Welcome To

 

Renfrew County and District
Aboriginal Friendship Centre
 

3477-E Petawawa Blvd.
Petawawa, Ontario  -- K8H 1X2
Phone: ( 613 ) 687-4141-Fax: ( 613 ) 687-1515

 

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Our History

* Also, read the history of the Algonkin people

In 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 families.

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" basis.

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.

The RCDAFC

The 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.

We have an office in Petawawa, Ontario from which we provide education, employment, social services and political representation for our community.

Our Roots

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.

In 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.

 

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