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Peace, war, and climate change on the northern plains: bison hunting in the Neutral Hills during the mild winters of 1830-34.

A spate of mild winters in the early 1830s disrupted the migrations of bison in the northern Plains, seriously challenging the hunting and subsistence strategies of the region's Native peoples and forcing adjustments in how they allocated resources among themselves. In the Neutral Hills complex in present-day Alberta, a location where bison congregated during these mild winters, the Niitsitapi (the Blackfoot People), Cree, Plains Ojibwa and Nakoda joined camps and coordinated their bison hunting despite the fact that the Cree alliance and the Blackfoot were at war at the time. In such circumstances, they undoubtedly reanimated critical flows of ritual and oral traditions, and responded to one with another in meaningful ways. These exchanges occurred during a relatively brief moment in time and at a specific, spiritually significant, place. After the colder winters returned, the same groups would again separate to pursue interests within their territories and re-engage in warfare one with another. Yet from 1830-1834, a cooperative encounter had reaffirmed strategies of resource allocation among the many bands that relied on them.

An analysis of these years allows a nuanced rethinking of J.R. Miller's periodization of Native-Newcomer interactions. He conceptualized the fur trade era as one being shaped by the accommodations made among Aboriginal people with newcomers. (1) As had been the case in the eastern woodlands, the fur trade expanding into the western plains would not have found entry "without Indian tolerance of and cooperation with the English" and other Europeans. (2) Scholars subsequently providing more detail of Aboriginal participation in the fur trade, however, implicitly challenged the view of an Aboriginal cultural continuity and cooperation among people in the era. Changing tribal alliances, greater firepower in the gun trade, the impact of horses, and more bloody warfare in the context of the "buffalo" and "horse wars" of the period shaped Aboriginal relations one with another, and with newcomers. (3) One of the key changes in the early nineteenth-century was the rupture of the "northern coalition" that had earlier developed between Cree, Assiniboine, and Blackfoot to facilitate horse and European goods exchange. As direct European trade opened in the western regions of the plains, eastern Cree found themselves marginalized in European trading. Eastern areas of the plains were particularly "horse poor," with herds perennially thinned by the severity of the winter weather. Eastern Cree and Nakoda, with now fewer exchange opportunities with Blackfoot-speaking people, raided Atsina and Mandan for horses. By the early nineteenth century, "horse warfare" by the Eastern Cree, Nakoda, and Plains Ojibwa targeted Blackfoot allies, sparking conflict between the Blackfoot and these horse raiders. (4) In light of such observations, Gerhard Ens suggested that the "view of the fur trade as a 'Peaceable Kingdom' can only be maintained by ignoring the Canadian plains and parklands through much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries." He argued that, "[h]ere, Aboriginal groups battled each other for trade advantages, made all the more bloody by the introduction of firearms; European fur companies competed fiercely, and Aboriginals and Europeans both fought and traded with each other on a ground made bloody by competing and often divergent interests." (5)

While not diminishing the importance of such changing trade relations, it seems beneficial to return to Miller's understanding of an Aboriginal cooperative encounter, both among Aboriginal people themselves and with newcomers in the context of the fur trade. Miller suggested that an entire suite of Aboriginal worldviews, rituals, and interests resonated in the context of the fur trade era. (6) That perspective has been supported in numerous ethno-historical and archaeological studies. The placement of fur trade posts at traditional rendez-vous points linked by related river and path systems, for example, seems to have supported rather than contravened a larger "Cree social geography." (7) Despite the pace of technological change and the development of equestrian warfare, elements of pre-contact life, especially seasonal rounds, were not replaced as much as animated again in the contact era. (8) Furthermore, whatever can be said about the larger relations among blocs of tribal entities, bands themselves followed inclusive rather than exclusionary principles and in so doing either circumvented warfare or brought enemies into cooperation. Through kinship, bands found the means to link themselves together. Historian Theodore Binnema, then, with respect to the changing alliances he describes on the plains, cautioned against an understanding of tribes as cohesive units. They were likely far more porous in terms of their membership and inclusive of outsiders. He points to the mixed bands of Crow-Shoshoni, Shoshoni-Flathead, Cree-Sarcee, Sarcee-Blood, Siksika-Assiniboine, and Assiniboine-Cree populating the Northwestern plains. (9) Historian Christina Bemdt, too, has described the Cheyenne as fully capable of incorporating outsiders into their kinship networks to act as conduits for trade and political alliances, or to facilitate peace among enemies. (10) The Cheyenne, she argues, "intermarried with Kiowa, Arapaho, Lakota, Mandan, Arikara, Americans and Mexicans," resulting in a complex layering and mixing of ethnicities "within the Cheyenne nation." (11)

While tribal nations, then, would recognize territorial boundaries one with another, their very ability to develop large bison hunting camps, especially in fall and winter, or defend their tenure in territories, forced them to camp with neighbouring tribal nations and incorporate outsiders into their communities. Especially after European infectious diseases exacted horrific demographic tolls, plains bands likely drew on their inclusive band organization and shared oral traditions to reaffirm "lawful" action and circumscribe behaviours that would reinforce alliances. In doing so, they could form multicultural or pluralistic "Iron Alliance" configurations of Cree, Nakoda, Plains Ojibwa and, eventually, Metis bands. (12) Aboriginal cooperation and negotiation with outsiders, however, likely found their meaning and power in a wider Aboriginal understanding of cooperation among humans, the land itself, and the spirit world. Cooperation among groups, even those at war, was likely only possible because bands were fully ready to share rituals with one another, usually in geographic points of great spiritual meaning or within landscapes that figured prominently in their oral cultures.

