North Bay city council to vote on renaming Marathon Beach.

North Bay city council is considering renaming one of its Lake Nipissing waterfront beaches to pay tribute to Nipissing First Nation heritage. Photo Courtesy: Stark Museum of Art

North Bay city council is considering renaming one of its Lake Nipissing waterfront beaches to pay tribute to Nipissing First Nation heritage.

Council will vote next Tuesday whether or not Marathon Beach should be named after Chief Michel Shabogesic, who was instrumental in the creation of the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850.

“Over the last 150 years, our presence here has been virtually overlooked as if we weren’t here,” said Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod.

A motion brought forward by city councillors Chris Mayne and Mark King, requests the beach be re-named ‘Shaabgiizhig Jiigbiik' in Ojibway or ‘Shabogesic Beach’.

If approved, council will consult with Nipissing First Nation council for final approval. A plaque would then be erected on the beach around late summer. The city said it would work with the first nation to find out more about Shabogesic’s past and life in the area.

“When Europeans came through, for hundreds of years if not thousands of years prior, Nipissing First Nation and their other descendants lived in this area on these shores,” said councillor Chris Mayne.

Shabogesic was part of treaty negotiations and signed the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850.

With his signature and as the 10th nation to sign, Nipissing First Nation was created. And, Chief McLeod is a direct descendant of Shabogesic.

“Word of mouth was that he was strong leader and had very strong opinions,” said McLeod.

“I guess the acorn doesn’t fall from the tree. He was very strong and committed to our nation.”

Shabogesic was about 80-years-old when his death was reported in July of 1869.

“To most people outside of Nipissing First Nation, they’ve never heard of him,” said Mayne.

“But he is a very important historical figure to our community’s history. So it’s a small step in recognizing the history.”

Council will vote on the motion Tuesday night.