Where We Are
Today, we face pressures unknown to previous generations: unparalleled development on our traditional lands and integration into the modern world.
The modern Aseniwuche Winewak Nation (Rocky Mountain People), was formed in 1994 to unify the six aboriginal settlements surrounding Grande Cache. Today, the nation represents more than four hundred individual members, and is a strong organization working for the common good of our People. We are a unique community; members are status, non-status and Métis people. We have all lived similar traditional lives, together as one community. There are no real differences between us.
Our struggles have been great and the barriers to our success high, yet we are prevailing. Problems such as infrastructure, communication and wellness are significant, yet we are making progress. We are committed to developing capacity in education, vocation training, physical and social infrastructure, cultural health, and political stability. The Elders guide us with knowledge of ways past and the children inspire us with their promise of the future.
The Cooperatives & Enterprises
The six individual Aboriginal communities in Grande Cache area are; Muskeg Seepee Cooperative, Susa Creek Cooperative, Grande Cache Lake Enterprise (Kamisak Development), Victor Lake Cooperative, Joachim Enterprise, and Wanyandie Flats Cooperative (East and West). The seven parcels together total 4150 acres.
Membership in the Cooperatives and Enterprises is restricted to the native settlers who settled in the Grande Cache district before the year 1960, their spouses and descendents, from generation to generation.
Grande Cache, Alberta Canada
The Big Berland used to be known as “Pachees Seepee”, which means Baptiste for Baptiste Berland after whom the river is named.
The Little Berland was known as “Pachees Seepee-sis”. There was a place on the Little Berland called “Pehtowkamkoh” which means “Pipesmoke Lodge” in Cree.
The Wild Hay River was known as “Manitou Seepee”. It was said that God walked through the area and his footsteps created large hay meadows.
Washy Creek was known as “Kak-gos-ti-gwan Seepee-sis”, which in English means “Little Porcupine Head”.
The Kakwa River was sometimes known as the Porcupine River or “Kak Seepee”.
A la Peche is French for “well fishing river”. The Cree name is “Ka-kwas-kweh-peh-che-kay”, which means “the place where you fish”.
The Muskeg River is called “Muskeg-Seepee”.
Our People used to hunt at Sulphur River (La Soupe Seepee) at the junction of the Muddywater and Smoky Rivers, as well as at Kamistikok Seepeesis and Matowsiskana (Pinto Creek).
Gregg Lake was known as “Kah-mins-tik-owik”. This was Basa Wanyandie’s land.
Jarvis Lake was known as “Kinosew Sakehigan” or “Mitow-sis-cana”.
A horse trail is called “teh-ta-pee-scan-ow”. Some trails had Aboriginal origins. One of the better known trails, is the one that heads north from Rock Lake where a battle between two groups of aboriginal people took place. The trail is called “Young Man’s Fleeing Trail”. This trail is the result of two young men’s flight through the area, fleeing the battle.
Sulphur Gates was known as Ka-we-popis-kak.
Crossroads (i.e. the places where the various trails crossed) were very important and had special names. Our Elders remember a place called “A-pi-tow” (middle). Another special gathering place called “Mah-tao-sis-ka-nah”, which means “crossroads” – where people from Grande Cache and even Grande Prairie would spend the summer, this area was considered sacred, as it was a special meeting and celebration area. Caw Ridge was also an important gathering place, It was called “Aseniwuche sih”.
Agnes Flats, which is called “Kamisak” was named for Washy Joe Agnes.
Mason Creek was named after a “Muddywater River Trapper”. This happened when Colin Moberly’s father met the trapper and told him the creek would have his name. In turn, the trapper named Moberly Creek after him. Roddy Creek is named after Roddy Moberly and Malcom Creek is named after Malcom Moberly.
A place along the Smoky River is remembered where Daniel Wanyandie, lived and died. This place is now called Daniel’s Flats or Wanyandie Flats West. Two of his grandfather’s sons still live there with their families.
The Pierre Grey Lakes site is named for Pierre Gris, who was a Metis fur trader in the area.
There is a place called “Deadman Creek”. This is the gravesite of Jacques Thappe, who was killed in an avalanche.