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Big Bear's Reserve


Location of this Ojibway Reserve is Alberta and Saskatchewan. Below is a map of Big Bears Reserve, links to google earth photos of Makwa Sahgaiehcan (Bear Reservior) and Demographics of this Reserve. Originally there was a large Ojibway Reserve located along Battle River and North Saskatchewan River in Saskatchewan managed by Battleford Agency. Original name of this Reserve was either Battleford Ojibway Reserve or Fort Balltleford Ojibway Reserve. Chiefs Big Bear, Rocky Boy and Sitting Bull came up from Montana in 1876-1877. Chief Big Bear agreed to relocate from the Cypress Hills to a location near Fort Pitt or where his Reserve (Onion Lake Reserve which I have named Big Bears Reserve) is today. First Nations not affiliated with Battleford Reserve and Big Bears Reserve, were placed under this Battleford Agency's management in and after 1885. First agent for original Battleford Reserve was appointed in January 1877. Battleford Reserve of this time, is not the same Battleford Reserve from the 1870's and 1880's. Moosomin and Thunderchild were a part of the current Battleford Reserve until they were forced to Jackfish Lake in 1909. Some Ojibway's from Montana led by chief Rocky Boy, were among them. Some became non status or stragglers. Big Bears Reserve was created from Battleford Ojibway Reserve after 1885's Northwest Rebellion. Original Battleford Ojibway Reserve had a land area of 10,000s of square miles. In the early 20th century, Island Lake and Makwa Sahgaiehcan were added to this Reserve. It also includes Elizabeth Metis Settlement and Fishing Lake Metis Settlement. First Nations affiliated with original Battleford Reserve include these:



Apischamoose: 1880 - Amalgamated with Moosomin
Big Bear: ? - Highest Ranking Leader (part of the current Big Bears Reserve)
Cold Lake: 1876 - (part of the current Big Bears Reserve)
Grizzly Bears Head: 1882 - Amalgamated with Mosquito
Keeheewin: 1876 - (part of the current Big Bears Reserve)
Lean Man: 1882 - Absorbed by Mosquito
Little Pine: 1879
Lucky Man: 1879 - Possibly chief Big Bear agreeing to a Reserve along Battle River
Moosomin: 1879
Mosquito: 1878 - Amalgamated by Grizzly Bears Head
Nipahase: 1883 - Absorbed by Thunderchild
Ooneepowhayo (Frog Lake): 1876 - (part of the current Big Bears Reserve)
Paymootayahsoos (Don't Know About Them): 1877
Poundmaker: 1880
Puskeahkeewenin (Frog Lake): 1878 - (part of the current Big Bears Reserve)
Red Pheasant: 1876
Saulteaux: 1934 - Stragglers from Thunderchild led by chief Big Bear that refused to Cede Reserve land
Seekaskootch: 1876 - (part of the current Big Bears Reserve)
Stragglers: 1885 - Stragglers with Poundmaker and Sweetgrass that refused to Cede Reserve land (must be listed with Saulteaux)
Stragglers: 1885 - Stragglers with Little Poplar (must be listed with Saulteaux)
Sweet Grass: 1876
Sweetgrass: 1877
Thunderchild: 1880
Thunder Companion: 1876
Weemistikooseahwasis (Onion Lake): 1878 - (part of the current Big Bears Reserve)
Young Chipewyan: 1876 - Absorbed by Thunderchild

Canoe Lake: Put under agency management in 1933
English River: Put under agency management in 1933
Meadow Lake: Put under agency management in 1905
Peter Pond Lake: Put under agency management in 1933
Portage La Loche: Put under agency management in 1933
Waterhen Lake: Put under agency management in 1921

After 1885's Northwest Rebellion, many Ojibway's led by chiefs Big Bear and Rocky Boy, fled back to their native Montana. Chief Big Bear may have been with them. Chief Lucky Man (aka Papaway) supposedly signed Treaty in 1879 for chief Big Bears Band. Below is an excerpt from a 1902 newspaper article about chief Rocky Boy in conflict in Montana with chief Papawee who was probably chief Big Bear. Ojibway leaders settled the civil unrest by electing chief Rocky Boy highest ranking leader. Chief Big Bear had finally moved all his Ojibway Subjects north of North Saskatchewan River or to near Fort Pitt, by 1879. He kept his promise and signed treaty that set aside vast Ojibway Reserves adjacent to and north of North Saskatchewan River and Saskatchewan River. Canada possibly started negotiating with chief Big Bear about ceding Reserve land as early as 1879. White leaders were like that. It was common not too long after Reserves had been set aside, to have white leaders return requesting Reserve land. Chief Big Bear constantly refused. White settlers in the region, complained about their hunger for land and in 1884 or 1885, they contacted Louis Riel who was in Montana helping establish white settlements, about establishing white settlements within the vast Ojibway Reserves in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It led to 1885's Northwest Rebellion and Riel's execution for causing the war.



After 1885's War, the vast Ojibway Reserves located adjacent to and north of North Saskatchewan River and Saskatchewan River, were broken up into smaller Reserves. One is Battleford Reserve which is located along Battle River and North Saskatchewan River in Saskatchewan. Another is Big Bears Reserve which is located north of North Saskatchewan River in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Though Beaver Lake, Blue Quill, Heart Lake, James Seenum, Lac La Biche, Saddle Lake and Wahsatenow were within Edmonton Reserve, they are too close to chief Big Bears Reserve. We might want to include them as being within Big Bears Reserve. Edmonton Reserve was located in central Alberta. I'm not certain if it extended to near original Battleford Reserve. Land around Edmonton is rich agriculture land. However, the Beaver Hills which are almost adjacent to Edmonton on Edmonton's east, was definitely Reserve land. Battleford Reserve is not as near as large as Big Bears Reserve.





Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road

Makwa Sahgaiehcan From Road





Demographics of Big Bear's Reserve

Land Area: 2,100 sq. mi. or 5,439 sq. km. (estimate)

Population: 8,616 (2016 census)

Language: Corrupted Ojibway

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