The Georgina Island Storytelling Project

Our stories celebrate our heritage and identity as Chippewa people. They preserve and teach our Indigenous ways of knowing and knowledge for the future generations of Georgina Island. In the tradition of oral history over generations, our youth - in their turn - will carry on this legacy to protect and share our proud history and who we are as the Chippewas of Georgina Island.


This award recognizes up to six Indigenous students for their creative writing talent. Each recipient receives a $2,500 award.

Extended Deadline: June 30, 2021

  1. Get the James Bartleman form (PDF)

Note: You must have Adobe Reader to open this form. Right click on the link above and save the form. Open Adobe Reader, then use Adobe Reader to open the form. You will be able to edit, save and submit this form.

  1. Submit your nomination online

There are three geographic categories:

A junior student (12 years old and younger) and a senior student (13 to 18 years old) is chosen from each geographic category.

Who is eligible

You must:

See flyer below for more information!

James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writing Awards Flyer


May 6, 2021

Attention Residents and Visitors:

The COVID 19 pandemic has created unique challenges for the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation (CGFN). Our First Nation has been faced with unforeseen budgetary, service, and operational setbacks.

To date, CGFN has taken the following steps to address the safety and well-being of the First Nation, while maintaining ferry boat transportation:


The CGFN does not have the operational capacity to offer ferry transportation to all visitors.

To ensure the health and wellness of our First Nation, while maintaining the services our residents require, we will be instituting a traffic control policy. This policy’s purpose is to ensure the residents of CGIFN (both permanent and temporary) have appropriate access to the First Nation.

Effective May 14th, 2021, CGIFN ferry will limit lease holders to two vehicles for the entirety of the peak season (May 24-Labour Day weekend). Lease holders will be required to submit vehicle information (Make model/License plate) to ensure they are in compliance with the traffic control policy.

Any questions and concerns can be forwarded to:
There will be further communications about this policy in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, please make necessary arrangements.



April 12, 2021

Notice to Georgina Island Leaseholders

COVID Restrictions Remain in Effect – Ferry Boat Restricted to Leaseholders and Immediate Family Only

Spring has arrived on Georgina Island, and Chief and Council are pleased to announce that the ferry boat has resumed its regular schedule. The ferry schedule is available on the web site from a link on the transportation page.

While we are happy to welcome leaseholders and their immediate families back to their cottages, we would like to remind everyone to continue to practice public health measures to reduce the spread of the virus. COVID-19 cases, including variant cases, are once again increasing, and Ontario has issued a province-wide stay-at-home order. The Ontario Science Table has found that the variants are now dominant and lead to 62% higher risk of hospitalization, 114% higher risk of ICU and 40% higher risk of death. Everyone is asked to continue to wear masks in indoor settings other than your home (including after vaccination), to avoid indoor contact with those outside your household, to remain on your property when on the island, and to only go out for essential reasons. We would also ask cottagers to limit the frequency trips between their cottage and their permanent residence or other urban locations.

Similar to last summer, the ferry boat will be restricted to leaseholders and their immediate family. Leaseholders will be required to show proof of their lease and identification. Photos of documents on your phone are acceptable. Staff will continue to inspect vehicles and walk-on passengers prior to loading onto the ferry. There is a maximum of two vehicles per cottage.

Ferry boat passes must be purchased at the Gas Shack prior to loading the ferry. Crew cannot accept cash on the ferry boat.

Chief and Council will continue to monitor the situation together with our Emergency Task Force.  Thank you for your cooperation and for helping to keep our community safe from the virus.

Chief Donna BigCanoe

By: Mike Anderson

It may seem like a simple, grey cotton sweatshirt. But look closely, and you’ll see it conveys an important message: honour our veterans and try to be worthy of their sacrifice.

Designed and sold by the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation (CGIFN), the sweatshirts will help raise funds for the Sutton Legion, which has been closed for a year due to COVID-19.

“I heard they needed money to start back up, and they didn’t do the ice fishing derby this year. And, there’s no golf tournament. So, I knew they lacked funds. And, I was racking my brain how to do a fundraiser with COVID,” said Suzanne Howes, CGIFN’s Project Coordinator, who came up with the unique fundraising idea.

“This is the best way because there’s no contact. You can just sell sweatshirts. So CGIFN and Island View Business Centre got together and donated the funds to make this happen because we appreciate our veterans immensely. “

Ms. Howes designed the sweatshirt herself and used a quote she found online for the back: ‘If you want to thank a soldier, be the kind of Canadian worth fighting for.’

“I wanted to do something to make them more interesting. So I went online and saw this design. I changed it a little bit and put it on the sweatshirt. I just wanted to show the veterans that we really support them,” she said.

