WASHEGENESH was the grandson of Chief Eshanoottie from the Pheasant Rump Community. In his youth, during the Riel Conﬂict, he had voted to kill the Indian Agent Charles Lawford, who was doing all in his power to keep the Moose Mountain Indians from joining Riel. In later years, however, Washegenesh became a very good friend of Charles Lawford. In 1939, he was one of the Saskatchewan Chiefs who was chosen to meet the King and Queen on their visit to Regina.
Mr. and Mrs. Egg with the Le Mesurier family
ARTHUR LE MESURIER and his family had many contacts with his First Nations neighbours as his land was adjacent to the eastern boundary of the White Bear Reserve. The Indigenous people called Arthur “Pungeemonia” which meant “Little White Man”, but as time went on it came to mean “Little Friend”. In 1900, Arthur married Edith Stanier of Cannington Manor. She was affectionately known as “Mrs. Pungeemonia” for the rest of her life. The Le Mesurier family included four children, who were all given a name by their First Nations friends.
Photographer: D.M. Buchanan, Arcola, Saskatchewan
FIRST NATIONS ELDERS have told me that only a very revered woman would have earned the right to wear an eagle feathered headdress such as the one seen in the picture of Fire Woman. There are records of women who performed great deeds of heroism and valour in armed conﬂict but they are very few. Historical accounts also suggest that Fire Woman could have won honour (eagle feathers) by performing acts of great courage in tending the wounded and dying warriors on a battleﬁeld.
Andrew Little Chief at White Bear Powwow
Photographer Frank Mills, Carlyle, Saskatchewan
MUCH OF THE HISTORY of the Indigenous people has been passed along orally so there are very few written accounts describing Indigenous ceremonies including powwows. As a result, it is difﬁcult to ﬁnd a ﬁrst-hand description of the powwows. Oral histories from the Moose Mountain region suggest that the term powwow evolved after the ﬁrst contact with Europeans, as the early First Nations gatherings were often termed dances such as the Grass Dance and Thirst Dance.
Mounted Warriors at White Bear Powwow
(possibly participating in the Horse Dance)
Photographer Frank Mills, Carlyle, Saskatchewan
OLD KAKAKAWAY asked us, “Did you ever see a horse dance?” Dad told him he never had, so he said, “Better stick around, because soon the horses are going to dance and we want to see them.” So we went back to the powwow grounds. Soon thirty or more Indian ponies paraded in, horse and riders decorated in the most colorful outfits. They rode two by two, forming two circles going around and around, the horses keeping in step to the beat of the tom-tom. They kept this going for about fifteen minutes, speeding up and slowing down and speeding up again. The horses seemed to know exactly what to do, and were well trained. Shortly after that, the powwow resumed again, so we left for home.”
— written by George White who was a five-year-old boy when he attended a White Bear Powwow in the 1920s.
Kakakaway Wives with Mrs. Kidd and Mrs. Le Mesurier
Le Mesurier farm adjacent to the White Bear Reserve
KA-KA-KA-WAY (the sound a hawk makes when it is ﬂying) was the first chief of White Bear Reserve. At one point in his long life (some say he lived to be 109, others 111) his wives had all passed away. He went to a gathering or powwow near the Cypress Hills where he met a woman who he asked to return to White Bear with him to be his wife. The woman agreed but requested to bring her sister along with her. Kakakaway consented to this agreement but when the sister was asked she also requested to bring along a third sister. So, it came to pass that Kakakaway acquired three wives, all sisters.
Man with Backrest Banner
Photographer D.M. Buchanan, Arcola, Saskatchewan
(developed from glass negative)
THE DISCOVERY OF THIS PHOTO, which is one of the group of photos that was developed from Buchanan’s glass negatives, represents the highlight of my historical picture collecting career. I had been researching and writing about backrest banners for many years prior to this discovery. My interest in the topic had been kindled when it was found that a backrest banner, which had been given to Arthur Le Mesurier, was still in existence at Cannington Manor. When Buchanan’s glass negatives were developed and the photo of this backrest banner was revealed, it was one of my most exciting historical discoveries because photos of the banner, especially a banner that was still in possession of the Aboriginal people, was very rare.
An Honest, Genial and Kindly People
“An honest, genial and kindly people.” These are the words that Cecil Le Mesurier, an early settler in Southeast Saskatchewan, used to describe the Indigenous people he was interacting with in this area. Within this book you will find a collection of historic photographs from the turn of the century, displaying stunning images of the First Nations people that Le Mesurier describes.
Adrian K. Paton, curator of the South Saskatchewan Photo Museum, has been collecting photos for decades. In his book, Adrian showcases many of the historical images of Indigenous people that he has compiled over the years. Weaving the oral and the visual history together, he recounts stories told to him by his Indigenous friends and connects them to the photos chosen for this book.