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 Wanyandie family can trace its roots to Ignace Nawanionthe (sometimes called Wanyante or Wayande or Ouanianthe), an Iroquois from the Montreal area. There is some evidence to suggest that Ignace came west with Ignace and Louis Kwarakwante about 1800, although they may have come separately about the same time. We know that Ignace Wanyandie worked for the NWC as early as 1813 and that he was one of the few Iroquois who decided to stay in the west when his contract expired. We also know that he was trapping in the Smoky River area by 1818-1819. Ignace married Marie Sekanaise (her last name indicates that she was from the Sekani group of Aboriginal people). Ignace and Marie had a number of children; Jean Baptiste (b. 1820), Collette (b. 1816), Rosalie, Ignace (b. 1832) and Pierre (b. 1824). Ignace Wanyandie Sr. died in 1836.
Jean Baptiste, who went by “Baptiste”, married an Isabelle Kwarakwante in 1846. Baptiste was born in 1820 and died in 1874. Isabelle, who was also born in 1820, died in 1889. Baptiste was her second husband. They had a large family consisting of Jean Baptiste (b. 1845), Jimmy (1855-1880), Nancy (b. 1843), Betsy (b. 1844), Abraham (1849-1874), Joachim, Paul, Virginie, Euphresnine and Vincent.
Vincent Wanyandie was born near Jasper House in 1850 or 1858 (depending on which source you accept). He also married an Isabelle Kwarakwante, but she was born in 1848. They were married in 1890 and had five children; Daniel Sr. (b. 1890), Sam (b. 1892), Sophie (b. 1892), Julia (b. 1894) and Betsy (b. 1896). At first, Vincent and his young family lived in a teepee at Mile 119, which we call Wanyandie Flats East. Vincent and Isabelle were very well to do and had a big place at Graveyard Lake north of Hinton. After his wife died in 1910, Vincent fell on hard times, so he ended up moving to McDonald Flats, where he died and is buried. The other Aboriginal people called him “Vasa” or “Basa” (pronounced “Bay- saa”). This was probably their version of the French pronunciation of Vincent.
Vincent was a good hunter who supplied the HBC Jasper House and H. J. Moberly with food. He could not speak English, but was a leader among the Aboriginal people of the area. Shand Harvey described him as being a tall, open man, who was honest and had integrity. We know that he was generous because he once traded a moose for half a bag of flour to a hungry crew near Pinto Creek working on the 6th meridian. He ran a trapline about thirty miles north of present day Hinton at the junction of the Wildhay River and Jarvis Creek. The Aboriginal people called the Wildhay "Manito-cu-pim-bi-it" because the hay meadows along the river resembled large footprints, which they thought were made by Manitou. Other people believe that the meadows were made by tornadoes. It is interesting to note that Vincent remembered his people driving buffalo and moose over cliffs near Eagle's Nest Pass in the 1860's to obtain meat for the HBC. This would be similar to the buffalo jumps used by the Aboriginal people on the Great Plains.
Vincent was tough, as is evidenced by the story which follows. He was over sixty years old when he shot a sheep in the fall. He went back to find his knife, which he had left behind, when his horse slipped on a rock in a creek. Vincent’s horse showed up at camp minus the rider, so his daughter went looking for him. She soon found him and got her friend, Washy Joe, to set Vincent’s leg in a splint. The family eventually moved Vincent home where he recovered quite nicely.
A rather sad part of the Wanyandie legend concerns Vincent’s son, Sam, who did not return from the family trapline after an expedition in 1911. They never did find the body, but hypothesized that he could have broken through the ice and drowned, although some people always harboured the suspicion that he might have been murdered by the Sturgeon Lake Cree, who did not care for the Wanyandies.
Daniel was born at Brule in 1890. He married Louisa McDonald, the sister of Joe McDonald. The marriage took place in Entrance. They had nine children; a daughter, who died when she was young and is buried near Jackfish Lake near the Wildhay River, Daniel Jr. (b. 1918), Dora who married Jimmy Joachim, Harry who married Maggie Karakuntie, Billy who died in 1945 when he was eighteen years of age, Margaret who died in 1944, Fred (b. Nov. 2, 1927) who married Evelyn Moberly and Tommy (b. June 15, 1932). When Daniel’s father, Vincent, moved to McDonald Flats, Daniel moved there as well, but only for a short time. By 1927, when Fred was born, Daniel was living at Wanyandie Flats West, which was originally called Daniel’s Flats in honour of Daniel Wanyandie. Daniel constructed a log house and two sheds from burnt trees located on the west side of what was to be Number 9 Mine. Daniel floated the trees down the river and used horses to skid them to the site on his flats. He had a big garden, cattle and horses.
Daniel was a guide, outfitter, hunter, trapper and packer. He hauled in groceries for the Unruh store at Sheep Creek before WWII. He worked on a surveying crew for a logging company at the Simmonette River and for Imperial Oil when it was doing exploration work on the Muskeg River. At first, he could trap anywhere he wanted for a $2.50 fee, but in starting in 1941, he paid $10 and had a set trapline near the Flats. He trapped various animals including wolves, coyotes, fox, lynx, marten, squirrels, weasels, and marten. He walked his trapline, using snowshoes in winter. Dogs with packs were also used.
Daniel died in 1974 and is buried at the Wanyandie West graveyard.