Prophet River

Feature Type:River - Watercourse of variable size, which has tributaries and flows into a body of water or a larger watercourse.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Flows N into Muskwa River, just S of Fort Nelson, Peace River Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 58°45'44''N, 122°44'26''W at the approximate mouth of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 94J/15
Related Maps:
94F/9 94G/11 94G/12 94G/14
94G/15 94J/10 94J/15 94J/2

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted in the 14th Report of the Geograhic Board of Canada, 31 March 1915.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Prophet was the chief of a band of the Sikanni Indians. "... custom apparently is for a separate band of the Sikanni Indians to hunt on [one and only one] of these rivers, and the rivers receive the names of the leaders in each band.....thus Musquah's River, Prophet's River, Sikanni Chief's River and Fantasque's River." (from report of Maj. E.B. Hart, who participated in 1912 Department of Lands' survey of the Liard River.) [notation on BC card indicates that Hart's report was published in 1913-14, with above-text relayed in a letter received 3 January 1914, file 6952-S]

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Translation of Indian name "Na-tint-te". About 96 miles long. Headwaters at 57 34 - 124 21.

Source: Canadian Geographical Names Database, Ottawa

"The Beaver Indians recognized certain people as 'dreamers' or 'prophets' who could foretell future events. This river may be named for a fairly recent prophet of the Beaver people, Notseta, the father of people still living on the Prophet River Reserve. Alternatively, it may be named for Decutla, a prophet of an earlier generation."

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; British Columbia Place Names; Sono Nis Press, Victoria 1986 /or University of British Columbia Press 1997

Labelled "Buffalo River" on 1831 map drawn by John McLeod, included in the Fort Simpson Journal - a log of daily events, 1831. [Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Microfilm IM 140, B/200/a/14 folios 3 to 14d.] "In 1870 a man living on that river began preaching against the Roman Catholic Church and encouraging his people to change to the Anglican Church because they had nicer robes - less like Raven. His name in Hudson's Bay Company ledgers is Prophet. (with no written form of their languages, aboriginal traders of the day were assigned names by the HBC to identify their trades & transactions in the Company's ledgers; typically, any recognizable aspect of clothing, physique or character inspired the selection of a name). The Catholic Church considered him a real threat and re-established a permanent church in Fort Nelson. Because the Buffalo River was the trapping area of the Prophet, the river became known amongst locals as Prophet's River. Prophet and his family continued to trade furs at the HBC Fort Nelson post for more than 30 years - into the 1900s, as recorded in Company ledgers." (extrapolated from information located and shared June 2013 by Anthony Kenyon, historian, author and longtime Fort Nelson resident; "History of the Liard Basin from 1790 to 1910" is the working title of Kenyon's book, to be published late 2013/early 2014.)

Source: included with note