History

History

The Wetsuweten word Hah Nic Na’ Aah translates to “messenger”. Before the North West was settled the First Nations Peoples were not isolated pockets of civilization. Constant lines of communication were maintained via trail networks between the various nations. The Wetsuweten people of Hagwilget and Moricetown kept in constant contact with the people of the Babine Lake area via a trail network maintained by messengers or runners.

Wetsuweten Chief Wah Tah K’eght (Henry Alfred); whose territory part of the trail network passes through, provided oral history of the Hah Nic Na’ Aah system. Chief Wah Tah K’eght described how the runners would usually travel by moccasin footwear unless there was snow on the ground than they would use snow-shoes. Messages that were prioritized included such events as deaths in the immediate village or feasts where witnesses were requested from the surrounding area. The trail network did not include just the local people of the Bulkley River but extended out to include the Gitxsan and the people towards Fraser Lake.

Chief Wah Tah K’eght described different sections of the trail network between Moricetown and Babine Lake. One such section had a branch that accessed the north side of the Babine Mountain Range that allowed for the harvesting of caribou. The hunters would set up a network of fences that funneled the caribou down to a corridor where snares were set. The hunters would chase the caribou on foot till the caribou were eventually caught in the snares. Seven to ten caribou might be caught in one such expedition.

Chief Wah Tah K’eght indicated the last known Wetsuweten person to use the Hah Nic Na’ Aah system was Johnny David. This was likely in the late 1920’s. Runners such as Mr David would cover the distance to Babine lake in a couple of days. The would carry dried fish and moose as well as fruit (berries) to sustain them through the run. Mr. David was remembered as a very fit man who loved to run for the sake of running.

In the mid 1930’s mining prospectors began using the Hah Nic Na’ Aah trail to access the Babine Mountain Range.

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