• Haudenosaunee are known as the “People of the Longhouse”, and share languages that evolved from the Iroquoian language.
  • Five Haudenosaunee tribes (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayauga and Seneca) formed an alliance – they are known as the Iroquois Confederacy.
  • The Haudenosaunee formed one of the first Treaties with Europeans known as the Two Row Wampum. If defined Europeans as brothers/ equals
  • Living on the shores of the Great Lakes, they controlled and influenced trade from the southern USA into Ontario and Quebec.


  • The Anishinaabe or “Original People” are a group of related First Nations tribes who share languages that evolved from the Algonquian language.
  • It is thought that they migrated from the Atlantic coast and separated into distinct tribal groups who inhabited vast territories of central Canada and the USA, reaching as far west as the Rocky Mountains.


  • The Ojibway (also known as the Chippewa) are the largest group of Anishinaabe peoples and the second largest First Nation in Ontario, next only in number to the Cree Nation.


  • When the French first made contact with the Algonquin they were living in territories connected by tributaries to the Ottawa River. These became some of the first areas that fed the French Fur Trade and therefore giving rise to the Algonquin becoming allies with the French.
  • Just one Algonquin community remains in Ontario, known as the Algonquins of Golden Lake.


  • The Potawatomi at the time of contact with Europeans inhabited the lands within the upper Mississippi River region. With their Anishinaabe cousins – the Odawa and Ojibway they formed an alliance called the Council of Three Fires.
  • By the end of contact with the French (1763) the Potawatomi had moved to the Detroit area.


  • The Odawa are the third member of the Three Fires Confederacy. They trapped and traded along the Ottawa River and they too were important partners in the French fur trade.
  • While most Odawa today reside on Manitoulin Island which is thought to be their traditional homelands, settlements are also located west of London and on the Bruce Peninsula


  • Also referred to as Lenape.
  • Smallpox severely reduced their population by 1640
  • Conflict with the Haudenosaunee and British settlers over land forced them to relocate to the Ohio valley but after a massacre by U.S. troops survivors were led by Moravian missionaries to Ontario – first settling hear Amherstburg
  • Today there are two Delaware communities in Southwestern Ontario – The Delaware Nation at Moraviantown and The Munsee-Delaware Nation


  • Also known as northern Ojibway
  • Their communities are located in northern Ontario between Ojibway and Cree speaking communities
  • One of a few North American indigenous languages that is growing in numbers of fluent speakers


  • They are the largest population of First Nations people in Ontario
  • They have the most fluent speakers of their language
  • In Northern Ontario there are the Moose or Moose Factory Cree in the east and the Swampy Cree in the west
  • The provincial government of Ontario began to exploit the natural resources in their region following the signing of the first treaties with the Crees. First Nations communities of northern Ontario experience some of the worst health conditions of all groups in Canada

Metis Nation

  • Prior to Canada becoming a nation, relations between Indian women and European men would eventually see the birth of a new Aboriginal peoples. While the initial offspring of these Indian and European unions were individuals who simply possessed mixed ancestry, later marriages between these mixed ancestry children resulted in the creation of the Metis Nation, with a district identity and culture.
  • In Ontario, settlements emerged along the rivers of the province surrounding the Great lakes and throughout the northwest part of the province


Indigenous Training Library – Who We Are

About the Haudenosaunee Confederacy

Anishinabek Nation

Odawa – First Nations of Simcoe County

Odawa – Canadian Encyclopedia

Ontario Delaware Nation

Oji-Cree Culture and History

Metis Nation of Ontario

Chippewa of the Thames