Mosakahiken Cree First Nation and Reserve History

Around 1790, the Hudson Bay Company fur trading post was established at Moose Lake in an area where Aboriginal people frequently fished. The availability of fish especially during the long winter months was of great importance as a reliable food resource for Aboriginal peoples as well as fur traders. A lot of independent traders traded at this post (Hopkins and Smith 1982, p. 1). Moose Creek, just south of southern Moose Lake has small rapids that stay open year-around. Open rapids were essential for the survival of Native people and traders during the long winter months. These rapids were rich in fish that were relatively easily caught there. In the Cree language ‘Moose Lake’ is referred to as a ‘meeting place.’

On September 2, 1876, the treaty commissioner Thomas Howard entered the Saskatchewan River via steamboat coming from Grand Rapids through Cedar Lake at a place called Che-ma-wa-win or ‘Seining place.’ He found a large encampment of Native people at Che-ma-wa-win. They asked for the Treaty negotiations to take place there so that they did not have to travel to The Pas. The treaty commissioner denied this request and travelled on to The Pas. The people from Che-ma-wa-win passed the treaty commissioner with their canoes on the way to The Pas on the Saskatchewan River and had arrived there ahead of him (Morris 1991, p. 161). One Elder told this story at the Mosakahiken Cree Nation Comprehensive Community Planning (MCNCCP) Meeting on March 25, 2009.

Approximately five hundred Native people were gathered at The Pas for the Treaty Negotiations. The assembled group from the Moose Lake / Chemawawin band had not elected a chief yet due “owing to a division amongst them” (Damas and Smith 1983, p. 42). The two groups had already established two separate settlements. One was located at Little Narrows, which is a strip of land separating the north arm of Moose Lake from the main body of the lake. The second group was called Chemawawin. They were located at the entrance of the Saskatchewan River at the north end of Cedar Lake. This is about 97 kilometres(60 miles) to the southeast of Little Narrows (Damas and Smith 1983, p. 42).