History

The following is an inventory of written documentation on the Sturgeon Lake First Nation:

Title: History of Sturgeon Lake First Nation, cited in Sturgeon Lake First Nation Inquiry – Red Deer Holding Agricultural Lease, 1998, 10, ICCP.

Author(s): Ron S. Maurice / Kathleen N. Lickers

Publisher: Indian Claims Commission, 1998.

Location: Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, U of R, Northern Campus, P.A. Sask.

Brief description: This research document cites that the members of Sturgeon Lake First Nation are descended from Cree Chief Ah-yah-tus-kum-ik-im-am and his four headmen (Oo-sahn-us-koo-nee-kik, Yay-yah-too-way, Loo-sou-am-ee-kwakn, and Nees-way-yak-ee-nah-koos) who signed Treaty Six near Fort Carlton on August 23, 1876 (p. 8). According to the Department of Indian Affairs records, the Band was first listed as William Twatt Band, in reference to the Chief’s English name, then in 1963 changed to the Sturgeon Lake Band, and now is known as the Sturgeon Lake First Nation. On, May 17th, 1878 through Order in Council, a 34.4 square mile of reserve land was surveyed about 25 miles northwest of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, on behalf of this First Nation.

The research document notes that in 1994, the Sturgeon Lake First Nation submitted a specific claim to the Minister of Indian Affairs, as this related to the concern of a failed lease of reserve land to Red Deer Holdings Ltd. (RDH) in 1982 (p. 3). Specifically, Sturgeon Lake First Nation cited that the Crown had breached its lawful obligations with respect to the administration of its reserve land by:

  1. failing to do a background check to determine what authority the principle had within RDH and what the financial position of the company was;
  2. failing to obtain a personal guarantee from the principal of RDH; and failing to have the agricultural permit signed by RDH (page 14).

On August 28, 1997, Michel Roy, Director General of the Specific Claims Branch, wrote to Chief Ermine accepting the claim for negotiation under the fast track process (p. 18).


Note to reader: The following cites the Treaty Annuity Paylist for the William Twatt Band in 1876.

Title: 1876, Treaty Six Annuity Paylist, William Twatt Band, Sturgeon Lake.

Author(s): Department of Indian Affairs

Publisher: Department of Indian Affairs

Location: Department of Indian Affairs & National Archives, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Brief description: The above-mentioned 1876 Treaty Annuity Paylist cites the names of the membership of William Twatt Band, now known as the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation (See Appendix C: p. 231 and Appendix F: p. 255). Further, this 1876 Treaty Annuity Paylist not only recorded the names of the head of the family, but also noted the annuity paid by gender, i.e. men, women, boys, girls.

In addition, the 1876 Treaty Annuity Paylist for the William Twatt Band also recorded the total number of individuals for each family that received an annuity payment, as well  as the total amount paid to each family. As a concluding remark, cited below is the total number of the membership noted on the 1876 Treaty Annuity Paylist for the William Twatt Band:

1876 – One Hundred & Seven (107) people, including both adults and children.


Note to reader: The following cites the Treaty Annuity Paylists for the William Twatt Band in 1891, 1897, and 1898.

Title: Treaty Six Annuity Paylists, 1891, 1897, and 1898, William Twatt Band.

Author(s): Department of Indian Affairs

Publisher: Department of Indian Affairs

Location: Saskatchewan Achieves, University of Saskatchewan, Murray Building.

Brief description: The above-mentioned Treaty Paylists for1891, 1897, and 1898 cite the names of the membership of William Twatt Band, now known as the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation (See Appendix F: pp. 255- 262). Furthermore, the above-mentioned Treaty Annuity Paylists not only recorded the names of the head of the family, but also noted the annuity paid by gender, i.e. men, women, boys, girls.

In addition, the above-mentioned Treaty Annuity Paylists also recorded the total number of individuals for each family that received an annuity payment, as well as the total amount paid to each family. As a concluding remark, noted below is the total number of the membership for each of the years cited on the Treaty Paylists for the William Twatt Band:

1891 – One Hundred & Thirty-nine (139), including both adults and children.   1897 – One Hundred & Thirty-one (131), including both adults and children.   1889 – One Hundred & Fifty-one (151), including both adults and children.


Note to reader: The following article cites the settlement arrived, as this pertains to the Sturgeon Lake First Nation timber claim.

Title: Sturgeon Lake Timber Claim Settlement; i.e. 2001.

Author(s): Sturgeon Lake First Nation

Publisher: Prince Albert Grand Council, 2001.

Location: PAGC Head Office, Opawakosican Reserve #201, Prince Albert, Sask.

