Who are the Aseniwuche Winewak ᐊᓯᓂᐊᐧᒋ ᐃᐧᓂᐊᐧᐠ?
Our Elders tell us we have lived in the mountains for a long time. Our Ancestors were exceptional horse people with intimate knowledge of the land. In 1907, Jasper National Park was created and our Ancestors were forced to leave their homes in the Jasper Valley. Some families took their livestock and farm machinery on a two-year journey to join relatives already settled in the Grande Cache and Smoky River area.
We were not included in Treaty 8. Whether it was the remote location of our community, lack of communication or the grueling two-week trip it would’ve taken our Ancestors to get to the closest commissioner, AWN members do not have status. We do not fit under what the Government of Canada defines as First Nations or Métis under the Indian Act. We are not recognized as an Indigenous group and therefore do not share the same rights afforded to recognized Indigenous communities across Canada.
The Aseniwuche Winewak, or Rocky Mountain People, are unique in that we continued to live nehiyaw pimâtisiwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭ ᐱᒫᑎᓯᐃᐧᐣ, the Cree traditional way of life, largely undisturbed up until the 1960s. Families lived by seasonal rounds, living in cabins and teepees, hunting, fishing, trapping and harvesting medicinal plants. Our People cared for each other and for the land. The discovery of coal triggered a chain of new developments that led to the establishment of the Town of Grande Cache in 1969. The Aseniwuche Winewak traditional way of life was challenged by new Euro-Canadian ways and the social, environmental and economical impacts continue to be felt today.
Visit the interactive historical timeline to learn more about the story of Aseniwuche Winewak Nation.
AWN supports education, programming and representation to build unity in our community by working together and preserving the land, language and culture.
- Wahkohtowin ᐊᐧᐦᑯᐦᑐᐃᐧᐣ – We honour and respect our past and present relationships.
- Environment – We respect and care as stewards of the environment.
- Unity – We strive for unity within our community.
- Community – We are the keepers of our language, land and culture.
In 1994, the seven communities, known as the Co-operatives and Enterprises, joined to form the Aseniwuche Winewak Society.
In 2002, the Aseniwuche Winewak Society became the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation of Canada. The membership changed from the seven corporate members to individual community members. Today, AWN represents over 400 adults and 180 youth and children. AWN is governed by an elected President and Board of Directors nominated and voted in by the general membership every four years. We have been developing and providing programming and services to support the needs of our members for nearly three decades.