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Below is the TABLE OF CONTENTS for the publication THE WESTERN PLAINS CREE. This is a definitive study of the history of the Western Cree and Mountain Cree from Alberta, and consists of some 2,000 pages in 4 volumes. Due to the actions of the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Museums Association we will not be able to add more detailed information. More detailed information can be ordered from Heritage Consulting for a nominal fee. Some limited detail is available on the Heritage Consulting websites. For your convenience we have now site search capabilities Search our Site More background
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(Revised 06)
Copyright 2001 by J. Fromhold "Whatever the Blackfoot do, the Plains Cree do the opposite, since it is more sensible." (anonymous in Pohorecky 1976:20)
In Memory of Irene

The Western Plains Cree

Table of Contents i Acknowlegement v Preface viii

I. NEHIYAWAK--The Cree People

1. Cree Divisions 1 2. Origins 17 3. The Cree Alliance 87


1. The Historical Political Context 96 i. Background 96 ii. Origins 100 Population Reconstruction (Now available in book format) iii. The Nehiyaw-Pwat Confederacy 131 iv. Warfare (Now available in book format) Warrior Societies 168 Tactics 184 2. History (2.1 and 2.ii Now available in book format) i. In the Mists of Time (2.i and 2.ii now ii. The Canoe Cree (1650-1770) (Now available in book format iii. Growth and Expansion (1770-1870) 322 iv. Socio/Economic Collapse (1870-1885) 939 v. Subjugation--The Transition Period (1885-1900) 1378 3. Population Change 1512 i. Population Reconstruction 1512 ii. Family Size 1532 iii. Density 1536 iv. Band Size 1540 v. Band Dynamics 1545 vi. Epidemics 1549 vii. Ethnicity 1553


1. The Historical Political Context 1562 i. Introduction 1562 ii. Geography 1567 2. History 1573 i. In the Mists of Time 1573 ii. 1790-1870 Growth and Expansion 1678 iii. 1870-1882 Diaspora and Fission 2071 iv. 1882 End of the free life: Socio/Economic Collapse
3. Cultural Change i. Frontier Culture ii. Plains Culture iii. Cultural Collapse and revival 4. Contemporary Developments i. The Political Context ii. Reservation Life iii. Identity iv. Economic Development v. Land Claims Developments Prologue 2227 Appendicies (Now available in book format) Endnotes 3005 References (Now available in book format) List of Maps 3600 List of Charts and Tables 3609 List of Illustrations 3612 Cree Glossary Index Cree Museum Collection


After 45 years of living in a society as an active participant, it is not always easy or possible to remember where or from who a scrap of information came from. Good field techniques would dictate that tapes are made of interviews and notes kept. However, this was not a 2-month field trip during the academic break. Interviews were not held, nothing was taped, and notes rarely kept. For this I make no appologies, but merely regret such knowlege as may have slipped my mind in the meantime. It is almost impossible to give credit to all those who may have given me information or clues that helped to put this book together. However, a few do stand out. Among them are Chief Albert Lightning of Hobbema, Chief Robert Smallboy of the Smallboy Band, Chief Charles Blackman of Cold Lake First Nations, Chief Joe Cardinal of Saddle Lake Cree Nations, Chief Lillian Pruden (first woman Chief in Canada) and Chief Lawrence and Katie Mountain Mountain of Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Mrs. Sam Bull of Goodfish Lake Cree Nation, Chief Harry and Eliza- beth Kolo-Chonkolay of the DENE THA Nation, Chief Harold Crowchild of Front Row: Lillian Pruden, the TSUU T'INA Nation, Chief Dewey Mathilda Brerretton, Agnes Dion of Frog Lake Cree Nation and Bull; Back Row: Charley Chief Joe Bulldog of the Beaver Blackman, Senator Adrian Hope, (Boyer River)First Nation of the Magloire Cardinal TZA TINE, Elders Maurice Quinn and Mathilda Brerretton of Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Joseph Powder of Fort McMurray, Leo Mountain of Beaver Lake, Isidore Gladue of Fort Vermilion, Senator Adrian (Pete) Hope and Georgina (Ladouceur) Thompson of Kikino, Rose (Anderson) Collins of Bonnyville, Delma Dion of Frog Lake, Joe Fox of Morley (Good- stoney First Nations), Herbalist and healer MOSAM ("Grandfather") Magloire Cardinal of Lac La Biche, Joe Meneen of Tallcree First Nation, Fr. P. Mercredi of