Brief description: As cited in the article, the negotiation and settlement of the above-mentioned timber claim by the Sturgeon Lake First Nation leadership and membership took eight (8) years to complete. Negotiations were finally completed in August of 2000, for what the Chief and Council believed was a reasonable settlement in this long-term dispute with the Government of Canada (PAGC Annual Report, p. 37). The following notes the settlement amount and the approach implemented for the ratification process and approval by the membership of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation:

  1. The settlement amount for the timber claim was $4,550,000.00 dollars, for the over cutting of timber on the Sturgeon Lake reserve, contrary to the terms of the of the 1906 Timber Surrender plus research and ratification costs incurred by the Sturgeon Lake First Nation;
  2. Information sessions were well attended by the membership residing in cities of Saskatoon and Prince Albert, as well as on the Sturgeon Lake reserve. In addition, mail out packages were sent to all the membership, to ensure that everyone was well informed, and to be able to vote in person or by mail;
  3. The final ratification vote for the approval of the negotiated settlement of Sturgeon Lake timber claim was held on February 23rd, 2001, with an overwhelming vote in favor of the acceptance of the settlement (596 in favor, 21 were opposed and 1 ballot was spoiled).

Further, it was stated: Based on the referendum, the settlement funds were locked into an interest bearing account until a second referendum is held, likely in the fall of 2001, to decide on the proper use of the funds for the long term benefit of the First Nation (PAGC Annual Report, p. 37).


Note to reader: The following article cites when the Sturgeon Lake First Nation took over control of their own educational programming from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

Title: Agreement Settled; [Sturgeon Lake] Band To Get Control Of Education; i.e. 1974.

Author(s): The Saskatchewan Indian

Publisher:  The Saskatchewan Indian, 1974.

Location: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (SICC), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Brief description: The above-mentioned article cited that the Sturgeon Lake Band in 1974, after two days of negotiation with the Saskatchewan Regional Office of Indian Affairs, received a signed agreement providing for twelve (12) staff residences to be used temporarily as classrooms. The signed agreement also gave the Band full authority to hire teachers and to purchase all necessary equipment and supplies.

It was also cited, the Band demanded that the Department of Indian Affairs begin negotiations immediately with the Prince Albert Unit No: 56 School Board, in order to terminate the 25 year agreements which provided space for reserve children to attend P.A. schools. This agreement was made in 1967 and 1969 without prior consultation with the Band, which the Department of Indian Affairs provided $167,000.00 dollars in capital expenditures at Spruce Home and Wild Rose schools for classroom space for 165 students. Further, the total cost of the agreement to the Federal government was at $1,000,000.00 dollars.


Note to reader: The following document was written by Willie Ermine, member of the Sturgeon Lake Nation.

Title: A Critical Examination Of The Ethics In Research Involving Indigenous Peoples; i.e. Thesis written by William John Ermine, 2000.

Author(s): William John Ermine

Publisher: William John Ermine, Indian & Northern Education, Educational  Foundations, University of Saskatchewan, 2000.

Location: College of Graduate Studies & Research, U of S, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Brief description: The above-mentioned thesis document was completed by the author as part of the requirement in gaining a Master of Education Degree. Since both, the author and the University of Saskatchewan co-own the copy right, and require both their permission to extract any content from the above-mentioned thesis document, it is suggested, if someone is interested in seeking the information contained in this thesis document, that they contact William John Ermine at SIFC Northern Campus, P.A. Sask. (phone: 306-765-3255), and/or Dr. Marie Battiste, Indian & Northern Education, Educational Foundations, U of S, Saskatoon, Sask. (phone: 306-966-7590). The title for the above-mentioned thesis document is cited here to give credit to William John Ermine, for his contribution in the advancement of First Nation knowledge in the field of educational studies.


Note to reader: The following article cites an interview and a community member profile of the Joseph Naytowhow, member of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation.

Title: Joseph Naytowhow, Community Member Profile, Sturgeon Lake First Nation.

Author(s): Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (SICC)

Publisher: Aboriginal Faces of Saskatchewan, 2001. www.sicc.sk.cs/faces/mbirdal.htm.

Location: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (SICC), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Brief description: The above-mentioned document was printed by SICC on their web site entitled: Aboriginal Faces of Saskatchewan, www.sicc.sk.cs/faces/mbirdal.htm. This document cited a number of articles pertaining to the involvement of Joseph Naytowhow in First Nation music, drama, dance and visual arts.

As per the above-mentioned, the following notes a number of articles written about Joseph Naytowhow, as this pertains to his involvement in First Nations music, drama, dance, and visual arts:

  1. Joseph Naytowhow – Nihkamohk;
  2. Festival of Words – Joseph Naytowhow – 1997 – Festival;
  3. Storyteller in Residence Program; and
  4. Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society.

Note to reader: The following article cites an interview and a community member profile of the late Jean Marie Felix, member of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation.

Title: Community Member Profile of the late Jean Marie Felix, i.e. cited in All Nations of Saskatchewan Indian Elders.

Author(s): Staff of Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (SICC).

Publisher: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (SICC), 1989.

Location: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (SICC), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Brief description: The above-mentioned article was printed in the book published in 1989 by the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (SICC) and entitled: All Nations of Saskatchewan Indian Elders. Thus, accordingly the article is reprinted here in the format it was published, noting the interview and community member profile of the late Jean Marie Felix.

