Heritage Sites Moment: Land Based Learning

River lots are long narrow farming lots that border a river and were a historic way that many Metis people lived.

St. Albert River lots were set up by Metis families who were working at the local forts and were freighting goods in Red River Cart brigades from Red River (Winnipeg) to Fort Edmonton and St. Albert.

Documentation tells us that the St. Albert Metis were planting gardens as early as the 1850’s, and then leaving for large scale Buffalo hunts, before returning to harvest and prepare for the long snowy winter months.

Look at the River Lot Map above, do you recognize any of the names? Click the link here to enlarge the map: https://www.dropbox.com/s/c5xi875kwg8t1vi/2003_02_248_1884%20Plan_size%2010_200dpi.jpg?dl=0

Métis were accustomed to living life on the Prairies as they were born here and grew up on the land.

Early farming in our area included assorted root vegetables and grains. Gardens were turned by hand and using horses, and on occasion oxen (if you were lucky), to plow land for planting.  Locally people still relied heavily on hunting and foraging for available foods, things like berries, wild mint, choke cherries, birch tree syrup, moose, deer and geese.

Nothing was wasted and common practice dictated that nothing was taken that was not needed or would not be used. Drying meats and fish was one way to preserve food that sustained families through the long winter months and the processing of the animal hides provided clothing and household items needed to survive the harsh winters.


Seed strips, to plant for spring, using material found around the house:  Follow this link How to make seed strips

River lot colour by number: river lot colour by number