The Cree People
Cree peoples occupied the regions south of Hudson’s Bay west to the lands drained by the Peace, Athabasca and Slave Rivers, north to the Athabasca and Great Slave Lakes. Cree people were considered the middlemen of the fur trade, and ventured westward into the Athabasca district. They were present in the fur rich Athabasca region long before the establishment of fur forts in Alberta, securing furs from the indigenous Dene groups and trading those furs with the Hudson’s Bay Company at York Fort and with the North West Company based in Montreal. They lived in many areas along the Athabasca River, Lac La Biche, Lesser Slave Lake, and on the Lower Peace River. Cree settlement was often associated with fur trade post locations.