History & Culture

The Whitecap Dakota First Nation is part of the larger Dakota-Nakata-Lakota Nation whose traditional governance structure was called the Seven Council Fires or Oceti Sakowin, whose lands extended into both Canada and the United States. The Dakota have a long standing relationship with the British Crown, dating back to wampum ceremonies in 1762. A significant testament to this relationship is signed a Treaty between the British and the Dakota in 1787. The Dakota honored this treaty as military allies of the British Crown in the American Revolution and in the War of 1812.

The British promised to always protect and honor the promises made to the Dakota. In 1862, following an uprising in Minnesota, the Dakota, led by Chief Whitecap, Chief Standing Buffalo and Chief Littlecrow, followed their old trade routes along the Souris River and entered their old territories. But they were confronted with a new border they helped create during the War of 1812. The Chiefs brought with them the medals and flags given to them by the British and reminded the officials of the promises which were made to them.

The Dakota were given reservations in Canada, and Whitecap originally settled in the Beaver Creek area in 1878. They moved further south to their current location in 1879 and eventually the reserve was legally surveyed in 1881.  In August, 1882, Chief Whitecap counseled John Lake on the location for a new temperance colony that would become the City of Saskatoon.  We have co-existed as good neighbors since and our alliance continues to this day.

As WDFN moves forward, we continue to build partnerships as we reinforce our values and traditions of the past.