Donalda celebrates the fur trade and Alberta’s first European

First a page from the past:

The fur trade in Canada has a long and colourful history as fur traders from Europe, most famous being the English and the French, made their way west into Canada. The French established a trade route from St. Lawrence, west and north, going toward the Northwest Territories. The English route started from southwest part of the Hudson Bay, west and south, reaching coastal British Columbia.

The first European to visit Alberta was Anthony Henday, a convicted smuggler who worked as net maker and a labourer for the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). In 1754, the Governor of York Factory, in what is now Manitoba, asked for volunteers to travel further west than anyone has done before. Mr. Henday stepped forward.

While making his way west, Anthony had to make maps, for which he was ill trained for, and convince the local natives there to go to HBC York Factory to trade their furs. It was reported that on June 26, 1754, Anthony Henday, guided by a group of Plains Indians, left York Factory via the Hayes River.

In October of 1754, he and his group arrived somewhere south of Red Deer at an encampment known to the cree as “Archithinues”, that meant either Blackfoot or Atsina.

Anthony made his pitch, and the chief was unimpressed. He responded unenthusiastically to Henday’s assurances that those who went to York Factory to trade their furs would get good powder, shot, cloth and fine beads. The chief explained that it was a dangerous journey and that his people would not survive without bison meat.

Unsuccessful in his attempts, Henday returned to York Factory with his guides, who were middlemen in the fur trade, and journeyed up into the Edmonton region to collect furs from other first nations people. They sold the best furs at a French post located on the lower North Saskatchewan, taking the rest to York Factory.

In 1759, Anthony Henday traveled once more to the Archthinues’ tribe in an attempt to convince them of the wonderful rewards for doing business with HBC, to which he was unsuccessful. In 1762, Henday left the Hudson’s Bay Company and it is believed that returned to England.

On to more contemporary matters: On Sept. 11, there will be a live and silent auction at the Donalda Community Hall.

The event starts at 4:30 p.m. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards the cost of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) treatments and the travel costs to New Delhi, India for Steve Vikse.

A lot of work, by Steve Vikse’s family and friends, has gone into this event; plus, the items up for auction are fantastic. Materials for landscaping, services to help complete a home renovation project and a wonderful weekend get away for two are just a few of the items up for auction.

So, come to Donalda this Sept. 11 at 4:30p.m. to enjoy our hospitality and BBQ through your donation. Or, you can go to any ATB branch and make a donation to the “Steve Vikse MS Treatment Fund”. Your contribution will bring a better quality of life to someone who needs it.