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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Other Indian Tribes


There are some curious origin summaries in the Geographical Names data base which link place names to tribes unlikely ever to have been in Alberta. Keep in mind that these are anomalies and not indicative of any particular trend relevant to the researching of Native place names in Alberta. They are mentioned here only because they are Interesting.

What must be the only Shawnee name in Alberta is Mount Tecumseh, named to commemorate the Shawnee chief who fought against Indian removals in a westward expanding Unites States and then fought for the English against the United States in the War of 1812. Tecumseh was made Brigadier-General but died in the Battle of Moraviantown in Upper Canada (DB and Zinn, p. 126). The mountain is eleven kilometres northwest of Coleman in the Alberta Rockies.

There is reason to wonder about Nez Perce Creek, four kilometres north of Blairmore in the Crowsnest Pass. The term "nez perce" is French and was, we are told, applied to any Indian tribe who pierced their noses (DB). Nez Perce is also the name of a tribe now found in Oregon and northern Idaho some distance from Crowsnest Pass.

We are told that there is a legend behind Rock Lake, sixty-five kilometres northwest of Jasper, suggesting that a Stoney medicine man came across Dogrib Indians there. The elaborate tale says the medicine man sneaked away with a Dogrib "maiden" and after returning to his own people and being discovered a liar was bound to a heavy stone and drowned in Rock Lake (DB). The Dogrib are a northern Dene tribe and it seems unlikely that they were ever in the Jasper area. It does seem likely, however, that alterations occurred in the often romantic re-telling of Native legends written by nonnatives.

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