First Nations and Métis
Original inhabitants of Strathcona County and Alberta were paleolithic hunters and gatherers 14,000 years ago (12,000 BCE--Before Common Era) who crossed the Bering Strait to hunt mastodon and bison with rudimentary stone tools. Gradually First Nations tribes emerged in the Common Era (A.D.) and Sarcee, Beaver and Blackfoot have passed through this area, with the Cree predominately living here most recently. Western Cree themselves have tribal divisions: Plains and Woodlands, with historical subdivisions of River, Beaver and Mountain among others.
The Papaschase Cree signed Treaty 6 on August 21, 1877. They are given a reserve of 25,600 acres, or 40 square miles. The area was once within Strathcona’s municipal boundaries and is now southeast Edmonton. In 1885 the federal government offers scrip to Métis, including band members with treaty status under Treaty 6.
Papaschase is the first reserve to surrender its lands (1888). The reserve is thrown open to homestead entry. Most scrip coupons end up in the hands of land speculators who buy scrip at discounted prices. A small number of Métis took up homesteads and integrated into the community during settlement times, especially near St. Margaret's Catholic Church on the north shore of Hastings Lake. A Cree Bible, published 1895, was found in the belongings of a long-time resident.
The Government of Alberta Métis Settlements Land Registry shows no recognized settlement within Strathcona County's present geographical boundaries.