Pink, William (fl. 1766–70)

Between 1754 and 1774, the Hudson’s Bay Company sent men inland to winter with the Cree on the northern plains in order to persuade them to trade at York Factory. Most of these men being illiterate, their travels are unknown. Consequently, the four journals of William Pink, although poorly written, are valuable for our understanding of Cree life. Pink’s 1766–67 journal is brief and vague. He was taken inland by Mou’sin’ni’ki’sick, a Cree leader, perhaps to the Eagle Hills. His next three journals are more detailed, though still poorly written. Each year the group returned from trading at Hudson Bay and left their canoes at the post ruins at Fort à la Corne. In 1767 and 1768 they walked overland north of the North Saskatchewan River to eastern Alberta. In 1779 they went more directly west, through the Eagle Hills and onwards to Manitou Lake. After returning to York Factory in the summer of 1770, Pink left for England. Pink’s life has not been studied, and his journals remain unpublished. He was the first to fully describe a bison pound and how wolves were snared, and to identify the Blackfoot and Blood tribes whom he met west of Manitou Lake. He also first recorded the Cree names for Turtle Lake, Red Deer (modern Monnery) River, Frog Lake Creek, Beaver River, and Battle River.

Dale Russell


Further Reading

Russell, D. 1991. Eighteenth-Century Western Cree and their Neighbours. Archaeological Survey of Canada Mercury Series, Paper 143. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization.