In the old days, we had Cree names for most of the places in our territory.
We have inhabited this land for a long time.
The Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains were once the home of the Shuswaps, but over time, they were gradually pushed westward. Most of Shuswap or Snake people who lived in the Jasper Valley left when the Cree, who had guns, forced them out. Some of the local Snake people were killed off by the Assiniboine in the Jasper Valley about 1840. Most of the rest of the Shuswaps vacated the area in 1858 when the Hudson Bay Company left, due to a food shortage. They went to Fort St. George.
Johnny Moyese was a Shuswap Aboriginal person from the Okanagan, who came over the mountains and settled at Jarvis Lake near Hinton. This area was sometimes called Fish Lake, Red Willow or Joachim Flats. He was a neighbour of “One-eyed” Jimmy Wanyandie. After “One-eyed” Jimmy died, Johnny took over the family sometime in the 1920’s. In the summers, Johnny would visit the Grande Cache area.
John Glenn, who was a forest ranger in the area from 1920 to 1942 told an interesting story about Johnny. It was about 1927, when John Glenn and his crew were in the Grande Cache area. They were on the far side of the Smoky River, when it started to rain. It rained so long and hard that the river flooded. This made it very difficult to get across the river to the ranger cabin at Grande Cache. Glenn’s crew built a raft and Harold Lake volunteered to go across the river to get an old dugout canoe that the local Aboriginal people had cached there. Harold had little trouble getting the canoe across the river, as he was very skilled, but it would take two experienced paddlers to get the canoe loaded with supplies to the other side of the river. At that point in time, “Smiling” Johnny Moyese came along looking for his horses. John Glenn referred to him as Johnny Mayoe. It happened that Glenn and Johnny were old friends, so after a hearty meal, Johnny agreed to help. Johnny and Harold made several trips across the river without incident. When they were done, John Glenn rewarded Johnny Moyese with some food and watched in amazement as Johnny paddled the canoe back across the river singing, “Oh it ain’t gonna rain no mo’ no mo’…”. The Moyese name is no longer in evidence in the region, but most of the local families are related to the family through marriage.