History and Traditional Lands



First Nation roots run deep in Fort McKay, stretching back to 1820 and coinciding with the placement of the Hudson Bay Company trading post in the area. In 1912, the community was named after Dr. William Morrison MacKay—Alberta’s first resident doctor and the first President of the Northern Alberta Medical Association.

This land gave abundantly to our ancestors. Their livelihood, and naturally what Fort McKay has become today, depended on a keen ability to gather, hunt, fish, nurture, and work in nature. To this day, our people have an unbreakable connection to the environment and continually work to protect, respect, and restore its natural beauty while attending to the economic health and growth of Fort McKay.



As a First Nation, Fort McKay’s traditional ways of life are changing. There’s no denying this fact. It’s the definition of “change” that is pivotal at this time of rapid growth. Through forging mutually beneficial partnerships and agreements with industry and government, for us, “change” indicates a cultural evolution and improvement.

To achieve a reasonable balance between the preservation of historically significant land in the region and industry’s export of the essential energy resources that our provincial, and national, economies rely on. Adapting to these modern issues requires a spirit of cooperation from all stakeholders.



Given its geographic location, Fort McKay has had many opportunities to work with the forestry, oil sands, and pipeline industries in Alberta.

Over time, we have become known for our commitment to establishing and maintaining positive partnerships with the surrounding industry while still preserving our cultural values.

The Nation first entering into business in 1986 when it established the Fort McKay Group of Companies, which is fully owned and operated by the Fort McKay First Nation. In addition to this, Fort McKay First Nation has also established numerous joint venture companies. It is this progressive collaboration that contributes to a legacy of pride and promises a brighter future for generations to come.

By forming constructive partnerships, Fort McKay First Nation is able to implement the necessary framework to support the progressing economic, industrial, and social developments in the region. It is this proactive and holistic approach that will allow our people to not only survive as a First Nation, but to thrive.

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