In the 1960’s there were several gold mines (and nickel mines) in Lynn Lake. The aboriginal people living nearby were not allowed in town and acquired the name the ‘Tent Village People.’ Delegated as, ‘Headman,’ John Colomb helped his people move into town after the last mine closed in 1983. Recalled John, “Survivors from the Guy Hill Residential School in The Pas came back to live in the Tent Village. There were 10 tents. In each tent lived 5 to 8 families so in total there were about 50 to 60 people. As trappers and commercial fishermen we managed to survive. ”

John continued, “In 1985 I started proceedings for a reserve called, Black Sturgeon. My father, Marcel Colomb, had claimed land in 1972.” The group was allotted 5750 acres from the province and in 1995 Black Sturgeon Reserve was officially approved. John Colomb was recognized as the 62nd Chief in Manitoba and served 3 years as their Chief.

It has been a very tough road for John’s people. “Our people now support Lynn Lake. That is why the community is still here. But the people of ‘Tent Village’ are all dying of various ailments stemming from the very poor conditions they lived under for many years.”

John hopes the future is brighter for his people. “Things are okay now. I fought for future generations so they would not have to live as I did. We have better schools and a better life. Our lives are moving forward.”

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John Colomb
Cree, Marcel Colomb First Nation
Image size: 12 x 14 inches
Edition size: 275