Land Claims
		First Nations of Banff National Park



Archaeology, Native, Aboriginal, First Nations, Canada, Alberta, 
University of Calgary, Mountain Cree Land Claim


    2000 Apr; Mountain Cree notify the Province of Alberta that should
	the province persist with it's development policy on the east
	slopes, they will undertake legal action as historical occupants 
	and owners of the region {00}





In the pursuit of the scientific approach to archaeology, North American 
archaeologists have often tended to ignore the lessons of Schlieman and 
Biblical Archaeology - that local traditions and history often contain 
some truths. Aboriginal tradition and history frequently contain infor-
mation overlooked by archaeologists. Dozens - if not hundreds - of such 
sites can be identified in Alberta alone. This paper touches on some of 
these sites.

This paper was originally prepared for slide accompanyment. These
pictures are identified in the text by a photo numeber (eg. 978CAB01).  
The photos are listed at the following site, and are available from 
Heritage Databank Consulting.


			      J. Fromhold

	Archaeology in North America essentially had it's start as an
	outgrowth of interests in Euro-American history. Only within the
	past 80 years has this expanded into an interest in prehistory,
	and then specifically as an outgrowth of interest in Early Man
	and the settlement of the Americas.  Only within the last 50 years
	has this extended to interest in Aboriginal history - then again
	as an outgrowth of interests in the Euro-American fur trade or
	settlement of the west.  By and large, interest in Aboriginal 
	history has been sadly neglected, particularly by the 
	Archaeological community. While countless traditions and history
	of locations and places exist even to this day, they have been
	largely overlooked by historians and archaeologists and have
	received little or no recognition. Dozens - if not hundreds - of
	sites exist in Alberta alone for which neither Archaeologists nor
	historians have made any efforts of identification.
	In the United States they make historic sites of campsites, such 
	as Lewis & Clark's Long Camp (ID).  The "Washington Slept Here"
	approach to history is well known, if somewhat of a joke among
	In Canada no such historic Sites mark the passage of Henday, 
	Hearne, Kelsy or most other historic figures. Locations such as
	Mackenzie's Flats (near Fort Vermilion) are unknown outside
	a small group of locals.
	Not even such historic sites as Henday's historic meeting with 
	the Blackfoot (***CAP**) has ever been seriously looked at, 
	though generally identified as early as 1967 (Skeels)

	North American history - especially Canadian - is decidedly 
	Eurocentric and virtually restricts itself to interests in
	Euro-American settlement issues - Conquest of the West.

	Archaeology is no less myopic.

	Archaeological intersts virtually limit themselves to Fur Trade
	history or to Early Man.  
	To this end, Archaeological interest in Aboriginal tradition has
	often centered on the search for Aboriginal traditions of where
	the tribe came from. 
	Generally there has been the unspoken hope that there is some 
	40,000 year old racial/tribal memory of crossing the Bering 
	Strait. If a group points to the northwest as a point of origin, 
	this has been taken as a sign of crossing from Asia.  On the 
	other hand, when a group such as the Hopi state that they came 
	to the Americas BEFORE the Indians via a series of islands 
	across the seas, it is generally ignored as a myth.

	This line of inquiry has been found largely unproductive. 
	Questions of origin are vaque at best. Does it mean today,
	yesterday, last month, last year, 100 years ago?
	Ask a resident from Fort McMurray today where they originated and
	the most likely answer will be Newfoundland - not Ireland, not
	England or even Europe. Does this mean that Ft. McMurray was 
	settled by a tribe of Newfoundland Aboriginals?

	Ask a resident of La Crete where they originated, and the answer
	will likely be Bolivia or Mexico. They are likely to neglect to
	add that they are a German Mennonite people who over the past 200 
	years they came to La Crete by way of Russia, Saskatchewan,
	Alberta, Bolivia, Mexico and back to Alberta. What does the
	question mean to them?

	Aboriginal society can be just as complex.

	My wife's brother-in-law Donald Twin is a Cree Indian on Beaver 
	Lake Reserve. Actually, he is not from that community, but from 
	Lesser Slave Lake. Actually, he is not really Cree.  His 
	grandfather was a Chippewa from Sault St. Marie in Ontario. 
	Actually, the Chippewa of Sault St. Marie at the time were really 
	Algonkians who had moved there from the Abitibi region. The 
	Algonkians of Abitibi, of course, were actually a division of the 
	Mistassini Cree of Quebec. Furthermore, his grandmother was a 
	Beaver Indian. Actually, she was originally from the Peace River 
	area, and not really a Beaver, but from Lafleur's Band of mixed 
	Soto, Cree and Beaver. Her mother was a daughter of Lafleur. 
	Lafleur's wife was Cree. Lafleur's father was a Metis from 
	Minnesota (where he married his wife). His father had been a 
	Frenchman from Quebec.

	So what does the question mean to Donny?

	Donny's genealogy, in fact, is relatively simple in comparison to
	that of most Native People.

	Notheless, ancient tribal traditions may well contain information
	of interest.

