The Ojibwe community of Fort William First Nation was created in 1853, as a condition of the 1850 Robinson-Superior Treaty. Prior to European contact, the ancestors of Fort William resided along the north shore of Lake Superior near the mouth of the Kaministiquia River. This pristine environment attracted settlers from eastern Canada and Europe which eventually led to the formation of the neighbouring city of Thunder Bay, originally the towns of Fort William and Port Arthur. Fort William First Nation is located south of Thunder Bay on the North shore of Lake Superior, at the foot of Mountain McKay. The Mountain provides a beautiful scenic backdrop for the community, and overlooks Lake Superior with a wonderful view of the sleeping Giant.
Fort William is comprised of both Native and non-Native community members, with a total membership of 2,097 registered Band members. There are 953 registered band members living in Fort William First Nations and 1167 living away from their community.
The early history of Fort William First Nation tells a story of a sustainable community that kept a close grip on a traditional way of life and dependence on a worldview derived from the “Great Spirit”. Fort William is recognized for Mount McKay also known as Thunder Mountain (Anemkiwaucheu) where the Ojibwe use this site for sacred ceremonies and it’s also a place for scenic site for tourists. Fort William First Nation is a growing community, with diverse needs. The community provides services in a holistic way in regards to mental, emotional, cultural and spiritual support. There are various cultural events that are held annually like the Fort William First Nation Health Fair, Pow Wow, and Fort William First Nation Days.
Fort William First Nation arena has two full size rinks as well as a half size gymnasium and a Fitness Centre open for community members and general public. There is also a community hall that holds various events in the community that involve the following programs: Internet high school, Elders, Youth Centre and Bingo. For children and youth, there is a beautiful, safe playground and youth centre to play. There are culture and recreation programs also offered to all members of Fort William First Nation.
Services offered on Fort William First Nation are provided to a diverse population lead by culturally sensitive service providers and community members. The Health Centre is home to a multi-disciplinary service delivery team that provides the community with programs that strengthen, support and address identified family and community needs. Fort William has a lot of services and programs these include:
- Fort William Administration (Finance, Anemki Mountain Corp, Education)
- Fort William Social Services (Employment, Ontario Works, Emergency Food Services)
- Fort William Community Health
- Fort William Economic Development
- Fort William Public Works and Maintenance
- Fort William Family Support
- Fort William Lands Department
- Fort William Environment Management
Elder and Senior Care
Fort William First Nation Building Healthy Communities Elder’s Program is supported by Fort William First Nation Health Centre. There are various activities such as winter safety, 55+ programs, Elder’s Committee, brunches and various activities. The Elders within the community assist in teaching other generations in regards to traditional ceremonies, spirituality and historical information. This program provides a holistic continuum of care for the Elderly in regards to their stage in life and their well-being.