Among plains tribal nations, land tenure and worldview were inextricably linked in oral culture and ritual. Archaeologists Gerald and Joy Oetelaar have argued that the Blackfoot (Niitsitapi) world was made up of "focal points of spiritual power" requiring the observance of ritual and storytelling to maintain relationships between humans and the otherworldly figures that gave balance and life to the Niitsitapi homeland. Since their nomadic life focused on bison hunting, gathering seasonal plants and berries, and collecting medicines and ceremonial materials, the Niitsitapi moved across a well-prescribed and bounded territory. They were required to visit certain points to perform ceremonies, retell stories, and sing songs that would ensure "the continued vitality of the rocks, springs, trees and animals, and by extension, the physical and spiritual health of the entire community, both living and dead." (13) The Blackfoot thus understood their territory--which seems to have been recognized for a very long time--less as a bordered space to defend than as a place that demanded responsibility to Napi, the Blackfoot creator spirit. That responsibility implied an obligation to share with others. Beyond tending to the ecological reality of the region, then, the Blackfoot structured this world with their own spiritual practices, their practical use of fire on grasslands, and their interlinked travel pathways. Napi stories, boulder effigies, rock art, and pis'kun (bison pounds and jumps), many of which drew their meaning from Blackfoot oral traditions, circumscribed the Blackfoot world. Moreover, oral traditions were not merely related to these landforms. As Oetelaar has suggested, they were "imprinted" on the landscape and homeland of northern plains people. (14)

In Alberta, the eastern boundaries to such a Blackfoot homeland extended from areas of the North Saskatchewan to Nose Hill (just to the south of the Ribstone River, a tributary of the Battle River), through the hills along Sounding Creek and the South Saskatchewan River, to the central plains "oasis" of the Cypress Hills, and beyond into present-day Montana. (15) All the same, such a structured world was not sealed off from regions beyond it. Archaeologists recognize "core" traditional territories reaffirmed with markers and visited by delegations regularly to conduct ceremonies, and areas beyond them of wider use, overlapping with those of neighbours. (16) The Blackfoot did hunt and gather beyond their homeland. So did Cree and Nakoda. While plains nations, then, recognized their own territory and those of neighbours, they employed many means, especially through kinship relations to other nations, to share in the resources of neighbouring regions. Farther east and south, Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Arikara and Kiowa similarly shared sacred sites in the Black Hills of South Dakota. As these peoples moved into the region, they adopted the stories attached to the landscape of their predecessors. Ethnohistorian Linea Sundstrom argues that Aboriginal newcomers to Bear Butte and Bear Lodge Butte integrated rituals associated with such sites into their own practices. These people did not have to reinvent ritual in places where they expanded into or visited; the Lakota "recognized and adopted the religious traditions of those who preceded them in the area," allowing them to "reconcile old beliefs in the same territory and adopt new beliefs." (17) As Archaeologist Karl Schlesier points out, some "prominent natural sacred places might be shared with neighbouring ethnic groups," and, indeed, as groups entered into territories they sometimes moved their own rituals with them or appropriated local sacred ritual, thereby maintaining the region's vitality. (18)

Within their territory, the Blackfoot depended on bison herds that moved from foothills and Aspen parkland shelter in winter into the open plains in spring. Their long, seasonal migration in pursuit of bison was simultaneously a circuit of ritual points, herb gathering, and preparations for the penultimate, life-renewing event, the Sun Dance, on the open plains. (19) Adaptation to climatic unpredictability was hardwired into this regular, seasonal dynamic. In more northerly areas, tribal nations relied largely on herd animals as game and often specialized in a bison hunt dependent on the stronger seasonality of northern latitudes. (20) They faced significant challenges managing and directing herds of bison in periods when regular seasonal patterns were modified or when winter temperatures were too mild to drive bison, or allow them to "rise," into fescue complexes and aspen groves. Although there is debate over whether these hunters went out to move bison into their wintering areas or situated themselves in places where they could intercept them, many archaeological and historical analyses suggest that people of the Northern Great plains, especially those in the parklands-prairies and along the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies, took advantage of a relatively predictable bison migration: from summer to winter, portions of the great herds moved from the very dry (xeric) shorter grass plains to the moister (mesic) longer grass prairie, to bunch fescue grass areas and, finally, into winter shelter areas offered in aspen-grass patchy parkland areas. Once herds reached parkland areas, hunters drove portions of them toward the "pounds" they built for them. These were enclosures built from fallen trees and screens of branches to serve as corrals where animals were easily slaughtered. (21)

By the early nineteenth century, present-day Alberta often was delineated by path systems and veritably dotted by Aboriginal pounds frequently visited and reused by specific groups. Along the North Saskatchewan, Upriver or Beaver Hills Cree and bands of Stoney and Wood Assiniboine (Nakoda) returned to favoured pounds annually; the Blackfoot (Siksika), returned to areas north of the Red Deer River and North Saskatchewan; the Sarcee (Tsuu t'ina) to the lands between the Red Deer and Bow Rivers, and the Peigan (Piikani) and Blood (Kainai) to pounds along the Eastern Slopes and along valley complexes of the Red Deer River. Many groups frequented the great fescue and wooded space of the Cypress Hills.

There was, however, great fluidity in and across such areas and a host of incursions, interactions, and territorial sharing. Although there is a possibility that the Blackfoot "tolerated theft" by foreign enemies hunting in their territories, it was more likely that they would have preferred if outsiders sought permission; they would then be expected to observe Blackfoot protocols that, in turn, respected Blackfoot non-human relationships. (22) Competition for the same resources or simply warfare to exact blood in revenge made specific places a site of violence in the Blackfoot world. The Battle River was known by fur traders as the "The Fighting River" by 1790s, earning its name for the frequent clashes that occurred along its valleys between Cree and Blackfoot hunting parties. Settlers continued to use the name "Ambush Coulee" on Eyehill Creek to memorialize the massacre spot of Cree by Blackfoot. Similarly, Eto-ko-sop ("One picks berries") became noteworthy in the pioneer record as the spot where the Cree Maskepetoon and many of his male relations were killed by the Swan's band in his 1869 failed peace negotiations with the Blackfoot. (23) Father Albert Lacombe also left a memory of a spot on the Battle River where in 1865 he witnessed Pointed Cap's Cree killing dozens of Blackfoot. (24) Isaac Cowie recorded another massacre spot at the Red Ochre Hills near the South Saskatchewan River, where Blackfoot killed Cree in 1866, leaving skeletons still visible to him when he visited the spot long afterward. (25)

But the interactions between Cree and Blackfoot could move onto a different footing in specific circumstances. As Historian David Smyth has argued, Blackfoot people constantly secured accords, pacts, and peace with their many neighbours, some longer lasting, some only temporary. Their relationship with the Cree, with whom they often secured trade goods second hand in the eighteenth century, was continually marked by negotiations, temporary accords, or spates of warfare. (26)

