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Photo: Rick Lockhart's airboat at Cattle Island on ice of Lake Temagami, 2002

                                                 Photo: Bob Farr

Rick Lockhart's airboat at Cattle Island. Left to right: Jim Leach (driver), Shawn Burrows, Leanna Farr.

DECEMBER 27, 2002

Ice not too Farr

The dark areas of Lake Temagami in the satellite photo are indeed still open water (see Christmas Day satellite photo below) one to the south of us here at Cattle Island, and the other south of Chimo Island. 

We tried to walk out to the south of us yesterday and were only able to get across on an ice bridge that has remained for the last three weeks, north of the open water. However, we did walk over to Bear Island, straight across from Cattle Island, later in the day. 

It is still mild, about 3 C today, but at least we do not have to take an airboat in and out as we did on Christmas Eve. 

I guess freeze-up has officially ended for us. Dec 3 to Dec 27. Phew!

Bob Farr, Cattle Island

DECEMBER 26, 2002

Christmas Day seen from space, 

Satellites don't get holidays

   SATELLITE PHOTO:  Christmas Day from space

Photo: freeze-up, Lake Temagami, 2002

Photo: Bob Farr

Looking east from Cattle Island, 

Lake Temagami                               Enlargement

DECEMBER 20, 2002

Ice up, ice down

Notes from Bob Farr, island bound on Cattle Island in Lake Temagami till freeze-up

There is no open water in the photo although it does appear that way. The remainder of the open areas froze over on Tuesday morning and made about four centimetres of ice before the weather changed on Wednesday evening. The ice is still there, but has a couple of centimetres of rainfall sitting on top of it.   More

Bob Farr                       

DECEMBER 19, 2002

Deep Water People becoming Deep Woods People?

Most Temagami natives are not happy with Ontario's negotiating position, pressed on it by local stakeholders, that the mainland Skyline Reserve of Lake Temagami be protected, thereby excluding shoreline development on any native lands. 

"The Deep Water People are about to become the Deep Woods People," a native elder says. Teme-Augama (also known as Temagami) means Deep Water.

The set-aside area, from which 127 square miles of native lands are to be selected for the land-claim settlement, is on the mainland abutting Lake Temagami and Cross Lake. Early on in the negotiations some stakeholders called for continued protection of the Skyline Reserve  defined as the mainland that is viewable from the lake that has existed since the late 1930s, prior to logging and mining.

The Temagamis want, in their proposed new lands, lake access and to build on the water's edge. But the proposed settlement will prohibit that. 

In effect, these have not been negotiations between the natives represented by the Teme-Augama Anishnabai and the Temagami First Nation and governments of Ontario and Canada alone, but also negotiations with the municipality, forest industry, property owners and mining industry. They were all consulted and given real influence in an effort by Ontario to find a politically palatable settlement. 

Recently, and very late in negotiations, property owners noticed that the skyline of Cross Lake was not included for protection. They had not been terribly diligent as the skyline of Cross Lake has never been protected and was clearly excluded on a map published in the publicly-distributed negotiation newsletter last winter. From their perspective this exclusion leaves a gaping whole in protection of the lake as Cross Lake and Lake Temagami are virtually a single body of water.

The west side of Cross Lake is in the set-aside lands. Both the natives and Ontario have balked at protecting the Cross Lake skyline. Maybe the natives won't be the Deep Woods People after all.

                       BACKGROUNDLand claim

DECEMBER 18, 2002

Land claim details firming up

The land-claim settlement will include 127 square miles of land, a $4-million economic development package and $20 million in compensation, according to a joint press release of aboriginal groups and the Ontario government.

This is the first time that an agreement on land and dollars has been announced. The land area is larger than the previous figure of 112 square miles, probably as compensation for traditional family areas called heritage lands in negotiations that have been dropped from negotiation. These were lands on traditional family territories separate from the main block of land that would have been set aside for the respective families.

Still unresolved are the location for a mainland community and the method of protection for the Skyline Reserve of Lake Temagami. A park is the most likely possibility for protection, but Ontario will exclude high potential mining areas. High potential mining lands were also excluded from the set-aside lands (previously identified lands from which native lands will be selected).

Negotiators expect to write up the agreement in early 2003. After that it will go to the two native groups Temagami First Nation and Teme-Augama Anishnabai for approval by their respective memberships by majority vote. Both groups must give approval for the deal to be ratified. The votes may not happen before 2004.