	Algonkian tradition has it that the Lenape are the Grandfathers
	of all Indian peoples; simultaneously the Cree, who are closely
	related to the Lenape, maintain that their language is the 
	original language of the Indian peoples.

	To date, ethnohistorians and ethnologists would have to concede
	that it is quite plausible.

	Likewise the traditions of the Mandan of a white origin (and the
	flurry of interest in the 'White' or 'Welsh' tribe of the last
	centrury), may have some grain of truth if one accepts some of
	the debate of a Viking presence in the Manitoba and Minnesota
	areas. Likewise the Sioux traditions of the white Buffalo
	Woman may need to be re-examined.

	By far the most significant potential contribution of aboriginal 
	tradition is in the area of protohistoric archaeology and 

	Though sites of legend exist, few have any relevance to Archaeo-
	logy, and fall more into the field of Ethnology. Such sites
	include various locations pertaining to the NAPE legends; Castle 
	Mountain (975CAC**), Chief Mountain (***CAC**) and ******* 
	Mountain (***CA***), legendary homes of the wind spirits; the 
	Devil's Gap (995CAD**) - Devil's Head (995CAD**) (originally 
	MANITO OSTIKWAN, "God's Head") Mountain area; Cuthead Creek 
	(982CAR**) and Bow Crossing near Cochrane (982CAR**), both of 
	which commemorate historic events.

	Perhaps even older is a legend from the Lac St. Anne area (980CAL,
	980CAL**) concerning a large evil "Underwater Serpent" that had 
	been killed by a Thunderbird while traversing from Lac St. Anne
	(MANITO SAKAHIKAN, "God's Lake") to the Saskatchewan River (Hope
	1979:p.c.). At one time elders were still able to point out where
	the bones of the serpent rested. Today only 3 elders still know
	of the location.

	In terms of protohistoric and historic archaeology, significant 
	efforts have been made in locating of and excavation of Trading 
	Post sites, though even here there have been some noticeable gaffs.  
	An archaeological crew excavating at Boyer's Fort at Fort Vermilion
	(980CAC**; 988CAF**) managed to allienate the locals to the point 
	where they chose not to bother showing them the locations for 
	several other and larger fort remains in the area (988CAF**).

	Because North American archaeology is essentially Eurocentric, the 
	same can not be said for the investigation of more 'Indian' trade 

	For example, there has been a total lack of efforts towards 
	investigation of the Kootenay Plains Rendezvous (***CAK**). 
	Though the longest continuous trade rendezvous in North America, 
	and in a fairly well-known location, virtually nothing is known 
	of it to date (Heritage Databank 1998). Several other lesser 
	rendezvous are even less well known.

	The same is true when it comes to massacres and battles.

	If it was a massacre commited against Europeans, the location is
	well known, documented and signed, such as the Custer Massacre
	and the Minnesota Massacre.  When it was an aboriginal group
	massacred, the opposite is true - witness the Sand Creek Massacre
	or the Baker Massacre.  Often, such as the Baker Massacre, the
	location is officially 'lost' or 'destroyed', even though actually
	located by amateur historians.

	The same principle applies in Alberta.

	The Frog Lake Massacre is well known, and the Wagon Train 
	Massacre near Brocket (***CAB**) - the massacre of an American 
	emigrant train that had encroached into Canada - has also 
	received official recognition.

	On the other hand, the torture and murder of MEMNOOK by Steele's
	Scouts in 1885 has received no historical reference.

	Likewise, tradition at Frog Lake still persist that there was a
	second massacre - that government (apparently Steele's Scouts),
	troops returned to the community and massacred locals. Though
	local tradition points out the location where the victims are
	massacred (***CAF**), there has been no archaeological verifi-

	Native tradition and historical records contain reference to
	numerous locations of historical import. Few have received any
	official or evel local recognition.  

	One of the few is the site of the 1870 battle at Lethbridge
	(***CAL**). The 1865 battle at Three Pounds - for which there is 
	as much or more historic documentation - remains virtually unkown 
	(***CAD**) and has not yet been officially located.

	Other such sites include the Massacre of the Shuswap Indians near
	Jasper (***CAJ**) by the Nakoda and a battle on the upper 
	(***CAS**) Sheep River.

	A tradition still existed on the Peace River relating back to 
	battle among the Beaver Indians (988CAP**) which split the tribe 
	and led to the formation of the Sarcee, Strongbow, Sekani and 
	Dene Tha.

	A few major camping areas have also been identified in Alberta.
	These include the Highwood River wintering site of the Blackfoot
	(***CAH**), the Gull Lake area for the Asini Wachi Cree, the Belly 
	Buttes wintering site of the Kainai, the Battle River 
	(***999CAB**) wintering sites for the Cree and Blackfoot, the 
	Blackfoot Crossing Sites for the Siksika and Tsuu T'Ina, the 
	Sullivan Lake sites of the Cree and the Hand Hills sites for the 
	Cree. To date the only archaeologial reconnaisance of these areas 
	has been the Highwood River, done by James Rogers et al in 1972.

