Registered Population, as of July 2016

# of People

Registered Males On Own Reserve


Registered Females On Own Reserve


Registered Males On Other Reserves


Registered Females On Other Reserves


Registered Males On Own Crown Land


Registered Females On Own Crown Land


Registered Males On Other Band Crown Land


Registered Females On Other Band Crown Land


Registered Males On No Band Crown Land


Registered Females On No Band Crown Land


Registered Males Off Reserve


Registered Females Off Reserve


Total Registered Population




Household and dwelling characteristics 2006 2001
Household type
Total – All private households 565 510
One family households 420 395
Couple family households 335 320
Female lone parent households 70 55
Male lone parent households 15 20
Multi-family households 0 10
Non-family households 135 110
Median household income ($) 35,597 35,081
Selected Occupied Private Dwelling Characteristics
Total number of Dwellings 565 510
Dwellings constructed more than 10 years ago 410 300
Dwellings constructed within the past 10 years 155 225
Dwellings requiring minor repairs only 135 150
Dwellings requiring major repairs 130 125


Unemployment Rate: 10.9 per cent (2006)

Land Base: 21 007.3 hectares

Tribal Council / Affiliations: Waabnoong Bemjiwang Association of First Nations.

Provincial-Territorial Organization (PTO): Union of Ontario Indians, Lake Huron Region.



Nipissing First Nation Band Administration:
36 Semo Road
Garden Village, Ontario  P2B3K2
Ph. (705) 753-2050 Fx. (705) 753-0207
Website: www.nfn.ca




Chief: Scott McLeod

Deputy Chief: Muriel Sawyer

Councillors: Cathy Bellefeuille, June Commanda, Brian Couchie, Corey Goulais, Jason Laronde, Rick Stevens

Past Chiefs: Marianna Couchie, Chief Shabogesic (1850), Margaret Penasse-Mayer (90-00s), Gerald Beaucage (90’s), Phillip Goulais (80’s, 90’s and 00’s), Paul Goulais (70’s), Fred McLeod Jr. (70’s), Emery McLeod (60’s), Ted Commanda (60’s), Semo Commanda (50’s), Ernest Couchie.



lynn2Land Management:  Nipissing First Nation was one of fourteen First Nations to first opt out of the land management sections of the Indian Act by implementing it’s own Nbisiing Nation Land Code.  The Land Code was ratified in 2003. The code sets out processes for the develop land laws. To date,a number of land laws have been developed or are already underway including an Enactment Law, a Business Licensing Bylaw, a Matrimonial Real Property law and a Zoning Law.

Economic Development: Small business and self-employment account for a large part of the economy of Nipissing First Nation. Small Business sectors include: Smoke Shops, Convenience Retail, Beaucage Tent and Trailer Park, Couchie Industrial Park, Miller Quarry (Partnership with Miller Paving), Construction Sub-trades, Handicrafts Retail, Service Stations, Automotive, Specialty Services, and the Nipissing Commercial Fishery.

Lake Nipissing Fishery: Lake Nipissing is the life-bed of our people. Historically, the Nipissing First Nation depended on the fishery for trade and self-sustainability. Today, the fishery continues to be an important part of our community. Although the economy is not dependant on the fishery, there are several harvesters that depend on this for a livelihood. However, a vast majority of the community, still depend on the Lake Nipissing fishery stocks for sustenance. Pickerel and Northern Pike are the main species harvested by our people. Herring, whitefish and lake perch are also harvested. Sturgeon can still be found in the Lake, and in the gill-nets of our fisherman and is a rare delicacy. Today, Nipissing First Nation participates in all conservation and fisheries management programs in association with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre. The Nipissing First Nation employs a Fisheries Coordinator/Biologist, Technicians and coordinates a number of fisheries programs. In 2004, Nipissing First Nation began a walleye hatchery program, releasing nearly a million fry into Lake Nipissing. In 2005, the Nipissing First Nation passed its Fisheries Regulations which will see the community regulate its commercial fishery on Lake Nipissing.

