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Beaver

The Beaver First Nation is located near High Level, in northern Alberta, in the Treaty 8 region. Traditionally, people of the Beaver Nation are from the Dene 'Tha language group. The Beaver are linguistic cousins to the Dene 'Tha (Slavey), Chipewyan and Tsuu T'ina (Sarcee), all languages of Athapaskan origin. The Beaver are also known as Tsattine, meaning "dwellers among the beavers."  Although little is known about the traditional dress of the Beaver nation, by the mid 19th century they had largely adopted the European dress of the sojourners and homesteaders that had arrived in the Peace River region. 

The Beavers originally inhabited a vast territory between the present-day Alberta-Saskatchewan border and the Peace River. They existed in relatively small family groups for most of Beaver women at Moberly Lake the year. Pushed by the Cree towards the west, the Beaver Nation began to hunt game (moose being a dietary staple) throughout the Peace River country.  They extended their hunting grounds as far west as the Rocky Mountains. At the time of contact, there were approximately four bands, consisting of around 1,000 people, but by the late 1800s their numbers had decreased to less than half that due to recurrent epidemics of smallpox, measles and influenza.

The Beaver people, their numbers decimated by disease and starvation, were the last band to sign Treaty 8 in May 1900.  The Dunne-za, perhaps more than any other tribe in the area, suffered from the encroachment of white settlement. At first the Dunne-za were reluctant to take treaty, and stayed away during the initial Treaty 8 negotiations in 1899. They finally signed in 1900, but because they were widely scattered, the Beaver required several adhesions to get many family groups signed onto the treaty. Following the signing of Treaty 8, the Beaver did not move immediately to their assigned reserves but continued their nomadic lifestyle. One of their small reserves near the town of Peace River was exchanged for land closer to their hunting territory.

For more information on First Nations issues and history, please visit some of the following websites:
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