The people of Jean Marie River First Nation have a long and in-depth history. While still pursuing the traditional life on the land, in the early 1920s they transitioned to a more permanent settlement at the spot where the Mackenzie River meets Jean Marie River. Oral history has it that an elderly member of the band told his friends and relatives that if they continued to move around they would never accomplish anything.
Despite the more permanent settlement that arose, people have continued a largely traditional life of hunting, trapping and fishing. Women carry on the artistry of moose hair tufting, porcupine quillwork and beadwork.
In the mid 50s some non-traditional economic developments arrived in the form of logging and river transport. The community purchased a tugboat, built a sawmill and worked on a community garden. Food was shared cooperatively, based on family size, not only the products of the garden but also of the hunt. An attempt was made to raise chickens but the wolves made quick work of the first batch of 50 and the plan was abandoned.
Children originally attended the residential school in Fort Providence but in 1954 a local school was launched with instruction for children up to Grade 6.
Source: Interviews with members