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Cowessess First Nation

Chief Cowessess (Ka-wezauce, “Little Boy”) adhered to Treaty 4 on September 15, 1874, on the Hudson’s Bay Company reserve, at the southeastern end of Echo Lake, with his Saulteaux, Cree, and Métis followers. They remained nomadic until 1878–79, when they began farming near Maple Creek in the Cypress Hills, and in 1880 a reserve was surveyed for them at Crooked Lake. While several band members settled there under O’Soup, Cowessess and his followers remained in the Hills until the spring of 1883. Education was always a priority: the first log school house was built in 1880 by the Oblate fathers; Cowessess Indian residential school opened in 1898; and Lakeside Day School was built in 1934. The Roman Catholic Mission was called Crooked Lake Mission until the community was granted a post office under the name Marieval in 1908. The 21,488-ha Cowessess Reserve is 13 km northwest of Broadview, and an additional 257.1-ha reserve (73A) is situated 31 km west of Esterhazy. There are 3,266 band members, 597 of whom live on reserve.

Christian Thompson

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