In 1995 the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council (AKRC), was created to directly benefit and protect the interests of its membership, in areas including but not limited to health, education, infrastructure, technical, and resource management services.

It is incorporated as an Aboriginal non-profit organization providing advisory and technical services to the member First Nations. The Kabapikotawangag Protocol, which is founded on the Anishinaabe language, culture and traditions, along with provincial and federal policies, provides the guidelines for the legal and political structures of the organization.

The AKRC staff, committies and communities work together to ensure the cooperation, coordination and holistic approaches are in place for the delivery of services to support a high quality of life for the Anishinaabe people. The primary focus is to ensure the children, youth, adults and elders of the member First Nation communities have the resources available to meet the challenges and opportunities for life-long development.

Our Mandate

  • Development and implementation of strategic initiatives that enhance the individual Anishinaabe’s ability to complete the life cycle from infancy to elder in society, economically and spiritually self-sufficient community.
  • Promotion and protection of the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag commitment to their language, culture, history, spirituality and sacred relation to the land and waters.
  • Promotion and protection of the special treaty and fiduciary relationships with the Crown.
  • Act as a collective entity to develop economic initiatives for the 5 member First Nations while protecting, enhancing, conserving, and managing the resources in the Kabapikotawangag (Lake of the Woods).
  • Develop technological capabilities at the First Nation level in all areas of resource harvesting and management.

While carrying out this mandate in providing programs and services to the five member First Nations the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council will also engage other governments and organizations in establishing relationships, protocols and agreements. The Chief’s of Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Council have taken steps to assume greater political responsibilities and representation for member First Nations. In regards, changes are taking place to reflect new mandates, relationships and protocols in matters of self-government.

Vision Statement

From time immemorial our Nations and people have lived enjoyed the gifts of the Creation. We have enjoyed and benefited from a long history of political, social, and cultural, and spiritual interactions and relationships. The laws and principles we adhere to are those that are set forth in the Ogichitibaakonigewin and the teachings of Gizhiiwaatiziwin, Aatsookaanan, Miinigoowiziwin, and Kagiikwiwinan that have been handed down by our ancestors.

Kabapikotawangag Staff

The Story of the Kabapikotawangag Staff

The Kabapikotawangag Staff belongs to the Lake of the Sand Bars. It was given to us by the spiritual. It was given to Clifford in a dream. (Told by Clifford Skead)

A man came and told him to make a staff for the lake people. The staff was to be the size of a man – longer than 6 feet. The feathers belong to and represent each community.

The ribbons represent the rainbow.

The beaver pelt represents the beaver that lives in the water.

The pipe was to have a stub and be purple like the sky.

The one who looks after the Tribal Council has to look after it, and it looks after us.

The staff should be feasted in the spring and the fall – all these things are sacred. It can be feasted anywhere on the Lake.

The spiritual staff (being) was given to us by the Creator.

Clifford waited before he told anyone.

He had a second dream and saw the staff. He was asked “Do you have it made?”

“No” he said.

This will keep your people together.

( A seventh Eagle Feather was added to the Staff to represent the Youth of AKRC. )

The staff can be at traditional, non-traditional, and government meetings.
It can stay at the office where the man that looks after the Tribal Council is.
It has to be near him. The Kabapikotawangag Staff does not have to go to meetings… except when the Elders gather.

Kabapikotawangag Protocol

Guided by the Elders, a Protocol, now known as “The Kabapikotawangag Protocol”, was declared among the leadership in September 1998 to promote the protection and preservation of the resources of the Kabapikotawangag, to establish strategic initiatives to meet their common needs and to direct the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council as a central vehicle to support this mandate.

The Protocol reads:

  • Knowing that Kabapikotawangag is a Sacred Lake of the Creator;
  • Believing that the Creator placed the Anishinaabeg Omaa Manito Saagai’gaming;
  • Acknowledging that the Lake has provided us with our very being as Anishinaabeg from time immemorial;
  • Dedicated to the Lake as the birthright of our people now and for as long as the sun shines, the rivers flow and the grass grows; and
  • Committed to common solidarity for the good and benefit of all of our men, women, elders and children;
  • Therefore, we, the Chiefs, on behalf of our respective people and governments, do solemnly covenant and declare to be of one mind that our mission singly and severally is;
  • “Chi shawandamang O’we Manito Saagai’gan”; and do hereby commit:
  • To live and work as one in unity, peace and harmony on the Lake as our inherent right and duty;
  • To actively protect and promote the land, air, water, environment and all resources including the rock, soil, minerals, fish, flora, fauna and all other life on, in and under the Lake and Territory of our ancestors; and
  • To establish such strategic initiatives including a Tribal Council and such other institutions as will meet our common needs and aspirations as the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag.

Top (L to R): AKRC Grand Opening in August 1999, Dave Paul Jr., Glenn Archie, Bob Nault, Joseph Big George, Wes Big George, Ken Nash, Steve Skead, and Bob Kelly.

Bottom (L to R): Dave Paul Jr., Glenn Archie, Wes big George, Ken Nash, Chris Skead and Gus Copenace

Governing Board of Chiefs

The Governing Board of AKRC, with guidance from the Elders Council, serves as the primary counsel for the introduction and deliberation of issues affecting the operational and structural integrity of the organization. Members are Chiefs of the (5) First Nations, and decisions are reached through the traditional model of consensus.

The Chiefs and member First Nations include:

  • Chief Darlene Comegan – Northwest Angle #33
  • Chief Chris Skead – Wauzhushk Onigum Nation
  • Chief Lynn Indian – Big Grassy River
  • Chief Jeff Copenace – Ojibways of Onigaming
  • Chief Linda McVicar – Animakee Wa Zhing #37

The Meaning of ‘Kabapikotawangag’

“Kabapikotawangag” means “the lake of the sand dunes and sand bars”. It is the traditional Anishinaabe name for the Lake of Woods. The lake was, and continues to be, the traditional and cultural centre for the Anishinaabe way of life; that includes hunting, fishing, trapping, and harvesting as well as spiritual ceremonies and healing and, in contemporary times, recreation.

One Elder relates that during the time of inter-tribal conflict as late as the mid 1800’s one raiding party was turned back from the sight of these mounds of sand that from a distance resembled a large concentration of Ojibway wigwams at the mouth of the Rainy River. While most of the sand dunes and sandbars were located at the mouth of the river, others could be found throughout the lake, primarily within the open waters of the Big Traverse. However, after the treaty making process that was concluded in October of 1873 at the Northwest Angle of Kabapikotawangag, European settlement, progress and development raised the water levels that these sacred structures were effectively sunk.

In the spirit of respect for the lake and all that is represents to the Anishinaabeg, including language retention and cultural survival, the Chiefs have revived the designation under the corporate name for the
Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council.

The Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag are historically known as the

People of the Lake, The Spirit Lake,

Commonly referred to as Lake Of The Woods.