Michel Band #472
Treaty Rights are infinite – as long as the sun shines, the rivers flow, and the grass grows – and cannot be relinquished.
Prior to 1876, long before the Gregorian Calendar, and since time immemorial, the nēhiyawak (Cree) have lived in the northern territory of amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton), while the haudenosaunee (Iroquois) came west with the fur trade.
In 1878, Michel Callihoo (Calestrois), Louis Pay-Patsmah-Wayo, and Acoo-See signed Treaty No. 6 by adhesion with the Crown. Signing an adhesion to Treaty meant that People who were not present for the signing or negotiation of Treaty No. 6 were able to enter into Treaty by way of adhesion.
In 1878, the Michel Peoples became Michel Band #472 (Treaty No. 6, 1878).
In 1880, 13 km from the Roman Catholic Mission in St. Albert and 24 km northwest of amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton), land was allotted as Michel Indian Reserve #132 along mi-koo-oo-pow (Sturgeon River). Michel Indian Reserve #132 was comprised of 40 sq. miles (25,600 acres) of land. The federal government used a number system to identify Indian reserves as they were set aside across Canada.
In 1928, 10 Michel Band families were enfranchised under Section 110 of the Indian Act. This was motivated by the poor living conditions on reserve, restrictions caused by the Indian Act, and the desire to protect children of the families from the residential school system.
By 1958, there were no members remaining and the Band ceased to exist as an entity under the Indian Act.
On March 21, 1958, the Department of Indian Affairs enfranchised all members but four women and one child of Michel Band #472. This was the first and only time an Indian Band was enfranchised in Canada under Section 112 of the Indian Act. The order of enfranchisement was effective March 31, 1958.
The four women and one child removed from the Michel Band #472 membership list were placed on a General List prior to the March 31, 1958 enfranchisement. These individuals were not enfranchised. They lost their Band membership, but kept their Treaty status. This represented the beginning of the Alberta General List.
The descendants of Michel Band #472 are still here. Since 1985, many of those descendants regained Indian Status through Bill C-31, C-3, and S-3.
Michel Callihoo Nation Society and Canada have initiated an exploratory process to advance MCNS’s request for formal band creation through the New Bands/Band Amalgamation (NBBA) policy (November 1991) and to advance reconciliation.