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Fort Smith

4.6
Fort Smith is a town in the South Slave Region of the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada. It is located in the southeastern portion of the Northwest Territories, on the Slave River and adjacent to the Northwest Territories/Alberta border.HistoryFort Smith was founded around the Slave River. It served a vital link for water transportation between southern Canada and the western Arctic. Early fur traders found an established portage route from what is now Fort Fitzgerald on the western bank of the Slave River to Fort Smith. This route allowed its users to navigate the four sets of impassable rapids (Cassette Rapids, Pelican Rapids, Mountain Rapids, and Rapids of the Drowned). The portage trail had been traditionally used by local aboriginal people for centuries.The aboriginal population of the region shifted as the fortunes of the tribes changed. By 1870, Cree had occupied the Slave River Valley. The Slavey had moved north by this time and the Chipewyan had also begun moving into the area.Peter Pond of the North West Company was the first white trader to travel on the Slave River and make contact with aboriginal people in this region. He established a post on Lake Athabasca called Fort Chipewyan in the 1780s, at the head of the Slave River.
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