Fort Chipewyan, "Old Man" Lizotte of Meander River, Ruby Mountain of Edmon- ton and Donald Twin of Lesser Slave Lake (Swan River First Nation) and, of course, my wife 'Kitty' and Lawrence Mountain Irene. I thank you all for what you have taught me. Virtually all have now passed on to the land of the Great Spirit. Although these were the main contributors to this work on history, they by no means exhaust the list of those who played a role in my learning of the history and life of KAYAS NEHIYAW, the "Long Ago Indian". There was Elsie Quintal, who tried for 14 seasons to teach me how to tan the perfect hide. There was Nick Breaker (Siksika Nation), who fed my interest in traditional dance, Tom Crane-Bear (Siksika Nation), who Maurice Quinn shared an interest in re- building traditional Societies, and two Holy Women, Maggie Black Kettle (Siksika Nation) and Antoinette Van Hazendonk (Piikani Nation), who showed me what humility and spirituality was. And of course, Albert Lightning (Ermineskin Cree Nation), Holy Man of the Cree. There was the winter on the trap- line with Isidore Gladue on Wentzel River; winter nights Maggie Ruby of -55F in a crowded log cabin by a wood stove with Joe Beaulieau's family at Bushe River; hunting buffalo in the Caribou Mountains with Isaac Cardinal; net-fishing with George Mountain and hunting with Tommy; coming across Didzena's camp 20 mile off in the bush on Hay River--with "Zep Zeppelin" blasting on Hilda's portable tapedeck; and fond memories of Virginia Chonkolay of High Level becoming totally absorbed in Chaucer's Cantebury Tales (in the Old English version yet)--a girl that at 13 had been written off by the school system. And there were funerals. Philippe, Paul, Nelson suicides--Nelson giving up on ever being able to solve the problems facing The People. Pierre, freezing to death in a drunken stupor in a northern bush community. Isaac found dead stuffed head-down in a man-hole in Edmonton. Ashley beaten to death. Joan, raped, beaten Charlie and left to die naked in an Edmonton alley. Irene, victim of a government policy that allowed Hepatitis C infected blood be used for trans- fusions. Kitty, who refused to take dialisis treatment for diabets (which is 300% higher in Native communities). Leslie of AIDS from having been tricked into a life as male prostitute. Tannie Descham- bault who, at 87, was still riding horses, and Isidore Desjarlais who, at 91, was still going hunting. We laughed at the good times, starved in the bad, and cried at Magloire (left) & author (right) funerals of dear friends and loved "dressed Indian" ones. These were my teachers. I thank them all.
Irene & Jen making dried meat home on the Range, 1970's; the tipi design has been owned by the family for over 100 years.


The History of the West People is a story that needs to be told. The West People formed an important part of the history of western Canada--and the history of Canada as a whole. Without knowlege of the history of the West People Canadians--and Canadian historians--know less than half the history of the west. Without the West People the history of western Canada--if not the history of Canada in North America--would have been very different. The Cree (NEHIYAWAK) are Canada's--and one of North America's-- largest tribal groups, occupying and dominating more territory than any other Native Indian (1) group. In the pre-reservation period the Cree people occupied most of southern Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, and extended into the United States. Along with the INNU (Montagnais and Naskapi), an eastern division of the Cree, they extended from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, occupying most of the Boreal forest and the plains of Canada. They were closely related to and allied with the Chippewa/Soto/Ojibwa and other Algonkian groups south of the Great Lakes and into New England. They were inextricably intermarried with the Nakoda and to a lesser degree with all the neighboring peoples. As Metis and 'French Indians' they were well known at the Wyoming rendezvous and at Laramie. Cree lands were to be found in all 10 Canadian provinces, the two territories and 4 U.S. states, from Ungava to Oregon, and from Great Slave Lake to Wyoming. They straddled and almost totally occupied the North American continent between 49 and 59 degrees north. In total they occupied and controlled more land than Alexander The Great's empire.