                       BACKGROUNDLand claim

Satellite image: freeze-up, Lake Temagami, 2002

DECEMBER 16, 2002

Temagami from space today

The dark areas Hub, portions of North and Northwest arms are open water.


Regional view/enlargement (194K)

Regional view/enlargement (including Georgian Bay) (118K)



Photo: iceboat sailing at freeze-up, Lake Temagami, 2002

                                                        Photo: Bob Farr

Enlarged photos

DECEMBER 11, 2002

Freeze-up too

Notes from Bob Farr on day nine, island bound on Cattle Island in Lake Temagami till freeze-up

The temperature rose to a balmy 2 C this afternoon melting all the snow on top of the ice. Shawn Burrows decided it was time to convert the sailboat to an iceboat with mixed results. These photos are taken just to the east of island 985 (just north of Cattle). Note the open water areas in the distance. The ice we have is deteriorating with the milder temperature and south winds, but that trend should reverse with the weekend, I hope. 

Although I can get off the island by either walking a circuitous route or getting a boat ride from someone on Bear Island, I have decided to stay put for now.

Bob Farr

    INDEPTH: Land claim

DECEMBER 9, 2002

Bob Lake court hearing gets rescheduled

The hearing on a legal challenge to a logging road through the Bob Lake Conservation Reserve has been cancelled and moved to a new court.

The hearing was scheduled to be heard today in Superior Court. The case will now be heard in Ontario Divisional Court on February 27.

  BACKGROUND: Legal challenge to logging road in reserve 

DECEMBER 7, 2002

Land claim negotiation still has hurdles as deadline approaches

With the December 31 deadline approaching for the completion of negotiations between Ontario, the Teme-Augama Anishnabai (non-status and status natives) and the Temagami First Nation (status natives only), there is still ground to be covered.

From private conversations, it appears that an agreement may be initialed by the deadline, but it will be an agreement in principle and not a final agreement. There may be months more of work to finalize wording. 

The biggest sticking point right now may be the Skyline Reserve of Lake Temagami where it falls within the set-aside lands under negotiation. Local stakeholders want to keep the shoreline reserve protected. One of the options on the table, popular with stakeholders, has been to turn the whole lake's Skyline Reserve into a provincial park. 

    MAP: Set Aside Lands

However, Cross Lake, which forms a single body of water with Lake Temagami, was excluded from the park proposal and some stakeholders are up in arms. 

Another major undecided issue is a mainland community site. Shiningwood Bay had been the frontrunner, but it appears that the west end of Strathcona Road on the Northeast Arm is a contender as mining interests located there have indicated a willingness to sell. (It seems there are no diamonds there after all.)


The primary purpose of the negotiations is to settle on a larger First Nation reserve (up to 112 square miles) and financial compensation. In 1991 the Supreme Court of Canada held that aboriginal right to the land had been extinguished as the Temagami aboriginals were party to the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850. But the court also held that the fiduciary responsibility under the treaty had not been fulfilled. 

To fulfill this treaty obligation, negotiations opened in 1993 and settlement lands were proposed. Although an agreement was narrowly rejected by the Nishnabai in full membership votes within the two native groups, the lands were set aside for subsequent negotiations. 

They restarted in 1999. As the agreement is negotiated, consultations are held with stakeholders. A final agreement must be approved in separate votes by the members of the Temagami First Nation and the Teme-Augama Anishnabai.

Photo: freeze-up, Lake Temagami, 2002

DECEMBER 6, 2002

Lake Temagami nears ice up

Bob Farr, who lives on Cattle Island in the Hub, took this photo of open water at 3:00 p.m., looking east toward Ogama Island. He and his wife Gladys have been island bound since Monday, waiting for freeze-up.

He reports that Bear Islanders are walking to the landing by foot today and may be taking snowmobiles as early as tomorrow. Freeze-up is earlier than normal. 

More photos by Bob Farr

DECEMBER 5, 2002

Alex Mathias speaking tour

Elder Alex Mathias of the Temagami First Nation will be speaking in Toronto, Guelph and Kitchener about the struggle by Nishnabai to protect Temagami. His previous tour in November was cancelled over the death of his wife.


Date: Monday, December 9

Time: 7-9 p.m.

Location: The Working Centre, 43 Queen St. S.

Contact: or 519-888-4882 


Date: Tuesday, December 10

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: OISE Hall, 252 Bloor St. W., Rm 2214

Contact: or 416-978-7770 


Date: Wednesday, December 11

Time: 7-9 p.m.

Location: University of Guelph, University Centre, Rm 103

Contact: or Tahira at 519-824-4120 ext 4407

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