Beausoleil First Nation

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The History of Christian Island

      Approximately 200 years before the Ojibway settled on Christian Island, a Jesuit mission established there. It was then known as Isle St. Joseph to the new comers and Gahoendoe to the Huron people. At this time, the area was inhabited by the Huron Nation who had migrated from the north shore of Lake Ontario upon the arrival of the Europeans. During this time, there was warfare between the Hurons and the Iroquois. After four local Huron villages were destroyed, the people sought refuge on Christian Island with the Jesuits. More and more people migrated to this island with hopes of protection resulting in famine conditions during the winter of 1650. In the month of June that year, the Jesuits and about 300 Hurons left for Quebec City. Most of the other Hurons fled to Manitoulin Island, while some remained on the Island. Few if any Hurons survived the continuing attacks in 1651.

The Arrival of the Ojibway People

      The ancestors of the Beausoleil Band moved from Lake Superior to the Lake Simcoe area in 1683. After various treaties, land surrenders, a merging with some members of the Pottawatomi Nation, Roman Catholic Ottawas and the people from Drummond Island, they came together in an area between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. This was known as the Coldwater Narrows Reserve. In 1830, three distinct groups of people resided on this land. There were the people under the leadership of Chief John Assance, people under Chief Yellowhead and the third group led by Chief Snake. Differences in religion and culture caused friction for these people who were confined to this area. They were expected to live a farming life style, a foreign concept to these hunters and gatherers. The settlement was surrendered in 1836. Chief Yellowhead's band purchased 1600 acres of land at Rama creating that reserve in 1838. Chief Snake and his people stayed on Snake Island in Lake Simcoe. In 1842, the people under the leadership of Chief John Assance moved to present day Beausoleil Island in Matchedash Bay, which was called Prince William Henry Island. They soon discovered that the soil was unfit for cultivation and they looked elsewhere for a suitable site. In 1856, they eventually moved to Christian Island after the three bands surrendered four Islands in Georgian Bay, Beausoleil Island being one of them. In the 1856 treaty three islands were reserved as the permanent settlement of the Beausoleil Band. In 1891, the identity of the separate bands was established.

Location: Christian Island, Hope & Beckwith Islands
Indian Maiden
      Beausoleil First Nation consists of three islands, Christian Island, Hope Island and Beckwith Island as well as several tiny islands close to the shores of the larger islands. Also belonging to the Beausoleil First Nation is an area consisting of 16 acres located on the mainland at Cedar Point. These islands are located in southern Georgian Bay off Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada. This region is a popular tourist attraction for many cottagers.
      The people of the Beausoleil First Nation have settled on Christian Island, the other islands have not been developed. Christian Island is approximately 3 kms from the mainland, approximately 65 kms from Barrie and 160 kms from Toronto.
      The largest island is Christian Island with approximately 9,820 acres in land base. Beckwith Island covers 2,130 acres and Hope Island covers 1,350 acres. Both Beckwith and Hope Islands have retained their undeveloped state making it an ideal summer recreation destination.


      Election for office is held every two years and are regulated by the Indian Act. The council consists of ten councillors and one chief.

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