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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 31st of August

On the morning of the 31st, the previous day having been wet, Mr. Christie and I left for Fort Pitt, Mr. McKay having preceded us by the other road–that by way of Battle River. We arrived on the 5th September, the day appointed, having rested, as was our custom throughout the whole journey, on Sunday, the 3rd. About six miles from the fort we were met by Col. Jarvis and the police, with their band, as an escort, and also by Mr. McKay, the Factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, who informed us that he had rooms ready for our occupation. We found over one hundred lodges of Indians already there, and received a message from them, that as their friends were constantly arriving, they wished delay until the 7th. On the morning of the 6th, Sweet Grass, who had come in, in consequence of my message, accompanied by about thirty of the principal men, called to see me and express their gratification at my arrival. Their greeting was cordial, but novel in my experience, as they embraced me in their arms, and kissed me on both cheeks, a reception which they extended also to Mr. Christie and Dr. Jackes. The Hon. James McKay arrived from Battle River in the evening, and reported that he had met there a number of Indians, principally Saulteaux, who had been camped there for some time. There had been about seventy lodges in all, but as the buffalo had come near, the poorer Indians had gone after them. They expressed good feeling, and said they would like to have waited until the 15th,...

The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 7th of September

At ten in the morning the Governor and Commissioners, escorted by the Mounted Police, proceeded to the treaty tent a short distance from the fort. About eleven o’clock the Indians commenced to gather, as at Carlton, in a large semi-circle. In front were the young men, galloping about on their horses, then the Chiefs and head men, followed by the main body of the band to the number of two or three hundred. As they approached the manoeuvres of the horsemen became more and more excited and daring, racing wildly about so rapidly as to be barely distinguishable; unfortunately, from some mischance, two horses and their riders came into collision with such tremendous force as to throw both horses and men violently to the ground; both horses were severely injured and one of the Indians had his hip put out of joint; fortunately, Dr. Kittson of the police, was near by and speedily gave relief to the poor sufferer. The ceremonies, however, still went on; four pipe-stems were carried about and presented to be stroked in token of good feeling and amity (during this performance the band of the Mounted Police played “God save the Queen”), blessings invoked on the whole gathering, the dances performed by the various bands, and finally the pipes of peace smoked by the Governor and Commissioners in turn. The stems, which were finely decorated, were placed with great solemnity on the table in front of the Governor, to be covered for the bearers with blue cloth. The Chiefs and head men now seated themselves in front of the tent, when the Governor addressed them:...

The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – Commissioners crossed the Saskatchewan

The Commissioners crossed the Saskatchewan and journeyed to Fort Pitt. Near it they were met by an escort of Mounted Police, who convoyed them to the fort. There they found a number of Indians assembled, and, during the day, Sweet Grass arrived. In the evening the Chief and head men waited upon the Commissioners. Delay was asked and granted before meeting. Eventually the conference was opened. The ceremonies which attended it were imposing. The national stem or pipe dance was performed, of which a full narrative will be found hereafter. The conference proceeded, and the Indians accepted the terms made at Carlton with the utmost good feeling, and thus the Indian title was extinguished in the whole of the Plain country, except a comparatively small area, inhabited by the Black Feet, comprising about 35,000 square miles, I regret to record, that the Chief Sweet Grass, who took the lead in the proceedings, met with an accidental death a few months afterwards, by the discharge of a pistol. The Indians, in these two treaties, displayed a strong desire for instruction in farming, and appealed for the aid of missionaries and teachers. The latter the Commissioners promised, and for the former they were told they must rely on the churches, representatives of whom were present from the Church of England, the Methodist, the Presbyterian and the Roman Catholic Church. The Bishop (Grandin) of the latter Church traveled from Edmonton to Fort Pitt and Battleford to see the Commissioners and assure them of his good will. After the conclusion of the treaty, the Commissioners commenced their long return journey by way of...

