There are several theories as to the origin of the Stoney Nakoda.
Historically, they were called the formidable name of Wapamakthe which means "Head Hunters". Today, they are known as the Iyethka “The Pure People”.
"Stoney" is a word that was arbitrarily given to the Stoney Nakoda by early European explorers. This was based upon their observation of our unique methodical cooking process. This observation of cooking with stones resulted in non-Aboriginals referring to the Stoney Nakoda as the "Stoney".
In 1877 at the signing of Treaty 7, the Ĩyãħé Nakoda were predominantly represented by three Head Chiefs – Bearspaw, Wesley, Chiniquay. These Chiefs made their marks on the Treaty document, based on the belief they were agreeing to put down their weapons to make peace, with no interruption to their use of traditional lands.
The Ĩyãħé Nakoda were later assured they would retain three large tracts of traditional homeland, one for each group. However, the government of Canada subsequently recognized the signings with one land entitlement, rather than separate land for each group.
The Ĩyãħé Nakoda are the only Aboriginals in Canada that, after signing a Treaty, were assigned a single land allocation for three individual groups.
Today, they are legally referred to as the Stoney Nakoda First Nation.
The federally designated land allocated to the Stoney Nakoda legally became known as the "Stony Indian Reserve".
The Reserve land was purveyed in 1879 and was fenced with barbed wire to outline its boundaries. According to oral history accounts, the missionary Reverend John McDougall played a significant role in persuading the leaders to sign the Treaty. It was much easier to Christianize and colonize the Aboriginals if they were concentrated in one location. The overall and enduring belief of the Stoney Nakoda was that Reverend McDougall betrayed them about the spirit and intent of the treaty-making process.
The original Reserve land allocation is adjacent to the Rocky Mountains, west of Calgary, Alberta. It is referred to as the Morley Reserve. One is located approximately 265 kilometers (165 miles) northwest of Morley, and is called the Big Horn Reserve. The second is located approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Morley, and is called the Eden Valley Reserve.