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Big Island Lake First Nation (Joseph Big Head)

Cree Chief Joseph Bighead signed an adhesion to Treaty 6 on June 25, 1913, and requested that his band be allowed to continue to hunt and fish in the region of Lac des Iles. In 1916 the Big Head Reserve, No. 124, was surveyed. It was noted that the cattle owned by the band were some of the finest in the country, but that they were not increasing in number as quickly as the Department of Indian Affairs would have liked. Agriculture has remained an important aspect of their economy, with a potato plantation that has expanded to include the sale of other Vegetables while employing sixty people seasonally. This is further supplemented by gas and oil revenue. The community’s infrastructure includes a band office, warehouse, school, band hall, and community maintenance facility buildings. The 851-member band controls 4,700 hectares; 559 people live on their reserve, located 35 km east of Cold Lake, Alberta.

Christian Thompson

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