Over the past number of months, we've been sharing the rich history of the Hick's family - of Joseph Hicks who homesteaded in the Ninga area. 

Family spokesperson, Janelle (Hicks) Villeneuve, has been working with the Turtle Mountain-Souris Plains Heritage Association and Parks Manitoba to create a series of historical storyboards to share the history that surrounds Lake William on the east side of the Turtle Mountains. 

The story boards share information and pictures of the Hicks family grazing their cattle next to William Lake, when family members would camp out at the lake all summer long to tend to the cattle.  

That was in 1915. 

In 1921, the Hicks family fenced their grazing permit ‘right around the mound’ (turtle’s back), and the herding days were done. The grazing continued but the constant herding was no longer needed. 

During 1930 and 1931, the Dirty ‘30’s were starting and there was little to no pasture left on the prairies for cattle. Neighbors were asking the families that had grazing permits in the Turtle Mountains if they would take their cattle as well. Over 300 cattle were grazed in the Turtle Mountain area during the summer of 1931.  

This would eventually lead to the formation of the Ninga Livestock Association. Joseph's son, Les, was hired as the first range manager in 1932.  

The historical story boards also share about Police Point - where the Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP) had an outpost - a photo found in the Beckoning Hills Museum in Boissevain, dated 1917, confirmed the family's account of the outpost.  

Further searching dug up information that the NWMP had an outpost there that was used for management of timber permits in the winter and for border patrols in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

However, there is one very important aspect of Lake William’s history, that includes the First Nations travelers. 

Please listen to the audio below with Janelle (Hicks) Villeneuve as she shares more on this most important piece of Lake William's history!

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