Relations could turn, too, in changing circumstances. For example, periods of climatic uncertainty and change could interrupt the seasonal round for the Blackfoot. When winters were too mild, bison herds did not respond to environmental cues to begin "rising" off the plains in order to seek winter shelter as they usually did; consequently, the Blackfoot did not move toward the same pounding locations favoured by bands. In such circumstances, hunters had to move farther afield, to the very boundary areas of their territory and beyond. Neighbouring, "foreigner," hunting groups could also move to better locations. For the Blackfoot, one such intermediary zone constituted what became known as the Neutral Hills complex and regions to the east and north of it, effectively south of the crook in the North Saskatchewan River. In summer, these areas likely attracted many groups--whether at war or not--toward herds that were plentiful there. It was also likely to have been a rich berry and herbal gathering point. In its earliest description by European newcomers, the "Neutral Hills" were described as a frontier between otherwise warring Blackfoot and Cree hunters. In his 1857-60 expedition through the region, Captain John Palliser mapped the hills following in a north-east axis, marking them as the dividing line between Cree and Blackfoot territories. (27) Recent histories also conceptualized the area as abounding with game because it constituted a neutral buffer zone between warring Cree and Blackfoot. (28) However, the Geographic Board of Canada, using unsourced historical evidence, claimed that the "Neutral" hills constituted a frequent summer hunting location, and "the necessities of that period of the year suggested the cessation of the usual hostilities." (29) Allen Ronaghan has offered as a possibility, too, that the Neutrals region, so rich in seasonal berry patches, constituted a place where Cree and Blackfoot women were allowed to harvest berries in summer without concern. (30)

Though arising from pioneer lore and unverifiable, two "Native" oral accounts describe the neutrality of the hills in ways that are at odds with Palliser's characterization of them as a dividing line or frontier. They suggest that the area constituted a sprawling, spiritually significant place where warring entities were forced to accommodate each other. This description would be in line with understandings of "neutral" zones elsewhere on the Great Plains where peace sometimes developed "without design, as terrain became more or less neutral," to allow otherwise warring parties to jointly use its resources. (31) One account characterized the Hills area as an abundant land "of food, water and fuel." However, warfare constantly raged there between Cree and Blackfoot and with "no one appearing to win," the "Great Spirit" finally caused the hills to rise one night between the tribal nations. In wonder, the warriors "followed the line of hills until they came to a gap. There they met, smoked the peace pipe, and agreed to fight each other no more." (32) The other legend suggests that the Blackfoot and Cree, deciding that there was enough game and fish in the region to share, struck a peace agreement, and erected a statue (or effigy). Following the statue's splitting by lightning, a chief's daughter reportedly "laid branches and flowers and declared that forevermore this should be a place for feasting." (33)

The Neutral Hills complex, including Nose Hill and the hills to the north and east of it (map 1), was likely a significant summer retreat, but it also probably served as a hunting refuge in periods of mild winter weather. This region seems to have constituted a winter range for bison that, unlike portions of herds that vacated the plains, stayed in the open range year-round. (34) In winter, too, the hummocky, hilly topography offered wood as a resource for camps. The small hills and valleys were also ideal places for pounds.

The area's great attraction for summer and winter hunting is suggested by what happened there during a period of uncharacteristically mild winter weather that occurred in the north-western plains of present-day Canada beginning perhaps in 1830. Mild winters affected peripheral areas from the eastern Missouri, to the western Foothills of present day Alberta, to the western stretches of the North Saskatchewan, continuing over a period of almost five years until in 1835, when generally unstable and extremely cold winters set in. (35)

The changing climatic conditions were noted at the Hudson's Bay Company post at Rocky Mountain House in 1829 when the post's journal writer, H.H. Fisher, described the mild winter around him, which had been preceded by fires in the nearby North Saskatchewan River Valley. January, normally one of the coldest months of the year in the Alberta foothills, was unseasonably warm: Fisher recorded "very fine day," no less than fifteen times in the record of daily occurrences that month, "not very cold" once, and "very cold" only ten times. More typically, Fisher highlighted unseasonably moderate temperatures, as on 12 January, when "weather continues clear and warm." During the entire month, half of the days were "fine" if not "warm." (36)

Throughout western portions of Rupert's Land in the early 1830s, hunters and traders felt the instability of the climate in the northern plains. Piegan Post, or Bow Fort, established briefly near present-day Calgary in this period, saw remarkably consistent late season rains and gale-force winds--no less than twenty-five days of almost continuous blowing and "hard gale" winds were recorded there in September and October of 1833. (37) An almost snowless winter stretched from 2 November to 13 March with the post journal recording no more than eleven days of snow, and frequently noting high gale and "blowing moderately" winds. (38) For the rest of the winter, the post journal writer recorded--almost in wonder--the "weather very mild, snow melting." By 6 February he noted "many patches of ground clear of snow." (39) The milder weather evidently disrupted the hunt, at least in usual Blackfoot pounding areas, hbc traders spotted only a few bulls on the distant Red Deer River, and the post finally had to abandon the use of sleds to bring back meat from whatever hunts were successful. At the end of February, Fisher recorded "little or no snow to be seen" on the ground. The winter ended officially on 11 April when the river broke earlier and faster than anticipated. (40)

Similar mild conditions extended northward where Blackfoot often pounded bison on the Red Deer River and near the North Saskatchewan. In the winter of 1831-32, Rocky Mountain House frequently recorded mild conditions: "weather very warm," "fine," or "very fine" were common throughout that winter. The post rated seventeen days of October 1831 "fine;" on November 25 the post clerk noted "the warm weather still continuing," a generalization repeated throughout the winter until spring. (41) Fort Edmonton's hinterlands were similarly mild and consequently bereft of bison herds that had not risen as they often did in the harsh, cold winter, having remained dispersed to the south and downriver. This fact, coupled with the effects of ruinous fall fires that extended to the Battle River, led to a drop in Fort Edmonton's provisioning activities by 1832. (42) As part of a regional phenomenon, hunting also failed on the Missouri River during the 1832-33 "killing winter." There, Yankton and Teton Sioux attempted to intercept bison that usually returned to shelter in river valley areas. They instead found that the mild winter temperatures had left the herds dispersed on the plains. Hunters on the White River drainage near Fort Pierre, as traders wrote, "suffered most dreadfully," as historian Raymond Clow has pointed out. (43)

The immediate response of many bands in the area was to shift their pounding locations and converge toward better territories. In the two winters of 1830 through 1832, Tsuu t'ina (Sarcee) moved eastward into territories of the Assiniboine beyond the forks of the Saskatchewan. Kainai (Blood) hunting parties moved north and east, beyond the Red Deer River and the Battle River to pound bison in the territories below Fort Pitt. Siksika (Blackfoot) also redirected their pounding efforts from Fort Edmonton's direct hinterlands eastward. Meanwhile, the westerly Cree of the region, the Upriver, or Beaver Hills Cree, also moved eastward toward the assemblies of camps in short distances of each other around Fort Pitt. By 1833, the fort's window into Native diplomacy and adaptation to changing climate closed. The HBC ordered its men out of the area, fearing risk to the post's men and property from the close proximity of these often-warring bands. (44) The journals kept by those returning have not survived in the HBC's archives.

