At the end of the eighteenth century (circa 1800), three Iroquois came to what is now known as Alberta. These three, Louis and Ignace Karakwante and Ignace Wanyandie came from the Indian Village of Caughnawaga, nine miles east of Montreal, Quebec. They followed the customary water route from Montreal to Fort Garry, now known as Winnipeg, Manitoba. At this point they joined Joseph Belcourt and continued west by way of Cumberland House, up the Churchill River to Beaver River, to Lac La Biche. From there they portaged to the forest of the Athabasca.[1]

In the Athabasca the three Iroquois took wives of the Sekanaise tribe of the Montagnais Nation. Roaming the country, they did much of the early exploring of the Rocky Mountains, and its passes, and of Lesser and Greater Slave Lakes. They were reported to have gone down the Mackenzie River and to Great Bear Lake. Later they were the guides of Alexander Mackenzie, David Thompson, Cheadle, and others.[2]

While in the Athabasca, Louis also took as a wife, Marie Patenaude whose father had been expelled as Hudson’s Bay Factor of Fort Carlton (North of Saskatoon). That Louis had two wives simultaneously has added greatly to the difficulty of preparing these genealogical charts.

The inter marriages of these families was caused by their close proximity in travel, and to the L’Hirondelle family; as well as their feeling of superiority to the local Indian groups.

Louis’ son Michel worked as a River Pilot for the Hudson’s Bay Company from Athabasca to Fort Garry via Edmonton. At the end of the fur trade era, these Indians and half breeds camped about the Roman Catholic Mission of St. Albert. Through the mediation of Father Lacombe, o.m.l, they were given their present reserve nine miles north west of St. Albert.

To differentiate between the many branches of the Kwarkwante, Father Lacombe gave those near St. Albert, the name “Callioux”- (a rock) derived no doubt from their excursions through the Rocky Mountains. This has since been altered to “Callihoo” and its derivatives.

[1]Alberta Provincial Archives: Accession No 71.185

[2]Idem (same as previously mentioned)


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