They were intimately involved in the fur trade for some 300 years, and still are. Indeed, they may well have been indispensable to the fur trade. Their presence was to be found in virtually any Native community in the Columbia River basin through the upper Missouri basin, the upper Mississippi basin and on to the Great Lakes and south to Platte River. Throughout those 300 years, the Cree language was the language of the fur trade. It would not be amiss to say that a traveler could roam throughout the northern half of the continent and find someone in any community who could understand Cree. Sitting Bull, by his own claim, was born and raised among the Cree-speaking Red River Metis (2) near present-day Winnipeg (Vestal 1976:217).(3) At one time there were 3 Cree metis settlements in Scotland, settled by descendants of Canadian fur traders. Residents of the Orkney Islands recognize the Cree ancestry in their own population from the days when Orkneymen signed on to serve a term in the distant land for the Hudson's Bay Company. Cree metis born in isolated northern com- munities attended Edinburgh University, and became doctors, lawyers, sea captains and capitalists in Britain. Today the Cree Indians are still scattered throughout these same regions, mostly gathered onto reserves or into communities. One Reserve, the Rocky Boy Reserve, exists in northern Montana; the Flathead and Colvile Nations have a strong Cree background, and the Chippewa of North Dakota and Minnesota have historic ties with the Western Cree. Today some 30% of the Cree have left their reserves in search of a mainstream life in urban centres. Virtually half of Canada's Native population, and almost 5% of Canada's population is of Cree background. Accurate figures are impossible to obtain (4). Of the roughly 1.5 million Indian people in Canada, one quarter are Cree, and almost as many again are close kinsmen, the Algonkian, Chippewa, Ojibway, Montagnais, Naskapi and Soto who, for the most part, share the Cree language. The Metis, who are largely of Cree descent, are as numerous (many are also of Chippewa origin)(5). In addition, as many more Canadians have Cree descent, but have left behind their Native heritage. In 1961 in Manitoba alone there were Status Indian 50,000 Metis 25,000 Undeclared 75,000 TOTAL 100,000 (Legasse 1961:232)(the 'undeclared' being persons of aboriginal ancestry but not primarily identifying as aboriginal). Almost all of the Status Indians would be Cree, the rest Chippewa/Soto; and virtually all the Metis and Undeclared would also be Chippewa/Soto or Cree. Conservatively, we could propose the following figures: Cree 300,000 Metis 300,000 Cree ancestry 300,000 Canadians of Cree ancestry 900,000 In short, almost 1 person in 30 in Canada are of Cree descent (and one in 18 Canadians is of Indian descent).(6) It is ironic, in light of all this, that there are virtually no good souces of information on the Cree Indians. Sources of information are scarce. Virtually the sole "contemporary" sources are Mandelbaum's THE PLAINS CREE (1940), Jenness' THE INDIANS OF CANDA (1969), Leechman's NATIVE TRIBES OF CANADA (n.d.), Kidd's CANADIANS OF LONG AGO (1951), Skinner's "Notes on the Plains Cree" (1914), Swanton's THE INDIAN TRIBES OF NORTH AMERICA (1952) and the Geographic Board's HANDBOOK OF INDIANS OF CANADA (1913). Mandelbaum, although being the definitive work on the Cree to date, has a number of shortcomings (Fromhold 1998n). Principal among these are that his study covers little or no history of the Cree, and is basically a study of the SIPI WININIWAK division of the Plains Cree. He seems to be totally unaware of the West People, living west of the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, who have a cultural history somewhat different from the SIPI WININIWAK, and who were the largest division of the Upstream People, of which the SIPI WININIWAK were a part. Jenness' work, on the other hand, is part of a survey of Indians of Canada, and is therefore limited in how much information can be presented in a limited space. Likewise Kidd's and Leechman's works are surveys of the cultural areas and have little to say about tribal specifics. Kidd's work is specifically aimed at the youthful reader. The Handbook of Indians manages to do a credible job given the limited space of 2 pages. By careful reading of the book, further information can be gleaned from the text. However, like Mandelbaum, the book fails to recognize the existence of a major portion of the Cree; the entire Upstream People division of the Plains Cree, north and west of the South Saskatchewan River, who make up 50% of the Plains Cree. Spencer and Jennings in their map references (1965:154, 337, 397) tend to deprive the Cree of well over 1/3 of the territories in which they were found as occupants. A few more recent works have attempted a better review. These include