Cultural Landscape

Here is the life of Fort Nelson families in the words Elder Adeline Dickie:

"In the fall time you start hunting moose for winter; winter comes, you start trapping again, then you just travel around and visit and trap; only come into town to get some supplies then go back to the bush. In the spring stay in the bush and hunt beaver, keep on moving, cut wood.  When it rains we just stay inside. When the rain stops, we move camp again. In the summer, time we stay in camp. We stay close to the river. We tan the hides, make dry meat. We do all our work in the summer and fall; can't do no work in the wintertime. We always tell stories, stories about what to do, and stories about long time ago…"  (Pers. Comm. Dickie 2008 to Lana Lowe)

It was this life that Fort Nelson First Nation ancestors feared the Crown would attempt to interfere with when Treaty 8 was signed, but the treaty commissioners assured us that we would be "free to hunt and fish after the treaty as they would be if they had never entered into it," and that it would not lead "to any forced interference with their mode of life."

But the ink was not dry on the treaty when the Crown and outsiders began to impose their own distant designs on our territory and people. They imposed game laws over and above our methods for managing wildlife, and deployed the provincial police to enforce them, criminalizing our traditional knowledge; In the 1920s, they carved our territory into traplines and demanded registration; In the 1930s, they parcelled out large tracts of our territory to non-aboriginal hunters and trappers; In 1942, they punched the Alaska Highway through our land, opening it up forever to competitors, and our lives to outside influences. Most importantly, the highway brought the oil and gas industry into our territory, after oil was found near Fort St. John in 1951.

In the Cultural Landscapes Map below you can have a look at the many diverse traditional places Fort Nelson First Nation has within its traditional territory. From lakes, to cabins, to Cree and Dene Landmarks, the selection is vast and impressive. Press "Play" on the icon at the bottom left corner of the map to scroll through them all, or click on an individual point to display information about the traditional site.