Alberta First Nations
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The eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains form the western border of Alberta; they sweep down and become flat plains. A single culture is thought to have first inhabited this area, reaching all the way to modern day St. Louis, Missouri, USA. This was the site of a large city with extensive trade to the west. It is thought that these people were the ancestors of today’s Blackfoot tribe. Into the 1600s, cultures became more diversified. Although the lifestyles were much the same, there were differences in religion and culture among the tribes. As was common among all North American native people, groups would migrate and often force other groups into a different area.
Queen Victoria of England had consigned “Rupert’s Land” (western Canada) to the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Northwest Company (the two eventually merged). The Dominion of Canada, confederated in 1867, purchased title of the land from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1870. This event signaled a major shift in relations between the native people and the Europeans. The Hudson’s Bay Company had been primarily interested in the fur trade, which had a fairly minimal effect on the indigenous cultures compared to what was to come.
In 1877, the victor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Chief Sitting Bull, having been relentlessly pursued by the U S military, led his people across the border into what would become the province of Alberta. He enjoyed a brief time of peace while there, although ultimately he would return to the United States with his people.
Anthony Henday was sent in 1754 by the Hudson’s Bay Company. He was the first English speaking European to visit Alberta. He found that the natives there had already acquired many items of European origin through extensive trade networks. He had made the trip to establish the fur trade with the Blackfoot, but the answer was uncertain and he returned without an agreement. Since the company wanted to trade for fur, they began to establish trading posts.
Tribes and Bands (First Nations) of Alberta
A list of contact information for tribes in Alberta can be found at Indian Tribes of Alberta, Canada
A list showing population, location, etc is found at
Wikipedia: First Nations in Alberta
Archives, Libraries, and Museums
Glenbow Archive, Library, and Museum
The Glenbow Archives and Library, has an excellent collection of resources for the study of Métis genealogy. Their sources cover predominantly Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and some parts of the Northwest Territories, Ontario, and British Columbia.
Most of our sources pertain to people who were living in the Prairie Provinces in 1900 or earlier.
One unique collection is the Gail Morin database. The collection consists of a database of 65,434 records of persons who were Metis ancestors. For each individual, dates and places of birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial, and notes on sources are given if known. Using Ancestral Quest software, the data can be linked to show genealogical relationships in the form of pedigree charts and descendancy charts. The database is available only with the assistance of the Archives staff in the reading room of the Glenbow Archives. The database is fully searchable online.
Contact: Glenbow Archives
130 - 9 Avenue
SE Calgary, Alberta T2G 0P3
Reference Desk telephone: 403-268-4204
Indian Registers, 1951-1984 , Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, are maintained at the Library and Archives in Ottawa. Access to these records is restricted. Inquiries must be directed to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs: regional offices are listed at
Indigenous Services Canada
Indian Burials in Alberta, Canada. by Janet Longbotham.
Dempsey, Hugh A. A Blackfoot Winter Count. Glenbow Foundation, Calgary, Alberta 1965. Occasional Paper No. 1 OCLC605474 WorldCat
The Native People, Alberta Native Communications Society, 1973 FHL film 979258
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"Anthony Henday." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/sitting-bull-leads-his-people-into-canadahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Henday (accessed April 5, 2012).
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"History Timeline." Blackfeet Nation. http://www.blackfeetnation.com/about-the-blackfeet/28-history-timeline.html (accessed April 5, 2012).
Jeness, Diamond. Indians of Canada. 1932. Reprint, Vancouver: National Museum of Canada, 1972.
Malinowski, Sharon. The Gale encyclopedia of Native American tribes. Detroit: Gale, 1998.
"Royal Alberta Museum: Collections and Research: Archaeology: Aspects of Alberta Archaeology: Alberta Aboriginal History Timeline." Royal Alberta Museum. http://www.royalalbertamuseum.ca/human/archaeo/aspects/timeline.htm (accessed April 5, 2012).
"Royal Alberta Museum: Collections and Research: Archaeology: Aspects of Alberta Archaeology: Fur Trade." Royal Alberta Museum. http://www.royalalbertamuseum.ca/human/archaeo/aspects/furtrade.htm (accessed April 5, 2012).
"Sitting Bull leads his people into Canada â€” History.com This Day in History â€” 5/5/1877." History.com â€” History Made Every Day â€” American & World History. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/sitting-bull-leads-his-people-into-canada (accessed April 5, 2012).
Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Washington: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1952.