* Also, read the
history of the Algonkin people
the 1930's the community of Golden Lake was divided by the
operations and effects of the Indian Act. At the time, one part of
the community became an Indian Act band and many of its members
became "status" Indians under the Indian Act registry. Today, the
Golden Lake First Nation is comprised of "status" Indians who reside
on the Golden Lake Reserve.
Many Algonquin’s who were living on the Golden Lake reserve did no
want to be registered as "status" Indians and did not want to be a
part of an Indian band. Many others were excluded by the Department
of Indian Affairs from the band list. Those for any reason not
"status" were forced to leave the reserve, together with their
Over the years, many more Algonquin’s were stripped of
Indian Act status and were forced to leave the reserve. Many
Algonquin’s voluntarily chose to leave the reserve. Some left to
find work, others to escape violent or abusive homes. Many of those
who left the Golden Lake reserve since 1930's have rejoined the
community, made up of those of us who never left our traditional
homeland and never moved back to the reserve.
The history of the Algonquin Nation is the history of many
self-governing communities. Algonquin’s place a high value on
independence and self-reliance, so it is not surprising that most
Algonquin’s have chosen not to be registered as "status" Indians or
to live on an Indian Act reserve. It is unfortunate that our
community was split by the operation of the Indian Act, but that is
a reality. It is our belief however, that Algonquin’s have the right
to form communities or leave communities as often as they wish.
Traditionally, the Algonquin communities often merged with each
other, or split to form new communities. In keeping with our
tradition, we recognize the rights of Algonquin families to form new
communities. We also recognize the rights of our people who choose
to join other Algonquin bands.
The traditional Algonquin political and social structure is the
extended family. We only form larger or more formal political
organizations as the need arises. An Algonquin community or "band,"
therefore, is a network of extended families. Traditionally, the
families within a band maintain a high degree of independence from
one another and only form more formal structures on an "as needed"
The families that comprise the BMA did not become a community in the
1970's. We had already been a community living in this area long
before the Europeans arrived here. The families which comprise the
community have acted together politically from time to time and have
maintained close social and cultural ties with one another. In the
1970's, we formed the BMA in response primarily to the economic and
social needs of our community. Through the BMA, we have concentrated
a large part of our efforts on providing affordable housing for our
people and on providing educational skills and training programs.
The Renfrew County & District Aboriginal Friendship Centre is a community of mainly
non-status Algonquin’s who have their primary residence in Renfrew
County and the surrounding area. These families have acted together
politically from time to time over many years and have maintained
close, social and cultural ties with one another. We work together
to address the economic and social needs of our community.
Renfrew County & District Aboriginal Friendship Centre
is governed by an elected Board of Directors. We provide services to all members
of the community, and host frequent meetings at which all members
are invited to speak on pressing issues.
have an office in Petawawa, Ontario from which we provide education,
employment, social services and political representation for our
The traditional social, political and economic unit of Algonquin
society is the extended family. Algonquin bands or "First Nations"
are groups of families linked to each other by their shared land and
used area, through marriages, family connections, and by social
ties. Because our families in the traditional territory have been
linked for thousands of years, the community has always been a band
or First Nation.
the 1870's, a group of Algonquin’s petitioned the Canadian
government for land. As a result, a reserve was established at
Golden Lake. Some of our families went to live on this reserve, but
many chose not to and remained on their traditional territory.
Gradually there became two distinct communities; one based on the
Golden Lake Reserve, under the control of the Department of Indian
Affairs, and the other remaining much as we have always been, a
network of families living on our traditional land.