Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek

About this Nation

Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek (AZA) was historically located near Ombabika Lake and Auden Ontario located on the Northeast side of Lake Nipigon. Through the Lake Nipigon Reserve Negotiations, AZA focused their land negotiations on the establishment of a community (reserve) near Auden/Ombabika Lake. The government disagreed with the establishment of the community’s chosen location due to the remoteness and the people were forced to negotiate and seek alternative locations. In 2002, an agreement was signed outlining the establishment of a reserve land base located at Partridge Lake near Jellico and in 2008, the community celebrated the creation of their reserve. AZA members are dispersed in municipalities along Highway 11 and 17 from Thunder Bay to Geraldton with the Band administration providing services to all its members in these communities from its office in Beardmore. AZA continues to focus on the development of their community while strengthening their members’ resilience through engaging communities, households and individuals in a variety of programs. AZA has a registered community membership of 398 people.

Food Sovereignty Visions
  • Community Food Security/Sovereignty Educational Campaign: Communities are often faced with the dichotomy of choosing between educating around food security or food sovereignty although both are connected they tend to contradict each other while conducting work on the ground. When families cannot access food, it is hard to talk about sovereignty, the health centre team wants to begin this discussion and to begin to educate their membership about both topics. Through the Understanding Our Food Systems project the community purchased a Cricut Maker to begin developing their own materials to add to this idea of educating, for the Christmas season 2019 the community purchased a milk voucher for each community member and included the first piece of Food Security/Sovereignty education material into a Christmas card. The initiative proved to be successful and the project staff was invited to take part in a workshop at the community health fair in March 2020. The AZA health team and the project staff will be meeting in February to discuss how to expand and grow their education campaign.
  • Dehydration Workshops: Due to the continued success of food related workshops the Health Centre decided to purchase two dehydrators for the ability to conduct dehydration workshops while on the road visiting members in all of the communities that they live. The health centre team will be beginning workshops in early 2020 and will be conducting a larger workshop in collaboration with the Indigenous Food Circle and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at the 2020 AZA Health Fair happening in Thunder Bay in March.
  • Community Raised Bed Project: The community partnered with Roots to Harvest to build raised garden beds for community members houses, five beds were built at a workshop at Roots to Harvest. Nine community members attended three of those being from Geraldton so that they could conduct a similar workshop with AZA members living in that community. The group who attended and would be hosting the beds were provided with seeds, small hand trowels, watering cans, a growing in short seasons book and garden gloves. The raised beds were successful for all of those community members who volunteered to host the beds. The partnerships with Roots to Harvest has proven to be a successful partnership as AZA throughout the year has hosted in collaboration with AZA a composting workshop, planning a garden, and a canning. The community continues to partner with Roots to Harvest.
  • Christmas Good Food Boxes: AZA has been partnered with the Thunder Bay Good Food Box program for a number of years, the initiative is very successful with members but uses a lot of community resources through funding, staff time, transportation and delivery. Due to the extra financial assistance through the project AZA decided to offer an extended option of the Good Food Box for the holidays adding in products such as wild rice and granola made by Roots to Harvest and turkeys for the holiday season. The community members were very grateful for the community and the projects work to make the box happen, and have been interested in learning how to take the burden of the good food box delivery off of the Health Centre, more conversations need to had with Thunder Bay Good Food Box, project team and other partners