There is very little known about the religious life of the Beaver
Indians before their contact with Europeans. Mackenzie remarked
in his journal that what ceremony they had they adopted from the Cree. They did, however, have a strong belief in the
supernatural, and had among them healers, medicine men and women, and
Prophets. According to Olive Dickason, a Prophet named
Makenunatane (meaning "Swan Chief") was the first to dream
of white men coming to the Peace River at the end of the 18th century,
and this triggered a change of lifestyle from subsistence to
trapping. They believed that heaven was a place "where
happiness dwells," much like the place where they would gather in
the summer time with their relatives to dance and sing.
Reprinted from "A Sense of the Peace," by
Roberta Hursey with permission of the Spirit of the Peace Museums
Association and the author.