DECEMBER 4, 1896

MÉTIS CREE CHIEF AHTAHKAKOOP (JOHN CHATELAIN) DIED

Born in Saskatchewan River country in 1816, little is known of his early life.  By 1850, he became chief of a Cree band of “Fort People” — Native bands living near Fort Carlton.  By the 1860s, buffalo were rapidly disappearing and settlers arrived in large numbers.  Ahtahkakoop knew his band would have to adopt a new way of living.  In 1874, he invited Anglican missionary John Hines to settle with his people at Sandy (now Hines) Lake, near present-day Prince Albert.  In 1876, Ahtahkakoop chose this land for his reserve and signed Treaty 6 at Fort Carlton.  Hines established a school and taught the band to farm and most families converted to Christianity.  The families initially increased the acreage cultivated, raised cattle herds, and built homes.  However, hunting was poor, harsh weather made farming unpredictable, and government policies made life difficult.  Nonetheless, honoring the treaty, Ahtahkakoop and his band remained neutral during the uprising of 1885.  He died on the reserve that bears his name.

Source:  Deanna Christensen, “Ahtahkakoop (c. 1816-96),” Indigenous Saskatchewan Encyclopedia, University of Saskatchewan.  Retrieved 8/20/2020, https://teaching.usask.ca/indigenoussk/import/ahtahkakoop_c_1816-96.php 
Photo:  Unknown, 10/16/1886.  Photograph [cropped] of Cree chiefs Starblanket (Ahtahkakoop), Louis O'Soup, Flying-In-A-Circle (Kahkiwistahaw), Peter Hourie, and Big Child (Mistawasis).   Public Domain.

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