James Smith signed Treaty Six at Fort Carlton in 1876. The population at the time of the signing was 134 members or 32 families. The original language spoken was Cree. James Smith, alongside John Smith, migrated to the area from the Red River district of Manitoba, and his Cree name has been recorded as `Notaw(k)eecheekanis'.
However, the term `nihtawikhicikanis means 'good growing area' and is better applied to the community rather than the chief.