GAKIJIWANONG NATURAL RESOURCES
Quetico Provincial Park
A major amendment to the park management plan was initiated by the Lac La Croix First Nation in 1992 to temporarily expand the number of lakes permitting motorized access by the Lac La Croix Guides Association (LLCGA), which resulted in the Agreement of Co-existence (1994) and the Revised Park Policy (1995). This agreement between the Lac La Croix First Nation and the Province of Ontario, represented by the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister for Native Affairs, was intended to redress the First Nation for their displacement from their traditional homeland and loss of economic opportunities and to work towards the provision of opportunities for employment and economic diversification.
The Agreement of Co-existence established a framework for long-term employment targets, spiritual and cultural use of Quetico, management and interpretation of Anishinaabe resources, co-management of mechanized guiding activity, and year-round road access to the First Nation community. Key elements of the agreement included creation of a mechanized guiding zone for members of the Lac La Croix Guides Association (LLCGA) (Wilderness Zone 2) to be co-managed with Lac La Croix First Nation; relocation of the Lac La Croix entry station to the community of Lac La Croix; and a commitment to open communications between Lac La Croix First Nation and Quetico Provincial Park.
Since 1995, this agreement has facilitated the development of a work centre and park entry station at the Lac La Croix community. It has also provided yearly funding which the band uses to support staff positions at the village work centre/entry station, at the Beaverhouse entry station, as well as an interior portage maintenance crew. Park warden and natural heritage education positions have also been funded. See Appendix A for the governing principles of the Agreement of Co-existence.
Lac La Croix First Nation and Quetico
In a message to Quetico Provincial Park visitors, Lac La Croix First Nation’s Leadership share the origin of the park’s name.
"The Name Quetico comes from the Ojibway word, “Gwetaming”. This refers to how we view this sacred land. There is a place in the park that is named Quetico Lake. The lake is sacred, meaning it is occupied by living spirits that have been here since time immemorial. You hear stories from our elders of unexplained and unusual events at this lake, which can only be explained by our spiritual ways. The Lake is very spiritual and sacred to us. We are told to be mindful and respectful of the power it holds. “Gwetaming” means we sacredly respect that area for the spirits that dwell there.”