Patterson's THE CANADIAN INDIAN (1972) which is essentially a survey of the history of Indian/White relationship development, and Dempsey's INDIAN TRIBES OF ALBERTA (n.d.) which, though plagued by errors in detail, is about the only information existing on the western Cree. A.J. Ray in INDIANS IN THE FUR TRADE provides comprehensive information on the role of the Cree in the fur trade, but suffers from the same problems of historical accuracy as the others (Fromhold 1981a). Sharrock & Sharrock (1974) in an article in CHIPPEWA IV, a limited-circulation publication of the Royce hearings, attempt some historical review of the Cree in northern Montana but make some lamentable mistakes through having a lack of a broad enough base of information, though adding significant information on the role of the Cree in that area. Of limited distribution but greater depth are the Alberta Department of Education's INDIANS OF ALBERTA (n.d.), and a series of booklets done for the Native Studies programs of the Alberta Vocational Centres by Helen Tomchak and the author in 1976. Others (Adair 1930, Swanton 1952, Driver 1961, Silverberg 1963, Rapahel 1973, Royal Ontario Museum 1969, Mails 1972, Waldman 1985) mention them only in passing, if at all. Spencer and Jennings in THE NATIVE AMERICANS (1965) mention the Cree once in the text and 8 times on maps or tables. The 'Authoritative Reference' AMERICAN INDIAN ALMANAC (Terrell 1974), has exactly three sentences. In fact, the best sources of information on the Cree, particularly the Woods Cree, remain the works of Alexander Mackenzie (1801) and David Thompson (1897), both of which were written around 1800. More work on the Cree has been published in National Geographics than by serious researchers. Much the same can be said for the Nakoda, with whom the Cree are closely inter-related. Some work has been on Nakoda history and ethnology, but this is virtu- ally restric- ted to that half of the Nakoda nation living south of the Canada- U.S. border. Compared to the quanti- ties of infor- mation and detailed histories available for tribes in the United States, there is no- thing availab- le on Canadian tribes, Cree included. Academics and students today remain virtually ignorant of Canadian Indians. It would appear that to researchers, American Indians do not exist beyond the borders of the United States. Considering the length of time that the Cree have been interacting with the white society, their historic position in the historical and cultural mainstream of Canadian development, and the size and position of this group, why is there such a lack of data? Possibly precisely because of these factors. Prior to 1900 the Cree were the single largest ethnic group in western Canada. They were pervasive in western Canadian culture and society. Everyone knew some Cree or other; everyone was familiar with the Cree communities; homesteaders often relied on their Cree neighbors for advice and help; earlier settlers all had Cree relations. In fact, Cree-white interactions were so close that everyone knew everything there was to know about their Cree relatives or neighbors. The Cree have always considered their relations with the white man as being particularly close--closer than with other Indian peoples. Almost from the beginning, the Cree have considered the whites as at least 'Cousins' and even a 'Brother' peoples. Historically, every Cree had a white brother-in-law, and every white man had Cree relatives. A Cree term of friendship towards a white man is to call him NISTAW, "Brother-In-Law" or "Potential Brother-In-Law". (7) The Cree, more than any other People, mixed with the White Man. We quickly and easily accepted the White Man as a friend. So close and good was our relationship that from the two of us sprang a whole new race, the Metis, or mixed-bloods, the last of the new peoples to originate from the Cree. When the white man first came, we called them "Helpless Ones", because they did not know how to survive in the harsh lands of the northern woods. We took pity on them, took them by the hand and taught them to survive, and allowed them to take our sisters as wives. But these white man came to the Americas they were a special breed of people. They were adventurers, who broke away from their world and all that they knew, to venture into a new world. They had ideas, attitudes and ambitions that their fellow Europeans did not have. They came to this land, which was a harsh land for them, and they risked their lives in hardships few today can even imagine. They pitted themselves against a wilderness of which they knew nothing and of a way of life that they had never known. Those who were strong and could learn quick enough survived--those who did not died. Only the strongest and best survived. They came to this land without women, and they found here women of our people. These men were strong and