1. Sandy Point: (Nehiyo-wahkasi) is a small island on the inside elbow of Lac Ile-a-la-Crosse. My first home was a one room log cabin where my mother and father lived. When I was about six years old my grandfather helped my dad build a small one bedroom house. Sandy Point is a Metis homestead where George Gardiner and Ambroise Morin raised their respective families. My father Joe married into the Morin family hence, why we lived there. We had big gardens; dog teams, horses, cows, even chicken. We were self sufficient, we hunted, fished, gathered food, berries, eggs and bought only what was needed. My grandfather operated a mink ranch for a short while on the island. The following relatives and their families lived on the island. Ambroise Morin and Marie Jean Morin, grandparents,adopted and raised Larry Ahenakew, Don R. Morin (tsoomow) and Wayne Morin (tsibop); Leon and Clara Morin had seven children; Frank and Marie Rose Morin raised five children; Jules and Therase Morin had seven children; My Dad Joe and Mom Jeanne Durocher and me, myself and I, an only adopted child; my grandmother Monique who is now 91 and Leeleep (my brother John Lariviere) would stay with us over the summer months. Joe and Christine Misponas also had five children. They would eventually move across to Sucker Point which is part of the English River Reserve out of Patuanak. On the Gardiner side; Elizabeth Hood married Eugene and moved to Beauval where she raised five boys; Elise Durocher married Paul and they raised three children;
George and Adlaide Gardiner, grandparents adopted and raised Nap Gardiner; their children included Isadore Gardiner (tsi cutall); Johnny and Elizabeth Gardiner and their seven children; Albert and Irene Gardiner and their five children; Jeffery and Beatrice Gardiner and five or six kids; Annette Gardiner never married and never had children. Margaret Hodgson married and moved south and I think had four girls and one son George. Adlaide and Marie Jean were sisters with Charlie Lariviere the only remaining brother. Many of their other children relocated after they got married or found work elsewhere. So, at one time when we played rubber ball there could have been over thirty children running loose around the island. Legends that were used to keep us in line.
Most of the children now have their own families and are grandparents in their own right. At the last Sandy Point gathering I tried to count the number of people that evolved from the union of two sisters and two Metis friends, one French and the other English. I figure there are over four hundred of us that are descendants of this little island.
2. Sucker Point: The Misponas family lived on a small reserve at Sucker Point, straght across from our point. They used to live at Sandy Point after uncle Joe Misponas married my mother's older sister Christine. Uncle Joe wanted to build a new house on Sandy Point but Indian Affairs would only allow reserve construction on reserves so the Misponas family moved across the lake. Soon Magloire the oldest got married to Cecile (Alphonse) Daigneault and built a house; than Edwaard got married to Evelyn (Johnny) Gardiner and built a house. Tsi Magloire Laliberte and his wife lived adjacent to the reserve before they eventually moved into town.
Beaver River: (Amisko-sipi) Covers a real large area. William Daigneault, his son Albert Daigneault, Jules McCallum and his family lived the farthest out of the mouth of the Beaver River.Alphonse and Monique Daigneault and their family, Squeesis Daigneault and her son Richard lived just around the corner of the mouth. Fred and Nora Darbyshire and their twins Leonard and Howard, Ed and Evangaline Therieu lived at the mouth while, Jeffery Gardiner and George Caisse all lived around the mouth of the Beaver River. George Kyplain settled here for many years raising mink before moving back to Sula Trampe. Three mink ranches. Leonard and family live in Big River from where Leonard has commuted to Cluff Lake as a Journeyman Tradesman. Howard and family live in Prince Albert where Howard has made an entire career with the Prince Albert City Police. Both ski doo from Big River to Beaver River every winter.
3. Tremble Island: (Ala-Pointe du Tremble) was occupied by Gilbert and Margaret Desjarlais and family, Francois, wife and family Desjarlais, George and Marie Kyplain. Mink ranch. Before Gilbert moved his family to the island, they used to live on the mainland called Kawapasik, or little narrows in English. My uncle Jules married Therase, daughter of Gilbert and Margaret. Evangaline Daigneault also lived here, she is the late mother of my aunt Clara, uncle Leon's wife. Evangaline's other daughter Delphine married (Daddy) Frank Corrigal and lives in Ile a la Crosse.
4. Fort Black is the historic site of the first NW Company Post. Daniel Daigneault, Jean Marie Desjarlais, raised their families here. Mink ranch owned by Dr. Lavois before the Daigneault family bought the property. This was the site of the NorthWest Company while the Hudson's Bay Company was located inside the bay at Ile a la Crosse.
5. Canoe River: (Amisko-sipi) Occupied by FX Burnouf, Ettienne Corrigal, Bouviers, and Jeremy and Eugene Gardiner families. Mink ranch run by Burnouf then he got into cafes and cabins, then started Northway Service, a thriving family business in Ile a la Crosse. . Many families lived on the south shores of Ile a la Crosse. Mr. Ellis and wife moved here from Ontario so the wife would be close to her family. Tragedy struck one Fall when Mr and Mrs Ellis and three school aged children broke through the ice and drowned.
6. Ile-a-la-Crosse (Sakitawak) is the second oldest community in Saskatchewan. It was incorporated in 1776. Louis Riel's sister Sara, a Gret Nun is buried here. Strong Metis community. Mink ranch owned by Joe Favel just outside the community. Michif is the dominant language. Population is about 1700 people, mostly Metis.