	All these were major sites utilized over a period of time. To date 
	it has been possible to identify all the years, seasons and months
	in which the Blackfoot were camped on Battle River.

	In addition, recorded history mentions numerous occasions and
	locations where the entire Cree or Blackfoot Nation gathered
	for Sun Dances (Palliser 1863; Spry 1963; McDougall ). Archaeo-
	logically and historically, none of these Sun Dance sites have 
	been identified. On one occasion in 1972 a Plains Archaeologist 
	could not even recognize and identify several recent Sun Dance 

	By and large, no historic Native sacred sites have been followed 
	up on or identified by archaeologists or historians unless they
	included pictographs (976CAC**). These include the Manitou Stone
	(***CAE**); the Okotoks Erraic (***CAO**); Vision Quest Sites
	(979CAB**); Sun Dance Sites (980CAJ**; 975CAK**); Devil's Head 
	(995CAD**) (originally MANITO OSTIKWAN, "God's Head") Mountain; 
	and the Sarcee Butte Site (***CAS**).
	Reports exist of an area near Steen River (979CAA**)of about 1 
	acre in size covered with stones inscribed by symbols (Twin 
	1979:p.c.; Mountain 1979:p.c.).

	Along the Red Deer River exists a site commemorating the death of
	some 200 Blackfoot youths around 1870 (994CAR**; 999CAR**). Other
	death sites are on the Blindman River, where a camp of Mountain
	Cree was annihalated by smallpox in 1869 (998CAB**), and similar 
	sites on Vermilion River. No attempt has ever been made to locate
	these sites.

	In the case of some prominent individuals, there has been some
	attempt to record these sites, such as that of Jacques Cardinal
	(975CAC**), families evicted from Jasper in 1911 (980CAJ**), and
	Pierre Delorme. However, those of even more prominent men have
	gone unresearched, including those of Head Chief Pesew (999CAR**);
	Chief Maskipitonew's son (971CAD**); near the Kananaskis River
	lies the burial of KI ANAN ASKIES ("Your Earth Colored Blanket",
	976CAB**), though the white man is still mystified today by how
	the river obtained it's name. Other sites, such as graves at
	Battle Lake, Wabasca River (991CAW**), Elinore Lake (978CAE**), 
	etc., remain unknown.

	Historically, a system of signal hills existed throughout the
	province (Charles Russell print) along which heliograph messages
	could be, and were, passed from the mountains to into Saskatchewan
	and from Beaver Hills to the Sweetgrass Hills.  No research has
	ever been done on these, aside from work in progress by Heritage
	Databank Consulting.

	More permanent sites have also gone unattended. Such sites 
	include the Tail Creek Site (***CAT**) - reputedly the largest 
	settlement west of Winnipeg in the early 1870's; the Buffalo Lake 
	Village - said to have been contemporary with and larger than Tail
	Creek; and Battle River Crossing Settlement, site of Fort Ostell 
	and the short insurrection in 1885.

	In addition, there were numerous minor settlements, such as
	Kiskion (978CAE**), Peavine Prairie, Adam's Landing, Fifth 
	Meridian and Carcajou (***CAC**). Some, such as Carcajou, still 
	stand partially intact hidden off in the forests of northern 

	Near Fort Vermilion stands a house reputedly built in 1856 
	(974CAB**), which would make it the oldest house remaining in
	Alberta. This has never been recorded.

	There also still exist numerous undocumented settlements in
	northern Alberta, possibly known only to local forestry officers.  
	Small abandoned settlements and ranches lie scattered in the 
	boreal meadows between Meander River and Hay Lakes, and Fort 
	Vermilion and Fort McMurray (991CAW**).

	Little is known of these settlements, and little is known of the
	trails that connected them. 

	While some mention has been made of the Whoop-Up Trail. Calgary-
	Edmonton Trail, Ft. Pitt Trail, Athabasca Trail and Yellowhiead 
	Trail in relation to Euro-Canadian usage, little has been done 
	regarding identification of Aboriginal trails, such as the 
	House River-Fort Vermilion Trail. Even major trails such as the
	Old North Trail have received little recognition or study.
	(MAP Cremona-Sundre Area; Major Trails; Fromhold 1972)

	Likewise, the Cree Trail/Edmonton-Colvile Trail - for 50 years 
	the main trail across the mountains - has never received any 
	official research or funding. It was along this trail that the 
	first bridge west of Winnipeg was built by the Mountain Cree - 
	20 years before the officially recognized "First Bridge" built 
	by Fr. Lacombe at St. Albert. The bridge was built by the Mountain 
	Cree, who upgraded the trail for the use of carts. Sadly, the
	location of bridge and trail remain unidentified.

	Traces of the trail remain visible, such as an old grave on the
	Battle River (999CAB**), cordueroy trail segments, passage through
	topographic features (998CAM**), river crossings (998CAR**) and
	trail improvements 998CAG**).

