The O'Chiese First Nation reservation 203 and 203a spans 14131.9 hectares of land. The O'Chiese people are of Saulteaux and Cree ancestry. The primary language is Saulteaux although most of the people can understand Cree and English. Approximately 70% speak Saulteaux fluently. Chief and Council conduct business in their Saulteaux Language during Chief and Council meetings, Community meetings and Elder meetings. Saulteaux is taught in the Daycare, Headstart Program and in the School. Culture is important to the O'Chiese people and practice regularly. Also our elders are well known and invited to other First Nations communities and their ceremonies.
There is a history book out there that claims that the Saulteaux people came from an area near the North Shore of Lake Superior in Ontario. In the early 1800s, the Saulteaux moved west to trap beaver for the North West Company. Some of these people ended up settling in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but another group stayed in the eastern slopes and foothills of the Rocky Mountains, But just to clarify our history states that the people of O'Chiese came from various areas.
The Saulteaux group known as the O'Chiese used the Rocky Mountain House area near the Baptiste River as their winter camp site where they hunted moose and deer and trapped. They migrated as far south as Montana in the summer.
It was not until 1950 that a group of about fifteen families from the O'Chiese First Nation Band decided to sign an amendment to Treaty 6 and live on the reserve near Rocky Mountain House. They were one of the last people to sign treaty.
Currently, the O'Chiese First Nation offers a wide range of cultural programming. Such as youth cultural camps, diabetic walks, Treaty Days, Sundances, Round Dances and next year O'Chiese will host a long awaited Pow Wow as the Pow Wow grounds are under construction. O'Chiese youth are involved in the recreation program. Such as hockey, baseball, football, dance and a youth drum group that travels along the Pow Wow circuit. O'Chiese First Nation also provides initiatives for their elders taking them on long trips in the O'Chiese coach bus. Last year the elders went to the Calgary Stampede as well as to the United States and the elders continue to look forward to these adventures!