Chief Can-ah-ha-cha-pew (Making Ready the Bow) signed Treaty 4 on September 21, 1874. Upon his death his son Peepeekisis (Sparrow Hawk) became chief, and in 1884 the band moved from the Cypress Hills to settle on a reserve in the File Hills, about 12 km east of Balcarres. When Indian Agent W.M. Graham arrived at the agency in 1896 the band was without a leader and was unable to prevent Graham’s creation of the File Hills Colony (1898) on the reserve. The plan brought young male industrial school graduates (members of bands other than Peepeekisis) to live, farm and eventually become members of the Peepeekisis Band. The original Peepeekisis Band members were displaced from their homes and deprived of the use of their communal lands. Their complaints led in 1945 to questions raised about the validity of the transfers into the band, but it was not until 1986 that they were able to submit a specific claim to the Department of Indian Affairs. In 2004, the Indian Claims Commission found Canada in breach of its lawful obligations to the band, and recommended that the claim be accepted for negotiation under Canada’s Specific Claims Policy. It has yet to be settled. The reserve covers 11,258.7 ha, with an additional share in the 37.1 ha of the Treaty 4 Reserve Grounds (Fort Qu’Appelle). The band’s infrastructure includes a band office, arena, gymnasium, school, health clinic, and other maintenance facilities; it has a membership of 2,215 people, 607 of whom live on reserve.

Christian Thompson