Front and Back Design Link to Original Article

The sweatshirts cost $30, with all proceeds going to the Sutton Legion. There are more than 200 available, with sizes from small to XXXL. You can purchase them now at Virginia Beach Marina, Sutton Legion or Elaine’s Black River Coffee in Sutton.

Ms. Howes said that both her grandfather and grandmother served, and her uncle Graydon, who her son is named after, was also a veteran. So, the Legion has always played a role in her family’s past.

“My grandfather, my uncles, all went here. And, you know that mental health is key, and this is a place where they can swap stories, share their memories, their troubles. The veterans need to have a place to come. And they’re always helping the community, with Easter parades and Christmas brunches, and they’re always giving back. So we need to give back to them.”

Councillor Bill McCue also agrees that it’s important to support the Legion.

“Our First Nation had over 90 per cent of the able-bodied men, and some women, join the army during the Second World War,” said Mr. McCue, whose own father served overseas in the army for five years.

“I think every family on the Island has someone that was in the army. And I know that the Legion supported our members throughout this time. So, we need to show that we support them as well.”

First Nations have a long and proud tradition of military service in Canada. During the Second World War, more than 3,000 First Nation members enlisted in the army. Over 200 were killed, and at least 17 decorations for bravery in action were awarded.

One of those casualties was Pt. Thomas Big Canoe, from Georgina Island, who died liberating Holland on March 8, 1945, just two months before the war ended.

But, while Indigenous soldiers were considered equals on the battlefield, many encountered discrimination when they returned home.

Indigenous veterans did not receive the same benefits as non-indigenous veterans, mainly due to the Indian Act.

And it was not until 1995 that Indigenous veterans were allowed to lay Remembrance Day wreaths at the National War Memorial to honour their fallen comrades.

The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) and its members have tried to redress past wrongs by honouring First Nation veterans and telling their stories.

“They have a Cenotaph on the Island. When you look at it, you realize that an entire generation was impacted by the Second World War. We have a close relationship; we honour First Nation’s veterans on our wall, and we speak to the kids at the Island school. It’s a relationship we cherish, and we’d like to keep going,” said Stephen Wiebe, Sutton Legion Branch 356 President, who’s grateful for the CGIFN’s fundraising efforts.

“They have always been right beside us the whole way, no matter what. There’s always representation on Remembrance Day. They come here, they talk to us, and it’s just been a great relationship between us.”

“The wording on the sweatshirt pretty well explains it,” Mr. McCue said.

“If you enjoy your freedom, you need to support our veterans and the Legion. It’s not just for those who fought in the World Wars, but for those who have chosen a career in the Canadian Armed Forces. And especially those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We’ve got to honour the accomplishments and contributions that our soldiers make to our country.”


Link to Original Article


The Recording of the March 5th Fixed Link Community Meeting as well as the resulting Questions and Answers are now available on the community website.  These documents are located in the Members Section of the website.

 If you need to register for the website access, please contact the Band Office at 705-437-1337

 If you were not able to attend the meeting and now have questions, or generally have questions about the Fixed Link Project, the line of communication is now open.  Please forward any questions to Dylan Big Canoe via email at or phone (705-437-1337) .  Dylan will direct those to the Fixed Link Professional Team and will provide answers in the community newsletter going forward.  If you do not receive the community newsletter, please register with Dylan to receive it.










Please find Hugh “Buzzy” Big Canoe Youth Entrepreneurship Program poster and Hugh “Buzzy” Big Canoe Youth Entrepreneurship Program Application Form here


Program Objective:
To continue with the spirit of Hugh Big Canoe’s dedication to assist Youth understand and enter into business and to provide an assistive mechanism for the purposes of starting a new business or expand an existing business for Youth between the ages of 15 – 29 on an annual basis.

• Individual must be nominated from someone who is from the OTC First Nation membership;
• Individual nominated must be between the ages of 15-29;
• Application must be accompanied by a Letter of Support stating how the nominee demonstrates qualities of a role model such as leadership, the ability to communicate, dedication and perseverance;
• The business must be operated, at a minimum , between April and September;
• Nominee must have demonstrated role model qualities;
• Nominee must be willing to attend the OTC AGM; and
• Nominee may be requested to consider being a part of a role model program for other OTC First Nation Youth.

Timeline of Program:
• Call for Nominations will be announced to the communities the last day in February each year.
• Nominations and applications are due the last day March.
• Selection of a candidate will occur April.
• The successful nominee will receive funding in May.
• The business will be operated over the summer months with a final report/presentation to be provided at the OTC AGM.

