Rocky Boy Tribe
Chippewa Indians of
Saulteaux First Nation of Saskatchewan
It is very difficult to learn about the correct history of the Jackfish Lake Saulteaux of Saskatchewan, because white historians have a tendency to lie about their history and often use Cree to identify them. In 1876, chiefs Big Bear and Sitting Bull, led 10,000's of Montana Ojibway's to Alberta's and Saskatchewan's Cypress Hills where they settled. Chief Big Bear was quick to reach Treaty Six negotiations in August of 1876. He had just been involved in serious battles against American's invading Montana and was forced to lead he subjects north into Canada. He first visited Fort Walsh in late June or early July of 1876 or shortly after Battle of Little Big Horn, then quickly proceeded to Fort Carlton, which is 275 miles or 442.5 kilometers northeast of Fort Walsh.
According to chief Big Bears son Little Bear, his father chief Big Bear, was biggest chief in Canada and he belonged to the American side or lived in the United States. He told whites that in December of 1913 at Lewistown, Montana. His talk with whites in Lewistown, was reported in the Tuesday December 30, 1913 Fergus County Democrat. Little Bear did not like chief Rocky Boy. According to William Morris, who negotiated Treaty Six on behalf of Canada, chief Big Bear or The Big Bear as he named him, tried taking the lead in the council or act on behalf of all Indians who were there. He formerly lived at Jack Fish Lake and was considered by whites to be hostile. Morris didn't like chief Big Bear and the Saulteaux or Ojibway's he led. He considered the Saulteaux Ojibway's to be very hostile. Chief Big Bear left his native Montana refusing to cede his vast Montana Reservation. Chief Rocky Boy continued to honor chief Big Bears commentment to honor the treaty that established Piegan Reservation (aka Blackfeet Reservation). Chief Big Bear did arrive in time for Treaty Six negotiations yet told Morris he could not sign treaty because his subjects were yet in the Cypress Hills region and probably very agitated.
He told Morris he would sign Treaty Six in 1877 or when his subjects could migrate north with him. He possibly signed an adhesion to Treaty Six in 1877. Chief Big Bear's subjects agreed to migrate north of Fort Pitt. It took some time for this migration. Fort Pitt is 265 miles or 426.5 kilometers north of Fort Walsh. Thus, why it took a long time for Montana Ojibway Refugees to migrate north of Fort Pitt which is north of Saskatchewan River (aka North Saskatchewan River). All land north of Saskatchewan River was Ojibway land. That was agreed upon when the Ojibway Nation led by chief Big Bear, signed Treaty Six in 1877 with Canada. Chief Big Bear was already familiar with Jackfish Lake and the immediate surrounding region. His Saulteaux Ojibway subjects expanded north, east and west, after reaching Fort Pitt. Their closest kinfolk in that part of Saskatchewan were the Willow Crees who are really the Willow Ojibway's. They were rather hostile during treaty Six negotiations. They lived on land Canada wanted in 1876. That be land south of South Saskatchewan River or most of southwest Saskatchewan. Morris wrote that the Willow Crees were under the influence of a wandering band of Saulteaux Ojibway's. He meant chief Big Bear. To shorten this history, those Ojibway People native to Saskatchewan who lived south of South Saskatchewan River, ceded land then migrated north of South Saskatchewan River or to Ojibway Reserves in southeast Saskatchewan.
Chief Big Bear may have favored the Kehewin or Frog Lake region. Howewver, his Saulteaux Ojibway subjects lived where they pleased, north of Saskatchewan River. In December of 1882, Canada once again could not control their greed. They demanded land north of South Saskatchewan River. Chief Big Bear was not pleased about these white land thiefs and how they constantly violated or broke treaty agreements. He may have agreed to land cessions in December of 1882, because his subjects were in agreement to cede that land. We know whites to be notorious liars. In early 1885, chief Big Bear learned of news relating to his large Saulteaux Ojibway Reserve, north of Saskatchewan River, being reduced in size illegally and reacted by protesting Canada's refusal to honor treaty. Chief Big Bears Soldiers demanded to fight. However, chief Big Bear was initially reluctant to fight. His military commanders were in agreement with their soldiers which meant chief Big Bear had to fight. His Saulteaux Ojibway Reserve or Reserves, north of Saskatchewan River, were as many as three yet probably only one. It or they, was located north of Saskatchewan River in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Or as Canadian historians have written, chief Big Bear requested for a large Reserve or Reserves which were connected.
