Indigenous habitation dates back to 10,000 years ago. By the 1600's, the Gros Ventre followed the bison herds in this area. More recently, the Assiniboine, Cree, Sioux, and Blackfoot also inhabited this grassland area on a seasonal basis. Campsites, tipi rings, vision quest sites, medicine wheels, and bison drive lanes are some of the cultural heritage.
First Nations and Métis
For centuries, the prairies were the domain of Indigenous peoples who had linked their lives to the migrations of Bison. One after the other, they came –Gros Ventre, Assiniboine, Cree, Blackfoot and Sioux. They left behind Bison drive lanes, arrow heads, and tipi rings for you to see.
After the Battle of Little Big Horn against the American Cavalry, Sitting Bull and 4000 Lakota Sioux sought sanctuary here. Following the Buffalo in the summer and setting up winter camps in the wooded coulees and ravines, the Lakota migrated seasonally from area to area.
The Métis hunted Bison in the region for decades. Evidence of their presence is in the Pinto Horse Buttes. With the disappearance of the Bison, the Métis dispersed. A few families settled near the Wood Mountain Uplands and few others settled near Lac Pelletier.
There are over 12,000 tipi rings found in the park. The park has thousands of archaeological areas and is one of the largest concentrations of undisturbed pre-contact cultural resources in Canada.