Selection Process:
The Panel will review the outline of the business, a budget that includes operating costs and how the funds will be used, and the nomination letter.
Financial Assistance:
Funds distributed to a maximum of $2,500.00
Funds can be used to offset costs of running and operating a business other than direct payment to the selected participant in lieu of wages. Specific area of interest include service costs such as bookkeeping, development of a business/marketing plan, marketing costs and capital purchases.

Ogemawahj Tribal Training and Employment Resources(OTTER)

Something a bit new!  Here you will find the candidates campaign letters for the upcoming Band Election on Chippewas of Georgina Island.

The candidates were contacted and invited to send in a letter so it could be posted.  Below you will find the ones who responded.  Should you have any questions please direct them to the candidates, they will have their contact information on each submission.  All candidates were given a chance to submit a letter to explain their platform and any views or opinions expressed are from the candidates and not the First Nation.

For Chief

Donna Big Canoe for Chief

For Council

Alicia Trivett for Council

Benson Big Canoe for Council

Brittany Ellis for Council

David Migizance Big-Canoe for Council

Dylan Big Canoe for Council

John Charles for Council

Lauri Hoeg for Council

Shelley Charles for Council

William McCue for Council



December 15, 2020

Notice to Georgina Island Leaseholders

Georgina Island Entering Lockdown December 21, 2020 for Minimum 30 Days

Ferry boat restricted to GIFN members and GIFN staff only

As of Monday December 14, 2020, York Region has joined Toronto and Peel in the Grey – Lockdown Zone. This is due to continued high number of COVID cases, continued community spread and inability to trace the source of infections, a high proportion of positive tests, and increasing pressures on hospitals in the region. Although Health Canada approval of a COVID vaccine is a positive step, people must continue to implement social distancing and other virus prevention strategies to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Under the Grey Lockdown Zone, it is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with. You must limit contact to your household (the people you live with) and stay at least 2 metres apart from everyone else. Do not visit any other household or allow visitors in your home. Only go out for essential reasons, such as work, school, groceries, pharmacy, health care, helping vulnerable people, and outdoor exercise. People are asked to work remotely, where possible. Non-essential businesses must be closed, except for curb side pick-up and delivery.[1]

Chief and Council are announcing that Georgina Island will be in lockdown as of Monday, December 21st, 2020 and the ferry boat will be restricted to GIFN members and GIFN staff only until further notice.  Transportation staff will continue to inspect vehicles and walk-on passengers prior to loading onto the ferry. The Band Office is currently closed to the public, and will be closed to staff as of December 16, 2020.

As was previously communicated, Chief and Council would like to strongly discourage leaseholders from visiting or staying in their cottages on Georgina Island for the winter. Everyone is being asked to stay home, limit contact with others, and only go out for essential reasons.

Chief and Council will continue to monitor the situation together with our Emergency Task Force and will implement additional measures as required. The lockdown will be reviewed after 30 days (January 21).

Thank you for your cooperation and for helping to keep our community safe from the virus.


Chief Donna BigCanoe


Notice to Visitors

The Band Office is closed to the public

Please call 705-437-1337 for permission to enter the building

Face Masks are Required.

DO NOT enter if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:



Difficulty breathing

Thank you for helping to keep our community safe!



Band Members and Essential Services Only Permitted on the Ferry

Click here For full article 


Waubageshig (Harvey Andrew McCue) of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario was appointed as a member for his contributions to the health and well-being of Indigenous youth in Canada and for his leadership in education.

“I’m thrilled to the moon and it came as a real shock and surprise. I’m quite honoured,” he said.

Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, he said he noticed there weren’t many programs in schools for Indigenous kids.

“There certainly wasn’t any academic content and that’s weighed on me quite heavily after I completed my education.”

He helped found and develop the Native Studies Department at Trent University in 1969 and taught there for 14 years.

Two years ago he and a small team created a 24-module curriculum on suicide prevention for First Nations youth, which has been brought into a number of First Nations school in Canada and the United States.

This year he created a kindergarten to Grade 12 history curriculum for the Long Lake 58 community, located 250 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont.

“That curriculum will help the young people at Long Lake really strengthen their understanding of who they are, where their roots are, how their community came to be, and their connection to their Anishinaabe history and culture,” he said.

“These activities and projects have been very fulfilling for me and their objective is to work to increase the health of very young people and contribute to their further self knowledge.”


Photo submitted by :  Waubageshig was appointed to the Order of Canada after working in education for over 50 years. (Submitted by Waubageshig)

Notice to Visitors

The Band Office is closed to the public

Please call 705-437-1337 for permission to enter the building

Face Masks are Required.

DO NOT enter if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:



Difficulty breathing

Thank you for helping to keep our community safe!