In Alberta, it included Beaver Lake, Blue Quill, Cold Lake, Frog Lake, Heart Lake, Kehewin, Saddle Lake and White Fish Lake. In Saskatchewan, it included Ahtahkakoop, Big Island, Big River, Flying Dust, Jackfish Lake Saulteaux Ojibway's, Makwa Sahgaiehcan (location of last battle of 1885's Northwest Rebellion), Ministikwan, Mistawasis, Moosomin, Muskeg Lake, Pelican Lake, Thunderchild, Waterhen Lake and Witchekan Lake. Most Saulteaux Ojibway's settled in Saskatchewan, north of Saskatchewan River. If this Saulteaux Ojibway Reserve was one instead of several, it extended from north of Prince Albert, west into Alberta, north of Edmonton. A distance of 320 miles or 515 kilometers. We know Saulteaux Ojibway's settled in Alberta. Chief Big Bear and chief Rocky Boy (it wasn't chief Little Bear because he formed an alliance with American's in 1876) were very active between Lac la Biche and Frog Lake, during 1885's Northwest Rebellion.
We know Jackfish Lake including Moosomin, Makwa Sahgaiehcan, Ministikwan and Onion Lake (location of two of 1885's Northwest Rebellion Battles), Pelican Lake, Thunderchild, Waterhen Lake and Witchekan Lake are Saulteaux Ojibways from history books. We can include Ahtahkakoop, Big River, Mistawasis and Muskeg River because we know chief Big Bear ordered his soldiers to attack the Fort Carlton region including the white town of Batoche. However, at those four Reserves, they refuse to identify as being Ojibway.
The Saulteaux Tribe of the Battlefords District
They are known for not taking treaty. To put it bluntly, they continued to honor treaty. They are those Saulteaux Ojibways led by chief Big Bear who dispersed after 1885's Northwest Rebellion. Fort Battleford or Battleford as it's known today, was a boundary in the 1880's. Saskatchewan River is the actual boundary. Battleford is located south of Saskatchewan River, while North Battleford is located north of Saskatchewan River. Both communities are adjacent to Saskatchewan River yet distinct. Historically, the Saulteaux Ojibway's of the Battlefords District are known as the Jackfish Lake Saulteaux Ojibway's, Pelican Lake Saulteaux Ojibway's (aka Chitek Lake Saulteaux Ojibway's), and Witchekan Lake Saulteaux Ojibway's. They also include the Sunchild Saulteaux Ojibway's who may live in Alberta adjacent to the O'Chiese Saulteaux Ojibway's or, yet live in Saskatchewan. They were set aside land adjacent to Witchekan Lake in 1915 which means they are more closely related to the Witchekan Lake Saulteaux Ojibway's.
