About the People of the River Desert Band
Our Algonquin culture is a living contemporary lifestyle rooted on our land through ancient traditions. The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabe reserve was formally established in 1851. The majority of our people migrated from the Lake of Two Mountains (also known as the Oka area).
Our first Ogima (Chief), Antoine Paginawatik (whose name means “tree split by lightning” ), was instrumental in acquiring the formal recognition of the present community territory. Ogima Paginawatik made three arduous canoe trips to Upper Canada, Toronto, at the time the seat of the Crown, to intercede with Canada on behalf of our First Nation.
Antoine Paginawatik thus served as the Ogima (Chief) of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg for twenty years (1854-1874).
Today, with a population numbering over 2300, the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg continue to be a vital and thriving First Nation community. We look forward to the future with pride as we respect and remember our ancestors who walked here before us.
The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, having taken control and responsibility for its own education system, has led the community to be innovative and creative in many areas of education, including the Algonquin language and cultural development.