The Cree ancestors of the Mistawasis Band migrated from the woodlands of eastern Manitoba and the Great Lakes of Ontario. Chief Mistawasis, leader of a group of Cree known as the “House People,” spoke strongly in favour of Treaty 6, signing it on August 23, 1876. In 1878 a well-wooded area, with hay meadows, rich farmland and good water was surveyed at Snake Plains. The Green Lake Trail (used for freighting from Fort Carlton to Green Lake) ran through the middle of the reserve, providing easy access to outside markets. This trail was used until the 1950s, and was then replaced by graded roads. The first school was built in 1878; the band also requested that a Presbyterian mission be established on their reserve, in part a result of their friendship with Reverend Mackay. In 2001 the band successfully settled a claim concerning land that had been surrendered in 1911, 1917, and 1919; and in addition to purchasing more land they were able to initiate new venues of economic development. The 12,544.3- ha reserve is situated 68 km north of Prince Albert, and operates an administration center, a health station, a school and a daycare. Currently 1,029 of the 2,119 band members live on reserve.

Christian Thompson