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Aerial View A Bit of Reindeer Lake's History

Reindeer Lake was named for the huge herds of barren ground caribou whose winter migration would often bring them as far south as this lake. They do not come this far any more, but some of the older local Indians remember seeing them. There is even a legend about a monster in Deep Bay which ate reindeer as they fell through the ice. Some local people, and also some of our guests, have reported seeing this monster, or one of its relatives!

This is a fascinating area, both geologically and historically. The rock formations here, some of volcanic origin, are Precambrian, the oldest on earth. Of more recent origin is Deep Bay, the product of a meteorite which struck about 140 million years ago, leaving a huge water-filled crater. There is evidence also of the glaciers which passed through, the most recent melting only about 8,000 years ago.

Reindeer Lake and the Reindeer River, about 3 miles from camp, form part of historic fur trade routes reaching from the Far North and Rocky Mountains to Hudson Bay. In fact, the two huge rival fur-trading companies, the Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company, both had trading posts within 12 miles of our present-day location. End of the Day

The HBC's post, known as South Reindeer House, was established in 1800, but nothing remains of it today.

The NWC's post was established even earlier, in 1794. The NWC clerk, David Thompson, better known as an explorer and map-maker, probably passed through this area in 1795-97 on some of his extensive expeditions which led him as far south as the Missouri River and as far west as the Pacific Ocean. The Thompson River in British Columbia is named for this explorer.

The two fur-trading companies merged in 1821, retaining the name of the Hudson's Bay Company, and in fact there was, until recently, a Hudson's Bay store at the village of Southend, near the site of the original Northwest Company trading post. This store is now operated by a latter-day Northwest Company, so history comes full circle.

As the fur traders came in, so did the Woods Cree Indians, pushing the original Chipewyan Indians northward, so that now the southern part of Reindeer Lake is occupied by the Crees, while the northern part is occupied mainly by the Chipewyans. There are several rock paintings in the area, testimonials to the spirituality of these people. These pictographs date from the early 1900's to as much as 2000 years ago. Nordic Lodge

For additional information and reservation contact Donna Carlson-O'Keefe or Brian O'Keefe at Nordic Lodge

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