M.A. Theses: Kristina Hannis, 2011
On the Edge of Change: Shifting Land Use in the Pikani Timber Limit, Porcupine Hills, Alberta
In the 1880s, Piikani land use was transformed by their settlement on reserve, shifting from a mobile existence to one centred on homesteads. This precipitated a significant social and economic change that had lasting consequences. My research examines the Piikani Timber Limit (IR 147B), an isolated reserve belonging to the Piikani Blackfoot located in the Porcupine Hills.
The timber limit, as an artifact of the 19th century, is particularly conducive to chronicling landscape changes in Niitsitapi territory in the early reserve period. 147B was set aside for timber harvest; its designation as a timber limit marks a significant change from its previous role as a component of the whole Piikani Landscape. I triangulate evidence from oral history, archival materials, and archaeological sites, to analyse the changing role of this timber limit in Piikani history. The sites discovered on 147B include a historic eagle trapping site, logging camps and operations, and the hideout of a notorious Blackfoot outlaw. The archaeological sites on Piikani timber limit 147B speak to the nuance of the Piikani colonial experience, and bring forward indigenous narratives about Canadian settlement on the prairies.
Keywords: Early reserve period; Piikani; timber limit; landscape change