NORTH VERMILION SETTLEMENT & FORT VERMILION
North Vermilion Settlement (commonly known as Buttertown) is a Métis community located on treaty 8 territory on the ancestral lands of the Tsa'tinne or Beaver peoples whos ancestors have taken care of the land for time immemorial. The community is very far north, with a travel time of about 8 hours north from Edmonton and only about 3 hours more to cross the Northwest Territories border.
The community is just across the river from Fort Vermilion, Alberta, both old Métis settlements where community members have hunted, trapped, fished, farmed, and gardened, and continue this relationship with the land today. North Vermilion Settlement is not officially recognized as one of Alberta's eight Métis settlements but the local Métis population has always and continues to live their Métis way of life on the land.
The community of Fort Vermilion and the surrounding area is rich in First Nations and Métis history and was a vital port during the Hudson’s Bay trading era due to its prime location on the mighty Peace River. The historic Old Bay House, currently sitting on the Peace River in Fort Vermilion, speaks to the importance of this trading site. The site was said to attract local people (the Beaver peoples), Dene peoples, Cree peoples, and Métis peoples. The site was also visited by traders from across Rupert's Land travelling up or down stream. This includes my Métis great-great-great grandmother, Sophie Tourangeau, and Quebecois great-great-great grandfather, Michel Lizotte, who settled in Fort Vermilion and who may be in relation to you.
Our communities have suffered many hardships, including the damaging Peace River floods of 2018 and 2020, but the determination, strength, and love for the land continues our people's presence.