shaped clearing seen on 10.9 (#13) has disappeared.

Figure 10.10: Brochet in 2006

Figure 10.10: Brochet in 2006

Figure 10.10

Google Earth 2006, Digital Globe

Scale: 1:23,000 (approx.)

Location of point X: Latitude 57º 53'N; Longitude 101º 41 'W

Map sheets as for figure 10.9


10.11: The Peguis First Nation

The photograph shows part of the First Nation (population 2,513 in 2006), the largest in Manitoba, at about 140 square miles (363 km2). It is located on either side of the north-flowing Fisher River 1 in the central Interlake Region between Lake Winnipeg to the east and Lake Manitoba to the west. This area is underlain by rocks of Ordovician age including dolomite, dolomitic limestone, and shale that have a north-northwest/south-southeast trending strike. Lenses of wooded higher land have the same orientation 2. Between these lenses are low-lying areas with bedrock close to the surface and little surficial material. Circular patches of dark vegetation 3 probably indicate sinkholes. Narrow strips of woodland 4 on low levees border the Fisher River. Much of the land east of the river has been cleared of natural vegetation and is used for agriculture.

 

PR 224 5 runs roughly parallel to the river with a cluster of settlements in Peguis 6. Planted deciduous trees shelter a central area 7. Most of the buildings are too large to be individual residences; this is probably the administrative centre of the large First Nation 8. Smaller individual residences are scattered along the river 9 and PR 224 10. A large racetrack 11 with associated buildings 12 can be seen in the south. Surprisingly a second road parallels the west bank of the river 13 with individual residences between it and the river 14.

The Fisher River is flood prone in the spring; in April 2004 600 people were evacuated from the Peguis First Nation.[i]

Figure 10.11: The Peguis First Nation

Figure 10.11: The Peguis First Nation

Figure 10.11

Vertical air photograph: A20600-120

Flight height: 6,545 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.44 mm

Scale: 1:15,000 (approx.)

Date: July 12, 1968

Location: Township 27; Range 1 W

Map sheets: 1:250,000 62P Hecla

                    1:50,000 62P/5 Harwill

Notes

[i] Globe and Mail. April 10, 2004



10.12: The Fisher River First Nation

 

The First Nation (population 1,173 in 2006) is located on either side of the eastward-flowing Fisher River 1 where it enters Fisher Bay, a southwestern branch of Lake Winnipeg. The area is underlain by Ordovician rocks including dolomite, dolomitic limestone, and limestone.

The photo shows part of the reserve just above Fisher Bay. The river widens just below a bridge 2 and a set of rapids 3. Land close to the river has been cleared for agriculture, but to the north 4 and especially to the south 5, the land is wooded—densely in some areas 6 but sparsely in others 7.

Settlement in the area is very dispersed; there is no obvious centre, although some large buildings occur west of the bridge 8. Individual dwellings 9 occur on both sides of PR 224 10 in the north, and a jetty is seen in one location 11. South of the river, dwellings occur between a gravel road 12 and the river.

The stretch of river below the bridge is affected by water level fluctuations in Fisher Bay to the east; a white flood level line can be seen south of the river 13. In spring 2004 100 people were evacuated from the Fisher Reserve.[i]

Figure 10.12: The Fisher River First Nation

Figure 10.12: The Fisher River First Nation

Figure 10.12

Vertical air photograph: A20602-35

Flight height: 6,545 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.44 mm

Scale: 1:10,000 (very approx.)

Date: June 12, 1968

Location: Township 28; Range 1E

Map sheets: 1:250,000 62P Hecla

                    1:50,000 62P/6 Fisher River

Notes

[i] Globe and Mail. April 10, 2004.