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The Peoples, Their Places

Through the Mackenzie Basin: The Athabasca River Region

Scrip Commission on the Athabasca"We were now but a few miles from the last obstruction, the Pelican Rapids, and pushed on in the morning along banks of a coal-like blackness, loose and friable, with thin cracks and fissures running in all directions, the forest behind being the usual mixture of spruce and poplar. By midday we were at the rapids, by no means formidable, but with a ticklish place or two, and got to Pelican Portage in the evening, where were several shanties and a Hudson's Bay freighting station. Here too, is a well which was sunk for petroleum, but which struck gas instead, blowing up the borer.

Mr. Ross having obtained on the 14th the adhesion of the Crees to the Treaty at Wahpooskow, it was now decided that the Scrip Commission should make the canoe trip to that lake, whilst Mr. Laird and party would go on to Athabasca Landing on their way home. Accordingly Matcheese - "The Teaser" - a noted Indian runner, was dispatched with our letters to the Landing, 120 miles up the river. This Indian, it was said, had once run from the Landing to Edmonton, ninety-five miles, in a single day, and had been known to carry 500 pounds over a portage in one load."

Reprinted from Through the Mackenzie Basin: An Account of the Signing of Treaty No. 8 and the Scrip Commission, 1899, by Charles Mair.