Patrick Small, the chief trader at Fort Pitt, began noting the convergence of bands of diverse origins by early June 1830. A well-seasoned Northwest Company trader, with some twenty years of experience in the North Saskatchewan post system, (45) Small was by then working for the HBC and proved to be an able observer of plains Native diplomacy. Fortunately for researchers in the present day, he left journals that detailed the crisis. The area's attractions for prime summer hunting were evident early in spring 1830 when Small grew concerned by "the number of Indians in the vicinity" of the Fort, so many that he moved some of the post's horse herds to Fort Carlton for safe keeping. (46) A large number of bands--some Cree, others Blackfoot, Sarcee, and Assiniboine--had arrived, as suggested on June 9 when Small recorded what a Cree informant told him: that some 200 tents of his people were "to join the Blackfoot and Cessais (Sarcee, or Tsuu t'ina) Indians, they are all bent for Peace, but at the same time dread each other." (47) Many of these camps were taking advantage of the summer rut soon occurring only a few hours' ride from the fort. (48) Small's June 9 description suggests the close proximity of camps. One Blackfoot camp was within a four hours' walk from the post. Blood and Blackfoot camps were also nearby with the intent of moving farther eastward; and no less than three Cree camps were present with plans to pitch further eastward, westward or simply stay put in the Fort Pitt vicinity.

There was not much of a coincidence in this choice of location. This area of the plains constituted a schism line in the climate of the north-western Great Plains where often-changing weather deflected herds and hunters into a specific area of aspen parkland shelter offering a last refuge. (49) It is clear, too, that bison were available here almost year-round: summer hunting was plentiful, and, as Small soon perceived, most of the camps taking advantage of rut hunting, were soon constructing pounds nearby as remnants of herds moved back into shelter areas. In the late summer, numerous Upriver Cree, usually pounding farther west on the North Saskatchewan basin, were moving down toward Fort Pitt: about forty tents of Cree from the Horse Hills were moving into Fort Pitt's hinterlands and had constructed a pound by the end of August. (50) By 24 September, about 130 tents of Cree had moved about "four hundred paces from the fort," likely en route to establishing their own pounds nearby. (51)

All of these dynamics would suggest that Fort Pitt's traders were privy to a geographic space of neutrality to the south and west of the fort's bastion walls: there was evidently plentiful summer hunting nearby, a convergence of camps toward common pounding areas, and evidence that overtures were being made between camps to join in a coordinated hunt. The fact that at least some of these Cree were planning on pounding at Nose Hill, farther to the west and south of the post, would also indicate that they had an interest in cooperating with the Blackfoot, at least in that season. (52) Meanwhile, about 150 Nakoda hunters, accompanied by women and children, added to the assortment of people in the region. As the pounders burnt grasslands to control the movement of bison, fires seem to have gotten out of control and burned large tracts of grasslands to the Battle River and along Paint Creek. (53) The general problems with the fall and winter hunt elsewhere were evident. Being harried by their enemies to the south that year, the Blackfoot were anxious to find winter pounding areas at a greater distance from their traditional territories. The Crow, likely facing similar difficulties, had moved northward. Four Blackfoot were killed as nearby as the South Branch of the Saskatchewan in January 1831. (54)

The warmer weather certainly seems to have ruined chances in traditional pounding areas. A Blood camp of thirty-four men and their families arrived at Fort Pitt "from a long distance" after some nine days of travel, with the news that "the buffalo is very scarce from whence they came." (55) By 1 December, pounding near Fort Edmonton had been unsuccessful, and camps had opted to move eastward toward Fort Pitt. Along the Battle River, there were too many pounds in too close proximity. With eight different pounds at Jack Lake alone, the herds were dispersed on the plains and "very wild." (56) The Blackfoot were reporting at the post that "there are a few buffalo where they came from" and that they could not get them into their pounds. (57) In January 1831, the post learned that some nine Blood had frozen to the death on the wide plains "towards the Nose." Fort Pitt employees learned from those who survived and could arrive to post that the problem was that the buffalo were too far off: "owing to the ground being burnt," their horses had grown very lean, and freezing rain (in January!) had ruined whatever grass was available. (58)

With much of the North Saskatchewan pounds not having success, Small reported that the "Upriver" Cree were starving and vacating the area altogether and moving toward Nose Hill. And, the Blackfoot were telling Small that "the whole of the Blackfeet pitching down towards where the Stone [Nakoda] Indians have Buffalo Pounds," likely in the Nose Hill/Neutral Hills area. (59) Just what arrangements were made in such circumstances are not clear. Small did not report whether camps were in fact joining, or competing one with another in a smaller space. As early as the end of the summer, 1830, at least some Cree bands were seeking peace agreements with the Blackfoot and Sarcee, likely realizing that their common winter hunts would closely coincide. Pitt's employees learned of the news that camps nearby had succeeded in some respects, "the Blackfeet + Crees are in sight of each other + Continually visiting each other + all is peace so far among them [but?] do not wish to be in a full Camp." (60) At least some of these camps were Beaver Hills Cree, who had come down river and were meeting the Blackfoot in this convergence spot. And though they nearly came to blows over women taken as captives in previous battles, they had managed to "separate on amicable terms." (61)

The great worry for everyone was probably that individual camps would disperse animals to the detriment of all. By early in 1831, it is clear that camps had indeed joined. On 10 January, the Pitt employees learned that the "whole of the Blackfeet" were pitching toward a potentially violent meeting point, the Assiniboine pounds. The two groups, however, were forced to join each other's camps in the Nose Hills territory. Fort Pitt employees learned that in this single camp, the Blackfoot and Nakoda had to eat the last of each other's provisions, including those that the Nakoda had traded from their allies, the Cree. (62) The close cooperation between the two groups also allowed them to join together to trade at Fort Pitt: some two Sarcee, four Cree and two Assiniboine arrived together at Fort Pitt "to trade" on 20 January. (63) At that point, with the bison "now getting scarce being so pursued by the Indians," the Sarcee brokered peace with the Beaver Hills Cree--and this when some arrived "actually starving to the post" at the end of January. Eight Sarcee came "partly to trade meat or dried provisions from me," Small wrote, "and with the view at the same time of eating." It is important to note that the Blackfoot did not, and could not, strike the same agreements with downriver Cree, those whose territories were situated on the lower sections of the Saskatchewan. There, where there was still access to better hunting, downriver Cree remained committed to their animosities toward the Blackfoot. (64) But for Upriver Cree affected so grievously by poor hunting, joint winter camping with Blackfoot was a necessity. The full fusion of their camps with Blackfoot was indicated the following spring, when Upriver Cree and Blackfoot joined together in war parties. By April 8 the post learned that, again on Nose Hill, Blackfoot, Sarcees, and Blood in a single large camp were organizing a retribution raid against the Crow to the south. (65) Fort Pitt then heard that "a great many Beaver Hills Cree was going with the Blackfoot to go to war against the Crow." (66) By the fall, the Cree who had joined the Blackfoot raid returned to relate their war coups to the post, including their killing of one Crow. (67)