The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – Memoranda

Had I not complied with the demands of the Indians–giving them some little presents–and otherwise satisfied them, I have no doubt that they would have proceeded to acts of violence, and once that had commenced, there would have been the beginning of an Indian war, which it is difficult to say when it would have ended. The buffalo will soon be exterminated, and when starvation comes, these Plain Indian tribes will fall back on the Hudson’s Bay Forts and settlements for relief and assistance. If not complied with, or no steps taken to make some provision for them, they will most assuredly help themselves; and there being no force or any law up there to protect the settlers, they must either quietly submit to be pillaged, or lose their lives in the defence of their families and property, against such fearful odds that will leave no hope for their side. Gold may be discovered in paying quantities, any day, on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. We have, in Montana, and in the mining settlements close to our boundary line, a large mixed frontier population, who are now only waiting and watching to hear of gold discoveries to rush into the Saskatchewan, and, without any form of Government or established laws up there, or force to protect whites or Indians, it is very plain what will be the result. I think that the establishment of law and order in the Saskatchewan District, as early as possible, is of most vital importance to the future of the country and the interest of Canada, and also the making of some...

The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – Your Honor’s message

That your Honor’s message was most timely, these are ample proofs. A report will have reached you before this time that parties have been turned back by the Indians, and that a train containing supplies for the telegraph contractors, when west of Fort Pitt, were met by three Indians and ordered to return. Now after carefully investigating the matter and listening to the statements of all parties concerned, my opinion is, that an old traveler amongst Indians would have regarded the whole affair as too trivial to be noticed. I have not met with a Chief who would bear with the responsibility of the act…. Personally I am indebted both to the missionaries, and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s officials for their assistance at the Indian councils. Believing it would be satisfactory to your Honor and of service to the Commissioners, I have kept the number of all the tents visited and the names of the places where I met the Indians. By reckoning eight persons to each tent, we will have a very close approximate to the number of Indians to be treated with at Carlton, and Fort Pitt. There may have been a few tents in the forest, and I have heard there are a few Cree at Lesser Slave Lake and Lac la Biche, but the number cannot exceed twenty tents. All of which is respectfully submitted. G. Mcdougall. The Commissioners, in the discharge of their task, had to travel through the prairie district in going to their destination and returning to Winnipeg, a distance of over 1,800 miles. They first met the Indians in the vicinity...

The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt

The treaties made at Forts Carlton and Pitt in the year 1876, were of a very important character. The great region covered by them, abutting on the areas included in Treaties Numbers Three and Four, embracing an area of approximately 120,000 square miles, contains a vast extent of fertile territory and is the home of the Cree nation. The Cree had, very early after the annexation of the North-West Territories to Canada, desired a treaty of alliance with the Government. So far back as the year 1871, Mr. Simpson, the Indian Commissioner, addressing the Secretary of State in a dispatch of date, the 3rd November 1871, used the following language: “I desire also to call the attention of His Excellency to the state of affairs in the Indian country on the Saskatchewan. The intelligence that Her Majesty is treating with the Chippewa Indians has already reached the ears of the Cree and Blackfeet tribes. In the neighborhood of Fort Edmonton, on the Saskatchewan, there is a rapidly increasing population of miners and other white people, and it is the opinion of Mr. W. J. Christie, the officer in charge of the Saskatchewan District, that a treaty with the Indians of that country, or at least an assurance during the coming year that a treaty will shortly be made, is essential to the peace, if not the actual retention, of the country. I would refer His Excellency, on this subject, to the report of Lieut. Butler, and to the enclosed memoranda of Mr. W. J. Christie, the officer above alluded to.” He also enclosed an extract of a letter from...

The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 22nd of August

On the 22nd the Commissioners met the Indians, when I told them that we had not hurried them, but wished now to hear their Chiefs. A spokesman, The Pond Maker, then addressed me, and asked assistance when they settled on the land, and further help as they advanced in civilization. I replied that they had their own means of living, and that we could not feed the Indians, but only assist them to settle down. The Badger, Soh-ah-moos, and several other Indians all asked help when they settled, and also in case of troubles unforeseen in the future. I explained that we could not assume the charge of their every-day life, but in a time of a great national calamity they could trust to the generosity of the Queen. The Honourable James McKay also addressed them, saying that their demands would be understood by a white man as asking for daily food, and could not be granted, and explained our objects, speaking with effect in the Cree tongue. At length the Indians informed me that they did not wish to be fed every day, but to be helped when they commenced to settle, because of their ignorance how to commence, and also in case of general famine; Ah-tuk-uk-koop winding up the debate by stating that they wanted food in the spring when they commenced to farm, and proportionate help as they advanced in civilization, and then asking for a further adjournment to consider our offers. The Commissioners granted this, but I warned them not to be unreasonable, and to be ready next day with their decision, while we on...

