animated man
· Mammals in Winter
· Living In A Storied Land
· Forts and Traders
This is a link to a map of the forests of British Columbia with optional close-ups of Northeastern British Columbia, Cariboo-Chilcotin and Central Coast.

FOCUS  Northeastern British Columbia -- Cold Forest

Living In A Storied Land
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This is a photograph of a spiritual rock formation from the Doig River First Nation.
Spiritual rock formation from which Dane-zaa obtained power. Ridington/Dane-zaa Digital Archive, Doig River First Nation Cultural Centre.
The Peace River area of northeastern British Columbia has supported hunting peoples for over ten thousand years. Hunters of the Dane-zaa First Nations and their ancestors managed the land; the selective use of fire maintained a rich and complex series of habitats. When Alexander Mackenzie visited the area in 1793 he wrote in his journal that, "The country is so crowded with animals as to have the appearance, in some places, of a stall-yard, from the state of the ground, and the quantity of dung which is scattered over it." Moose, deer and caribou lived in the muskeg country east of the Rocky Mountains. Marmots, sheep and goats were found at higher elevations. Beaver, rabbits and other fur-bearing animals provided people with warm winter clothing. Bison were abundant in the prairie land adjacent to the Peace River.

The first twenty-five years of the fur trade caused major changes to the ecology of the region. By the time the first Hudson's Bay Company post was established in 1823, the abundant bison Mackenzie described had been almost entirely eliminated, and hunters came to rely more on moose and beaver.

The Dane-zaa are called Beaver Indians in English, but their name for themselves means "real people" in their Athapaskan language. The Dane-zaa think of their country as a storied land. Elder Billy Attachie recalls that his grandmother, Mary Pouce Coupe, had a story for everything. Her people named each creek, moose lick, hill and camping site with reference to people who lived there and to events that people remember through oral tradition and the songs of their prophets, or "Dreamers." Billy describes how the elders sent children out to spiritual places on the land to get power from the animals and Anughrale, the gamekeepers. "You know that big rock," he said. "Long time ago, they all got power from each animal, those things and ahuuhgrale. Those kind of power, that's how they survive by."
Charley Yahey with Dreamer's drum, Blueberry Reserve. Ridington/Dane-zaa Digital Archive, Doig River First Nation Cultural Centre.
This is a black and white photograph of Charley Yahey with a Dreamer's drum, at Blueberry Reserve.
Dane-zaa oral tradition describes how the creator drew a cross on the surface of a primordial body of water and sent muskrat down to bring back the first dirt. He placed the dirt at the center of the cross, and from this small beginning, he made the world. The last Dreamer, Charlie Yahey (1881-1976), played a drum that illustrates this story.
Living In A Storied Land -