“A rather interesting story was told me at Dunvegan regarding the division of the Beaver Indians, when what are now the Sarcee Indians, located at Calgary, severed from the main tribe. The story runs that about one hundred or one hundred and twenty-five years ago the whole Beaver tribe were camped on the prairies along the Big Smoky River, near Dunvegan. At that time there were two chiefs who had two sons just approaching manhood and anxious for distinction and power, and jealous of one another. A dog belonging to one of these young Indians committed a depredation in the tipi of the other. The owner of the teepee shot the dog, and was in turn shot by the dog’s owner. The tribe immediately took sides with one or the other of these young men and a battle ensued. Neither side gaining any advantage, the participants separated, leaving the camp standing and the dead and wounded uncared for. One group went northwest across the Peace River, where they hunted for many years, and the others struck out south for the great prairies. These Indians lost complete trace of one another for many years till their descendants met on a trading expedition some thirty years ago at Edmonton, since which time an intercourse has been kept up.”
While details differ slightly, – two young men being introduced for the first time – and the locale being changed, the essential cause of the donnybrook appears as always. The dog was the cause of it all. Surely he must be the most famous dog in all northern history!
The Smoky River site of the row seems to be a logical place for a party to go south, because it leads back to the ranch and foothill country west of Edmonton, by which access to Edson is comparatively easy. On the other hand, downstream it leads to Peace River Town and North – a good and instant get-away route after the council of elders had rendered their verdict.
Since the Smoky passes near Grand Prairie and the Beavers there seem to have been friendly with the Fort St. John band who later became the Half-way Indians, it is reasonable that the story should become legendary all over the area. Probably, in the interests of peace, and even life, the braves learned to hang their arrow-quiver or their guns out of reach of dogs which hadn’t yet been introduced to the convenience of horse-hitching post or hydrants.