It Furnishes A Staple Of Food To All Wild Things, Birds
And Beasts, Including Foxes, Martens, And Coyotes; It Is
One of the
most abundant of the forest products, and not one hundred yards from
the fort are solid patches
As big as farms, and yet when I brought
in a spray to sketch it one day several of the Hudson's Bay officers
said: "Where in the world did you get that? It must be very rare,
for I never yet saw it in this country." A similar remark was made
about a phoebe-bird. "It was never before seen in the country"; and
yet there is a pair nesting every quarter of a mile from Athabaska
Landing to Great Slave Lake.
Fort Smith, being the place of my longest stay, was the scene of
my largest medical practice.
One of my distinguished patients here was Jacob McKay, a half-breed
born on Red River in 1840. He left there in 1859 to live 3 years
at Rat Portage. Then he went to Norway House, and after 3 years
moved to Athabaska in 1865. In 1887 he headed a special government
expedition into the Barren Grounds to get some baby Musk-ox skins.
He left Fort Rae, April 25, 1887, and, travelling due north with
Dogrib Indians some 65 miles, found Musk-ox on May 10, and later
saw many hundreds. They killed 16 calves for their pelts, but no
old ones. McKay had to use all his influence to keep the Indians
from slaughtering wholesale; indeed, it was to restrain them that
he was sent.
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