	The same can be said for the Blackfoot Trail (975CAT**) and Stoney
	Trail, both of which have had some historical research work done
	by Heritage Databank Consulting (1999f, 1999i). Elsewhere, at the
	Dry Island Crossing of the Red Deer River (974CAD**) it has been
	possible to identify seperate trails used by the Cree (Little
	Pine's et al.) and the Blackfoot/Tsuu T'Ina.

	In sum, Euro-american archaeologists and historians have a 
	singularly dismal record in identification and clarification of
	Aboriginal history, land use, group histories and sites. This is
	directly a result of an ethnocentric approach to history. A quick
	look at history texts that have been extant in Western society
	clearly shows an exclusive focus on an ethnocentric approach to
	history, to the exclusion of all elso outside these parameters.

	Western history tends to ignore the existence of Chinese civili-
	zation in favour of the marvels of Greece or Rome; the Mongol
	conquests in favour of those of Alexander and total neglect of 
	Africa outside Egypt. Is it any wonder that in the Americas the
	official history only deals with the conquest of local civiliza-

	American history virtually ignores tribal peoples other than as
	quaint remnants with quaint crafts. Though some small steps have
	been taken - particularly in the United States - towards identi-
	fication of significant tribal sites (mainly as an outgrowth of
	interest in prehistoric peoples or the conquest of the west),
	such interest is conspicuos mainly by it's absence among the
	Euro-american researchers.

		For more detail, see our Bulletin Board site

	How to get more detailed information

	Continue to Mountain Cree Pages directory
	Continue to Heritage Consulting homepage
	Continue to Canadian History directory
	Continue to U.S. History directory
	Continue to History Bibliography
	Continue to Native Homepages directory
	Continue to Native Studies directory
	Continue to Photographs
        Continue to The Western Cree index


			  HERITAGE  CONSULTING                       
			   718 T0M 0J0 CANADA
	Send a letter to: Heritage Consulting
|                                                                       |
|                                                                       |
|                  FIRST NATIONS OF BANFF NATIONAL PARK                 |
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|                         HERITAGE  CONSULTING                          |
|                          718 T0M 0J0 CANADA                           |
|                                                                       |
|                                                                       |        
|                              Compiled by:                             |
|                           J. Fromhold 1999                            |             |
|                                                                       |

    Without doubt, the first identifiable First Nation group for the
    Banff National Park are are the Kutenai. Probably descended from
    a mixture of the Algonkian Besant peoples and the Athabaskan 
    Avonlea peoples, the Kutenai were originally a plains people who
    spread westwards into the mountains in the late prehistoric period.
    By 1600 they occupied both sides of the Rocky Mountains in the 
    southern Alberta area.

    According to Kutenai claims, by 1650 they were in contact with the
    Cree, and two bands of mixed Kutenai/Cree had developed under the
    chieftainship of Sisitawi and Atspu. The 1671 smallpox epidemic more
    or less destroyed the plains Kutenai, the remnants taking shelter in
    the mountains. Probably the same happened with the westernmost Cree,
    with who the Kutenai were affiliated.

    This left portions of western Alberta vacant, and possibly around 
    this time the Blackfoot (Peigan?) began to move into the eastern
    foothills. Based on the existence of Shuswap style house pits, it is 
    possible that the Shuswap were also in the mountains around this 
    time, though historically the Shuswap were to be found far to the

    By 1730 the Shoshone were moving north east of the mountains, coming
    into conflict with the Blackfoot, who were aided by the Cree and 
    Nakoda in repelling the invasion.  By the 1750's the Cree were
    recorded as wintering in the foothills of the Red Deer River.  At 
    around this same time the Swampy Ground Nakoda began moving up the
    North Saskatchewan River into the Edmonton area.

    In 1800 the Cree were known to be in the Rocky Mountain House area,
    including Red Dog's band of Mountain Cree.  Here the Cree and Metis
    became guides to the fur traders searching for passes through the 
    mountains. Gabriel Dumont Sr. was one of these guides, already 
    familiar with the Bow River region. Reputedly Maskepetoon and Chiniki,
    both later to become Chiefs, were born in the mountains around 
    this time.

    In 1807 Jacques Cardinal and Jacques Finlay, Cree and Soto metis,
    were established on the Kootenay Plains, where they cleared the trail
    across Howse Pass for David Thompson to follow. By 1810 Cree and
    Cree Metis are recorded on both sides of the Rocky Mountains. Among
    these was Pesew (Piche, Peechee), who was later to be Head Chief of
    the Mountain Cree.

    Many Cree and Metis accompanied the trading companies accross the 
    mountains, including Desjarlais, Pesew, Lussier and others who can be
    identified as affiliated with the Mountain Cree. With the Cree living
    on both sides of the mountains, a steady traffic now began through
    Banff, via what came to be known as the Colvile Trail.

    By 1820 the Cree were firmly established in the mountains; Jacques 
    Cardinal - son-in-law of Pesew - was operating a trading post on 
    the Kooteny Plains that hosted an annual rendezvous of local trappers
    and Indians. Among the participants were Kutenai, Iroquois and Cree.
    Around this time Abraham White Beard, a Nakoda metis and patiarch of
    the Goodstoney Band, came to settle on the Kootenay Plains, where he
    built a cabin and raised a garden.