These peace accords were by no means formal treaties or long-term pacts. They were breaking up by spring when there was little to bind each party together once the bison began moving onto the summer ranges of the Blackfoot. Although some Upriver Cree were following their camp allies in war raiding, most by April did not consider following the herds now that they were moving fully in the territory of the Gros Ventres, Blood, Sarcee, and Blackfoot. Now they were pitching eastward "down country for to get clear of the Blackfoot." (68) With young men in both camps now looking for the honours to be found in horse thievery or in spring warfare, few agreements could last long into the warmer summer months.

In the 1831-32 season, similar climatic conditions were bringing camps together again. Beaver Hills Cree reassembled in the same location by the next fall to begin organizing their pounds. By October 1831, Blackfoot and Sarcee were arriving from a nearby Nose Creek camp, with muskrat and leather to trade. (69) Cree camps were moving near this camp "on the south side of the river" to take their own provisions. (70 )Provisions from Beaver Hills Cree camps on the Battle River soon began arriving at Fort Pitt, undoubtedly originating from locations near Blackfoot and Sarcee camps. (71) Although the Sarcee had stolen at least twelve horses from the Beaver Hills Cree by the end of the month, the two groups were predisposed to put differences to the side at least during the winter months. (72) Beaver Hills Cree-Sarcee relations were, however, tenuous in such circumstances. A number of "lower" Cree (those coming from east on the Saskatchewan) had also arrived to form their own camps that now raised the possibility of horse-warfare. Indeed, by early November, Fort Pitt learned that a "battle had nigh take place" between the "lower Cree" and the Sarcee, with the Cree stealing thirty-five Sarcee horses. The Beaver Hills Cree seem to have disavowed their participation in this disruptive event, one that would wreak havoc in the pounding season. (73) They were not alone in wanting to strike peace. Assiniboine from the Eagle Hills, unlike the lower river Cree, were also arriving "purposely to see the Blackfoot Indians and make peace with them." (74)

The eastern Cree, however, could not help but implicate the Beaver Hills Cree in their horse warfare: another "Lower Country" Cree camp arrived from a journey to the Rocky Mountains later in November with news that they had stolen twenty-five Sarcee horses; the Sarcee, in turn, sought their retribution from Beaver Hills camps who, in turn, were "pitching down wards" (eastward) on the river to escape injury. (75) The hunting was poor, however, and the Cree were again "forced to take [to] the plain owing to they starving & have no hunts." (76) With poor hunting in the Red Deer Hills, parties were moving southward toward each other. In early February 1832, the post learned that "the Crees & Blackfeet are 14 of Day march from each other & who are on constant visits with each other." (77) Ojibwa (Bungee) and Blackfoot arrived together to trade from "across the Battle River" by 4 February: "they tell me that the Crees + them are continually visiting each other." (78)

Their joint camps, however, were soon fraying. By the end of February, the Crees were pitching eastward: "some misunderstanding has taken place between the Crees & Cessais (Sarcee) on horse affairs." Patrick Small noted that in such circumstances, the Sarceee were now "gathering in one Camp & the Crees intend doing the same." (79) Although the Blackfoot were moving farther into the plains by March and the Cree were now "downward" (east), "now & then the Blackfeet young pay them a visit." Whether this was in peace is doubtful, as the young men were likely raiding for horses. (80) Only two weeks later, Beaver Hills Cree reported that they had killed four young Blackfoot men who were stealing their horses, and Cree were beginning to disperse into the north to avoid Blackfoot retribution; they were "pitching towards the woods with a good fright." (81) Blackfoot individuals who had joined and remained in Cree and Assiniboine camps in 1831-32 were in no position to remain in them in the new circumstances. A Piikani hunter with his two wives and children who had joined a Beaver Hills Cree camp during the winter found in the spring that their lives were at risk: by that point, eastern Cree were arriving and bringing their enmity towards the Blackfoot with them. The man arrived to Fort Pitt with his head partly scalped, having in haste retreated from the camp altogether. (82) Most of the agreements were in complete disarray by 13 April when Beaver Hills Cree, now "in dread of the Blackfoot," gathered with Nakoda to move to the Moose Hills. (83)

Fort Pitt closed its doors after it wrapped up its trade in the spring. The degree to which Cree, Assiniboine, and Blackfoot camps continued to use the Neutral Hills area in the subsequent season is therefore difficult to ascertain. Farther west on the North Saskatchewan River, bands in fall 1833 were competing to control the hunt and stop incursions into traditional pounding areas. Some seventy tents of Blackfoot took up residence at Nose Hill apparently in a single camp. (84) The son of Blood chief, Bulls Back Fat, in an attempt to drive the buffalo from the Dog Pond Creek, favoured by Upriver Cree, had appointed a man to set the grass on fire at that place, likely in a bid to contain herds. (85) There was, however, a great deal of fluidity in the Upper Saskatchewan that would suggest that difficult hunting conditions were forcing the hands of Aboriginal peoples. The chief trader at Edmonton was surprised by the sight of plains Assiniboine who had left their territories in the southeast prairies arriving at his post by April 1833. From there, having found the hunting prospects not good, these hunters moved southward toward Buffalo Lake "where they intend making pounds for destroying the few buffaloes that are there." The factor seemed to be in wonder that it was the "first instance of those Indians coming so far up." Now moving down into Blackfoot and Sarcee territories, "they of course will meet with some of the Plains tribes and war will be the consequence," a correct prediction, given that three days later the newcomers withdrew from the Buffalo Lake region at the sight of the large numbers of "plains"--undoubtedly Blackfoot--camps around there. (86) They, too, moved east "towards the Nose," taking part of a Cree hunting party with them. Whether they were successful in brokering an accommodation with the Blackfoot in that location is not clear in the record. (87)

Spates of warfare and revenge killings frequently marked relations between Cree and Blackfoot. However, so did temporary, seasonal and longer-term peace agreements that framed their intermarriages, trade, and exchanges. (88) The seasonal peace agreements struck in the hinterlands of

