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Key Number: HS 45775
Site Name: Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement
Other Names:
Site Type: 1808 - Settlement


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
41 20 4

Address: N/A
Number: N/A
Street: N/A
Avenue: N/A
Near Town: Stettler


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: N/A
Interior: N/A
Environment: East of Buffalo Lake, north of Boss Lake. Generally on semi-circular ridge some twenty-five feet above adjoining flats. Off from center of semi-circle is small lake, which may have been larger at one time. This site is located near the NE shore of Buffalo Lake between Buffalo Lake and Lynn Lake. The south end of the site covers a semi-circular ridge 2 to 3 metres above the adjacent small ponds and Lynn Lake.
Condition: N/A
Alterations: N/A


Construction: Construction Date:
Usage: Usage Date:
Early White Settlement
Crown Land; vacant - no cultivation

Owner: Owner Date:

Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: A series of at least two dozen chimneys. Many holes in adjacent areas maybe source of plaster for walls. Some chimney pots contain flat rocks, other rounded rocks, possibly Indian cairns. * * * SITE DESCRIPTION : The former Buffalo Lake Metis colony is located immediately east of Buffalo Lake and west of Lynn Lake Alberta. The majority of that area is proposed for designation consists of Aspen grove interspersed with a few sloughs and grassy areas. The site is composed of approximately 50 isolated Metis cabin sites that are still visible by cellar depressions, rock fireplace mounds and by scattered artifact and faunal remains. The designated area has not been cultivated to the knowledge of the compiler. HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE : The Buffalo Lake Metis colony represents one of the few known remaining mid-late 19th century metis settlements in Alberta. It consists of at least 89 individual cabin sites scattered over roughly a square mile near Buffalo Lake, representing a relatively good historic record of Metis lifeways during this period of Alberta's history. Life at the Metis settlement is supplemented by the a rich source of written historic journals and letters complied by the O.B.S. late Missionaries while living in the settlement. To date very little historic research on the Metis of Alberta has been completed making this site a valuable addition and of interpretive potential about the Metis of Alberta. ARCHAEOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE : The proposed designated area is valuable archaeologically for numerous reasons: 1) It consists of separate family dwellings which have a well recorded supplementary historic record. 2) It consists of structural remains, artifacts and faunal remains which lie in an undisturbed state and could provide a great deal of information about Metis lifeways through a material cultural medium. 3) It is one of the few (if not the only) known Metis archaeological resource we have in the province making archaeological resource we have in the province making it extremely valuable for protection. 4) If there even was a site where the entire question of ethnicity through the use of material culture can be examined, I would say that Buffalo Lake holds the greatest potential in this regard. Historic and Geographical Context ... The historic Metis settlement was occupied seasonally from autumn 1872 to the spring of 1877. The settlement was a day's journey by horse to the southern prairie. The location for the settlement was important to gain access to the Buffalo which were the primary food supply for the settlement as well as the basis for their economic independence through the robe trade. The Metis at Buffalo Lake came mainly from St. Albert (Big Lake) and Lac St. Anne settlements. Accurate historic estimates of the population of the settlement are lacking. By the mid 1870s some estimates of the number of cabins by whites visiting the region are as high as 400 cabins or about 8,000 inhabitants. Other figures are more modest suggesting there were about 80 cabins, and a population as high as 1,200 - 1,800 inhabitants. The collapse of the robe trade by 1878; upon which the Metis economy was based, meant the decline of Buffalo Lake as a major "hivernment". The bison herds moved further south even by the mid 1870s and were followed by many Buffalo Lake Metis. The permanent disappearance of bison on the northern plains ended in the dispersal of Buffalo Lake Metis, both south and north. There is some indication Buffalo Lake was inhabited periodically after that period by small groups, but it meant the end of the large settlement at Buffalo Lake.


Status: Status Date:

Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1991/04/15


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0280
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