Explore

M'Chigeeng
First Nation

Points of Interest

Ojibwe Cultural Foundation

State of the art community centre, gym and library in the heart of the village.

Lillian's Museum

A wonderful permanent collection of First Nation art and crafts, especially porcupine quill work, augmented by education videos on aspects of First Nation culture. It features a unique quill box museum.

Great Spirit Circle Trail

Listen and learn from the stories and legends, discover the warmth of the people, the vibrant culture and traditional activities while canoeing, glamping, hiking, horseback riding and legendary cultural adventures. Let us share our culture with you, and embark on amazing and memorable experiences unfound anywhere else in the world. Book experiences online by visiting www.circletrail.com, call toll free 1-877-710-3211 to speak to one of our friendly booking agents, or drop by our information centre (5905 Hwy 540, M’Chigeeng, Ontario P0P1G0), to learn more.

Immaculate Conception Church

An architecturally interesting Roman Catholic Church which incorporates elements of native tradition in both design and content.

About 
M'Chigeeng

M’Chigeeng First Nation has it all: a beautiful public sand beach on the North Channel of Lake Huron (beside the street from Highway 540 that leads to Manitoulin Secondary School) as well as a great deal more North Channel shoreline. In addition, about one-quarter of the shoreline of Lake Mindemoya defines that corner of the First Nation territory.

M’Chigeeng is located along Highway 540, midway between Little Current and Gore Bay.

Highway 551, that runs from Highway 540 over to Mindemoya is the community’s other main thoroughfare and the intersection of these two highways is the hub of much of this vibrant First Nation’s public activities. The imposing band administration offices are nearby, so is (almost across highway 551 from it) Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, set back in a peaceful piney grove. The church is unique. It was built where its predecessors church stood until it burned (with a loss of one life) but the present church took a new form. It is circular, a shape of immense significance to Indigenous people, and the pews inside follow the curving walls while the alter is the centerpiece of this amphitheatre style house of worship. The stations of the cross around the sanctuary were rendered by Leland Bell, one of the early practitioners of the Woodland School of Art on Manitoulin.

The M’Chigeeng Arena is in this neighbourhood too in a complex it shares with the large community hall, Seasons Restaurant, offices for community groups and the post office.

On the other side of the road, beside the band administration office, is the striking Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF), a building and organization dedicated to maintaining and strengthening the Ojibwe language and culture in all its forms.

The front gateway to the building is framed by a sculpture in Manitoulin limestone of a shamanic family and when a visitor approaches the OCF and passes through this installation they are, however briefly, a part of this tradition.

This is a nice touch and it was conceived of, designed, sculpted and installed by the late Carl Beam, an Ojibwe artist from this community, whose work is also part of the collections of the National Gallery in Ottawa. The Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Canadian Collector as well as many other galleries and private collections.

In the M'Chigeeng area:

The front gateway to the building is framed by a sculpture in Manitoulin limestone of a shamanic family and when a visitor approaches the OCF and passes through this installation they are, however briefly, a part of this tradition.

This is a nice touch and it was conceived of, designed, sculpted and installed by the late Carl Beam, an Ojibwe artist from this community, whose work is also part of the collections of the National Gallery in Ottawa. The Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Canadian Collector as well as many other galleries and private collections.

Just at the corner of Highway 540 and 551, backing on West Bay, is Kasheesh Studios, the gallery and studio of another noted M’Chigeeng artist, Blake Debassige. His partner, Shirley ChiChoo, also an artist and a filmmaker, is the executive director and founder of Weengushk, hands-on school for aspiring First Nation filmmakers from across Canada. Weengushki is located about 2.5 km along Highway 540, in the direction of Little Current.

But back to the vibrant downtown cultural sector, Lillian’s Crafts and Quill Basket Museum is just that: a store that sells not only First Nations crafts, but craft supplies as well and, fine art gallery.

The Quill Box Museum is perhaps one-of-a-kind but on display is a collection of this very traditional Anishinaabek craft where birch bark, sweet grass and colourfully dyed porcupine quills are woven into sturdy, beautiful and useful objects.

Nearly across the road from Lillian’s is the headquarters of the Great Spirit Circle Trail, a cultural tourism initiative supported by Manitoulin’s First Nation communities. Beside the office is a palisaded wall behind which stretches a whole different dimension where visitors come to hear stories told, learn the basics of traditions crafts, learn to make, bake and then eat bannock ( a staple of the bush) and much more.

You’ll have to cross Highway 540 once more and travel a little further onto find the entrance to the Nimkee Gallery. Another gallery featuring Woodland Artists work from Northern Ontario as well as those of the owner, Blair Debassige.

Another gallery, Neon Raven Studios, is located on Corbiere Road and features the work of the talented Beam family.

M’Chigeeng is not only a centre for Anishnaabek arts and culture, but the educational hub of Manitoulin as well.

And, of course, M’Chigeeng has its own elementary school, Lakeview School, located just further along Highway 551.

The community features a large building supply and hardware store and is in the process of completing a new grocery store with pharmacy to serve the people of M’Chigeeng.

M’Chigeeng is a proud and friendly community and it has a great deal to be proud of.

It’s pow wow culture festival is the final one in the summer cycle and is held each year during Labour Day Weekend at the pow wow grounds along Highway 551 about one kilometer from that principal intersection.