Friday, 9 November 2012

Inuit of Pangnirtung, Nunavut..1953-1958

Photos by Geoffrey Secord.

More photos taken by Geoffrey Secord while he served as a doctor from 1953 to 1958 in Pangnirtung can be viewed on the following site.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Oilsand Quest sold to Cenovus

The remaining assets of Oilsands Quest sold for $10 million.

Oil Sands Quest spent hundreds of millions during its years of exploration in Saskatchewan.
read previous blog entry: Oilsands Quest for sale

(see also) Oilsands Quest 2007 native road blockade.

(see also) $349 million raised since 2004 (Corporate overview April 29,2009)

 Oilsands Quest leases in orange.                      read more....Oilsands Quest Timeline

Cenovus Energy Inc. sent out this press release October 2, 2012.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Father Mathieu's dog team 1950's La Loche

Father Bertrand Mathieu and his dog team in 1955 La Loche. The Mission of La Loche included La Loche, Garson Lake, Descharme Lake, Turnor Lake, Bull's House and West La Loche. Visiting these small villages regularly was Father Mathieu's responsibility. (Photos from Canada Archives)
  •  Father Bertrand Mathieu o.m.i. (ordained in 1949) arrived in La Loche in 1950 and served until 1986.  .....History of La Loche

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

"The Great Portage" 1950's La Loche.

La Loche in the 1950's as shown in the writings of the missionaries and the students of the school.
In this issue of "The Great Portage" in 1959, a La Loche community newsletter: The church gets electricity. The school gets a new furnace. There is a plane crash in Garson Lake. There are weddings and births. There are TB clinics. A road is getting built to the village. (downloaded from:

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ice fishing in Patuanak 1940's

Fishing  in winter  can  hardly  be  considered  a  sport.  It
is  rather  hard  work  which  deserves  better  than  an  8  cent
cheque  after  a  season  of  it." (written in 1947 by a student of Ile a la Crosse School)

Tanning moose hide in 1947

"The women punched holes around  the  hide  to  tie  it to the  frame  which  they stood upright against  2  trees.  With a  sharp  bone, they  scraped off  the  fur  on  one  side,  the flesh  from  underneath  and  let it stand  for  a  night." (La Loche circa 1944)


"Last  summer  while  I  was staying  at  Pachuanak  with my father,  I  was  interested  in
watching  the  women  transform a  moose's  hide  into  beaded moccasins.
This  is  how  they did  it."  (written in 1947 by a student of Ile a la Crosse School)

"The  men  had  killed  a  moose - a  rare  event  these  past years -- and  brought  the  hide home  to  their women  who  immediately  soaked  it in  a  tub  of water  so  that  it would  not harden  before  they  worked  on it.  The  men  also made a  frame with  four  poles -- and  their task was  ended."

"The women punched holes around  the  hide  to  tie  it to the  frame  which  they stood
upright  against  2  trees. With a  sharp  bone, they  scraped off  the  fur  on  one  side,
the flesh  from  underneath  and  let it stand  for  a  night."

The  next  day  they  removed the  hide  from  the  frame  and rubbed  it  on  both  sides  with the  brains  of  the moose  which the  men  had  saved.  This  takes
the  place  of  oil,  I  was  told. It  was  then  left  to  dry  in the  sun  for  a  few  days.
When  it was  dry,  they  soaked  it again  in  water  to  soften  it.
They  took  the  hide  to the  bush,  hung  it  over  a
strong  branch,  and  wrung  it with a  stick,  turning  it  over
and  over  until  not  a  drop  of water  could  be  squeezed  out of  it.

While  the  skin  was drying,  the  women  scraped  it and  beat  it with covers  of
pails  to  make it fuzzy and soft on  both sides. It was now  ready  to  be  tanned.

They  sewed  the  skin  together  lengthwise,  leaving both  ends  open.
With three sticks  they  built  a  tepee, suspended  the  skin  inside
and  made  a  fire  with  rotten wood  directly  beneath  it.
The smoke  which  curled  in  and  out of  the  roll  of  skin,  tanned  it to  a  golden  color.

