A little history of Western Canada
Poundmaker, a Cree chief had his reservation very near where I grew up on the farm. He was known as a great speaker and considered a very good looking man.
As his people were starving on the reservation he willingly joined in the rebellion. The people in the town of Battleford all fled to Fort Battleford for protection when Poundmaker left his reservation. He didn’t appear to want to join the Rebellion but he took his people into the town of Battleford and ransacked the town looking for food to feed his people. Like Big Bear, he did not go to Batoche to help the Metis.
Poundmaker was also hung in Regina for treason. There are many questions now as to whether he really committed the crime or just found a method to get some food.
History in the Canadian West.
As a child I found the natives with their nomadic lives spoke to me clearly as a life of true freedom. I realized when I got older that they too, followed rules, but it never seemed to be so many as we have now. I grew up on a farm surrounded by four reservations in Northern Saskatchewan. I went to school with, played with and had native friends. I often feel that if we had integrated instead of making reservations Canada wouldn’t be having the problems they are now. But that’s my opinion and it’s too late to change the past anyway.
The Cree were the largest groups and occupied most of Saskatchewan and northern Alberta. Like all other nomadic tribes, they roamed around, following buffalo herds. In southern Alberta were a group of tribes – which we called the Blackfoot Confederacy. They were the Niitsítapi (meaning “original people”). Knowing no borders they roamed and ruled the area of southern Alberta and a large portion of Montana.
For a better understanding of lives long ago on the plains, I suggest visiting Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump in southern Alberta. It is an extensive, great interpretation of Native living and culture.
Today, Waterton/Glacier Park covers part of Montana and part of Alberta. In 1932, the United States and Canada joined together to create the world’s first International Peace Park: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Besides being proud of our two countries that created this, does anyone know of the influence the Blackfoot Confederacy had in its’ creation?