Hard-luck aboriginal community to get unusual Royal visit — the first since its treaty was signed in 1929 – by Adrian Humphreys (National Post – September 17, 2014)

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Hunters in 14 boats pushed off Tuesday from the isolated northern reserve of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, fanning out across Big Trout Lake and down its myriad tributaries, looking to bag moose, caribou, geese — anything delicious enough to serve to the Royal Family.

Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, wife of Prince Edward, who is the youngest son of the Queen and Prince Philip, is making a highly unusual, two-day visit this week to the remote, fly-in only aboriginal community in northern Ontario. It’s a reserve struggling with poor housing, unemployment, drug addiction and inadequate education facilities.

Joining her will be a high-powered entourage of women: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne; Lieutenant Governor-designate Elizabeth Dowdeswell; Ruth Ann Onley, wife of David Onley, the lieutenant governor; Vicki Heyman, wife of the U.S. ambassador to Canada; and others.

“We are just trying to grasp it now. The last time anyone came here from the Crown was in 1929 when we signed our treaty,” said Chief Donny Morris of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, known as KI.

“To have someone from the Royal Family, representing that, reliving that, I think that’s what we’re excited about — somebody actually coming here 85 years after we signed the treaty with the Crown.” It will be an unusual few days for the VIPs.

Most of the entourage will sleep in community members’ homes as the reserve has only one small inn. Two rooms at Sunset Lodge have queen-size beds, perhaps most suitable for a royal; both allow access to a communal microwave, coffeemaker, TV, freezer and barbecue.
The Countess and other VIPs will meet the elders, share in a community feast and be served a traditional field breakfast by members of the Canadian Rangers, a military reserve unit largely composed of aboriginals living in the north.

Some of the young hunters may take the visitors out on the land, Chief Morris said. On Friday, residents can join Ms. Wynne on a 6 a.m. jog.

The visit, kept quiet from the public until Tuesday, has been in the planning for months, including an advanced Royal Canadian Mounted Police security team scouting the reserve last month.

The idea was born a year ago after Ms. Onley and Sharon Johnston, wife of David Johnston, the governor general, visited KI; joining them was the Canadian lady-in-waiting for the Countess.

The Countess, 49, had expressed an interest in visiting a First Nations’ community during her trip to Canada and KI seemed a good option, despite the challenges, the National Post has learned.

It is only accessible by air, except from January to March, when temporary winter roads are built over frozen lakes.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/09/16/hard-luck-aboriginal-community-to-get-unusual-royal-visit-the-first-since-its-treaty-was-signed-in-1929/