Due to overfishing and extensive pressures on the walleye stocks on Lake Nipissing, Nipissing First Nation has taken steps to better regulate their commercial fishery, including briefly closing the fishery in 2015.  Fisheries regulations also prohibit gill net fishing during the spring spawn, a temporary prohibition on spear fishing, increasing the net size, reducing the number of nets and closing the fishery when the maximum catch is reached.  In 2016, Nipissing First Nation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering cooperation on the fisheries regulations, compliance, enforcement, inspections and the process of addressing violations.  Read the NFN Fisheries Booklet.



Nbising Education Centre

Nipissing currently has two pre-school daycare centres and a few private daycare centres. Although a elementary school has been discussed and debated for decades, both elementary and secondary school students are still bussed to North Bay and Strugeon Falls.

Our alternative, private high school, the N’bising Education Centre has about 75 students enrolled. This is a band-owned and controlled school. Curriculum and school programming is developed to meet the needs of our students. On January 10, 2000 the students and staff moved into the new 3.3 million Education and Community Complex on Nipissing First Nation.

Both Canadore College and Nipissing University are located in North Bay, on property physically adjacent to the reserve. College Borèal, a french institution, has a campus located in Sturgeon Falls.

The Anishinabek Education Institute, owned by the Union of Ontario Indians provides post-secondary programs to member First Nations. Their facility is located at the UOI headquarters. An elementary school is currently being built on the reserve. According to Statistics Canada, 12 percent of Nipissing have less that a Grade 9 education and 12 percent of Nipissing have a university Education.

Recently, through out affiliation with the Union of Ontario Indians, the Anishinabek Nation signed a self-government agreement respecting education. This will allow First Nations to develop education laws for on-reserve schools.



powwow3Our people were deemed a “Nation of Sorcerers”. The early French settlers and the Huron gave us this title for our abilities to heal and our fierce belief in our spirituality. We were always a member of the Anishinabe Nation, and therefore a part of the Confederacy of Three Fires. This is one of the oldest and strongest confederacies in North America. Our people participated in the Midewiwin Society and are active participants in many ceremonies and gatherings throughout Canada and the USA.The Nbisiing, as we are known, were in this area surrounding Lake Nipissing for hundreds of years before Samuel de Champlain “found us” in 1615. Prior to that our people were skilful hunters and fisherman. We developed a technique of fishing, using a open air torch and spear long before the French arrived. Our fisherman continue to use this technique to this day. Our Grandmothers and Grandfathers lived all around the Lake, including sites in the West Arm, Cache Bay and the French River. We travelled from season to season, depending on where the food was. In the summer, we spend most of our time on the Lake. During the winter, we would venture further North (towards Temagami) or further South, where there were plenty of big game animals, deer, moose and bear.



The people who live in the Lake Nipissing area are of Ojibway and Algonquin descent. Archaeological studies indicate that the Lake Nipissing area has been occupied continuously for approximately 9,400 years prior to first contact by the Europeans. The people were called Nipissing or Nbisiing after the lake which was centre to their territory.

Dr. R.B. Orr in his report “The Nipissing, Coming of the White man”, 29th Archaeological Report utilized the primary source of the Jesuit Relations and Jean Recollect to describe the Nipissing at contact.

The translation of Nbisiing is “little water”. The name of this large inland lake is probably a comparison to the larger great lakes, to the west and south.Dr. R.B. Orr in his report “The Nipissing, Coming of the White man”, 29th Archaeological Report utilized the primary source of the Jesuit Relations and Jean Recollect to describe the Nipissing at contact.

“Each man’s and woman’s liberty was absolute and inviolable. A Nipissing came as near as possible to Rousseau’s perfect and “ideal man.” He was untainted by civilization, did what he liked, and was moved only by natural impulses, and if, (according to the French deist, “L’homme qui relechiot est un animal deprave” – “the man who meditates is a brute”.) the Nipissing was not a free man and independent man, then there was no absolute freedom or independence on earth”.

Any person, no matter their race or nationality would find this description as appealing. To the remaining descendents of the Nipissing, this description may only instil pride in their ancestors’ basic principle of personal freedom and independence.



