directed from Victoria Settlement Provincial Historical Site
Cree Chief James Seenum, also known as “Pakannuk” or “Pakan”, signed Treaty Six at Fort Pitt in 1876 and obtained reserves for his people at Whitefish Lake and at Saddle Lake. Before the treaty was accepted there was a debate, negotiation and some foreboding. Chiefs Seenum and Big Bear pressed for a single large Cree reserve of over 2,500 square km, which could support their peoples’ traditional hunting and trapping.
For many years after the signing, Seenum believed that his people had been promised this much larger reserve. As late as 1884 Seenum travelled with Peter Erasmus to Regina to see the Indian Commissioner to press his claim for a central reserve. During the 1885 Rebellion he counselled his people against joining Big Bear’s band in the conflict, but also refused to let his people aid the Canadian military. According to some the name “Pakan” derived from Seenum’s love for nuts, while others suggest the name alludes to Pakan being the “nut” which had been too hard for Big Bear to crack. Chief Pakan died in 1917 and is buried in the cemetery at Whitefish Lake.
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