Fort Pitt are worthy of attention in that respect. They were worked out in particular circumstances and, above all, in particular places. It is significant that chiefs meeting at Fort Edmonton in 1833 were simply unable to come to terms for a larger peace between their nations. (89) The agreements to cooperate struck in Fort Pitt's hinterlands were seasonal and specific to its geography. They typically broke apart by spring, when bison again began to move into other territories and old animosities could again come to the fore. In 1841, a likely typical arrangement was reached at Nose Hill, again recorded by Fort Pitt employees. This peace, again, was only short-lived. Cree and Blackfoot camps that had cooperated during the winter found little means to patch up a dispute between them in the winnings arising from spring horse racing events. Violence erupted. As George Simpson, the hbc's governor travelling through the area reported, war parties were "already ranging over the country," by summer. (90) These temporary arrangements, however, served their purposes. It seems to have been near Nose Hill, again, that Maskepetoon brokered one accord in 1864 for the winter months when Blackfoot hunters converged into the Cree's own preferred hunting location. (91)

Though temporary in nature, joint hunting camps allowed for significant exchange. Trade evidently flourished between Cree, Nakoda, and Blackfoot in such settings. Joint winter camping also forged strong enough bonds that young Cree and Blackfoot joined together for spring war parties. It seems most likely that it was in these camps where kinship ties were established, with the movement of women from one camp into another likely occurring before they broke up in spring. Moreover, it would seem that it was in such joint winter camps where Aboriginal conceptions of cooperation allowed for an exchange of spiritual and ritual understandings. Whatever their relations one to another, these groups understood a larger responsibility to respect the ritual attached to the landscape they shared. In the hinterlands of Fort Pitt, the hummocky terrain notable for numerous hills including the Neutrals complex, Nose Hill, and Flagstaff Hill to name a few, had stories and related ceremonies connected to its very landscape. Hunters here likely respected the rituals associated with them. Hills near these camp pounds, then, likely prompted as much the critical exchange of stories and ritual attached to nearby landforms as they did the swapping of bison hunting skills, labour, and material goods. The Cree would have shared stories and the ritual associated with the mythic figure Wee-suk-eechak, who was linked to stone effigies and rocks in the hills visited by one of the Palliser Expedition members, James Hector, near Carlton to the east. There, Hector identified Manitou's Rest, where on its top "is cut out the [rectangular] figure of where the great spirit reclined, which the Indians always touch up every time they visit the place." (92) The hills in the Blackfoot world, including the Neutral Hills, had their striped "ribstones" as well as boulder effigies relating the stories and fates of individuals, and rock mosaics communicating the stories of Napi. (93) The very naming of Ribstone Creek, a tributary to the Battle River flowing alongside Nose Hill, suggests the close association of this area with Blackfoot Napi ritual. (94) Jean L'Heureux's 1884 ethnology, which described Blackfoot sacrificial stones placed on hills on the Red Deer River and the Bow River, also suggests the many ways that these elevated geographic points had significant spiritual associations that would have been well communicated in joint winter camps. As L'Heureux wrote, the Blackfoot "associated a place of worship with conditions of elevation and separateness." (95)

In the larger context of climatic uncertainty, the areas of Nose Hill and the Neutral Hills complex, within Fort Pitt's hinterland, likely served as a place of last refuge when bison migration was disrupted and when mild weather elsewhere forced groups into closer contact. The region likely gained over a very long time an association with neutrality. In summer it offered good hunting and rich berry-picking space shared by bands in their seasonal rounds. During mild winters elsewhere, it offered a landscape of significant spiritual understanding for bands to strike compromise and pursue strategies of cooperation. The peace agreements of 1830-32 speak to the ways in which Native understandings of landscape were informed by climate and the changing circumstances of the hunt in the northwestern Great Plains. At the least, the cooperation between bands, even at war, in these circumstances, underlines the importance of further exploring Miller's assertion that cooperation marked the fur trade era in Western Canada.

DOI: 10.3138/CJH.ACH.50.3.002

GEORGE COLPITTS teaches environmental history at the University of Calgary. Specializing in the fur and provisions trade in Western Canada, his most recent book, Pemmican Empire: Food, Trade and the Last Bison Hunts in the North American Plains, 1780-1882, was published in 2015 by Cambridge University Press.

* This paper emerged out of the author's participation in workshops on climate change history at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Saskatchewan in 2008. An early version of the text was presented at the October 2009 conference, "Under Western Skies: Climate, Culture, and Change in Western North America," held at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. The author thanks the peer reviewers for this journal along with Allen Ronaghan, Hugh Dempsey, the late Gerald Conaty, and especially Gerald Oetelaar for their valuable suggestions and guidance.

(1) J.R. Miller, Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian-White Relations in Canada, 3rd ed. (Toronto, 2000), p. 148.

(2) Ibid., p. 154.

(3) James Milloy, The Plains Cree: Trade, Diplomacy and War, 1790-1870 (Winnipeg, 1990), pp. 16-18; 31-37. On the "Horse" and "Buffalo Wars," 69-102; 103-118.

(4) Theodore Binnema, Common and Contested Ground: A Human and Environmental History of the Northwestern Plains (Toronto, 2001), pp. 178-94.

(5) Gerhard Ens, "Fatal Quarrels and Fur Trade Rivalries: A Year of Living Dangerously on the North Saskatchewan, 1806-07," in Michael Payne, Donald Wetherell, and Catherine Cavanaugh (eds.), Alberta Formed: Alberta Transformed (Edmonton and Calgary, 2006), I, p. 155.

(6) Miller, Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens, pp. 151-54.

(7) David Meyer and Paul Thistle, "Saskatchewan River Rendezvous Centers and Trading Posts: Continuity in a Cree Social Geography," Ethnohistory 42-3 (1995), PP- 403-44

(8) Scott Hamilton and B.A. Nicholson, "Aboriginal Seasonal Subsistence and Land Use on the Northeastern Plains: Insight from Ethnohistoric Sources," Plains Anthropologist 51 (2006), pp. 253-80.

(9) Binnema, Common and Contested Ground, p. 13.

(10) Christina Gish Berndt, "Kinship as Strategic Political Action: The Northern Cheyenne Response to the Imposition of the Nation-State" (PhD diss., University of Minnesota, 2008), pp. 42-45.

(11) Ibid., p. 52.

(12) Robert Alexander Innes, Elder Brother and the Laiu of the People: Contemporary Kinship and Cowesses First Nations (Winnipeg, 2013), pp. 60-61; 70-72.

