Waterhen Lake reserve : an ethno-history from 1921-1993
Fiddler, Charles V.
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In this case study, I have investigated the ethno-history of the Waterhen Lake Band (First Nation). The Waterhen Lake Reserve was created in 1921 by the signing of a Treaty Six Adhesion between the Waterhen Lake Cree and the Canadian government. Research and understanding of positive development on Indian reserves is scarce. The perspectives, worldviews and goals of Indian people must be articulated beyond the shallow sensationalism of today's media which is excessively devoted to the problems of Indians. The vibrant history of the Waterhen Lake Band, its present state, and its aspirations for the future is examined in this work. This thesis uses oral tradition to reflect the perspectives of the First Nation members. The experiences and aspirations of the Waterhen Lake members are captured on paper. The thesis highlights several important factors in the development of the Waterhen Lake First Nation. The historical and legal status of the treaties set the background for the formation of the Waterhen Lake Reserve. Treaty Six, to which the First Nation adhered, is emphasized. Of historical significance to the Band are the transcripts located in the federal archives which document the adhesion of the Waterhen Lake Band. The quotations of the first signatories, responding to the proposed adhesion, support the treaty concerns of Indians in the 1990s. The current profile of the organization and programs of the Band are discussed. Over the seventy-two year period of the study, the chiefs and councils and the issues of their times are identified. The self-government development of the Band, which has the potential to impact greatly on the future of the Band members, are detailed. The Waterhen Lake Band has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis as it attempts to balance its cultural values with the accelerated pace of change. In thirty years, it has evolved from a hunting and gathering society to a technological one, transcending agricultural and industrial societies. In revisiting their rich history, the Waterhen Lake Cree can regain the lost pride and strength, on the journey to finding their rightful place in Canada.