Saddle Lake Cree Nation
Saddle Lake Cree Nation is an Amiskwacīwiyiniwak (Beaver Hills Cree) division of the Plains Cree, speaking the Plains Cree language, located in central Alberta. The Nation is a signatory to Treaty 6. In June 2013, the Nation reported a population of 9,934 people, of which 6,148 people lived on their own Reserve. Their reported population size makes Saddle Lake the second most populous First Nation in Alberta (after the Kainai Nation aka the Blood people).
In 1876, the Amiskwacīwiyiniwak entered into a treaty relationship with Canada through Treaty 6. Chief Onchaminahos ("Little Hunter") for the Saddle Lake Band of Cree, and Chief Pakân ("Nut") for Whitefish Lake Band of Cree represented the ancestors of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation at Fort Pitt, Alberta. Ancestors of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation were a loose confederation of Cree and Assiniboine peoples. In 1902, four historical Cree Bands were amalgamated as the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. The four Cree Bands were:
- Onchaminahos' Band, lead by Chief Onchaminahos ("Little Hunter"; a.k.a. Thomas Hunter);
- Seenum's Band, lead by Chief Pakân ("Nut", a.k.a. James Seenum);
- Blue Quill's Band, lead by Chief Blue Quill; and
- Wasatnow's Band, lead by Chief Muskegwatic ("Bear Ears").
However, the amalgamation process wasn't fully completed until 1953 when the treaty pay lists of the Little Hunter's, James Seenum's and Blue Quill's Bands were merged.
There are three reserves under the governance of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, one of which is shared with five other bands:
- 96.20 hectares (238 acres) Blue Quills First Nation Indian Reserve, formerly known as the "Blue Quill Indian Reserve 127", shared with five other bands (see article)
- 25,780.60 hectares (63,705 acres) Saddle Lake Indian Reserve 125, containing the community of Saddle Lake, Alberta
- 4,542.70 hectares (11,225 acres) White Fish Lake Indian Reserve 128; the reserve is also known as "Whitefish Lake Indian Reserve 128" or as "Goodfish Lake Indian Reserve 128", and occasionally as "Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake Indian Reserve 128"
Originally, Chief Muskegwatic had also reserved Washatanow (or Hollow Hill Creek) Indian Reserve 126 along the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River. However, this Reserve was surrendered in 1896 in exchange for an equal area of land adjoining Saddle Lake Indian Reserve 125, known today as the "Cache Lake Addition" of the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve 125. Blue Quill Indian Reserve 127 was originally reserved for the use by the Blue Quill's Band, but in 1896, a boarding school (Sacred Heart Indian Residential School, commonly called the "Saddle Lake Boarding School") was relocated from Lac la Biche, Alberta, to the Blue Quill Indian Reserve, and the Band relocated to the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve. In 1931, Blue Quill Indian Reserve 127 became a shared Reserve when the boarding school relocated to St. Paul, Alberta.
Saddle Lake Cree Nation elect their officials through a Custom Electoral System. Additionally, this Cree Nation maintains two groups of elected officials:
Saddle Lake Cree Nation
Saddle Lake Cree Nation on the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve have elected Chief Briar Moosewah, and Councillors Herb Cardinal, Terry Cardinal, Charlene Houle-White, Shannon Houle, John Large, John Shirt, Dennis Steinhauer, and G. Jason Whiskeyjack. Their three-year term began on 06/19/2013.
Whitefish Lake First Nation
Saddle Lake Cree Nation on the White Fish Lake Indian Reserve, governing the Reserve as the Whitefish Lake First Nation, also have elected officials. The Whitefish Lake First Nation have elected Chief James Jackson, and Councillors Leslie Cardinal, Brian Favel and Sandy Jackson. Their three-year term began on 11/27/2011.
- Official site of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation
- Official site of the Whitefish Lake First Nation
- Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's profile of Saddle Lake Cree Nation
- Profile of White Fish Lake 128 from Northeast Alberta Information HUB Alliance