Live Well, on Earth with All our Relations
Sakimay First Nations has a strong diverse history and is a community of rich cultural values and traditions. Sakimay First Nations and leadership are committed to continued efforts of regaining their Nakawe language and culture.
Sakimay First Nations is a developing and growing community with innovative and progressive strategies for land and partnership development while being mindful of the responsibility to the land and water for today and for future generations.
Mino-bimaadiziwin – Living the good life
The Sakimay First Nations, formerly known as “the Goose Lake People” are of Anishinaabe/Ojibway decent. According to Anishinaabe history, Anishinaabe migrated from the east and inhabited the regions surrounding the Great Lakes. After contact, many of the Anishinaabe People moved further west into what is now the prairie provinces of Canada. These Anishinaabe People are often referred to as the Western or Plains Ojibway and often call themselves Saulteaux or Nakawé. The Goose Lake People are part of the Western Ojibway/Plains Ojibway/Saulteaux peoples who were originally a woodlands inter-lake culture, and adapted to a plains lifestyle when they moved into the prairies approximately 200 years ago.
During the beginning of the Fur trade in the late 1700s Anishinaabe/Saulteaux peoples began to trap and hunt in extended family groups in what would become the western Canadian prairies and northern US States. They were allied with the Cree and Assiniboine (Nakota) Peoples and had formed the Iron Alliance competing in the fur trade with the Blackfoot and the Sioux. Originally, people who were to become members of the Sakimay Band hunted, trapped and fished in a region around southern Manitoba and western Ontario.
Around 1853, Chief Sakimay was looking for better places to gain his livelihood. Nakawé Elder Peter George, born in 1888, recalled when Sakimay first came to the Crooked Lake site, from Fort Ellice, about 40 miles north of Moosomin:
One day Sakimay came alone to have a look. When he got here, he sit over this hill, on the north side of where my house is today. He filled his pipe and looked around. He looked around to what’s now called ‘fish trap’. He could see all kinds of buffaloes. Of course, there were no white men here at that time. There were all kinds of elk on the other side of the hill … You could see the elk walking up and down and the antelope too … ‘Oh’ he thought … that was to become his home, with that special lake (Crooked Lake) ‘that’s a good place here to live’ (Elder Peter George, 1967).
It was not long after that he and his extended family established semi-permanent residences around Crooked Lake in southeast Saskatchewan. Twenty-one years later, during the signing of Treaty 4 in 1874, the Sakimay people accepted treaty as part of the Fort Ellice Band (Waywayseecappo) in Manitoba, but shortly thereafter Sakimay insisted on taking reserve land around their established home sites at Crooked Lake, where they established a separate Band.
After Chief Sakimay’s death in 1881, the Band split into two groups: one occupying the north side of the Crooked Lake reserve, led by Shesheep (Chief Sakimay’s son); and the other occupying the south side of the reserve, led by Yellow Calf. The nearby Little Bone First Nation of Leech Lake was originally considered part of Cowessess – a mixed Band of Plains Cree and Saulteaux. But by 1887, they had developed close ties with Sakimay and Chief Little Bone, his family and several of his Band members informally amalgamated with the Sakimay First Nation. With their eventual formal merger in 1907, today’s Sakimay First Nation is a combination of the Sakimay, Shesheep Minoahchak and the Little Bone Band.