MP-0000.1394.4 | Aboriginal people portaging goods, Slave River, NT, about 1900

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Aboriginal people portaging goods, Slave River, NT, about 1900
C. W. Mathers
About 1900, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Gelatin silver process
25 x 20 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Photograph (77678) , river (1486) , Transportation (2517) , Waterscape (2986)
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Keys to History

Treaty #8, negotiated in the summer of 1899 and covering the northern half of Alberta and parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, totalled 840 000 square km-the largest to that date. Like the other treaties, it was negotiated because the Canadian government thought that newcomers would be coming into the region in some numbers, and wanted to settle Indian title to the land before that happened. In this case the newcomers were miners taking a roundabout route to the gold fields of the Yukon. The men portaging goods around rapids on the Slave River, in the area covered by Treaty #8, are probably Dene, or perhaps Metis-outsiders did not always distinguish between the two groups.

  • What

    A group of First Nations people carrying goods over a northern portage.

  • Where

    This is the Slave River, flowing north from Lake Athabasca in northern Alberta to Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories.

  • When

    Although this photograph was taken in 1900, portages such as this one would have been well-travelled by Aboriginal people long before Cuthbert Grant first explored the river for the North West Company in 1786.

  • Who

    These First Nations people are not identified. If they are from the region, they are Dene.