    In 1822 many of the Cree and Nakoda metis were involved in the Bow
    River expedition, including Pesew and Dumont.  With the amalgamation
    of the Hudson's Bay and North West Companies in 1821, many of these
    full-time and part-time employees were laid off, although a number of
    them remained as seasonal voyageurs.

    The Cree, now under the leadership of Pesew, regularly traveled into
    and through the mountains, joining up with the Kutenai to hunt on 
    the east slopes.

    The Nakoda now also began to appear in the area, affiliated with the
    Goodstoney Band or traveling with the Mountain Cree, though still
    commonly working as voyageurs for Rocky Mountain House.  Among them
    Chiniki - also a son-in-law of Pesew - came to rise as a promient 
    leader.  Chiniki's father had been a French/Cree Metis with Nakoda 
    and Shuswap wives. At this same time Chiniki's half-brother, known as
    Capote Blanc or Asini Wachi (the Cree term "Moutain", alluding to 
    the Mountain Cree) rose to leadership of a mixed Shuswap/Carrier/
    Cree/Nakoda band who hunted west of the mountains and traded at 
    Jasper and the Kutenai Plains. At this time the Kutenai Plains 
    Rendezvous was operated by Jacques Cardinal and Michael Klein (Cline),
    who was married to one of Cardinal's daughters (Pesew's grand-

    By 1840 Chiniki's Nakoda band had become an identifiable band, joining
    the Kutenai, Mountain Cree, Goodstoney Nakoda and Capote Blanc's
    Shuswap as users of the Banff National Park area. In this year
    Bearspaw's Nakoda first appeared in the eastern foothills, having
    relocated from Fort Union on the Missouri River after the disaster-
    ous smallpox epidemic.  Banff park, however, was the domain of the
    Mountain Cree, who regularly traveled from the Kootenay Plains to 
    the Bow River, across the mountains, and along the Kananaskis to 
    the Highwood. In 1841 Pesew, Chian and Richards guided Governor
    George Simpson through the mountains, while Maskepetoon guided the
    Sinclair party. On the Columbia River the Cree established a settle-
    ment. From here the Cree in 1846 formed the escort for Fr. De Smet
    on his journey from the Green River to Edmonton.

    This pattern largely continued until 1878, when the Mountain Cree,
    who had been arbitrarily included in the Treaty 6 area, were forced
    to abandon the mountains to attend the annual Treaty gathering on the
    plains of eastern Alberta.

    For more details, inlcuding information on: 
	Mountain Cree place names
	Prominent members of the Mountain People
	Sacred Places of the Mountain People
		see our Bulletin Board Site
     How to get more detailed information

     Send a letter to: Heritage Consulting



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	    Joachim Fromhold, Odin v. Fromhold, Dustin Mountain
|                                 1999                                  |
|                                                                       |

It must never be forgotten that Canadian Indians constitute the
principal founding peoples of Canada through their willing sharing 
of their land as their contributed to the building of this Nation. 
Although Canada's relations with it's aboriginal peoples is filled 
with legal complexities, there are certain clear and distinct 
Rights conferred on the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. Though 
these rights have largely been trampled upon, Aboriginal Canadians 
have begun work towards the legal recognition of these rights. In 
the interests of economic development, in 1999 the Mountain Cree 
Band, descendants of Chief Pesew, who's band roamed the foothills 
and mountains of southern Alberta for 2 centuries prior to the 
Treaties, chose to undertake direct action towards recognition 
and re-instatement of these rights. This is a review of that 
action and a position statement by the Mountain Cree Band



	    1. Introduction

	    2. Who Were the Mountain Cree

	    3. The Mountain Cree Band Today

	    4. Position on Aboriginal Rights

This paper was originally prepared for slide accompanyment. These
pictures are identified in the text by a photo numeber (eg. 978CAB01).  
The photos are listed at the following site, and are available from 
Heritage Consulting.



(slide) When this title was proposed in 1998/99 for presentation at the 
November International conference on INDIGINOUS PEOPLE & ARCHAEOLOBY at 
the University of Calgary, it was seen essentially as a personal position 
by the Mountain Cree Band.

Since then, events have unfolded to give this paper a particular relevance 
to the Aboriginal situation in Canada and Aboriginal attitudes in general.

These include the Nisga'a Treaty; Supreme Court decisions on Hunting and 
fishing rights, rights of access, and resouce rights; current issues of 
Indiginous Rights before the United Nations and World Court; and recent
conflicts with the Micmac over excercising their logging and fishing 
rights, and the Land Use Claims suits for the Kananaskis Provincial Park

The paper was designed to be presented in 3 parts by myself & two CHIMAKAN 
of the Mountain Cree Band AKICHITA Lodge - what is often wrongly referred 
to by whites as warriors, or a Warrior Society.  The two presenters are
Odin von Fromhold, a 2nd. yr. University student majoring in Medieval 
European History, and Dustin Mountain a Grade 12 student.  The presentation
was designed to be accompanied by some 100 lides/pictures, which are 
notated in the text. 


