The community of Fort McKay is located 65 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. The community was originally started as a Hudson Bay Company trading post in 1820 (ATC website 2001). In 1912 the Fort was named Fort McKay after Dr. William Morrison McKay (ATC website 2001). Dr. W.M. McKay is also known to be the first resident doctor in Alberta (FMFN website 2008). The Fort McKay First Nation is a signatory to Treaty 8 and belongs to the Athabasca Tribal Council. There are currently 619 Band Members and 401 non-band members that are currently residing in the community. Although they were traditionally nomadic people, the introduction of the fur trade and the subsequent trading posts influenced the Fort McKay people to establish the community (ATC website 2001).
In 1986 the community took advantage of their location in the heart of the oil sands and established a group of companies. These companies are owned and operated by the community and have wide expertise in areas such as oil sands, forestry, pipeline and transportation (ATC website 2001). They have also established many joint ventures with companies throughout the Northeast region of Alberta.
The Fort McKay people have hunted, trapped, fished and gathered along the Athabasca for generations and still use the resources as part of there livelihood (ATC website 2001). Today, the community consists of Chipewyan, Cree, Dene and Metis people.