10209 – 14 Street,
Dawson Creek, B.C.
Dear Mrs. Calverley:
In reply to your request for information on several names in the Peace River area I have the following information:
We have nothing specific on this naming. However, Methye Lake in Saskatchewan is named for a fish, which the residents catch for the liver only. Our note adds that “the dogs dislike even that.” Perhaps if the portage went to a lake with the name Methye, this would explain the origin of the portage’s name.
We have no information of a Chief Wabi in the Peace River area, but we do have a record of such an Indian near New Liskeard, Ontario. His name quite likely derived from the Cree word for “White”. A railway stop near Chetwynd has been designated Wabi.
This is a translation of the Cree Chepe-sepe, “Ghost River”. Some old maps have Ghost River.
We have no information in addition to what is available in 1001 British Columbia Place Names. The name Murray Mountains does not occur in our records.
Our records have “…from the Metis shooting ducks on the wing in their flight to another lake a short distance away”.
Father Petitot explained this name as meaning “pointed skins”, because the Chipewyan Indian wore blouses pointed in front and back. In his Journal of Boat Voyages, volume II, S. Richardson stated it was an epithet given by the Crees and meant “you dead dog.” The latter definition may be correct, because there are Cree words very like “Chipewyan” that mean “dead dog”. Perhaps the Chipewyans had another name for themselves meaning “pointed skins”.
It is believed that the name is derived from red ochre deposits in the vicinity. The use of the name dates from 1799. You will note it is spelled with one “l.”
There is a new book available on the place name of Alberta. It is called 2000 Place Names of Alberta, and can be obtained by writing to Eric J. Holmgren, Secretary, Geographic Board of Alberta, Legislative Building, Edmonton, Alberta.
J. A. Rayburn