Early Social and Economic Life
The Stoney-Nakoda bands, commonly composed of extended families, lived along Alberta's Rocky Mountain foothills from the headwaters of the Athabasca River south to Chief Mountain in Montana. These forest and foothill people hunted bison and other big game animals. With the establishment of Edmonton House (1795) and ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE (1799), they traded furs, hides and fresh meat, and were invaluable guides to traders, explorers (Lord Southesk, John PALLISER, James HECTOR), surveyors (CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY; GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF CANADA) and missionaries. They were introduced to Christianity by Methodist missionaries after 1840.
The Methodist Mission at Morleyville on the Bow River was established by Reverends GEORGE and JOHN MCDOUGALL in 1873. The Stoney, led by Chiefs Jacob Bearspaw, John Chiniki (also Chiniquay) and Jacob Goodstoney, accepted Treaty No 7 at Blackfoot Crossing in September 1877. The original reserve of 109 square miles was surveyed adjacent to the Morleyville mission in 1879. The Bearspaw and Wesley Nations later claimed additional reserve land to the south and north. After years of petitions and negotiations, both the Bighorn (Kiska Waptan) reserve (west of Nordegg) and the Eden Valley reserve (west of Longview) were established in 1948. Descendants of the Wood Stoney people also live on the Alexis and Paul reserves west of Edmonton, which were set aside under the provisions of Treaty No 6 (1876).
The traditional way of life based on hunting, fishing and trapping along the Rocky Mountain foothills has been largely replaced by agricultural activity and mixed farming.
Economic Base Today
The economic base of the Stoney-Nakoda includes trapping, big-game hunting, guiding, ranching, lumbering, handicrafts, labouring and various professions. The Bearspaw, Chiniki, Stoney and Wesley Nations at Morley enjoy a high standard of living based on natural gas royalties and operate several commercial enterprises (such as stores, restaurants, service stations, a rodeo centre, a campground and the Nakoda Lodge). Their social life centres on family and cultural activities - the POWWOWS, TREATY DAYS, RODEOS, stampedes and camp meetings. Members of the four Nakoda Nations live at Morley, Bighorn, Eden Valley. Their population numbered over 3075 in 2012.
Author IAN A.L. GETTY
Raoul Anderson, "Alberta Stoney (Assiniboine) Origins and Adaptations: A Case Study,"Ethnohistory (1970); Marious Barbeau, Indian Days on the Western Prairies (1960); H.A. Dempsey, Indian Tribes of Alberta (1978); P.M. Jonker, The Song and the Silence: The Life of Sitting Wind (1988); J.G. MacEwan, Tatanga Mani-Walking Buffalo of the Stonies (1969); Chief John Snow, These Mountains are our Sacred Places (1977); Jon Whyte, Indians in the Rockies (1984).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Languages of Canada
A comprehensive online database of languages currently in use in Canada. Also provides details about extinct languages. Check out the "language maps" for more information. Based on "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition." From SIL International, a US website.
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.
Stoney Tribal Administration
The website for the Stoney Tribal Administration. Click on "Read More" to see a history of the Stoney Nakoda people and early contact with European fur traders and Christian missionaries.
The Dakota Documents
A brief survey of research into the relationship between various factions of the Dakota Nation. From Canadian Heritage and the Prince Albert Grand Council.