Looking for Aiktow
Joan Soggie / 3 November 2015

Looking for Aiktow: Stories Behind the History of the Elbow of the South Saskatchewan River by Joan Soggie Published by Joan Soggie Review by Keith Foster $20.00 ISBN 978-1-890692-26-1 Aiktow was a notoriously dangerous place. In 1866 a clash between Cree and Blackfoot warriors left hundreds dead, their bleached bones littering a valley. Joan Soggie describes this battle and her search for the site in Looking for Aiktow: Stories Behind the History of the Elbow of the South Saskatchewan River. Aiktow, Cree for elbow, referred to an abrupt bend or elbow in the South Saskatchewan River, located near the current village of Elbow, SK. Both Cree and early explorers avoided camping in this area where the river turned; to do so was an open invitation for the Blackfoot to attack. According to Soggie, “Cree became the official language of the fur trade” on the prairies. For a while the Cree profited by their relationship with the Hudson’s Bay Company, supplying traders with tonnes of fresh meat and pemmican “But those golden days were as elusive and short-lived as the mirages that haunt distant prairie horizons,” Soggie says. She maintains a sympathetic view of Aboriginals, devoting a chapter to Cree Chief…

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