Finally  they  cut  out  the mocassins  according  to  a  simple  pattern  of  their  own.
Some sewed  on  the  colored  beads , scarce  and  expensive  since  the war,
while  others  embroidered the  floral  designs  which  they
had  traced  on  the  skin  with  a little stick dipped  in  a  red
solution made  with  a  piece  of crepe  paper.
What  patient  labour  it required -- definitely  a  woman's work"~
Florence  Ahenakew  (IX)

"They  took  the  hide  to the  bush,  hung  it  over  a strong  branch,  and  wrung  it with a  stick,  turning  it  over and  over  until  not  a  drop  of water  could  be  squeezed  out of  it."
(La Loche circa 1944)
 (La Loche circa 1944)

Florence Ahenakew was a grade 9 student at Ile a la Crosse School in 1947 when she wrote this story. She was born on June 7, 1929. Her father was Alexander Ahenakew, the H.B.C. post manager of the Pine River Post more

Copied from 'Island Breeze' ....December 1947   (Ile a la Crosse newspaper)

The black and white photos on this page were taken in the 1940's in La Loche, Saskatchewan.
Read more......

The boy is Robert Guetre (1940?). Elizabeth (Robert's mother) is the lady on the left. Father Ducharme on the left. Isabelle (Velner) Janvier (grandmother of Pauline (Janvier) Fontaine) 

Beauval Residential School Yearbooks

View the complete 1968 yearbook at the following link.

1968 Beauval Residential School Yearbook

Residential Schools in Canada

Saturday, 18 August 2012

La Loche Education 1944

La Loche twins go to college as seminarians

August 1939: Joseph Montgrand, the twins Alfred and Jean-Marie and mother Augustine (Laliberte). The two boys studied to be oblates from 1939 to 1942.

Friday, 17 August 2012

A priest at Portage La Loche

 1908 Frank Crean Expedition photo of Portage La Loche  (coloured version).

Buffalo River, Saskatchewan 1908

Part of the Buffalo River series; This photo was mislabelled as having been taken in Buffalo Narrows.

Frank J. P. Crean's photos of Buffalo River (Dillon), Saskatchewan.
These were taken in September 1908. Dillon is on the western shore of Peter Pond  Lake. 
These five photos were all taken at the same location at Buffalo River. Buffalo River would later be known as Dillon (a name change took place after 1929).,_Saskatchewan

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Fish and potatoes.....1870's

Francoise Janvier born in 1918
Francoise Janvier preparing fish to dry.
La Loche 1980. Photo by Ray Marnoch.
"Fish....make up almost the entire diet of the inhabitants....along with potatoes" 

Friday, 1 June 2012

La Loche Wildfire May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012....2:00 p.m.  
This dangerous wildfire is about one hour old and 1.5 k from La Loche.  
La Loche and area has a population of over 3500 people.

Monday, 7 May 2012

A skate board park for La Loche

Installed a few days ago this skate board park in La Loche is already a  popular place. It's free and roller skates, in-line skates, skate boards and BMX bikes are allowed.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Editing Paul Kane

Paul Kane's The Surveyor 1845-46 oil on canvas
Kane chose vibrant colours for this painting of Captain John Henry Lefroy. Not all Kane's paintings remained in such a pristine condition. 'Fort Edmonton' and 'Metis Buffalo Hunters' shown below became faded over time. These have been edited by RD Laloche to show what they may have looked like 160 years ago.                                  about Paul Kane

Thursday, 5 April 2012

La Loche photo search

'La Loche tepees' (date unknown) from Canada Archives
The date of this photo in now known and a description has been found.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Revillon Freres in La Loche

The Revillon Freres Post in La Loche June 30-July 2, 1918  from Canada Archives (colourized version) with Dene Chipewyan teepees gathered for a 'summer mission'.. 
This photo is in the following book by Franklin Kitto published in 1919. The photo was probably taken during his visit between June 30-July 2, 1918.         ...view Franklin Kitto's book

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sturgeons stolen on the Saskatchewan in 1862

York boat and crew at Fort Edmonton Park

"The sight of us on the Saskatchewan caused a general alarm among the “Savanais” camped on the left bank. From far away as soon as these Indians saw us coming, they ran in all directions, dragging by the gills or carrying on their naked backs huge sturgeons. They hurried to hide their catch from the Metis who were starved for fish.

