Fonds CDA C-2 - Holy Cross Mission of Wikwemikong Fonds

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Holy Cross Mission of Wikwemikong Fonds

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  • Document iconographique
  • Document textuel

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  • 1851 - 1995 (Création/Production)
    Holy Cross Mission of Wikwemikong

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Description matérielle

1.27 metres of textual material and other material
Note: Includes 6 published materials and 244 photographs

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Histoire administrative

Manitoulin Island was inhabited by Odawas prior to the presence of Ojibway and Pottawatomi communities. In 1648, Joseph Antoine Poncet, S.J., a French Jesuit, arrived on the island. In the following decades, however, the Jesuit presence on the island remained insignificant. In the early part of the nineteenth century, the British Crown wished to develop the area as a settlement for all First Nations people in order to free land for ensuing colonial encroachment. The 1836 Manitoulin Treaty between the British Crown and Ottawa and Ojibway representatives stipulated that the area would be the property of all First Nations who wished to reside there. However, few Indigenous communities were ready to abandon their ancestral land and move to Manitoulin Island.

On July 9, 1844, Jean-Pierre Choné, S.J., arrived on Manitoulin Island, which was at that point mostly inhabited by Ojibwas, Odawas, and a few Catholics. The arrival of French Jesuit priests to the area marked the beginning of their northern missions. While the area was known to the Jesuits, Choné became the first Jesuit Superior at Wikwemikong. The Holy Cross Mission was then established at Wikwemikong. Nicholas Point, S.J., came to Wikwemikong in 1847 and led the mission for seven years. Wikwemikong became the focal point of the Jesuit missions throughout Northern Ontario.

The church of the Holy Cross Mission is the oldest Catholic Church in Northern Ontario. Construction began in the late 1840s, and was largely done by Anishinaabee men, women, and children. The individuals who built the Wikwemikong church were mostly Bemanakinong, Wakegijig, Gabow, and Kenogameg (Kinoshameg) First Nations families. In 1954, a fire destroyed the Church; only the stone walls remained. The church was gradually rebuilt.

At Wikwemikong, the Jesuits managed schools and were active in various community activities. In 1994, the Holy Cross Mission celebrated its 150th anniversary. Since its inception, it served as the centre of the Jesuits’ northern missions in Ontario. Accordingly, Jesuit missionaries active in other northern missions, such as in the Gore Bay parish, Batchewana, Little Current, Killarney, Spanish River, and Lake Huron North Shore, reported formally and informally to the Holy Cross Mission at Wikwemikong.

Historique de la conservation

The material has been accumulated and collected by the Upper Canada Province. It was transferred to The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada, located in Montreal, in 2009.

Portée et contenu

This fonds provides information, including publications, on the history of Manitoulin Island, Wikwemikong, and other communities of Northern Ontario. Furthermore, it provides an account of the erection of the Jesuit Holy Cross Mission at Wikwemikong. It documents the activities of the parish of Holy Cross via administrative and financial records, and marriage and baptism records of members of the community. In addition, the fonds provides information on the Wikwemikong schools administered by the Jesuits.

The fonds contains correspondence and notes of Jesuit priests, including diaries, concerning the activities of the Wikwemikong parish, and of other northern Jesuit missions. Accordingly, the fonds contains records on the Gore Bay parish, Killarney, Batchewana, Little Current, Killarney, Spanish River, and Lake Huron North Shore missions, among others. Moreover, the fonds includes documents on the celebration of the Holy Cross Mission, and on the church at Wikwemikong. The fonds also contains photographs that document the different northern missions, as well as photographs of church buildings and parishes’ communities.

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Langue des documents

  • anglais
  • français

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    Restrictions d'accès

    Consultation of documents containing personal information on third parties could be forbidden. Priority is given to Indigenous researchers.

    Délais d'utilisation, de reproduction et de publication

    Some documents may be subject to copyright. Use and reproduction of archival documents must be done with the permission of The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada.

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    Accruals were added to the fonds in the Fall of 2020, by François Dansereau, Senior Archivist, The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada.

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    François Dansereau, Senior Archivist

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        Nazar, David. “Nineteenth-Century Wikwemikong: The Foundation of a Community and an Exploration of its People.” Ontario History 86, no. 1 (March 1994): 9-12

        Shanahan, David. “The Manitoulin Treaties, 1836-1862: The Indian Department and Indian Destiny.” Ontario History 86, no. 1 (March 1994): 13-31.

        Toupin, Robert. “The Holy Cross Mission at Wikwemikong: Jesuit Pioneers, 1844-1870.” Ontario History 86, no. 1 (March 1994): 73-82.

        Jesuits of Canada (2020). Holy Cross Church. Retrieved December 4, 2020 from

        Wikwemikong Unceded Territory (2020). Our History. Retrieved December 4, 2020 from

        Surtees, R.J. (1986). Treaty Research Report – Manitoulin Island Treaties. Treaties and Historical Research Centre, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

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