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Beaver tipi in winter near Peace River Alberta - NA-1315-23.jpg
Dane-zaa tipi in winter near Peace River, Alberta, 1899
Regions with significant populations
English, Danezaa
Christianity, Animism
Related ethnic groups
Tsuu T'ina
Dane-zaa (Beaver) chief and family, Peace River area Alberta, 1899
Dane-zaa (Beaver) women and children in front of their tipi, 1899

The Dane-zaa (ᑕᓀᖚ, also spelled Dunneza, or Tsattine, and historically often referred to as the Beaver tribe by Europeans) are a First Nations people of the Athabaskan-speaking ethnolinguistic group. Their traditional territory is around the Peace River of the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. About 1,000 Dane-zaa are living today in British Columbia and perhaps half speak the Danezaa language, and around 2,000 live in Alberta.


Prior to 1800 the Dane-zaa inhabited lands further east, near the Athabaska and Clearwater rivers, and north to Lake Athabaska, as well as territory north of the upper Peace River. Recent archaeological evidence establishes that the area of Charlie Lake north of Fort St John has been continuously occupied for 10,500 years by varying cultures of indigenous peoples.

In the late 18th century, European Canadians opened the Peace River area to fur trading. The Cree, a powerful people to the east of the Dane-zaa, had become highly dependent on the European goods and the maintenance of a trade monopoly with North West Company traders (the Northwest Company later amalgamated with the Hudson's Bay Company). The Scots-Canadian explorer Alexander Mackenzie established Rocky Mountain Fort at the mouth of the Moberly River in 1794. sometime this is called a dunnea.

A post journal of 1799-1800 mentions people trading at the post who can be identified as the ancestors of members of the former Fort St John Band, now the Doig River and Blueberry River First Nations. Oral history collected from elders at Doig confirms that the ancestors of present Dane-zaa families were in the upper Peace River area prior to first contact by Alexander Mackenzie in 1793. Traders provisioned their expeditions with bison meat and grease collected by the Dane-zaa in their hunting on the rich prairies of the upper Peace River area. By the time the Hudson's Bay Company took over the North West Company in 1823, bison had become commercially extinct.

For many years the Dane-zaa have followed the teachings and songs of their "Dreamers," who first predicted the coming of the Europeans. The last Dreamer, Charlie Yahey, died in 1976. The Dane-zaa of Fort St John took an adhesion to Treaty 8 in 1900. Today they continue to have a vibrant cultural and economic presence in the North Peace area.

Danezaa governments[edit]

Treaty 8 Tribal Association[edit]

Treaty 8 Tribal Association members:[1]

North Peace Tribal Council (NPTC)[edit]

North Peace Tribal Council members:[5]

Western Cree Tribal Council[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Treaty 8 Tribal Association Communities
  2. ^ Doig River First Nation
  3. ^ Halfway River First Nation
  4. ^ Saulteau First Nations
  5. ^ North Peace Tribal Council (NPTC)
  6. ^ http://www.aboriginal.alberta.ca/documents/MetisSettlement_FirstNation_Profile.pdf