Birth on a York boat in 1862

York boats with tent coverings on Lake Winnipeg by Peter Rindisbacher in 1821

“On June 28 we camped on the shore of Lake of the Woods. It was a beautiful site that the rain did not let us admire very much. We passed the night in the boats, turned into sleeping quarters with the aid of coverings.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Father Petitot leaves Fort Garry 1862

Fort Garry and  St. Boniface by Paul Kane circa 1851-56. The church of St. Boniface on the left was a burnt ruin when Father Petitot arrived in 1862. 

"We took our place , M. Grouard and I, in one of the boats of the Hudson Bay Company that left that day for the ‘Grand Portage La Loche’.

Father Petitot arrives at Portage La Loche

The entrance to Portage La Loche is across the lake behind the island.

“Clear Lake and Buffalo Lake that we then crossed were beautiful and scenic. The second is around 43 kilometers. The first is even bigger but the dimensions are not yet known. A sinuous and flat river joins them to Lac La Loche which is 13 kilometers long. We arrived at this last lake on July 18, but we were not able to cross to the ‘Grand Portage La Loche’ until the 20th. because of the wind.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Reverend Robert MacDonald

Fort Garry and St. Boniface by Paul Kane 1851-56

Passengers are picked up at Red River (June 1862) by the Portage La Loche Brigade

“Between the Stone Fort and Lake Winnipeg was a protestant mission of “Savanais”. These Indians are now called “Machkegons”. We stopped a few moments to pick up in one of the boats a Scot Chippewa Metis, who was going for four years to the Mackenzie District. The reverend Mr. MacDonald was a man of 35 years, with amber eyes and the complexion of milk in coffee. He was dressed all in grey and he was single. That is he was not accompanied by a wife.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bernard Rogan Ross and Robert Kennicott

Ross and Kennicott at Portage La Loche in 1862
Bernard Rogan Ross
The chief factor of the Mackenzie District based in Fort Simpson was Bernard Rogan Ross. He came to Portage La Loche every year to oversee his outfit. In 1862 he was accompanied by the naturalist Robert Kennicott who was returning to Chicago from his first expedition. Father Emile Petitot describes these men in his book "En route pour la mer Glacial".
......Bernard Rogan Ross as a collector
......Bernard Rogan Ross biography
......Robert Kennicott biography

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Francois Beaulieu of Salt River, NWT

A portion of Sir John Franklin Expedition map of 1819-20

“That same night we set up our tent at Salt River. It is an undrinkable river whose source is the Caribou Mountains. The salt of this river is deposited naturally on the shore where a great quantity is taken to supply all the forts and missions of the north.
This river belongs to the its discoverer, a French Metis called Beaulieu, who has worked a piece of land into a nice farm where he lives with several of his children.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Quarrel with the Metis at the Portage 1862

The Governor of Rupert's Land Alexander Grant Dallas
Alexander Grant Dallas (in the bow tie) and his Iroquois tripmen in 1863  (edited)

“After these two gentlemen visited the governor we also went, Grouard and I, to pay our respects to His Excellency.We found him standing alone in the meadow not far from the huge Iroquois canoe that had brought him. He walked around looking bored and annoyed."

Monday, 27 February 2012

Metis buffalo hunters of Red River


galloping buffalo's from...........Muybridge_Buffalo_sequence.jpg

The Metis buffalo hunters of Red River.
"Conspicuous in importance amongst the annual events in the colony are the journeys made to the Plains by the Buffalo hunters at different periods of the year. The parties belonging to the summer hunt start about the beginning of June, and remain on the Plains until the beginning of August. They then return to the settlement for the purpose of trading their pemmican and dried meat. The autumn hunters start during the month of August, and remain on the prairie until the end of October, or early November, when they usually return bringing the fresh or "green meat," preserved at that late season by the extreme cold."  Red river by Hargrave 1871 (page 168)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Lost love at Portage La Loche 1862

Lac La Loche forest scene 2011

The country wife is abandoned.

