About Mistawasis

Vision, Mission and Values

In the spirit of Mistawasis, we honour Nêhiyawak traditions as we advance our Nation.

Mistawasis Nêhiyawak will protect our treaties, our community, our lands and our resources.

The values of Mistawasis Nêhiyawak will guide and shape our organizational culture and beliefs. These values will help us unite when we deal with various issues. Our values will form an ethical foundation for Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and guide the behaviour of our members, leaders, management and staff.

    • Leadership – Independence, guidance, protectors, management.
    • Integrity – Honesty, good character, decency, fairness, sincerity, truthfulness.
    • Synergy – Working together for greater effect.
    • Innovation – Creating new, advanced and unique programs and services.


The Cree ancestors of the Mistawasis Band migrated to present-day Saskatchewan from the woodlands of eastern Manitoba and the Great Lakes area of Ontario in the 17th and 18th centuries. This migration was fuelled by the European fur trade, specifically by the establishment of fur trade posts on the western shores of Hudson Bay in the years following 1670. Although the Cree did not completely relinquish their woodland culture, they developed a new means of subsistence on the Plains, which involved hunting the buffalo on horseback. They also developed a relationship of mutual dependence with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), the company that would eventually become the leading commercial concern in the inland trade. In the course of that relationship, the Cree became the dominant middlemen of the fur trade in western Canada, controlling European access to furs trapped by Indians in the more remote regions in the west, while making a profit on trade goods exchanged for furs. The Cree occupied that position until the depletion of furs in the lands draining into the Saskatchewan and Nelson Rivers impelled fur traders to establish trading posts further inland and to the north of Cree territory. As the fur trade began to focus on the Mackenzie and Athabasca river systems, aboriginal groups located further north, such as the Chipewyan, took over what had been the exclusive domain of the Cree. As a result, the latter became progressively more involved with the provisioning trade, hunting deer and buffalo for meat to supply the employees of the increasing number of inland trading posts.

By the 1860s, the buffalo were disappearing from the eastern Plains, the homeland of the Cree. To find buffalo for their own subsistence, the Cree were forced to enter the territory of the Blackfoot, further west. Although the Cree and Blackfoot had been peaceful trading partners during the former nation’s tenure as middleman in the fur trade, the depletion of their common food sourceincreasingly led to violent conflict between them. Together with the devastating effects of periodic epidemics, the battles over buffalo territory began to decimate aboriginal populations on the southern Plains. Both the Cree and the Blackfoot recognized the futility of continued warfare, and, in 1871, a peace agreement was concluded between them. By this treaty, the Cree retained access to the buffalo in the Cypress Hills, the only place on the southern Plains where the buffalo were still to be found on a consistent basis. This, however, was a short-term solution to the problem of survival. The depletion of the buffalo signalled the beginning of the end of an era. The transfer of the vast HBC territories to Canada in 1870, and the prospect of agricultural settlement moving into the lands occupied by the Cree and other nations, was its death knell. The stage was set for the coming of the treaties, and the beginning of a settled way of life for the Cree of the Plains.

Mistawasis First Nation was named after the Band’s first chief, Chief Mistawasis, who signed Treaty #6 in 1876. Chief Mistawasis was head chief of the Prairie Tribe and was known to other Tribes as Sak-kaw-wen-o-wak. Traditionally, the way of life was to follow and hunt buffalo and depopulation of the herds required a survival change for the tribe. ‘Our way of living is gone, there are no more buffalo, we have to find a new way to feed our people.’ (Chief Mistawasis, 1876). At this point in time came the signing of Treaty #6. At the signing the government pledged ‘We will never take your men across the great waters to fight our battles’. The Treaty #6 signing occurred at Fort Carlton where a monument was erected to recognize the great achievement of the first chief. With the signing of Treaty #6, Chief Mistawasis brought about a new way of life for the future of his people.

As of June 2006 this First Nation had a total population of 2216 registered members, with just over 1000 living on-reserve. Off-reserve Band members live primarily in Saskatoon, Leask, and Prince Albert. Mistawasis has a mobile labour force, ready for training and deployment. Mistawasis is one of the seven members of the Saskatoon Tribal Council. The First Nation is also a member of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

For further reading and indepth information on the Mistawasis First Nation Inquiry 1911, 1917, and 1919 surrenders, please contact us.

Reserve Information

Official Name: Mistawasis
Number: 103
Geographic Zone: Zone 2: 
First Nation is located between 50 and 350 Km from the nearest service centre to which it has year-round road access.
Not applicable for this zone
Environmental Index : 
Index C: Geographic location between 50 and 55 degrees latitude.
Prince Albert
Service Center: 
Prince Albert
Most Populated Site: MISTAWASIS NO. 103
Note: Geography data was last updated on February 1, 1999

Chief & Council



Chief Daryl Watson is presently Chief of Mistawasis Nehiyawak formerly known as Mistawasis First Nation.

Chief Watson served the community as Band Councillor from 1993 to 1995 and from 1995 to 1997. He served as the Education Portfolio Councillor at an early age and then moved on to become the Chief for five terms. He is the first Chief ever to be mandated with a four-year term as opposed to the two-year term. Prior to being Chief, he also served as a Trustee for the Mistawasis Land Claims and in other areas was actively involved in Sports and Recreation for the community, more specifically the youth.

Under his strong leadership, negotiations were finalized and the First Nations Land Management Act was signed with the federal government in 2014. These and other initiatives (including Economic Development) have transpired as a result of the skillful leadership and teamwork that Chief Watson and his Council have been committed to. Perhaps, of most historical significance that Chief Watson and previous Council were an integral part of was the Nation-to-Nation Peace Treaty Ceremony between Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and Tsuut’ina Nation held on October 22nd, 2015.

Aside from his leadership roles and his lengthy political career, Chief Watson remains to be a family-oriented and community-minded leader with strong cultural and traditional family values. Being able to speak Cree fluently and with his traditional knowledge and cultural background, Chief Watson has been accepted by our community’s diverse representation as being one of our most influential leaders.



Councillor Steven Johnston is in his first term of office with a 4 year mandate. Councillor Johnston is assigned as Lands and Economic Development Portfolio with shared responsibilities in the Housing and Finance Portfolios.

Steven is an undergraduate of the College of Commerce at the U of S. He is currently serving his third consecutive term as a Board of Director for the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association – Saskatchewan, and involved in a number of local boards/committees with Mistawasis Nêhiyawak which include Lands and Economic Development. His background also includes six years as Chief Financial Officer for Mistawasis Nêhiyawak, prior to his election as Councillor, and Co-Manager and Third Party Management with various Communities in Central Saskatchewan for nine years where he gained working knowledge of diversification and growing with the Communities he worked for.

As a lifelong resident of Mistawasis he understands and firmly believes in the potential that exists in the people and businesses within Mistawasis. He also contributes time and energy to several charitable causes and non-profits. Steven and his wife Lora have four wonderful children, including two adopted children.



Louis LeDoux

Louis LeDoux

Director of Operations

Phone: (306) 466-4800 ext. 232
Cell: (306) 466-7172
Fax: (306) 466-2299

Financial statemnts, annual reports and strategic plans are published here.