1906: Saulteaux Ojibway's Request For Reserve
In 1906, Ojibway People living around Jackfish Lake, are convinced whites will not honor treaty and making matters worse, those whites were invading their large Reserve. Ojibway leaders at Jackfish Lake, acted on behalf of all Saulteaux Ojibway People living throughout their vast Reserve which is mainly located in Saskatchewan, with a smaller portion being in adjacent Alberta.Witchekan Lake Ojibway's requested for a Reserve in 1909. Other Saulteaux Ojibway's included Ministikwan. They were recognized by Canada in 1909 and given a Reserve in 1911. They were supposedly originally from Onion Lake. Thus, why we have to include Onion Lake. Not just that yet many Montana Ojibway's led by chief Rocky Boy (it's wasn't chief Little Bear), were being relocated to Onion Lake after 1905. That could be why Jackfish Lake Saulteaux Ojibway leaders requested for Reserves in 1906. Then Big Island is another location. Chief of Big Island Joseph Bighead, signed treaty in 1913. And Makwa Sahgaiehcan which received a Reserve in 1916. Waterhen Lake is yet another. They signed treaty in 1913. These late adhesion signings to Treaty 6 are the focal point. They didn't sign treaty because they in fact signed Treaty 6 in the 1870's. They continued to honor treaty. When they signed adhesions to a fake Treaty 6, they were actually signing a treaty that eradicated their vast Reserve. We don't recognize those treaty signings that illegally eradicated this vast Ojibway Reserve. And we understand many Montana Ojibway's led by chief Rocky Boy (it wasn't chief Little Bear), were forced to relocate to Onion Lake Reserve after 1905. They are just important as those Saulteaux Ojibway People who were native to that region of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
These Ojibway People were known for being especially hostile and independent. They refused to take treaty or were led by chief Big Bear. In the early 20th century, Ojibway leaders in the Jackfish Lake region became alarmed after white invaders commenced showing up at their land. Jackfish Lake is 16 miles or 26 kilometers north of North Battleford. In 1909, Jackfish Lake Saulteaux Ojibway leaders including from Moosomin including Thunderchild, agreed to accept a Reserve at Jackfish Lake which covered 9,045 acres. This is what caused the establishment of these Saulteaux Ojibway Reserves. However, most continued to refuse to sign treaty. Those Saulteaux Ojibway's living in the Witchekan Lake region also received Reserve land. According to their leader chief Kaykaykeesic, who wrote to James McKay in October of 1912, his subjects were hunters who had lived in that region for around 40 years. They never took treaty or to put it correctly, they continued to honor treaty. He was concerned about whites invading his land. He thought it was wise to get a Reserve at Witchekan Lake. After chief Kaykaykeesic died in 1918, these Ojibway People had leaders given them by Canada who started to claim they were Cree. Thus, the reason why we have this Cree infusion to deal with.
Before 1918, the Saulteaux Ojibways of the Battlefords District were very numerous. Far more than an estimated population of 293 reported in 1911. They include besides the Jackfish Lake Saulteaux Ojibways, the Pelican Lake Saulteaux Ojibways, Witchekan Lake Saulteaux Ojibways and Sunchild Saulteaux Ojibways. The Big River Reserve must be included because the Pelican Lake Saulteaux Ojibway's were led by the leader of Big River First Nation in 1902. He was chief Kenemotayoo. They shared the same Reserve in 1902, which is Big River Reserve. It means we have to include Ahtahkakoop, Mistawasis and Muskeg Lake. They were eager to sign Treaty 6 because they were confident Canada would stay south of Saskatchewan River. Big River Reserve including Ahtahkakoop, Mistawasis and Muskeg Lake are located north of Saskatchewan River.
Sunchild (Jackfish Lake) District
Their district commences at Jackfish Lake and extends north to Thunderchild then to Flying Dust then to Waterhen Lake then to Big Island. It includes to it's west, Makwa Sahgaiehcan, Ministikwan, Onion Lake, Frog Lake and two Metis Reserves. They are Elizabeth and Fishing Lake. On their east is the Witchekan Lake Saulteaux Ojibway District. Most of the Sunchild Saulteaux Ojibway District is covered by a forest and lakes. Sunchild was another of chief Rocky Boy's names.
Witchekan Lake District
Their district commences at Sylvander Lake which is where Sunchild was added to Witchekan Lake in 1915. It extends north to include Pelican Lake (aka Chitek Lake) then to Green Lake. To it's east are Ahtahkakoop, Big River, Mistawasis and Muskeg Lake. Since there is a connection between Pelican Lake and Big River, we have to include Ahtahkakoop, Big River, Mistawasis and Muskeg Lake. Most of their land is covered by a forest and lakes.
According to 2016's census, Saulteaux First Nation has a population of 499. They have two communities. Main one is located near Jackfish Lake. It has a population of 473. At Birch Lake or Ga-mi Wig-wass or Lake Birch, their population is 26. At Moosomin, which is adjacent to Saulteaux Reserve, their population according to 2016's census, is 724. Their combined population is 1,223 according to 2016's census. It does not include their off-Reserve population.
Map of the Saulteaux Jackfish Lake Reserve