(13) Gerald A. Oetelaar and D. Joy Oetelaar, "The Structured World of the Niitsitapi: The Landscape as Historical archive Among Hunter-Gatherers of the Northern Plains," in Aubrey Cannon (ed.), Structured Worlds: The Archaeology of Hunter-Gatherer Thought and Action (New York, 2011), p. 70.

(14) Gerald A. Oetelaar, "The Archaeological Imprint of Oral Traditions on the Landscape of Northern Plains Hunter-Gatherers," in Timothy R. Pauketat (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology (Oxford, 2012), pp. 336-46.

(15) Walter Hildebrandt and Brian Hubner, The Cypress Hills: An Island by Itself (Saskatoon, 2007), pp. 17-18.

(16) Karl H. Schlesier, (ed.), "Introduction," Plains Indians, A.D. 500-1500: The Archaeological Past of Historic Groups (Norman, 1994), p. xxiv.

(17) Linea Sundstrom, "The Sacred Black Hills: An Ethnohistorical Review," Great Plains Quarterly 17.3/4 (1997), p. 206.

(18) Schlesier, Plains Indians, p. xxv.

(19) Trevor R. Peck and J. Rod Vickers, "Buffalo and Dogs: The Prehistoric Lifeway of Aboriginal People on the Alberta Plains, 1004-1005," in Michael Payne, Donald Wetherell, and Catherine Cavanaugh (eds.), Alberta Formed: Alberta Transformed (Edmonton and Calgary, 2006), I, pp. 55-79.

(20) Jonathan C. Driver, "Meat in Due Season: The Timing of Communal Hunts," in Leslie B. Davis and Brian O.K. Reeves (eds.), Hunters of the Recent Past (London, 1990), pp. 15-16. Bryan H.C. Gordon, "Of Men and Herds in Canadian Plains Prehistory," Archaeological survey of Canada, Paper No. 84, National Museum of Man Mercury Series (Ottawa, 1979), p. 2.

(21) Trevor Richard Peck, "Bison Ethology and Native Settlement Patterns During the Old Women's Phase on the Northwestern Plains," BAR International Series, no. 1278 (2004), pp. 32-69.

(22) David Smyth, "The Niitsitapi Trade: Euroamericans and the Blackfoot Speaking Peoples to the Mid-1830s," (PhD diss., Carleton University, 2001). pp. 63-64; 197; 362; 425; Oetelaar and Oetelaar, "People, Places and Paths," p. 376; Gerald A. Oetelaar, "Stone Circles, Social Organization and Special Places: Forbis' Skepticism Revisited," in Brian Kooyman and Jane Kelley (eds.), Archaeology on the Edge: Neiu Perspectives from the Northern Plains (Calgary, 2004), pp. 142-48; Rebecca L. Bliege Bird and Douglas W. Bird, "Delayed Reciprocity and Tolerated Theft," Current Anthropology 38.1 (1997), p. 49-59; Michael Gurven, "To Give and to Give Not: The Behavioral Ecology of Human Food Transfers," Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27.4 (2004), pp. 543-83.

(23) J.G. MacGregor, The Battle River Valley (Saskatoon, 1976), p. 34. Some of the Blackfoot geography was communicated in Allen Ronaghan (ed. and trans.), Three-Persons and the Chikotapix: Jean L'Heureux's Blackfoot Geography of 1871 (Red Deer, 2011), pp. 85-87; see also Margaret Kennedy, "A Map and Partial Manuscript of Blackfoot Country," Alberta History 62.3 (2014), pp. 9-12.

(24) Provincial Archives of Alberta [hereafter PAA], Oblate Papers, Jules Le Chevallier, "Pionniers de la Croix," unpublished manuscript, Acc. 71.220/6673, 1, p. 41.

(25) Le Chevallier, "Pionniers de la Croix," I, p. 315.

(26) Smyth, "The Niititapi Trade," pp. 216-217.

(27) MacGregor, The Battle River Valley, p. 34. The Palliser's Map shows the Neutral Hills as "Boundary Between Cree and Blackfoot Indians," Palliser Map and textual description in Irene Spry (ed.), The Papers of the Palliser Expedition. 1857-60 (Toronto: 1968), pp. 147-48.

(28) Jennifer Brower, Lost Tracks: Buffalo National Park. 1909-1939 (Edmonton, 2008), pp. 16-17; Graham A. MacDonald, The Beaver Hills: A History of Land and Life (Edmonton, 2009), p. 31.

(29) "Neutral Hills," in Place-Names of Alberta (Ottawa, 1928), p. 92.

(30) Allen Ronaghan, personal communication with author, 16 January 2011. Whether the Blackfoot themselves named the region as the "Neutral Hills" is difficult to ascertain. Hugh Dempsey finds no reference to the hills in Blackfoot oral history (personal communication with author, 17 December 2010). There is no mention of the "neutral" hills in Fort Edmonton, Carlton, or Pitt journals. It is significant that Jean L'Heureux made no mention of the hills in his Blackfoot dictionary, 1878, although he does specify "Battle," "Red Deer," and "Saskatchewan" Rivers and prominent hills such as "Hand," "Crow," "Sandy," "Cypres" [Cypress], and "Sweetgrass" (Glenbow Archives, M4418). L'Heureux referred to the "buttes neutres" in his 1871 report; see Ronaghan (ed.), Jean L'Heureux's Blackfoot Geography, p. 51. Finally, G.M. Dawson's Report on the Region in the Vicinity of the Bozo and Belly Rivers, Northwest Territory (Montreal, 1884), appendix II, identifies the "Neutral Hills" with the Blackfoot name "kghx-yx." It offers, however, no translation for this term (p. 164).

(31) William Farr, "'When we were first paid': The Blackfoot Treaty, the Western Tribes, and the Creation of the Common Hunting Ground, 1855," Great Plains Quarterly 21.2 (2001), pp. 140-41; Paul S. Martin and Christine R. Szuter, "War Zones and Game Sinks in Lewis and Clark's West," Conservation Biology, 13.1 (1999), pp. 36-38

(32) Eric J. Holmgren and Patricia M. Holmgren (eds.), "Neutral Hills," Over 2000 Place Names of Alberta, 3rd ed. (Saskatoon, 1976), p. 197; "Neutral Hills," in Place Names of Alberta, Tracey Harrison, (ed.), (Calgary, 1991), III, p. 179; Anne Speight, "The Legend of the Neutral Hills," in Shadow of the Neutrals (Coronation, 1967), pp. 2-3.