The term Mountain Cree, or more accurately, ASINI WACHI WININIWAK(1)  
("Mountain People"), refers both to a division of the Western Cree, itself
a division of the Upstream People, and to a specific Band within that 
division. (Chart: Proposed Schematic Flow Chart for Southern Cree Bands;
Chart: Schematic Flow Chart for Northern Cree Bands) 

The Asini Wachi Wininiwak division, like most Cree divisions, was a mixed
group, and contained a number of Cree, Nakoda, Soto, Kutenai and Shuswap 
Bands. (Chart; Flow Chart of Western Cree/Nakoda bands in the Buck Lake
Region). The Mountain Cree Band specifically refers to the Peechee/Bobtail 
and Ermineskin Bands.

The Asini Wachi Wininiwak had an extensive range and territory (Map: 
Maximum Range of the Asini Wachi Wininiwak (Excluding Maskipitonew's 
Band), with their central lands extending south from Edmonton to 
Washington State. Members of the Asini Wachi, or various bands and 
segments of the division were recorded as far afield as Lesser Slave 
Lake/Peace River, Hudson's Bay, Red River, North Dakota, Montana, Utah, 
Wyoming, and the Pacific Ocean in Washington/Oregon.  

Manito Ostikwan Wachi ("God's Head Mountain")(998CAR**), now known as 
Devil's Head, marked the spiritual heartland of the Mountain Cree range, 
much in the same way that Chief Mountain was the spiritual heartland for 
the Kainai and Pikuni Blackfoot.

The earliest oral tradition mentions them around 1650 A.D. as trading with 
the Kootenay as middlemen.  From this time also come the names of two of 
the earliest known chiefs, Sisitawi and Atspu, chiefs of two mixed Cree/
Kutenai bands.

Around this time they were part of the Canoe Cree, traveling yearly to 
Hudson's Bay to trade.

In the 1690's they were encountered by Henry Kelsey, in the 1740's by La 
Verendrey, in the 1750's by Anthony Henday and in 1790 by Peter Pangman.

In the 1790's Two Dogs was recognized as the Head Chief of the Asini Wachi

In 1800 Jean Baptiste Dumont guided McGillivray & Thompson to the Bow
Valley/Kananaskis area. Dumont and his descendants were members of the
Mountain Cree, specifically with Peechee's (Pesew's) band.

In 1807 Jacques Cardinal (son-in-law of Pesew) operated a trading post & 
horse camp on the Kootenay Plains for the North West Company. Along with
Jacques Finlay he blazed the trail across Howse Pass for David Thompson.

By 1810 Cree are recorded as being employed by the North West Company and 
Hudson's Bay Company at Rocky Mountain House and across the mountains to 
the west. Among them were Lucier, Pesew, Dumont, Desjarlais and others. 
In 1811 Pesew accompanied David Thompson from Rocky Mountain House to 
Jasper; in 1812 he was with McGillivray's party crossing the Howse Pass.

In the 1820's Jacques Cardinal was stationed at Jasper House and, under
Michael Cline (Son-in-Law of Jacques Cardinal). From here Cardinal annully
traveled to the Kootenay Plains to hold a trade rencezvous attended by the
various bands of the Mountain Cree. This rendezvous lasted until about
1870; the Cree regularly attended, traveling a circle route along the
North Saskatchewan River, Pipestone River and Bow River. The Moutnain Cree
were joined here by Asini Wachi's (aka. Capote Blanc) Shuswap band; Asini
Wachi was step-brother of Chief Chiniki (who was formerly a Mountain Cree
and was also a Son-in-law of Pesew). His name, Asini Wachi/Assinachi is
Cree for "Mountain".

In 1822 Pesew and other members of the Mountain Cree were with the party
sent to establish Bow Fort and posts on the South Saskatchewan and 
Missouri rivers.

In the 1830's the Head Chieftainship of the Mountain Cree passed to Pesew 
(aka. Peechee, Louis Piche; PESEW: "Bobcat, Cougar, Mountain Lion, 
Wildcat"), a descendant of the Great Lakes explorer Jean Nicolette. 

Pesew's band was the definitive band of the Asini Wachi Wininlwak. Pesew's
hunting lands were in the vicinity of present Banff townsite (979CAB01,
975CAK**) and Lake Minnewanka. In 1844 he guided Governor George Simpson 
of the Hudson's Bay Company across the mountains from Edmonton to Ft. 
Colvile, in Washington. That same year Maskipitonew (Pesew's nephew) 
guided the Sinclair party by a parallel route to Colvile (975CAB**).

Today Mt. Peechee (975CAP01) is named after Chief Pesew, as are the 
Wildcat Hills (974CAG**). Previously Lake Minnewanka (995CAM**) had also 
been known as Lake Peechee.

