A long time ago, a charismatic chief from the southeast of Turtle Island followed a vision, leading his people to the shores of the sacred Lake Wakamne, or God’s Lake (Lac St Anne). Archaeological findings suggest that for thousands of years, this is where they stayed.
This was the history attributed to the Nakota Isga, a word of Sioux origin meaning “the people,” who are also known as Stoney. In 1880, the Alexis Nakota Sioux people took reserve (No. 133) at the shore of Lake Wakamne after signing adhesion to Treaty Six.
The rich natural resources, consistent food, water and other essentials, drew Nakota Isga to the area—and kept them there. They established themselves along the Saskatchewan and Athabasca rivers, setting up fur trading posts along the way. From Boggy Hall and Pembina House, near Lodgepole…to Muskeg Fort near Drayton Valley, Upper Terre Blanche and Nelson House near the mouth of Wabamun Creek…to Fort Assiniboine on the Athabasca River. These trading posts were set up to attract the “Swampy Ground Stone People,” the ancestors of today’s Alexis people.
The Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation is the furthest Northwestern representative of the Siouan language family.
While the Alexis people mingled with neighbouring Cree nations for centuries, they managed to maintain a unique cultural identity as a Nakota nation. The Alexis people continue to take part in traditional activities, including berry picking, herb gathering, hunting, and tanning and preparing dry meat.
They continued hunting and trapping in traditional territories near Whitecourt, Cynthia and the Foothills to maintain a high quality of life for their families. In 1995, Alexis Treaty Land Entitlement led to the establishment of the Alexis Whitecourt (No. 232), Elk River (No. 233) and Cardinal River (No. 234) reserves.
To this day, many Alexis people use the name Isga to refer to themselves.