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The Peoples, Their Places

The Beaver Nation: Religion and Ceremony

[Beaver First Nation Profile]
[Horse Lake First Nation Profile]


beaver chiefThere 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.