Ancestors of the Muskoday or Muscotayo (meaning “No trees” or “Bald prairie”) were from St. Peters Reserve near Selkirk, Manitoba, and included six Smith brothers. The brothers separated, and John Smith (Mis-ti-koo-na-pac) and his followers signed Treaty 6 at Fort Carlton on August 23, 1876. Their reserve was surveyed 19 km southeast of Prince Albert that September. Most families settled along the river in “river lots”; the remainder of the reserve was subdivided in standard sections in 1949 and 1950. Farming was the primary occupation during the early reserve period, and band members were noted for their excellent herds of Shorthorn and Holstein cattle. As technology and better seed evolved, however, grain farming increased and the Muskoday Band Farm was developed in 1963. The reserve employs several members as school bus drivers, teacher’s aides, band office staff, manager and employees of the Muskoday Band Farm, road and equipment maintenance, and librarian of the North Central Saskatchewan Regional Library branch. The first school was established in 1878 under the C.M. Society. In 1998 Muskoday became the first band in Saskatchewan to use its own land code, allowing them control over leasing and land development on their 9,686.8-ha reserve. Of the band’s 1,430 members, 463 live on reserve.

Christian Thompson