In a series of black and white photographs, men and women long-dead stare impassively down the camera lens. Members of Alberta’s First Nations, they have been living off the Canadian land for 11,000 years. Now, their way of life is fading – but these snapshots remain as a fascinating record of a forgotten past.
By the time that European settlers first crossed the Atlantic in the 15th century, the indigenous peoples of Canada had already established complex societies. Often matriarchal in structure, these communities used word-of-mouth storytelling to pass down their knowledge and traditions through the generations.
At the time, many different tribes inhabited western Canada in the region that is now Alberta. Among them were the Blackfoot people – a loose confederacy of three tribes who enjoyed a close affiliation – and the Cree, whose descendants make up the biggest population of Native Americans in the country today.