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No. 86

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Memorable Manitobans: Aw-Gee-Nah [English Chief] (?-c1821)

Chipewyan Chief.

The family group of English Chief originated from the Great Slave Lake Area of the North West Territories, and to the west of Hudson Bay, in northern Manitoba. In 1771, Aw-Gee-Nah accompanied Matonabbee as he guided Hudson’s Bay Company explorer, Samuel Hearne to the Coppermine River in the North West Territories.

After Matonabbee’s death around 1782 Aw-Gee-Nah took over the leadership of a small band travelling to Fort Churchill in Manitoba. In 1786 the North West Company employed him as a middleman and carrier in the Great Slave Lake and Athabasca area. He also acted as a guide to North West Company explorer Alexander MacKenzie from Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, to the Arctic in 1789. There are no further records of English Chief after 1821.


Dictionary of Canadian Biographies, Volume VI, 1821-1835.

This profile was prepared by Angela Graham.

Page revised: 30 November 2008

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