We are the Ĩyãħé Nakoda, the original "Mountain People"!
We are an indigenous people that, to this day, maintains an inherent affiliation with our ancestral homeland in western Canada along the Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta.
Our fore-fathers predominantly inhabited the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, from Ožadé Tãga (Brazeau River) in the north to Hũga Baha (Chief Mountain) in the south.
Traditional Ĩyãħé Nakoda territory extends farther north to Osoda Wa-pta (Smoky River), south to Ĩdukabi Tĩda (tobacco plains) in Montana, east to Wotawa Baha (Cypress Hills), and west to Čã-okiyé Wa-pta (Columbia River).
Throughout this wide-ranging region, countless geographic landmarks, rivers, mountains, hills, migration trails, valleys, and flats all bear longstanding Ĩyãħé Nakoda names. These names establish ancestral habitation by the Ĩyãħé Nakoda.
There are differing views regarding the actual origin of the Ĩyãħé Nakoda. Some theorists suggest:
- There was a westward migration of the "mound builders". These were indigenous people that originally lived near present-day Macon, Georgia in the United States. These migrants subsequently formed part of the Great Council Fires of the Sioux Nation on the central plains. Alignment of language dialects ensued, and tribal and clan groupings emerged.
- From there, a splinter group migrated farther west in the 1500s. This migration was necessitated by epidemics that were decimating the people. The epidemics were brought upon them by Europeans who, by then, had intruded onto traditional Aboriginal territories. This splinter group of migrants eventually settled along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
However, descendants of "Keepers of the Heritage" of the Ĩyãħé Nakoda maintain the inherent belief that:
- Since time immemorial, we have always lived along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
- Through our own oral history accounts, the Ĩyãħé Nakoda are irrefutably the original and genuine "Mountain People".
All words in the Ĩyãħé Nakoda language that are written on this page are included in the Language menu segment for you to hear how they are correctly pronounced.