Cumberland House is the oldest, continuously inhabited settlement in Western Canada. This community was established in 1774 by Samuel Hearne on behalf of the Hudson’s Bay Company. It is situated on Pine Island, which is within the Saskatchewan River Delta. (Incidentally our delta is the largest inland delta in North America.) The location was chosen because of the easy access the trappers would have had in order to trade their furs and being on the island it was much easier to locate.
Today this island is now home not only to the Northern Village of Cumberland House but The Cumberland House Cree Nation. In the early sixties the federal government moved people from Pine Bluff, which is located west of Cumberland, onto the island in order for their children to attend school. This started a relationship between the two communities which enables them to joint venture on various projects, although both are governed differently they work together to meet the needs of their respective people.
Cumberland continues to grow at a slow pace. However, with major exploration going on within the area and discoveries of significant mineral deposits the future is starting to look bright. The leaders of both communities are making plans to develop a skilled, educated workforce in anticipation of a mine opening.
Other than the usual health, administration and recreation facilities our services are quite limited, we have: The Northwest Company store, which offers food, clothing and some hardware supplies. It also has the only gas pump in the community. The Cumberland House Hotel which has fairly modern rooms and a licensed beverage room and we have Mom’s Café, which has very good food. Given our location within the Saskatchewan River Delta we have several hunting and outfitting camps. Over the years we have had several hundred American people coming up and enjoying their hunting adventures, whether it’s for waterfowl or big game we have everything. We also have exceptional fishing in our river system.
Cumberland House has several people working in the Uranium Mining Industry including Rabbit Lake, Cigar Lake, Key Lake and McArthur River. They are represented in the carpentry, heavy equipment operation, electrical, process operations, underground mining, labour and even the warehousing system. All bring with them a good work ethic and a commitment to seeing a job through.