survivors, even by our standards. Even the least of them had power and wealth that we did not. These frontiersmen could stand on equal footing with the best of our own people--those who could not did not last long. They found our daughters desireable, and our daughters felt the same towards them. So of course they married our women, marrying the prettiest, the best workers, the best craftswomen, and the best families. They took from us our best women to be their wives, and raised their families in these lands, founding the Metis People. Their children, as is the way in such marriages, were also strong, handsome and intelligent. Many of these white men were Courier des Bois, and came to live in our villages, raising their families as one of us. Also came the Voyageurs--many of whom already were the children of the Courier des Bois. These Voyageurs wintered with our peoples, and took our sisters to wife. In summer they--along with some of their Indian brothers-in-law--spent the summer paddeling the fur trader's canoes to Hudson Bay or the Great Lakes and back, while their families remained back in their villages. Some of these men failed to return, because of death or transfers while on the road. Of those that died, their families largely remained in the Indian encampments or close to the trading forts. With those who were transfered, usually the men found a way to bring the wife an children across the length and breadth of this country to join them. Their Chiefs married daughters of our Chiefs. Their Voyageurs married daughters of our own people who became voyageurs in their turn--and there were many of these. Their hunters married the daughters of our hunters. And so it will always be among all people. Even today, the leaders of Indian tribes usually marry outsiders. At one time this was our custom. It is no surprise then, to know that many of our leaders were of such mixed background. Nor is it a surprise to know that some of our people of mixed blood became leaders of the fur empires, and governors of Canadian territories and provinces. Many of the children of these mixed marriages were sent to fine schools in eastern Canada, or to Scotland. Some became Doctors or Lawyers. Some never returned to Canada or the west. In time, some of these, too, married among their peers, and began to lose their ties with their mother's peoples. Such are the ancestors of the Cree, and from them also came the mixed bloods, the Metis, from the best of both races. While new Peoples have always sprung from the Cree, the Cree themselves have become a new people, with a new infusion of blood. (Hope 1978:p.c.) Though early explorers, notably Alexander Mackenzie and David Thompson made notes on Cree culture and history (Mackenzie 1801; Thompson 1897) in their journeys of the 1790's, such note taking soon fell by the way. Mackenzie, Thompson and virtually every member of the thousands of future employees of the fur trade period married into the Cree community. Like most members of a community or society, they chose not to or neglected to write about their own society. Only the later 'explorers' and 'pioneers'--usually visitors for a season-- beginning in the 1850's (James Hector, John Palliser, John McDougal, George Back, Earl of Southesk, William Butler) and their ilk bothered to make ethnographic and historical observations. Simply, the relationship between the white man and the Cree was too close. Why write up something that everyone knew already? Post 1900 saw the population explosion of western Canada with the influx of settlers from overseas. For the most part, these settlers knew little of the history of the west or the Indians, and cared less. If they saw anything, it was a captive population restricted to reserves, practicing a 'heathen' culture having nothing in common with them and living on reserves with agricultural potential that was underutilised. Not infrequently they found Indian or Metis 'squatters' had set up cabins on lands allocated to the settlers by the government Land Agent, and had to be driven off. (8) Undoubtedly another reason for the lack of knowlege of the history of the west is the difference in the developement of the Canadian and the U.S. west. In Canada the developmental history of the west began well before 1800. In the U.S. this came consderably later. By the time of the Ashley-Henry push into the upper Missouri and Yellowstone in the 1820's the Canadians--essentially French Metis--had already been well established in the west for over 50 years. Two self-governing Metis 'Nations' already existed in southern Manitoba. Many of these western Canadians were now into their third generation. True, there is evidence that trading parties were on the upper Missouri by the mid 1810's, but these were essentially Metis out of Red River. Not until establishment of Fort Union, and shortly thereafter posts well to the