(33) Speight, "The Legend of the Neutral Hills," p. 197.

(34) Mary E. Malainey and Barbara L. Sherriff, "Adjusting Our Perceptions: Historical and Archaeological Evidence of Winter on the Plains of Western Canada," Plains Anthropologist 41 (1996), pp. 333-57; David Meyer and Henry T. Epp, "North-South Interaction in the Late Prehistory of Central Saskatchewan," Plains Anthropologist 35 (1995), pp. 321-40.

(35) James Daschuk, "Climate Drivers: 1500-2004," unpublished paper provided to the historical climate change workshops sponsored by the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE) April 2008.

(36) Hudson's Bay Company Archives [HBCA], Rocky Mountain House Journal, 1828-29, B.184/a/1.

(37) HBCA, J.E. Hardisty Journal. Bow Fort, 1833-34, B.21/a/1.

(38) Ibid., 2 November-13 March 1833.

(39) Ibid., 4 and 6 February 1833.

(40) Ibid., 25 February and 11 April 1833.

(41) HBCA, Rocky Mountain House Journal, 6.184/3/4.

(42) By the end of December, the fort had, since the previous spring, collected "so inconsiderable" provisions that the staff had not bothered adding them to the fort's returns, except for some grease and back fat appearing, HBCA, 30 December 1832, Fort Edmonton Journal, B.60/a/27.

(43) Quoted in Raymond Clow, "Bison Ecology, Brule and Yankton Winter Hunting, and the Starving Winter of 1832-33," Great Plains Quarterly 15.4 (1995), p. 266.

(44) HBCA, York Factory Minutes of Council, 9 July 1832, resolved "the abandonment of Fort Pitt in consequence of the danger arising from war parties frequenting that neighbourhood" (B.239/k/2).

(45) HBCA, biographical sheet, "Patrick Small," https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/ archives/hbca/biographical/s/small_patrick.pdf, accessed 15 September 2015.

(46) HBCA, Fort Pitt Journals, 28 May 1830, B.165/a/1.

(47) Ibid., 9 June 1830.

(48) Ibid., 17 August 1830.

(49) F.G. Roe, "The Alberta Wet Cycle of 1899-1903: A Climatic Interlude," Agricultural History 28 (July 1954), pp. 112-20.

(50) The forty tents of Cree were recorded on 31 August 1830: "in the evening arrived two Crees on a trade they come from the horse hill + there is forty tents together + who have a Buffaloe Pond" (HBCA, Fort Pitt Journals, 6-165/a/1).

(51) HBCA, Fort Pitt Journals, 24 September 1830, B.165/a/1.

(52) Small recorded that Cree were still camped nearby and that a contingent had left to trap for the post "towards the Nose and Battle River." Ibid., 1 October 1830.

(53) Ibid., 6 and 8 October 1830.

(54) As reported by the Blackfoot, HBCa, Fort Pitt Journals, 31 January 1831, B.165/a/1.

(55) Ibid., 17 November 1830.

(56) Ibid., 31 December 1830.

(57) Ibid., 2 February 1831, B.165/a/2.

(58) Ibid., 5 January 1831.

(59) Ibid., 7 and 8 January 1831.

(60) Ibid., 19 June 1830, B.165/a/1.

(61) Ibid., 23 June 1830.

(62) "Arrived Six Crees & Six Blackfeet with their families they come from the Lower Part of the Battle River were the Blackfeet are joined with the stone Indians and who have entirely eat the whole of the stone Indians & Crees Dried Provisions ..." Ibid., 18 January 1831.

(63) Ibid., 20 January 1831.

(64) Ibid., 25 and 26 January 1831.

(65) Ibid., 8 April 1831.

(66) Ibid., 14 April 1831.

(67) Ibid., 15 April and 16 September 1831, B.165/a/1 and 2.

(68) Ibid., 5 April 1831, B. 165/a/1.

(69) Ibid., 1 October 1831, B.165/a/2.

(70) Ibid., 10 October 1831.

(71) Ibid., 14 October 1831.

(72) Ibid., 30 October 1831.

(73) Ibid., 4 November 1831.

(74) Ibid., 2 November 1831.

(75) Ibid., 17 November 1831 and 23 November 1831.

(76) Ibid., 3 December 1831.

(77) Ibid., 1 February 1832.

(78) Ibid., 4 February 1832.

(79) Ibid., 22 February 1832.

(80) Ibid., 4 March 1832.

(81) Ibid., 20 and 22 March 1832.

(82) Ibid., 29 March 1832.

(83) Ibid., 13 April 1832.

(84) HBCA, Fort Edmonton Journals, 2 September 1832, B. 60/3/27.

(85) Ibid., 2 November 1833, B. 60/a/28.

(86) Ibid., 14 and 18 April 1833, B.60/3/27.

(87) Ibid., 25 April 1833.

(88) Smyth, "The Niitsitapi Trade," p. 140; pp. 211-16.

(89) Hugh Dempsey describes the failed Cree-Blackfoot negotiations at Fort Edmonton in the summer 1833 in Maskepetoon: Leader, Warrior, Peacemaker (Victoria, 2010), 53.

(90) Ibid., p. 75.

(91) John McDougall, Saddle, Sled and Snowshoe (Toronto, 1896), pp. 237-39. On seasonal peace agreements struck to allow pounding, see Dempsey, Maskepetoon, pp., 168-71.

(92) James Hector's report, 22 October 1857, in Spry (ed.), The Palliser Papers, p. 178.

(93) H.M. Wormington and Richard G. Forbis, An Introduction to the Archaeology of Alberta, Canada, 11 (Denver, 1965), pp. 98-100; James G. MacGregor, "Stone Gods of the Prairies," Alberta Historical Review 7.4 (1959), pp. 7-11. MacGregor's field notes and mapping of the sacred stones described in his article are found in PAA, MacGregor fonds, PR 1979.269, file 183.

(94) See references to Ribstone Creek and the Neutrals in Spry (ed.), The Palliser Papers, p. 242 n3, p. 245.

(95) L'Heureux's ethnography was first sent by memorandum to Edgar Dewdney on 18 August 1884 (Indian Affairs files, RG 10, Vol. 3695, File 14,942), and was reprinted as "The Kekip-Sesoators, or Ancient Sacrificial Stone, of the North-West Tribes of Canada," Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland XV (1886), pp. 161-64. See Hugh Dempsey's analysis of L'Heureux's ethnography in "The Sacrificial Stone: Fact or Fiction?" Alberta Historical Review 7.4 (1959), pp. 12-15.
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Date:Dec 22, 2015
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