FOR SEVERAL DAYS each July, thousands of pilgrims make their way to the shores of Lac Ste Anne. Many come in search of healing and spiritual renewal. Some simply come to reconnect with old acquaintances and forge new friendships. This pilgrimage, which began over a hundred years ago, has become the largest annual Indigenous religious and Catholic gathering in Western Canada.
The history of the lake stretches back to the distant past. Here Native families, who in the fall had scattered to winter camps and trap lines, gathered in the summer for the buffalo hunt. The Crees called the lake Manito Sakahigan” or “Spirit Lake”. The Sioux living nearby named it “Waka Mne” or Holy Lake.