The Fort Albany #67 Indian Reserve is unique in that there are two First Nations residing on the land – Fort Albany First Nation and Kashechewan First Nation. The Fort Albany First Nation has a total land base of 36,346 hectares.
The Fort Albany First Nation originated as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. Its boundaries were described in the 1905 Treaty No. 9. During the 1950’s, the reserve was divided into two Communities, that being Fort Albany First Nation and Kashechewan First Nation. A result of this division of reserve land was that Fort Albany maintained its largely Roman Catholic identity, while Kashechewan remained mostly Anglican.
The Fort Albany First Nation is on the south bank of the Albany River about 15 km upstream from James Bay, and it consists of three areas: the mainland, Andersen Island, and Sinclair Island. Kashechewan First Nation is located close by along the north bank of the Albany River, and has an on reserve population of about 1700. Both Communities are approximately 150 km north of Moosonee. The combined total registered on-reserve population for Fort Albany and Kashechewan is 2,818 according to the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website as of March, 2012.
The Roman Catholic Mission was relocated from the original Fort Albany 67 on Albany Island to the mainland south of Sinclair Island around 1930. The Anglican Mission was established later in Kashechewan First Nation.
Each First Nation now has its own Chiefs and Councils, and now maintains their own public buildings, institutions, social services, and air strips. Hospital services are available at Fort Albany, and Kashechewan has a health clinic. Both Fort Albany and Kashechewan operate their own electricity distribution through their own Power Corporations. Only Kashechewan has a local diesel generator which serves as emergency backup power. Both Fort Albany and Kashechewan are accessible by a winter road that connects the Communities to the town of Moosonee. During the summer months, barges deliver materials and supplies. Even so, for most of the year, the Communities are accessible by air travel only.