The history of Elk Point and area began long before the arrival of fur traders, but the first written accounts that give us a glimpse into people and events come from the early fur trade journals.
Because Europeans brought flour, oatmeal, barley and rice to the new world, it is often thought that indigenous people had no breadstuffs of their own before bannock. Nothing could be further from the truth. By the time Columbus arrived in the islands off North America in 1492, 700 species of corn grew and were used by indigenous people from what is now South America, north into what is now Canada.
Before the fur trade, corn was cultivated around the Great Lakes and as far west as southern Saskatchewan. It was traded traded extensively to the tribes of the Great Plains. Wild rice was harvested as far west as Saskatchewan, stored and also traded widely. Wild grass seeds are all edible. Wild nuts and berries were incorporated into bread making. Cattail, pond lily & bulrush roots provided a fine flour for thickening soups and making travel cakes.
Methods for making these breads were as varied as the women who made them. Indigenous people found European foodstuffs distasteful at first and most Europeans ate Native fare only when desperate. Although the Native women's expertise with produce from Mother Earth's pantry saved the lives of immigrants many times, they were not encouraged to prepare this food when they were with their European companions.
Instead, they were encouraged to use European supplies. Overtime a new cuisine emerged, revolving around many forms of bannock. The earlier breads, made prior to European contact, have nearly faded from collective memory and are not often mentioned. More information about early people in the Elk Point area can be found in Frontier Times.
Settlement history started with the land survey and homestead sale when Alberta became a province in 1905. Immigrants arrived and struggled to make a livelihood on undeveloped land with very few resources to help them get started. Over time, schools, roads, bridges and services necessary for functional communities were put in place.