Reserves 18B and 18C Simon Dawson and Robert Pither, appointed by the Government of Canada as the Commissioners to select the Treaty 3 reserves, met with the Chiefs and their bands in 1874 and reached an agreement on the reserves to be set aside. Chief Go-Bay and his Band were to take their reserve in common with Chief Kee-je-go-kay or Kitch-e-ko-kai and his Band at Little Forks on the Rainy River. The following year, Chief Go-Bay elected to take the reserve for his Band in common with Chief Mick-e-seese and his Band, whose descendants are part of the Couchiching First Nation. The following year, instructions to survey the Treaty 3 reserves around Rainy River were given to E.C. Caddy by the Government of Canada. The Stanjikoming and Couchiching Bands’ land entitlement, based on a census of their respective members, was to be captured in reserves 18B and 18C. Chief Go-Bay’s band was comprised of 28 individuals. However, some individuals may not have been counted in the census.
Mitaanjigamiing First Nation (MFN) is located on the shores of Rainy Lake approximately 50km north of Fort Frances. As of 2021, there were 195 registered members living in the community. The closest cities are Thunder Bay and Winnipeg where many of MFN’s off-reserve members live and work. MFN land mass (reserve) is approximately 1600 hectares in size (18.27 km2), including a peninsula and two large islands. MFN has been very proactive in the last several years expanding their economic reach to ensure they create wealth and employment as the ways and means for sustainable community development.
MFN Economic Development Overview
In the community there are two groups responsible for economic development. First, the MFN Economic Development Office is responsible for stimulating the local economy by fostering economic initiatives and opportunities for the community. The Economic Development team provides information, training, and educational workshops to enhance employability skills. The Economic Development Team includes Paul Henderson who is the Economic Development Officer. In addition, the MFN Economic Development office provides business coaching, business plan development and assistance in obtaining financial support for entrepreneurs.
MFN also owns GOBE Corporation, which has a mission to pursue and nurture strategic business investments and partnerships in order to develop employment opportunities within the community. GOBE Corporation is the current economic development entity on MFN. GOBE’s mission is to pursue and nurture strategic business investments and partnerships in order to develop employment opportunities within the community.
GOBE Corporation is the current economic development entity on MFN. GOBE’s mission is to pursue and nurture strategic business investments and partnerships in order to develop employment opportunities within the community. It was incorporated in Ontario on June 1, 2001.
The Founding Board Members include:
- Ed Morrison
- Naomi Field
- Glenda Henderson
- Stewart Henderson
- Brian Wayash
Current Board members:
- Paul Henderson – Chairperson/President
- Naomi Field – Secretary/Treasurer
- Elizabeth Henderson
First Nation Economic Development Structures
According to a survey of Aboriginal Economic Development Corporations (EDCs) in Ontario, EDCs are the economic and business arm of First Nation, Metis and Inuit government and are a major economic driver in Indigenous communities. These community-owned corporations invest in, own, and/or manage subsidiary businesses with the goal; of benefitting the Indigenous community members they represent. The EDC model is being implemented by communities with little or no access to funding from the federal government. Some of the Economic Development structures include limited partnerships, joint ventures, and corporations.
The universal goal is to create revenue streams that allow First Nations through entity development to reduce or eliminate reliance on government and make their communities independent and autonomous. These entities are giving back to their communities in various ways, creating opportunities in the form of jobs and a sustainable economy, and funding community facilities and programs. On the economic side, the main role has been creating opportunities through job creation and providing training opportunities. It also means supporting private Indigenous businesses with the goal of building a sustainable economy where money cycles through the community instead of flowing out of it.
Council’s Economic Vision
MFN Councils goal of the Economic Development Plan is to have more First Nations members return to the community and stay there long-term by providing sustainable employment and wealth creation. In the past, MFN hasn’t focused on Economic Development and advancing the economic portfolio. According to this Council, the community needs to look at bringing income back into the community to be more self-sufficient, regardless if it’s on or off reserve development. Chief and Council has tasked community economic agents to look at economic opportunities in more populated or urban centres because of the greater critical mass and chance for success.
Erika Cochrane – Business Support Manager business.support@
P.O Box 71, Fort Frances, Ontario P9A 3M5