Chacachas First Nation

Chief Chacachas signed Treaty 4 on September 15, 1874, at Qu’Appelle, as did Chief Kakisheway. Adjacent reserves were surveyed on the south side of Round Lake and the Qu’Appelle River in 1876, and when Kakisheway requested to be relocated in 1881 surveyor John Nelson placed both Calling River bands (Kakisheway and Chacachas) on one reserve. Members of both bands were away when this occurred and were upset when they returned to Crooked Lakes in 1882 to find they no longer had separate reserves. About forty-five Chacachas band members joined Kakisheway’s band; others, including Chacachas, remained stragglers. In 1884 Kakisheway died and his son Ochapowace succeeded him, becoming the first chief of the amalgamated bands. From that day on, the reserve became known as Ochapowace Reserve Number 71, enforced by an Order-in-Council on May 17, 1889. In 1886 Chief Chacachas took some of his people across the Canadian-American border to find former band members and bring them back to Canada, as he struggled to have his reserve separated from that of Kakisheway. He died while in the USA, and those who had followed him did not return to Canada. Attempts by Chacachas band members to learn why they were amalgamated were made in 1911, when a delegation went to Ottawa to interview the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, and in 1928 when band members consulted a lawyer to write a letter to Ottawa seeking information about a possible claim for compensation. Today, much of the old Chacachas Reserve has been purchased and re-designated reserve land (Ochapowace) through Treaty Land Entitlement, and descendants wait on the federal government to decide if they will be re-established as a separate band and reserve once again.

Christian Thompson