With no recognized chief when they entered Treaty 6 in 1876, this Cree band was erroneously considered part of Seekaskootch’s band (Onion Lake) and received a reserve allotment there. In 1907 the Ministikwan people petitioned the Department of Indian Affairs for their own reserve, and they obtained satisfaction in 1909. Their request that the reserve completely follow the lake’s shoreline to protect their fish stock from depletion by fishing companies was not heeded when Indian Affairs created the Island Lake Reserve on August 3, 1911, for the people from Ministikwan, Makwa, Horse Lake, Hollow Lake and Lac des Isles. Without the consent of either party, the Bighead and Loon Lake Bands were also included, and when they refused to locate at Island Lake, 10,279 acres were removed from the reserve in 1914. Lacking sufficient viable farmland, people continued to trap, fish, and hunt, supplementing this with gardens and employment with the lumber industry. The 11,120.6-ha reserve is located 161 km northwest of North Battleford; 807 of the 1,139 band members live on reserve.

Christian Thompson