The Asini Wachi Wininiwak were the main users of the Cree Trail (Catlin 
painting 11/23/838), running south from Edmonton to the Calgary area. 
(Map: Cree Trail; Map: Trail Patterns, Cremona-Sundre Area; 976CAB**). 
Being largely acculturated to the Metis lifestyle, they tended to make 
use not only of the travois, but also the cart and dogteam (993CAF**,
73CAB**). In the 1840's they built the first road and bridge west of Red 
River.  They were also directly responsible for bringing the Catholic 
missionaries (Ft. Thibault) out west, Bobtail (son of Pesew) having
traveled to Red River for the purpose.

They also regularly crossed the mountains (850CA***, 975CAD**, 975CAC05)
985CAR**, 860CA***), and actually had two - possibly three - permanent 
settlements in Washington and Oregon. When Fr. De Smet visited the 
Flathead and Kutenai in Montana and Idaho, it was the Mountain Cree who 
provided his escort.

Throughout their later history, Rocky Mountain House was their main trading
centre (980CAC**, 975CAR**).

With the death of Pesew in 1845 the Mountain Cree lost a strong leadership
and temporarily fragmented, Maskipitonew emerging as the Head Chief.

By the 1850's the Asini Wachi Wininiwak consisted of some 12 Cree and
Nakoda bands, one Shuswap Bands, as well as strong Kutenai affiliations.
In 1854 Maskipitonew and Paul Chian guided the Sinclair party by way of
the Kananaskis river to Idaho and Washington. In 1858 & 1859 the Palliser 
party encountered Alik, a Cree-speaking Kutenai married to a Cree woman 
on the Kootenay River; he, along with other Upper Kutenai were returning
from their annual hunt on the plains, where they hunted with the Mountain
Cree and Mountain Assiniboin between the Oldman and Bow rivers. This had
been a traditional activity for them from time imemorial. In 1859 the
Palliser party engaged Pichena, a son of Pesew, at Ft. Colvile.

In the 1860's Kiskiyew ("Bobtail, Bobcat, Wildcat"), a son of Pesew, 
emerged as Head Chief of the Asini Wachi Wininiwak (885*****). This band 
was the lineal descendant of the true Mountain Cree Band, and became the 
Senior branch of the Mountain Cree. His personal band was the largest of 
the Western Cree bands.

By the 1870's Bobtail had also become the Head Chief of all Cree, Nakoda 
and associated bands west of a line from Lesser Slave Lake-Beaver Hills-
Hand Hills-Waterton Lakes (870CAA01). His followers totaled som 600 
lodges, or about 5,000 people, making it the largest division of the 
Plains Cree.

In 1876 Bobtail and all the Western Cree boycotted Treaty 6 negotiations,
although virtually all the Western Cree were camped within 2 days travel
of the negotiations at both Carlton and Pitt, to keep an eye on what

The result of Bobtail's failing to participate, along with Big Bear's 
people, was that 3/4 the Treaty 6 Cree were not represented at the Treaty 
negotiations. Bobtail himself did not believe that his people belonged in
the Treaty 6 area, and later stated that they more properly belonged in 
the Treaty 7 area - south of the upper Red Deer and North Saskatchewan 

At the urging of the Missionaries, Bobtail and other Asini Wachi Wininiwak
Bands took reserves along the Battle River around present Hobbema-Ponoka,
near the old Battle River Crossing.  With the advent of the reservations,
they effectively ended their nomadic lifestyle and ceased to be the Asini
Wachi Wininiwak, or "Mountain People". Henceforth the Hobbema group became 
known as the Maskwa Wachies Wininiwak, or "Bear Hills People".

By 1885 Bobtail and his people were disillusioned with Treaty.  Though
sympathetic to the Metis uprising, Bobtail remained neutral in the 1885 
Rebellion, but refused to counsel his warriors against rebellion. Some,
under his son, actively looted the Hudson's Bay store at the settlement,
mainly for food, branding Bobtail's people as hostiles. Troops were 
dispatched and forts built, though after the feasting the community had
returned to normal. Ft. Normandeau (752 975CAN**), Ostel and Ethier were
built to protect against the supposed threat from Bobtail's people.

More dissatisfied, after the results of the rebellion, Bobtail's followers
repudiated the treaty in 1886, withdrawing from Treaty and abandoning their
reserve (880CAA01). As such the Senior band of the Mountain Cree left and 
dispersed (891CAI01), leaving a Cadet branch of the Mountain Cree under 
Ermineskin, Bobtail's brother (C.M. Russell statue ***U****).

(1) Roman orthography of Cree words is taken from the system developed by
	Mathilda Brerretton of Saddle Lake.


(981CAL**) Over the past few years the Mountain Cree Band has been re-
forming (9981CAE07) as a cohesive socio-political entity (979CAL**, 
982CAM**, 981CAH**).

Formal members of the Mountain Cree Band trace their origins via male 
line to Chief Pesew (998CAB**) through his son Chief Bobtail & Great 
Grandson Chief Lawrence Mountain (998CAI01).  It is essentially a 
patriarchal Clan (or Sept) based on the extended family, and includes 
treaty & non-treaty kinsmen (982CAM**).