"On July 29th. a Chipewyan woman ran into my tent crying. I learned through an interpreter that this young girl, still pagan, was married to a Cree man, also pagan. He had repudiated her and leaving right away for Lac La Biche. She came to ask me to intervene on her behalf with her mother-in-law and husband so that they would treat her more kindly.
I went to their lodge. Neither one nor the other would listen. The young woman, they said, was sour tempered and easily angered and didn't love her husband. In short they didn't want her. I insisted. The old Cree woman, with her nose up, jealous and hostile told me without even looking at me "Never again will she step foot in my tent."

Monday, 20 February 2012

Metis and Dene dog blankets and bells

Paul Kane 1848 "Wedding Party"
These dogs are decorated with blankets and bells

The Canadian Inuit harnessed dogs to sledges over 1000 years ago.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Fond du Lac Census 2011

Fond du Lac R.C. Church on July 29, 1893. Photo taken by the Tyrrell Expedition.

link:....Fond-du-Lac, Saskatchewan

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Fort Chipewyan, Alberta 1893

Fort Chipewyan from the top of the prison. The Catholic Mission can be seen further down the shore.
These photos are from the J.B. Tyrrell expedition            link........... University of Toronto Libraries,_Alberta

Sunday, 12 February 2012

moss bags/baby carriers

La Loche in 1914. Mothers with babies in front of a tent with the old La Loche Church in the background. The ladies are all dressed modestly in dresses down to the ankles and buttoned to the neck. Several are wearing kerchiefs, aprons and shawls.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Census 2011 La Loche/La Ronge

Canada Census 2011 results:

La Loche is now the largest town in northern Saskatchewan.          Canada Census 2011

Uptown La Loche from Marie Street

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ile a la Crosse in 1862

Ile a la Crosse mission buildings in the 1860's
Father Emile Petitot travelled through Ile a la Crosse with the Portage La Loche Brigade in 1862. Twenty years later he wrote his impressions of this trip.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Metis life in the 1820’s

Rindisbacher peter trapping beaver
Trapping beaver by Rindisbacher more about the artist Peter Rindisbacher

Before photography artists like Peter Rindisbacher painted scenes of early life in the North West and the Red River areas of North America. They faithfully painted the people, what they wore and how they lived.
Peter Rindisbacher was born in 1806 in Switzerland and died in St. Louis in 1834. He was 28 years old. He was just fifteen when he painted 'The inhospitable shores of Lake Winnipeg' in 1821.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

La Loche: 61% unemployed

The unemployment rate in La Loche may be as high as 61%.
The unemployment rate in Clearwater River may be as high as 69%.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Leoville, Saskatchewan

The road by the old Dauvin homestead near Leoville, Saskatchewan. Six of Marius and Agnes Dauvin`s
children would be born here. The family arrived by wagon in 1938 then left in 1950 for British Columbia.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The road that La Loche built

The Garson Lake Road
Black Point became accessible via the Garson Lake Road in 1988.

This camp on the Garson Lake Road is situated on the La Loche River.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Oilsands Quest for sale

Trading of Oilsands Quest stock was discontinued on November 29, 2011 after the company failed to sell its Wallace Creek leases. The stock price at closing was 18 cents a share. The company has since been under bankruptcy protection. 
The village of La Loche signed an exploration agreement with Oilsands Quest June 27, 2008. It was hoped that this would bring some much needed revenue and jobs for the village. 

 Oilsands Quest leases in orange.                      read more....Oilsands Quest Timeline

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A La Loche Family History

Robert Francois Guetre in 1920-21
dressed in his sailor's uniform.

This family history begins in 1923 on a French Naval training vessel with a 20 year old sailor Robert Francois Guetre.