west on the Missouri and Yellowstone, did the U.S. west begin to be opened. However, from that time on things were to move rapidly, and by 1850 developments in the U.S. bypassed that to the north. Because of this compression of history in the U.S. west, many of the men who had been first in were still around when the settled frontier arrived in the U.S. west. Their stories and memoirs were avidly gathered and published. By 1837 these stories--regardless of how fancy- ful--began to show up in print. Indeed, at times it seems that anyone who had been in the U.S. west for even a few years had something about them in print--though most of these are questionably unreliable history with considerable exageration if not outright fabrication. This did not happen. Popular histories in Canada did not come into print until the 1890's--some 50 years later. By that time most of the early frontiersmen and mountainmen had already passed on, their stories uncollected. Such publications as had preceeded them were almost purely written in a Journal style recording day-to-day events--often to the point of boredom. The Canadian journalists were given neither to self- aggrandization, nor to exageration or bragadosio, or to sensationalism. Even David Thompson, who shamelessly "managed" or "manipulated" his information, can not be accused of bragging. Unlike that other manipulator of information, Rev. John McDougall, he can not eve be accused of exageration. It was primarily through a good Public Relatons lobby after his death that he came to be seen--perhaps with less cause than is usually made--of being a Canadian Frontier Hero. Much the same can be said for the exploits of Father Lacombe. These early tomes, however, never became popular reading. Instead, they essentially became forgotten works, of marginal intererest even to Canadian historians, as we shall see. Umfreville's work, published in 1790 still remains essentially forgotten 2 centuries later. Not that the Canadians were not storytellers and braggarts in the best of the U.S. Mountainman traditon--it is just that there was nobody around to record and publish the anecdotes. Tantalizing hints exist of some of these stories involving Paul Chian, Mark, Bearspaw, KA MINAHIKAS, Charles Godin and scores of others, but none were recorded and published as anectodal literature. Such anecdotes as may exist do so as notations in Hudson's Bay Records at best, reposing in the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, where they still reside, never having been brought to public knowlege. Hence we know little of these early exploits, such as stories of the first crossings of the Mountains by Morin, Leblanc and Legrace as much as a decade before Lewis and Clark --and the subsequent killing of Leblanc, son of one of the first traders in Saskatchewan. Only occasonal fragments, such as the anecdore of Finan "Mor" McDougal who, on one occasion, is said to have ridden and then wrestled a buffalo to the ground and hogtied it exist. Other such stories still await the jig-saw puzzle of their re-discovery and conversion into popular history. With the post 1900 explosion in academia, Canadian academia and Canadian population--unlike that in the United States--was simply too small to undertake extensive research and publication in esoteric branches of study. Canada is demonstratably behind the United States in interest in it's own history. Canadian interest today is where interest in the United States was 50 years ago. Furthermore, Canadian publishers have shied away from historical publications. Canadian publishers today require a guarantee of sales of 4,000 books before taking on historical works--and feel that the Canadian market simply is not there. Further, Canada is still parochial with colonial tendencies. Unless one is connected with certain elites in the arts, academia, politics or the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, mostly located in central Ontario, there is little hope of publishing unless it is self-financed. Hence, while academia did provide the opportunities for publication of 'learned papers', and even the occasional special publication, such as the Cree Issue of the Western Canadian Journal of Anthropology (1969), there was no place for major research or publication. It was esentially during the post 1890 period that the knowlege, so common to the frontier residents, came to be neglected and lost. The growing population did have the advantage that there was now a greater interest in history, which to some degree spilled over into pre-settlement history, permitting for the publication of some of early journals and some actual synthesis and popular histories by some amateur historians (MacGregor, MacEwan, Hamilton). Unfortunately these works are often biased by some strong cultural and racial prejudices--likely unsupectedly--that come out in these works, which