The current Mountain Cree Band constitues a Traditional Band under
Traditional Law.  It does not have & has not sought official recognition 
by the Department of Indian Affairs, but exists as a legal entity in the
form of a Society.  It has recognition within the Native community and by
the Beaver Lake First Nation, of which the majority of the band are a

The Mountain Cree Band is affiliated with some 10 other collateral bands 
and septs, each of which represent some 140 persons, some of which also
exist as Traditional Bands. Membership terms of the Mountain Cree Band 
are such that members of these collateral bands could be admitted into 
the Mountain Cree Band as descendants of Pesew and the original Mountain 
Cree Band.

It is the position of the Mountain Cree Band that 

	- they & their kindred bands (972CAS**) have certain claims and 
	  rights in their traditional lands (974CAB**).

	- DIRECT ACTION is probably necessary to achieve recognition of 
	  those rights.

In 1999 Mountain Cree Band undertook to begin DIRECT ACTION towards 
implementation of these rights and claims (999CAA**), though preparatory 
work and reconnaisance had commenced some time before. First, and fore-
most, was to establish a presence in the area to exert territorial 
claims. To this end, a camp (982CAS**) was established (980CAS**) in the 
mountains (982CAS**) occupied by members of the Mountain Cree Band 
(981CAL**) thorughout the summer (978CAJ**).

Various actions were also undertaken to assert our rights. These included 
camp occupancy (999CAA**) & development; local hunting and fishing; 
exerting land use and territorial control thorugh a roadblock (998CAA**); 
trail development; and involvement in local cultural and ceremonial 
undertakings (980CAJ**, 999CAA**).

Various activities were undertaken in preparation of future possible
actions and requirements. These included acclimatization to altitutes over
5,500'; scouting and territorial familiarization (995CAC**, 999CAH**, 
981CAB**); wilderness camping training (982CAS**); muntaineering/
woodsmanship/wilderness training (999CAH**, 991CAB**, 999CAH**); 
wilderness survival skills (979CAS**); local cultural history training; 
Mountain rescue training (999CAW**)..

Interestingly, the Mountain Cree presence and user rights were respected 
by Forestry, Fish & Wildlife & and the RCMP.  These did not intrude in 
the camp area without permision, and respected our local roadblock to the 
user site. In return Mountain Cree Band maintaine a co-operative, rather 
than confrontational, position with these agencies. To this end members of
the Mountain Cree assisted where possible and when called upon, including
participation in Mountain rescues and Wildlife management.

Unfortunately our user rights and presence were not always respected by 
other visitors.

The Mountain Cree Band intends to continue to press it's claims and rights 
in the future. We intend to maintain other camps & villages; take action 
in support of further claims and rights; and expand our scope and size of 
operation. Friends and visitors are welcome.



The Mountain Cree Band (980CAS**) holds that 

    1. A treaty was made in 1876 and entered in peacefully and with good
	faith and goodwill by the peoples of Treaty 8 to help build a
	nation. The Mountain Cree were not a party to the negotiation of
	this treaty, nor did it cover the lands of the Mountain Cree. The
	Mountain Cree adhesion to this treaty may have been forced under 

    2. This treaty may not be legal and valid in law, or may have been
	abrogated due to failure to implement conditions in good faith
	by the government.

    3. Native Canadians in general and Mountain Cree Band specifically 
       retain certain Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

    4. These rights have never been surrendered.

    5. No rights not specifically stated as being so during treaty 
	negotiations have been surrendered.

    6. These rights have not been properly recognized and implemented in
	good faith by the government of Canada.

    7. This failure to implement these rights has adversely affected
	Native economic and social development.

    8. Failure to implement these rights may consititute criminal theft,
	exploitation and oppression.

    9. The Government of Canada has forfited it's moral leadership in this
	matter and in dealing with Native rights.

   10. Aboriginal peoples of the Numbered Treaties and Aboriginal peoples
	in general remain the legitimate owners of Canada

   11. Aboriginal peoples have the right to implement their traditional
	rights unilaterally.

   12. In view of Canada's failure to honor these rights, the treaties
	could legaly be abrogated.

   13. Mountain Cree Band recognizes that there may be avalid reason for First Nations 
	to exist as a funcitonal part within a Canadian confederation.

   14. Mountain Cree Band recognizes that non-natives have some treaty and de-facto

   15. Mountain Cree Band rejects the status-quo.

   16. While Mountain Cree Band intends to follow a co-operative approach to assertion
	of rights, it recognizes that confrontation may possibly result
	from direct action.

   17. Mountain Cree Band does not reject confrontation, if necessary.

As a closing statement, I would like to announce that as of this date 
(November 13, 1999) the Mountain Cree have begun legal action against the
Goverment of Canada for user rights and wronglull deprivation of use and 
enjoyment of Banff National Park, Vermilion National Park, Mount Assini-
boin National Park, Kananaskis Provincial Park/Peter Laugheed Provincial 
Park, Ghost River Wilderness, White Goat Wilderness, Siffleur Wilderness, 
Cline Wilderness and Elk Island National Park. (981CAF**)

Membership in the Mountain People Association
Mountain People Land Claim
Land Claim Document

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