(Cree: Bear Hills)
|Name change||January 1, 2014|
|• Land||0.23 km2 (0.09 sq mi)|
|Population and land area are of the designated place portion of the community only.|
Maskwacis //, known as Hobbema // prior to 2014, is an unincorporated community in central Alberta, Canada, a portion of which is designated a hamlet within Ponoka County. A portion of the community is also recognized as a designated place by Statistics Canada under its previous name of Hobbema. Maskwacis is located near the intersection of Highway 2A and Highway 611, approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) south of the City of Edmonton.
The area was originally known as Maskwacis and Father Constantine Scollen always referred to it as "Bear Hills" when he attempted to re-establish a Catholic mission there, in late 1884 and 1885, around the time that he and Chief Bobtail succeeded in persuading the young men not to join the "Riel Rebellion," of that year. It was named Hobbema after Meindert Hobbema during the construction of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway in 1891. The community, including the hamlet portion within Ponoka County, was renamed Maskwacis (meaning "bear hills" in Cree) on January 1, 2014.
The community has an employment centre, health board and college.
The community straddles the boundaries between the Ermineskin Cree Nation reserve, the Samson Cree Nation reserve and Ponoka County. The northern portion of the community is located within the Ermineskin reserve on the west side of Highway 2A. The southern portion of the community is located within the Samson reserve on the east side of Highway 2A and north side of Highway 611. The remaining portion of the community is located within Ponoka County on the west side of Highway 2A across from the Samson reserve portion of the community and south of the Ermineskin portion of the community.
Maskwacis is primarily a First Nation community that serves four reserves of Cree First Nation band governments. The four reserves are collectively known as the "four nations", which are party to Treaty Six. In addition to the previously mentioned Ermineskin Cree Nation and Samson Cree Nation, the other two members of the "four nations" are the Louis Bull First Nation and the Montana First Nation.
Despite the designated place portion of Maskwacis having a population of 61 people living in 17 total dwellings in the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada reported the designated place had no population and no dwellings in the 2011 Census. The designated place has a land area of 0.23 km2 (0.089 sq mi).
The population of the "four nations" that surround Maskwacis was 7,582 in the 2011 Census, including 1,874 living on the Ermineskin 138 IR, 1,309 on the Louis Bull 138B IR, 653 on the Montana 139 IR and 3,746 on the Samson 137 IR.
The community has attracted national media attention in Canada for its problems with crime and gangs. In attempt to cut down on crime, the Hobbema Cadet Corp was established with the goal of keeping children as young as eight years old off the streets.
Education and culture
The community is home to Maskwachees Cultural College.
It was once home to Ermineskin Indian Residential School.
CHOB-TV is a television station in Maskwacis.
Award-winning country singer Shane Yellowbird is from Maskwacis.
Briar Stewart made an award-winning documentary, "Journey to Jamaica", about a group of cadets from Maskwacis.
W. P. Kinsella wrote a number of short stories which were set in what was then called Hobbema, including the collections Dance Me Outside, The Fencepost Chronicles, Brother Frank's Gospel Hour, and The Secret of the Northern Lights. The stories "met with controversy from some critics who objected to Kinsella's appropriation of Native voice and what they saw as stereotype-based humour."
- "County Council Meeting (minutes)" (PDF). Ponoka County. September 3, 2013. p. 2. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and designated places, 2011 and 2006 censuses (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. January 30, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- "Specialized and Rural Municipalities and Their Communities" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. December 31, 2013. p. 13. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- "Samson Cree First Nation plans for name change". CTV News. December 26, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- Cryderman, Kelly (December 27, 2013). "Hobbema to mark community’s name change with New Year’s Eve festivities". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and designated places, 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. January 6, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. January 13, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
- "Hobbema, Alberta: A town in a 'state of crisis'", National Post, 5 April 2008
- "Former Hobbema gang member hopes to make difference". CBC News. May 15, 2008.
- "Gunfire rings through Hobbema", Edmonton Journal, 17 April 2008
- "Pê Sâkâstêw Centre". Correctional Service Canada. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
- McDonald, Barry (July 12, 2012). "Pow Wow in Hobbema". Pipestone Flyer. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- Besner, Neil. "William Patrick Kinsella". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 3, 2014.