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Stoney Reserves

As with other plains tribes the Stoney were subject to poverty when the buffalo began to vanish in the 1870s. But even earlier the tribe faced epidemics which significantly reduced populations. By 1874 the majority of Stoneys were wintering in the Morleyvtlle mission area west of Calgary and hunting in the Kootenay Plains of Alberta (Snow, p. 21). At the time there were six Stoney bands in Alberta who, with the signing of treaties, settled on reserves either west of Edmonton or west of Calgary.

The Alexis, Paul and Sharphead bands signed Treaty Six in 1876 and eventually took reserves west of Edmonton. The Sharphead Band, devastated by disease, were only a handful by 1890 and survivors moved to the Paul and Morley reserves.

The Alexis and Paul bands are named after two of the above chiefs (GNCA, p.85 and 129). Alexis I.R. #133 is eighty kilometres west of Edmonton on Lac Ste. Anne while the Paul Band lives at Wabamun 1.R.# 133 on Wabamun Lake. Wabamun reserve is actually surrounded by names listed as being of Cree origin, such as Wabamun itself which we are told is a Cree word meaning "mirror" (DB). An earlier map, 1863, gives it the name White Lake, the origin of which is unknown. Kapasiwin, Alberta's oldest summer village, sits on the shores of Wabamun Lake and carries a Cree name meaning "camp" (DB)

Other Stoney bands. led by chiefs Jacob Bearspaw, Jacob Goodstoney and John Chiniki (also Chiniquay), signed Treaty Seven at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877 and moved to reserve land west of Calgary where a Methodist mission had been established (note: the Goodstoney band was later known as the Wesley Band).

Stoney I.R. # 142-144 (also known as the Morley reserve), fifty-six kilometres west of Calgary, is actually a cluster of reserves with two other reserve lands, one south of Calgary and another west of Rocky Mountain House. Around the turn of the century tensions were high between the southern Stoneys and the government. The Stoneys found their reserve too small and were prohibited from hunting outside it. A new mountain park actually reduced reserve size while at the same time food rations were cut (Snow, p. 48).

In 1892 some families of the Jacob's band defied the government and returned to their traditional hunting areas in the Kootenay Plains in 1892. From 1911 on, this group withstood government pressure to return to Morley (Snow, p. 63-86). Finally, in 1948. Big Horn Reserve was established on Abraham Lake, about eighty kilometres west of Rocky Mountain House, to accommodate those Stoneys who continued to live in the area.

In 1914, the Stoney reserve was expanded to include reserve Number 142B a few miles north of Morley. Then Eden Valley (Reserve No. 216) Sixty-four kilometres south of Calgary (The name does not appear to be of Native origin).

There are numerous Alberta place names which are not of Native origin but whose origins are linked to a tribe's history. Morley, originally Morleyville Settlement, was historically the central point on the Stoney reserve and was named after the Methodist minister. Rev. Morley Punshon. He gave Rev. George McDougall permission to establish a mission here (DB). Also, Mount Pringle, just to the west of the Stoney reserve, is named for an Indian Agent who worked at Morley in the 19205 (DB).


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