Pelican Narrows

Northern village, located 120 km NW of Creighton via the Hanson Lake Road and gravel Hwy 135. The community is situated near the narrows that join Mirond and Pelican Lakes which lie between the Sturgeon-Weir and Churchill River systems. Pelican Narrows is the administrative centre for the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and the majority of the townsite is reserve land. The Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation is the province’s second largest First Nation and has a total population of about 6,700, with roughly 2,500 living in the Pelican Narrows area. Oral history places the Cree at the site around 1730. Summer camps where women and children stayed were established, while the men travelled to Hudson Bay to trade furs. Both the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company had trading posts established in the area in the late 1700s, but after the merger of the companies in 1821 there was not a post at Pelican Narrows for several decades. In 1874, the Hudson’s Bay Company established a permanent post at Pelican Narrows, which became the Northern Store in 1987. Roman Catholic missionaries were traversing the area from the mid-1800s and established a permanent mission in 1878. Anglican missionaries arrived in the late 1890s and built a church in 1911. Schoolchildren were sent away to residential schools for a number of years. In 1967, an all-weather road was built into the community and other services followed.

David McLennan