The narratives of European settlement in Canada have largely excluded the presence of Indigenous peoples on contested lands. This article offers an exploration of an Anishinaabeg community and a regional chief in early nineteenth century Upper Canada. The community known as the Chenail Ecarté land, and Chief Zhaawni-binesi, have become historically obscure. Through the use of primary documents the authors explore the community’s history, its relocation, and Chief Zhaawni-binesi’s role in the War of 1812 and in community life. Ultimately, the paper charts the relocation of the community in the face of mounting settler encroachment. The discussion attempts to increase knowledge and appreciation of Indigenous history in Southwestern Ontario.
Les descriptions de la colonisation européenne du Canada excluent largement la présence des peuples indigènes des territoires contestés. Dans cet article, nous allons explorer une communauté Anishinaabeg et un chef régional du début du XIXe siècle dans le Haut-Canada jusqu’à présent restés obscurs. Il s’agit de la communauté connue sous le nom de Chenail Ecarté et du chef Zhaawni-binesi. Grâce aux sources principales, les auteurs vont explorer l’histoire de cette communauté, son déplacement, ainsi que le rôle joué par le Chef Zhaawni-binesi dans la guerre de 1812 et dans la vie communale. Les auteurs vont aussi suivre la route du déplacement de la communauté face à l’empiètement des colons. Cet article vise à accroître les connaissances et l’appréciation de l’histoire autochtone du Sud-Ouest de l’Ontario.
Rick Fehr is originally from Wallaceburg Ontario, but now calls North Bay his home. He has a PhD in Environmental Studies from York University, and is interested in the historical ecology and biographical histories of the Anishinaabeg in Southwestern Ontario. The research into Zhaawni-binesi’s life is supported by a SSHRC Insight Grant through the “Planning with Indigenous Peoples” collaborative project. He is currently the Program Administrator of the Summer Indigenous Institute at Nipissing University.
After graduating in 2005 with a B.Sc. in Physics (Astrophysics) from the University of California–Santa Cruz, Janet Macbeth moved to her wife’s community on Walpole Island First Nation. In 2009, she joined Dean Jacobs at the Walpole Island Heritage Centre to work as the Project Review Coordinator for the newly minted WIFN External Projects Program which deals with Consultation and Accommodation requests within WIFN’s Traditional Territory. She is also currently collaborating in the “Planning with Indigenous Peoples” research project based out of Queen’s University.
Summer Sands-Macbeth graduated with a B.Sc. in Physics (Astrophysics) from the University of California–Santa Cruz. She currently manages the Employment and Training Program for Walpole Island First Nation, and previously served as the Education Manager and Librarian for her community. She has extensive experience in Anishnaabemowin language revitalization and an interest in sharing local history with her community.