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West Bay First Nation has recently undergone a name change to M'Chigeeng (pronounced shih-geeng), which means "village enclosed by stepped cliffs". The second-largest reserve on Manitoulin, it was settled in the middle of the 19th century when natives from Wikwemikong relocated there, and has since flourished.

Located centrally on the Island where Highways 540 and 551 meet, at the base of the bay for which it was named until recently, the town is still very rich in the Ojibwe culture and home to many renowned native artisans.

West Bay
Church in West Bay

In the winter of 1854, Father Fremiot dedicated the church at West Bay to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. He erected the stations of the cross, celebrated the Feast of the Holy Innocents with the children, wrought a reconciliation of two parties dividing the mission, and prepared a First Communion.

M'Chigeeng is home to the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, of OCF for short. OCF represents 60 First Nation communities, approx. 15,000 people from Sault Ste. Marie east to North Bay and south to Parry Sound, except Wikwemikong. Their mandate is to preserve and promote the heritage, customs, and language of the three fires people - Odawa, Patawani, and Ojibwe. The organization has been in existence for 25 years, and is celebrating the grand opening of the new facility at M'Chigeeng first nation on September 3, 1999.

West Bay

The M'Chigeeng Traditional Pow-Wow is held annually on Labour Day weekend. Drummers, dancers, and speakers travel from all directions, from different countries, provinces, and states.

The Traditional Pow Wow

Visitors and spectators from many lands are welcome to share in the traditional activities, from socializing and making new friends to learning the Anishnabek sacred teachings and participating in dances and ceremonies.