By 1887, from the personal observation of H.F. (Twelve-Foot) Davis, as reported to the Edmonton Bulletin newspaper, there had been a near extinction by disease of the Beaver Indians west of Dunvegan on “Pos-ca-pee’s Prairie”, and probably in other locations. Nevertheless, the father of Peter Campbell a Metis of Beaverlodge, Alberta recalled that in 1914-16 he had seen one hundred and fifty teepees of the Beavers on the hill where Twelve-Foot Davis is now buried at Peace River town. After the influenza scourge of 1918-19, very few were ever encountered again. Williamson of Sturgeon Lake, Alberta, east of Grande Prairie reported a like mortality among the Cree who had displaced the Beavers there. John Beatton, son of the famous Hudson’s Bay Factor, Henry Beatton, recalls summer gatherings of nine hundred to a thousand near Fort St. John prior to the coming of the surveyors in 1912.
Except for a few who live among the Cree, and in a small settlement at the end of Moberly Lake, the remnant of the Beavers are now on four reservations in Alberta and British Columbia. These reservations are at Horse Lakes near Hythe, Alberta; on the Upper Halfway River northwest of Fort St. John; on the Blueberry River north of Fort St. John and on the Doig River a few miles east of the Halfway River Reserve.
Claiming Beaver ancestry, but living with the Athapaskan-speaking Slavey are families and small groups of Beavers along the Peace River north to Fort Vermilion. There is no exact line where they merge with the Slaveys and the Chipewyans around Lake Athabasca. Likewise Beaver families merge with the Athapaskan-speaking Sikanni (or Sekanni) in the areas around Fort Nelson. Since the Peace of Unchagah, the Crees have dispersed in greater or lesser numbers all over the area we call Peace River Country.
Around Lesser Slave Lake, according to an Indian’s recollections, reported by Dr. P.E. Goddard, there had been an “old tribe” which had been wiped out. The Crees took over that area completely because of the good fishing. It was a grandfather’s tale, which even the grandson could not verify.
The Sarcee seem to be a branch of the Beavers, since they are Athapaskan speaking. Goddard says that their language is phonetically “more nearly akin to the Beaver than to any other east of the Rockies.” It has been generally believed and some times stated that the Beaver and Sarcee separated only a relatively short time ago.