As per the above-mentioned, the following cites the SICC reprinted article noting the interview and community member profile of the late Jean Marie Felix:

Jean Marie Felix Sturgeon Lake Reserve

My parents lived in Whitefish Lake and then my family moved to the Sturgeon Lake Reserve. I was born on the Sturgeon Lake Reserve and I was also raised there. I have 8 children and they are all grown up. I have about 30 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

I really am thankful to the Father above for the gifts that he has given to us, the Indian, and the health of our loved ones. The families that we have, have to be appreciated and are something special to be thankful for.

All these things are gone. The respect and love that we once had is all gone and I’m afraid that we are at a loss. For instance the visiting of one another is gone. There is no brotherhood among the Indian anymore. We think of each other as strangers. I wish this would be straightened out. This would benefit the young. This is the reason why I’m working in the area that you see me, to try and revive these and other things. I go into the schools here at Prince Albert. I try to share everything that I have experienced. I appreciate the time that is given to me and the chance to speak to the youth. I try to tell them to retain their Indianism and the language that they were born into. Maybe the young parents are not teaching the children these things, simple things like respect for their Elders and for others.


Note to reader: The following two (2) articles cite the involvement of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in the area of forestry.

Title: Forestry, Sturgeon Lake First Nation; i.e. Eco-Tourism Site Development, 1999.

Author(s): Michael Newman

Publisher: Canadian Forest Service, 2000.

Location: Canadian Forest Service, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Brief description: As noted by the author of this article, the above-mentioned project was initiated in May 1999 and completed as of 2000. Thus, the article is reprinted here in the format that it was published on the web site of Canadian Forest Service, and entitled: http://www.fnfp/3section/sask/sturgeon_e.html.

As per the above-mentioned, the following cites the reprinted article, noting the comments provided by Michael Newman:

Project Description: The Sturgeon Lake First Nation’s project is a combined project consisting of the development of a hiking trail following the old, traditional trail along Sturgeon Lake. Along with this is the creation of an open air cooking site surrounded by picnic tables – both of which are designed to attract eco-tourism, while at the same time located near and used by the Youth Healing Center, where Elders instruct up to 60 youth in their native tongue, about the forest and animals around them.

A trail was cut through the bush from the main road down to the lake. This took a long time because the bush was cut by hand, salvaging the trees for home use. The cut timber was bucked into eight-foot lengths for easier handling. A bulldozer cleared stumps and started shaping the roadway. Gravel and clay was hauled for the road.

A building was purchased and moved to the site. Washroom facilities, marina dock, storage sheds and a concession patio were built. Power and telephone lines were run down to the site. Signs, buildings and guardrail posts were painted. Canoes, boats and motors are available to rent. Unemployed band members were given jobs for this project.

The Western Canada Summer Games chose the site as the paddling site in July 1999.  This event was very successful and provided a good setting for participants and spectators. The facility and area will be used in the coming years.


Title: Forestry, Sturgeon Lake First Nation; i.e. Planting Training, 1997.

Author(s): Michael Newman

Publisher: Canadian Forest Service, 1998.

Location: Canadian Forest Service, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Brief description: As noted by the author of this article, the above-mentioned project was initiated in May 1997 and completed as of 1998. Thus, the article is reprinted here in the format that it was published on the web site of Canadian Forest Service, and entitled: http://www.fnfp/3section/sask/sturgeon_e.html.

As per the above-mentioned, the following cites the reprinted article, noting the comments provided by Michael Newman:

Project Description: Annual reforestation projects by Weyerhaeuser Canada Ltd. and the Government of Saskatchewan in traditional hunting and gathering areas presented opportunities for a Sturgeon Lake reforestation crew. This required training planters and a foreman. The crew functioned as a private contractor.

The training program was located in the south-central area of Sturgeon Lake Reserve No. #101. The land was prepared for reforestation after a recent fire burn over of the area.  There were 55 hectares of prepared land available for the program. There were 110,600 seedlings purchased. The band’s contribution was the administration and overall management of the project and a financial contribution of $2000 towards the seedling purchase.

An inventory of written documentation on the Woodland Cree First Nations of PAGC

The inventory of written documentation on the Woodland Cree First Nations of PAGC is cited as follows: the name of the Woodland Cree First Nation, followed by the title of each written documentation and the year it was published/recorded, the name of the author, and the location as to where this written documentation could be accessed. In addition, a brief description of the content with regard to the written documentation is provided.

William Twatts House

Picture taken from the site of William Twatt’s house

The history of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation, which until the 1940s was named the William Twatt Band, the Indian chief from 1876-1882 spokesperson of the tribe – his Cree name was ‘Osawaskonikik’.  William Twatt was a the son of Magnus Twatt who, like so many Orcadians, left Orkney’s shores to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company, in 1771.

On 23 August, 1876, seven Cree chiefs signed chiefs signed away 121,000 square miles in exchange for one square mile of reserve land for each family, under Treaty Six between representatives of the British Crown and the Cree and Saulteaux nations at Fort Pitt and Fort Carlton, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Only one chief was native. The rest were grandsons of Scotsmen – with surnames like Spence, Tait, Macdonald, Twatt and Calder.