7. Buffalo Narrows: (Mostoos-sipi) is located near the channel that separates Churchill and Peter Pond lakes. Churchill lake is the start of the famous Churchill river. Many scandanavians settled here, hence names like Pederson, Hansen, and Larsen. Metis, Cree and Dene have also made Buffalo their home. Several mink ranches in and around the two lakes. Population is about 1500.
8. Patuanak: (Patsu-wana) is a Dene/Cree community that sits at the bottom of the first rapids of the mighty Churchill river. The Dene language is dominant in that only a few Elders speak Cree. There is a reserve and a Metis hamlet which make up the community. From here there are numerous rapids and the Precambrian shield begins. Population is close to a thousand people.
9. Black Bay: (Misiwasa) the home of Frank Fisher, a German-Jew immigrant who lived there until his health required him to relocate to Big River, Sask. He raised mink and was a naturalist who spent many hours feeding the local birds and animals. Black Bay was also our favourite place for Spring commercial fishing.
10. Deep River: Holvar Ausland cleared out this property and raised foxes then minks. My father worked here for many years and used to consider this my second home. Ausland was the first mink rancher and sold most of the breeder minks to others. He experimented with cross breeding and raised and sold world famous mink pelts. Follow the link to its own site created by Selmar Ausland son of the late Holvar.
11. Wuts-us Bay where George Murray, Jimmy Morin, Johnny Thompson, Jackie Thompson lived. From here people used to portage to Kazan Lake. Two mink ranches.
12. Beauval: (Sipisihk) Metis community plus the La Plonge Indian reserve is located across the river, east of Beauval. Mink ranch. The late Alex Burnouf operated a cattle ranch along the river of the Ft. Black road, while Alfred Bouvier and Peter Buffin operated similar cattle operations south of Beauval and south of the Beauval junction. Population about 800.
13. Lac La Plonge: Sub-division with a large, deep lake famous for lake trout and beautiful beaches.
14. Half Way Lake is where we used to fish for Whitefish and northern pike. We used to have to transport our fish every second day to the Ile-a-la-Crosse fish plant. Mink ranch.
15. Alstead Lake: (Kakino-kamak) Dennis Favel and his father Joe have a tourist camp here as well as wild rice.
16. Harry Lake: (Kamistikokasik) Where my uncle Joe Misponas and his sons Magloire, Edward and Willian trapped for many years. They would leave in the fall before the lakes froze then they would walk out after the lakes were frozen over.
17. Canoe Lake: (Nehiyo-wapasi) The communities of Canoe Narrows and Cree reserve, Jans Bay and Cole Bay, two Metis settlements are located on the south side of the lake.
18. Kazan Lake: (Lac la Marte) Many trappers from the Ile-a-la-Crosse fur block trapped and hunted in this area.
19. Churchill Lake flows south to Ile-a-la-Crosse before turning sharply north towards Patuanak and the beginning of the Precambrian shield and white water rafting.
20. Peter Pond lake is connected to Churchill lake by a channel which doesn't freeze well over winter. A ferry was used before a bridge was built in 1982.
21. Dillon, Michel Village and St. Georges Hill are Dene, and Metis communities with Dillon being a reserve.
22. Jack Pine Crick: (Ala Pointe-tsi-Pres-sipisis) My dad and trapped in this area. We had a small log cabin on the southern shore at Assini-kakotsi (Hanging Rock) and trapped both sides of the lake and up Jack Pine Crick to a small lake five miles north.
23. Little Amyot lake home of the Amyot Inn. The motel sits near highway 155. There is also a subdivision across the bay from the resort.
24. Magloire Bay: (Wasa) The Morin family trapped this area. Uncle Leon Morin and Soonie, Peter, Uncle Jules followed my grandfather Ambroise Morin's practice of trapping close to home. Today this bay is almost impassible because of all the wild rice grown there.
25. Black Bay: (Ka-misi-wasak) The Gardiner family started by George Gardiner trapped here. Johnny, Angus, Robbie were the other generations that used this part of the land. Today there are still family members that use the area.
26. Gravel Point: (Tsi-Grawa) Kurt George an immigrant from Germany married Alice, daughter of William Daigneault. They operated a mink ranch and raised many children. Now the George surname is growing family name as his children have gone on and raised their own families. There are Georges in Pinehouse, La Ronge and even Winnipeg however, his daughter married and doesn't necessarily use the George name but thats beside the point.
27. (Belanger-kaki-wekit) Belangers, then Vital Morin lived and operated his own mink ranch from here. Buckley Belanger, Minister of SERM, has roots here as it was his grandfather that first settled here.
28. Pine River: (Tsa-tsigamihk) is a beautiful area that is occupied by Albert Daigneault and his family. It is just off the Patuanak highway north of Beauval.
29. (Uknown Creek) The late John Otten moved here from the Ft. Black area in the seventies before moving into the community of Ile a la Crosse. He also used to work at Deep River. His first wife, the late Celine raised two daughters, Marlene and Terry. He remarried to Elizabeth Natomagen from Pinehouse. They raised several children by adoption.
30. Joe Walcer and wife Mary Muskeg operated a mink ranch in this area.
(b) Almost all the areas mentioned now have wild rice growing within its immediate area. Wild rice has become a very important economic means for many northerners. Also, there were many mink ranches during the fiftie, sixties and into the early 70's before the price of mink pelts and generally the fur industry collapsed. This collapse was mainly due to the bleeding heart activists who campaigned world-wide against trapping. Little do they realize that thousands of aboriginal trappers lost a very important economic source and as a result most have fallen victim of the welfare syndrome.
Back to The Metis Man
© mjdurocher 2000