This page provides an introduction to archival records and collections that relate to Indigenous persons and communities in Simcoe County. The focus will primarily be on resources available at the Simcoe County Archives, but links and direction to relevant resources from other institutions are also included.
This page will be updated to reflect additional knowledge and resources as they become available.
Indigenous Communities in Simcoe County
Indigenous peoples have lived on the land currently known as Simcoe County for thousands of years. When Jesuit missionaries arrived roughly 600 years ago from Europe, the land was home to the Huron-Wendat, Petun, Neutral, Haudenosaunee and the Anishinaabe peoples.
Simcoe County is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg. The Anishinaabeg include the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomi nations, collectively known as the Three Fires Confederacy. There are two First Nations reserves located within the geographic boundaries of the County: The Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Beausoleil First Nation.
In Canada, treaties govern the rights, responsibilities, and relationships between provincial and federal governments and First Nations communities. The area now called Simcoe County is subject to a number of treaties, including the pre-confederate Southern Ontario Treaties of 1764-1862, including the Penetanguishene Treaty No.5 and Lake Simcoe Treaty No.16, and the post-confederate Williams Treaties of 1923.
A note on other institutional records
Resources at the Simcoe County Archives
At the Simcoe County Archives content related to Indigenous peoples and histories can be found in corporate and municipal records, private collections, the Simcoe County Archives newspaper collection, and the Reference Library.
Simcoe County Newspaper Collection, The Coraid News: The Voice of the People – a partial run from 1973 –1974. Produced in Rama First Nation.
Additionally, access to Ontario birth, marriage and death records and Federal census information can be accessed on site at the Archives through Ancestry.ca.
It is important to note that the majority of the records and collections at the Simcoe County Archives were created, accumulated and/ or donated by non-Indigenous . Some of the earliest and most substantive collections acquired by the Archives were donated by local archaeologists and specifically focus on the pre-contact sites and material culture of Indigenous communities in the County. These records, while they focus on Indigenous history, lack Indigenous voices and perspectives.
Archives staff are working to identify the gaps, silences, and biases present within these records and collections and are working to create better, more contextualized, archival descriptions. For more information about this process, please refer to our Historical Content and Language Advisory.
Blogs and exhibits
These resources are available for review on site at the Archives. For remote access options please contact the Archives.
Corporate and Municipal records
- The Corporation of the County of Simcoe fonds
- The Corporation of the Township of Rama fonds
- The Corporation of the Town of Midland fonds
- The Corporation of the Township Tinyfonds
Private fonds and collections
Select land records
- Reel of microfilm - Department of Indian Affairs, re. Town Plot of Orillia and Indian Reserve between Orillia and Coldwater, 973-45
- 1834 Census of Coldwater Reserve, “Coldwater Reserve” file, 983-84
- William Hawkins (Deputy Surveyor). “Report and Description of the Native Reserve between Lake Simcoe and Coldwater” York, March 14, 1833, 987-15
- Grant to Irwin Moore. N ½ Lo 16, Con. IV, Innisfil Township, 1853, 970-87
- Grant to Council of the District of Simcoe. Lot 8, North Coldwater Street, Orillia, 1846, 970-87
- Grant to Richard Hodges. Lot 6, North Side Coldwater Street, Orillia, 1847 , 970-87
- Transfer of Lands by the Chippewa Nation to the King of England. In the North Part of the County. Signed at Niagara, 1795, Xerox only, 970-87
- Grant to John Currie. Lot 12, East Side Front Street, Orillia, 1846, 970-87
Newspapers and publications
- The Simcoe County Archives Newspaper Collection
- The Coraid News: The Voice of the People – a partial run from 1973 –1974. Produced in Rama First Nation.
- Smoke Signals – A zine produced in Beausoleil First Nation.
Thematic finding aids
Thematic finding aids are inventories of many different records and collections organized around a place, subject, or organization.
- Archaeology finding aid
- Art/Artists Thematic finding aid
- Barrie – Miscellaneous thematic finding aid
- Barrie – News clippings thematic finding aid
- Cemeteries and Cemetery Studies finding aid
- Centennial Historical Booklets
- Depression Years finding aid
- Ethnology/ Ethnic groups finding aid
- Huronia Historic Sites finding aid
- Huronia Historic Sites Plaques finding aid
- Moving Images finding aid
- Native Peoples finding aid
- Township of Orillia thematic finding
- Town of Midland thematic finding aid
- Township of Nottawasaga thematic finding aid
- Township of Rama thematic finding aid
- Village of Coldwater thematic finding aid
County of Simcoe resources
Simcoe County Indigenous communities
Simcoe County heritage institutions
Treaties with the British Crown and Canadian Government