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Moose Factory Historic Site Plaque

Updated: May 30

New Trilingual Ontario Heritage Trust Historic Site Plaque for Moose Factory

The Ontario Heritage Trust, in partnership with the Moose River Heritage and Hospitality Association and the Moose Cree First Nation, unveiled new provincial plaques on Saturday commemorating the long history of what is today known as Moose Factory.

“This new plaque really centres the history of this place on the original inhabitants, its first peoples as well as the Europeans who came here 350 years ago to establish a fur trading post on Moose Factory island,” explained Wayne Kelly, director of Heritage Programs and Operations with the Ontario Heritage Trust.

Participating in the unveiling from left, was Moosonee Mayor Wayne Taipale, Ontario Heritage Trust board chair John Ecker, Moose Cree Council Katherine Faries-Quachegan, Bill Louttit, an Elder with Moose Cree First Nation, and Cecil Chabot, executive director of Moose River Heritage and Hospitality Association.

The unveiling occured during the combined More than 350 Nipin Celebration, Omushkego Creefest, and Moose Cree Gathering of Our People. 

These plaques replace the one installed in 1964 which had focused solely on the colonial perspective of European settlement and the fur trade.

Moose Factory — Môsonîwi-Miništik

Môsonîwililiw oral tradition describes an ancestral couple, lowered here from a sky world, who were shown how to survive and thrive by animals who also gifted their lives for this purpose. The Creator’s laws, including honesty, courage and šawelihcikewin — sharing with gratitude and generosity — were reinforced over generations by lived experience of the benefits or consequences of upholding or ignoring these principles. After receiving hospitality at this Môsonîwililiw summer gathering site, Hudson’s Bay Company traders built Moose Fort in 1673, and relations quickly extended beyond commerce to mutual support in hard times. Over the next two centuries, Moose Fort became Moose Factory: a regional transatlantic trade hub marked by cultural exchange and intermarriage. This history influenced Môsonîwililiw expectations for Treaty 9, signed in 1905. Despite treaty violations, many volunteered for Canadian military service in the World Wars. By the mid-20th century, Moose Factory’s linkages were shifting towards Canada as it transitioned away from being a fur trade company town. The Moose Cree First Nation’s primary reserve was surveyed here in 1948. Veterans helped lead postwar self-governance and treaty renewal efforts, exemplified by the 1973 creation of Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. While Môsonîwi-Miništik is Ontario’s oldest English-speaking settlement, its primary history remains with the Môsonîwililiwak.

The writing team for this project included:

Cecil Chabot (lead writer and researcher), Thomas Blampied (researcher), Lawrence Martin, Greg Spence, Virginia Barter, Geraldine Govender, Stan Louttit, Bernice Kapashesit, Stan Kapashesit, Paula Rickard, Richard Preston, Bill Louttit

The translation team:

Angela Ashishkeesh, Kevin Brousseau, Bill Louttit, Geraldine Govender

The plaque was unveiled at 2 pm, on August 5, at the Cree Cultural Interpretive

Centre with special guests:

Councillor Kathy Faries-Quachegan, Moose Cree First Nation

Lawrence Martin, Mushkegowuk Council

Mayor Wayne Taipale, Town of Moosonee

John Ecker, Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust Board

Wayne Kelly, Executive Director, Ontario Heritage Trust

Dawson Bridger, Manager, Special Projects, Ontario Heritage Trust

Photo by Roger Lamothe


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