Heritage Trails: Calgary to Morley, Part 1
Heritage Trails: Calgary to Morley, Part 2
Edmonton to Calgary Trail, Part 1
It had long
been the desire of George
McDougall to open a mission among the Stoney-Nakoda and Blackfoot
people of southern Alberta. Numerous factors had, up to that time,
prevented a missionary effort, but by the early 1870s, McDougall felt
the time was right.
By 1873, a smallpox epidemic and famine had devastated the area's
and alcohol and despair had
weakened much of the community. As preparations for treaty
negotiations began, a tribal council was held at the Pigeon Lake mission with both John and
George McDougall present. At this meeting the Stoney-Nakoda people and
missionaries agreed to the mission on the Bow River. The Morley mission
would not only serve the Aboriginal people and oppose the
whiskey traders, but also afford an opportunity to establish a more
permanent relationship with the Blackfoot Nation.
during a period of discontent among the Aboriginal population, the Morley
mission was received with mixed feelings. Many welcomed the arrival of the
missionaries, hoping they would help combat the ravages of liquor and
offer some relief from famine and war. Others among the tribe, however,
were less receptive and kept their distance.