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the Canadian Rockies History - Indians & Pioneers



The last ice age which ended 10,000 years ago created a land bridge over the Bering Strait between Asia and North America. This enabled early Homo Sapiens (humans) to wander onto and settle across both North and South America.

The Indians that settled around the Canadian Rockies became the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Sarcee (Tsuu T'ina), and Stoney bands. These Indians used to roam the plains and the eastern Rockies, but now reside in several reserves in the area.

In 1754, Anthony Henday is first European to see the Rockies. In 1799, Rocky Mountain House was built by the Northwest Company. In 1804, David Thompson of the North West Company cross Howse Pass and build Kootenay House, near present day Invermere. In 1811, Henry House was established at Jasper. In 1821, the rival North West and Hudsonís Bay companies amalgamate to consolidate fur trading across the Canadian West. Sir George Simpson, who crosses the Rockies on his round-the-world trip, discovers the Radium Hot Spring in 1841. By 1847, Methodist missionary Robert Rundle is preaching to Stoney Indians in the Bow Valley. The Cariboo Gold Rush of 1864 draws many settlers through the Yellowhead Pass to the Cariboo Mountains in Central British Columbia.

In 1867, Confederation created the new nation of Canada, which then began efforts to settle the West. Fort Calgary was built in 1875 by the NorthWest Mounted Police (later renamed the RCMP) to protect the western plains from American whiskey traders. The fort was originally named Fort Brisbois, after the first inspector of the NWMP. The Indians agreed to cede their land to the Canadian Government at the signing of Treaty No. 7 in 1877. The reserves are located as follows: Blackfoot near Gliechen, Blood Indians near Cardston, Peigan near Pincher Creek, Sarcee near the Canadian Rockies, and the Stony near Morley.

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