automatically raises the hackles of anthropolgists. Even the noted historian, A.S. Morton, comes out with statements such as Those were brave men and masterly who faced these perils, maintaining their suppremacy over swarms of savages... (Morton 1929) Even so, they are head and shoulders above some academic histories. Hill, in THE OPENING OF THE CANADIAN WEST, devotes 20 pages to the history of the west prior to 1811, in which the Cree are mentioned 4 times. The history is largely a compilation of hearsay and his own and other's opinions; it largely promulgates existing stereotypes, myths, misconceptions and generalizations--the Indians were largely "bloodthirsty" and usually on the verge of (undated) "general uprisings", the H.B.Co. was invariably good, if patriarchal, the free traders invariably opportunistic scoundrels who debauched the Indians, and the Cree and Blackfoot invariably at war. Nowhere is there recourse to primary sources, and all is based on secondary or tertiary sources, often taking single anecdotes raised by these sources and generalizing them into being the norm. As history it is at best marginal within the framework of our study. In Stanley's opus, THE BIRTH OF WESTERN CANADA--the be-all and end- all authority on Western Canadian History--western Canadian history starts with the 1870 Riel Rebellion. There was no western history to speak of before the takeover and invasion of the west by Canada and the concomitant influx of settlers from Ontario. McNaught's THE PELICAN HISTORY OF CANADA mentions the Cree not at all. William's 1943 guide to Banff National Park area--still used as a major source of information, blithely stated that The war-like Blackfeet were the first plain dwellers to obtain firearms from the white men and with these they drove their ancient enemies, the Assiniboines, or "Stonies", farther and farther west, until finally the Stonies were forced into the first defiles of the mountains in search of shelter and game. (Williams 1963:23) It is, in fact, wrong on all counts, as we will see. Such is the state of Canada's study of Indian (and indeed, Western Canadian) history. Throughout this work an effort has been made to provide a standardized spelling for Cree words. The Cree language is not standardized and tends to be highly dialectic, with virtually each community having different idiosyncracies. Foreign words have crept in to create French-Cree or English-Cree version of the major dialects, further confounded by local colloquial usages, slang and slurs. To overcome this, I have tried to apply the 'High Cree' version to existing linguistic usage (9). For transposition purposes, I have chosen to utilized the system as developed at Saddle Lake by Mrs. Mathilda Brerretton in the 1970's, which is based on the syllabic alphabet developed by Rev. J. Evans in the 1830's (10), and based on the Plains Cree dialect. While this does not adequately address the dialectic variations found throughout the Cree range, it does have the advantage of some standardization in spelling. (11) An effort has also been made herein to use the tribal names currently preferred by the different tribal groups. As these may not be readily familiar to most readers, the following guide is provided: Atsina Gros Ventre Indians, Montana Gros Ventre Blackfoot Blackfeet Indians--the form preferred by the Canadian Blackfoot tribes. Derived from the name indiginous of the Blackfoot Tribe and Blackfoot Confederacy, Siksika, "Black Foot", being the singular form. It has recently been re-adopted by the (formerly) Blackfeet Tribe of Montana. Deh Cho Tine Slave/Slavey Indians. Formerly also called Etchareotinne. Dene "People", preferred name of the Chipewyan, includes several subdivisions, including E Theneldeli Desne Dene Ka De Thilan Wo Tine The appropriation of the name Dene by the Chipewyan Indians is not appreciated by other Denean speaking peoples, who also use the name Dene or Tine as part of their National name. Dene Tha Slavey Indians, specifically the branch of the Deh Cho Tine living in north- western alberta. "Beaver People" or "Ordinary People" (Ahnassey 2004:p.c.). Includes Bistcho Nigo Tinne. They do not like to be referred to as Slave or Slavey and consider themselves more closely related to the TZA TINE. Innu Montagnais and Naskapi Indians Inuit Eskimo Kainai Blood Tribe of the Blackfoot Klodese Wo Tine A division of the Deh Cho Indians Ktunaxa Kutenai (Kootenay) Metis Canadians of part Indian ancestry Nakoda Assiniboin Indians, Stoney Indians Piikani Peigan Tribe of the Blackfoot Siksika The Siksika tribe of the Blackfoot Soto Saulteaux Indians, a branch of the Chippewa Indians; Plains Chippewa Tli Cho Tine Dogrib Indians Tsuu T'Ina Sarcee Indians, "Beaver People" Tza Tine Beaver Indians, "Beaver People" Tza Deh "Beaver" a no longer existing people.
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