Traditional Territory

Mosakahiken Cree Nation: Traditional Land Use Study ( 1 of 18)

From the historical background research it is clear that Mosakahiken Cree Nation has a long-standing history of traditional land-use activities in the overall Moose Lake area. These traditional land-use activities provided the people of Mosakahiken Cree Nation a sustainable economic base for survival and well being over thousands of years. This ancient reliance of traditional land-use activities as an economic base ended in the 1960s with the ending of the fur trade, with the ending of the local fishing industry, and the flooding of Cedar Lake and parts of Moose Lake. From there on social assistance became the major source of income.

It is very important to understand the following about Aboriginal hunting cultures: Locations of settlements are not the areas where most traditional land-use activities take place. Areas on reserve lands that allow for some traditional land-use activities are reserved for Elders and youths who cannot travel far from the community in pursuit of traditional land use activities. However, with on-going infrastructure and housing developments the traditional land-use areas on reserve land become smaller and smaller. On March 26, 2009, in an interview with Elder Betsy Buck revealed that the new lagoon that was built for Mosakahiken Cree Nation is located in a swamp area on the reserve that used to be an important muskeg for Elders to gather medicinal plants. Mrs. Buck used to be an active user of this muskeg. She regularly gathered medicinal plants in this swamp that was in walking distance from her house. She understands the need for the new lagoon but at the same time she has lost access to many medicinal plants in walking distance.

She explained that this muskeg was of excellent quality for medicinal plant gathering. There is another muskeg between the reserve and Crossing Bay that is good for berry picking and medicinal plant gathering. Elders need to be taken by car to this area. She was very active in the community to bring traditional medicines to people. She still is involved in these kinds activities but to a much more limited extend since the easy access to many of the medicinal plants has been lost. Also due to her on-going age she had to stop using her traditional trapline that she worked for many years with her husband and that she continued to use after his death for many years. This trapline was close to the reserve. She used to walk to the trapline and then on the trapline to snare rabbits and to collect berries and medicinal plants. She had to give up this kind of long distance walking after she had been hit by a car while she was walking back from the trapline to her house. As far as she knows a lot of the Elders from Mosakahiken Cree Nation had to stop many traditional land-use activities due aging, the loss of the muskeg with the medicinal plants, and the loss of muskrat and beaver trapping areas with the flooding of the southern part of the reserve. Every summer, Mrs Buck participates in the summer camp activities that are held annually on the first reserve site. There she is involved in gathering medicinal plants and teaching younger generations her bush skills. She is planning to attend the 2009 annual summer camp again. At the MCNCCP meeting on March 25, 2009, people attending confirmed that the first reserve was never abandoned and as far as the people of Mosakahiken Cree Nation is concerned it continues to belong to Mosakahiken Cree Nation. No surrender of the land was ever signed. It is consistently used for different traditional land-use activities like hunting and camping and for the annual cultural summer camp. People reported that there is a plaque with No. 53 marked on it. It is located on a big flat rock.