The Nipissing’s have been documented in various historical references as traders. Their commodity was the fish and furs harvested from their territory. The Nipissing territory was approximately 100 miles by 250 miles in what is now the Province of Ontario. The pre-contact Nipissing trader controlled trade routes in the four directions. They traded as far west as Lake Nipigon. The trade route north to Hudson Bay allowed for trade with the Cree and in later years the English as well. The southern trade route into Huron Territory put them in contact with the Winnebago trade and other southern tribes. The eastern trade route allowed for trade with the tribes located as far east to what is now known as Quebec City.

The timeline on the trade activity predated the early 15th century contact by Champlain. Bruce G. Trigger and Gordon M. Day, in Chapter 4 of the book “Aboriginal Ontario” writes that;

“Archaeological evidence exists of close relations between the Huron and the Nipissing dating back several centuries prior to European contact.” “Before 1612, Nipissing traders had begun to travel as far north as James Bay each summer, exchanging Huron corn and European goods for furs that ultimately made their way to the French Traders on the St. Lawrence.”

The Nipissing’s were trading furs and fish for corn, nets tobacco and other supplies with other Nations from the north, the Cree and later with the English; the south, the Winnebaego, and west trade routes with the Ojibway; and the east, through the Nipissing at the Two Mountains (Oka) and later with the French. These trade routes formed a junction on Lake Nipissing. The importance of this junction and their command on the middle man monopoly on the trade became their downfall.



On the French trade, Day in the “Handbook for North American Indians, Vol 15, writes;

“Champlain first heard of the Nipissings at Montreal in 1613 and tried to visit them, but the Algonquins of Morrison’s Island refused to help him. They said the Nipissing’s were malevolent sorcerers, but their reason was probably their unwillingness to put the Nipissings in direct contact with the French Trade. He did visit them in 1615 and the following winter tried to get the Nipissings in Huronia to take him to the north sea where they traded, but they in turn put him off.”

The French were the first to historically document the Nipissing through the French missionaries sent into their territory by Champlain. The Recollect missionaries recorded that they had some Nipissing’s wintering with the Huron. The Nipissing’s very spiritual nature easily drew them to convert to the Catholicism offered by the missionaries. The Mission of the Holy Ghost has been located on the shores of Nipissing since the early 1615. The Recollect missionaries and the Jesuits who came later, recorded the Nipissing lifestyle and reported the vast trade and wealth of the Nipissing.

The Nipissing also has the reputation of residing in area rich in natural medicines. The utilization of these medicines and spiritual ceremonies which surround the preparation of the medicines may have contributed to the early missionaries’ chronicling the Nipissing’s predilection to “black magic”. The early French cartography of Lake Nipissing, names it as “The Lake of the Sorcerer’s”.

The Lake of the Sorcerer’s being the junction of the trade routes and the direct trade between the French and the Nipissing meant that the eastern Nations began to be shifted out of the trade. This direct French contact put the Huron and then the Nipissing at odds with the Iroquois. In 1630 the Iroquois began their assault on the Hurons and the missionaries at Ste. Marie. The fall of the Huron territory allowed the Iroquoian assault into the Nipissing’s territory. In 1647, after brutal conflicts with the Iroquois, the Nipissing fled into the Lake Nipigon area. The Nipissing trader did not give up on their trade routes. Historical records of that period tell of the Nipissing running the guantlet into the eastern territory from their north western refuge to ensure their trade routes survived. Reports of ambushes and betrayal by the parties coveting the trade routes are numerous.

The Nipissing were historically documented to have returned to the Lake in 1670.

The Nipissing were a prosperous people into the early 1800’s. Over the years with the ever increasing number of European fur trappers competing with the Nipissing ultimately over burdened and ultimately led to the over harvesting of the lucrative and once bountiful beaver population.

In 1850, the Nipissing became signatories of the Robinson Huron Treaty. Chief Shabogesic and his Head Men, Penassy and O’jeek were recorded in that Treaty as the Chief and the Principal men of their Nation. The Treaty was signed to preserve their way of life and command the northern shores of Lake Nipissing and its main waterways.