The First Peoples
First Nations people lived in different areas of the province
- Northern Saskatchewan (forests, many lakes, cold winters) - Chipewyan (Dene), the
- Central Saskatchewan (forests, rivers, hills) - the forest and plains Cree
and the Blackfoot
- Southern Plains (dry grasslands, mostly flat land) - Assiniboine (Nakota), Gros Ventre
and Sioux (Nakoda)
Explorers and the fur trade
- The northern wooded areas of the province
were developed first because of the fur trade.
- Henry Kelsey ( 1690 ) of the
Hudson's Bay Company traveled along the Saskatchewan River
trying to get the First Nations people to trade their furs. He was the
first white man to enter the
- Anthony Henday ( 1754 ) traveled into
the plains area, and Samuel Hearne (1774)
built a Hudson's Bay Company post at
Cumberland House where the First Nations people could come and trade
furs. This was the first
permanent settlement in Saskatchewan.
- Peter Pond explored the northwest part of the province (1778)
and drew maps.
- The Hudson's Bay Company sent more people
to explore the province.
- Other trading posts and forts were built along the rivers.
- The North West Company also built forts and
collected furs. Then the two
companies joined into one large company.
- York boats were used instead of canoes to carry
nig loads on the waterways. Red River carts carried
goods on land.
- Small settlements grew near the trading
- By the 1850s the fur trade had declined.
The railroad and settlement
- To maintain law and order in the west the
Canadian Government created the North West
Mounted Police. The force marched west (1874) and
established Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills in 1875.
Other forts included Fort Battleford, fort Pitt,
Fort Carlton and Wood Mountain Post.
After 1878 the Canadian government
began to encourage settlement in the west
- The Metis (people of mixed French or European and Aboriginal
parents) settled and farmed.
- It was decided to build a railroad to
eastern provinces with British Columbia in the west.
railroad would bring settlers to the west. It could
also be used for shipping farm products to eastern Canada.
Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway began in 1872
but was not completed
government gave free land to
people who were willing to settle in the west. Homesteaders
The Plains First Nations who travelled about following
the herds of buffalo were placed on reservations.
- The Métis (mixed First Nations and French heritage) were concerned about
all the settlers coming to Saskatchewan.
They had difficulty finding places to settle down
- In 1883, the Métis of
Saskatchewan united under the leadership
of Louis Riel and began to seek
self-government. They wanted their own land but their
requests were ignored.
- Louis Riel led the Métis in an
uprising in 1885 called the Northwest Rebellion.
The uprising ended quickly.
More homesteaders arrive
- More settlers came from eastern
Canada, Europe and the United States.
- Companies brought large groups of people. They settled
together in one area.
- The homesteaders managed to survive the long cold winters
in their log cabins or sod huts. They also lived through
drought, grasshoppers and prairie fires.
- Towns grew along the railroad tracks.
Saskatchewan becomes a province (1905)
- Between 1895 and 1914 much of the prairies was turned into
- By 1914 the population was 750,000 people.
- By 1931 the population reached 921,785.
- In the 1930s the farmers had to deal with drought
(very little rainfall) amd crop failures.
Farming came to a standstill.
- Many people left the province to look for jobs.
The population dropped by 26,000 between
1931 and 1941
- In the 1940s and 50s there was growth in mining and oil production.
THE FIRST PEOPLES |
FORTS AND TRADING POSTS
2003 (updated March 2017)
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