By the Senior Class of Northumberland Christian School - 2017

Following the retreat of the last ice age, and the draining of the greater Lake Iroquois, when Lake Ontario came into its own setting, dense forest covered the plains and hills. The native people moved in to occupy, to hunt and to fish the lands, lakes, and rivers. For several thousand years they lived here their nomadic and outdoor life. (Footnote 1)

First Nations in what is now Canada were able to satisfy all of their material and spiritual needs through the resources of the natural world around them. (Footnote 2)

When European and Loyalist settlers came to Canada, they made agreements with the native inhabitants to make sure they had land to settle on. (Footnote 3)  Popularly known as treaties, these agreements allowed the Crown in Canada to acquire lands on the north shore of the upper St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario between Montreal and the Trent River, and land lying between the head of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie (Footnote 4).

Cobourg sits on the traditional land of the Ojibwe/Chippewa people. (Footnote 5) The Williams Treaty was signed by the British crown and local native communities in 1923. The Williams Treaty covers present-day Cobourg, Northumberland, and parts of Durham. (Footnote 6) The Williams Treaties First Nations are comprised of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Scugog Island First Nation and the Chippewas of Beausoleil First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation and the Rama First Nation. (Footnote 7)


  1. “Early Cobourg”, Percy Lloyd Climo, 1985
  2. Government of Canada - Indigenous and Northern Affairs - Early First Nations: The Six Main Geographical Groups
  3. Williams Treaty - Dan Shaule - no link
  4. Government of Canada - Indigenous and Northern Affairs - Treaty Research Report, The Williams Treaties The Canadian Encyclopedia - Indigenous Peoples: Treaties
  5. Williams Treaty - Dan Shaule
  6. Government of Canada - Indigenous and Northern Affairs - Williams Treaty
  7. Williams treaties First Nations