The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – Morleyville, Bow River, Rocky Mountains

October 23rd, 1875. To His Honor Lieutenant-Governor Morris. Sir,–In accordance with my instructions, I proceeded with as little delay as possible to Carlton, in the neighborhood of which place I met with forty tents of Cree. From these I ascertained that the work I had undertaken would be much more arduous than I had expected, and that the principal camps would be found on the south branch of the Saskatchewan and Red Deer Rivers. I was also informed by these Indians that the Cree and Plain Assiniboin were united on two points: 1st. That they would not receive any presents from Government until a definite time for treaty was stated. 2nd. Though they deplored the necessity of resorting to extreme measures, yet they were unanimous in their determination to oppose the running of lines, or the making of roads through their country, until a settlement between the Government and them had been effected. I was further informed that the danger of a collision with the whites was likely to arise from the officious conduct of minor Chiefs who were anxious to make themselves conspicuous, the principal men of the large camps being much more moderate in their demands. Believing this to be the fact, I revolved to visit every camp and read them your message, and in order that your Honor may form a correct judgment of their disposition towards the Government, I will give you a synopsis of their speeches after the message was read. Mistahwahsi, head Chief of the Carlton Indians, addressing the principal Chief of the Assiniboin and addressing me, said: “That is just it, that...

Winnipeg, October 14th 1876 – Part C

To The Hon. Alexander Morris, Lieut. -Governor. Sir, –Referring to your letter of instructions under date of the 14th of July, relative to the payment of the Norway House and Cross Lake bands of Indians, I have the honor to submit the following report: — Having, in co-operation with the Hon. Thomas Howard, paid the Indians of Berens River and successfully secured the adhesion of the Island and Upper Berens River bands of Indians to Treaty Number Five, on the morning of Saturday, the 5th of August, I left for Norway House, which place, owing to stormy weather and strong head winds, I did not succeed in reaching until the morning of the 12th. On the way I was met by Indians proceeding to inspect their reserve at Fisher’s River, who brought a letter from the Chiefs of Norway House and Cross Lake, stating that the Indians were all assembled, and requesting to be paid at the earliest possible date. On reaching this place, Norway House, after having camp pitched at a short distance from the fort, I dispatched messengers to the several camps and villages, notifying the Indians of my arrival and desiring the Chiefs to meet me on the Monday morning following. On Sunday evening divine service was held within the fort by the Rev. Mr. Ruttan, Wesleyan missionary, at which a large number of Indians were present. On Monday morning, the Chiefs and most of the Indians of both bands having assembled at my camp, the Cross Lake band requested to be paid there, and the Norway House Chief asked that his people might he paid...

Lower Fort Garry, July 20th, 1871

Sir,–I have the honor to inform you that on Monday last I came to this Fort with the Commissioner to meet the Indians called here, with a view to negotiate a treaty, intending to open the business on Tuesday morning. It appeared, however, on inquiry, that some bands of Indians had not arrived on Tuesday morning, and we were therefore obliged to postpone the opening of the meeting till Thursday. On that day the Indians from all the sections of the country to which the invitation extended were found present to the number of about one thousand. A considerable body of half-breeds and other inhabitants of the country were also present, awaiting with some anxiety to learn what should be announced as the policy of the Government. I enclose you a memorandum of the observations with which I opened the meeting. On reading them you will observe one or two points which may require some explanation. At the time of the treaty with the Earl of Selkirk, certain Indians signed as Chiefs and representatives of their people. Some of the Indians now deny that these men ever were Chiefs or had authority to sign the treaty. With a view therefore to avoid a recurrence of any such question we asked the Indians, as a first step, to agree among themselves in selecting their Chiefs and then to present them to us and have their names and authority recorded. Furthermore, the Indians seem to have false ideas of the meaning of a reserve. They have been led to suppose that large tracts of ground were to be set aside for...
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