The River People (included Chief Big Bear and Chief Little Pine) remained outside of treaty until Lucky Man (Papaway), as a headman in Chief Big Bear’s Band, and Chief Minahikosis (Little Pine) adhered to Treaty 6 at Fort Walsh in 1879. Lucky Man requested to locate near Battleford, and was escorted there in 1883. In 1884 the chief requested a reserve adjacent to Poundmaker, Little Pine and Big Bear; but the federal government refused, fearing complications from the joint association of the bands. The 1885 Resistance scattered most of the Lucky Man and Little Pine people; those who remained settled on Little Pine’s Reserve. By 1919 the Lucky Man Band had been reduced to nine persons. Research by Rod King in 1972 initiated a claim that culminated in the selection of twelve sections of land in the Thickwood Hills by the band (1989). In 1994 the band opened the possibility of a claim for additional land, compensation for loss of land use, and failure to deliver treaty benefits; but this has not been settled. The band’s chief and council have investigated numerous business ventures including bison and elk farming, investments in condominium projects, and gas and oil ventures; they currently have plans for a year-round eco-tourism facility that would employ most of their 86 band members, two of whom currently live on the 3,078.6- ha reserve, located 60 km east of North Battleford.

Christian Thompson