The Blackfeet Treaty – Thursday, October 19th.

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The Governor, on arriving at the Council House, where all the Chiefs were awaiting him, said that he was glad to see them all there, and that he had only a few words to say to them. He said, “I expect to listen to what you have to say to-day, but, first, I would explain that it is your privilege to hunt all over the prairies, and that should you desire to sell any portion of your land, or any coal or timber from off your reserves, the Government will see that you receive just and fair prices, and that you can rely on all the Queen’s promises being fulfilled. Your payments will be punctually made. You all know the Police; you know that no promise of theirs to you has ever been broken; they speak and act straight. You have perfect confidence in them, and by the past conduct of the Police towards you, you can judge of the future. I think I have now said all, and will listen to you and explain anything you wish to know; we wish to keep nothing back.”

BUTTON CHIEF–”The Great Spirit sent the white man across the great waters to carry out His (the Great Spirit’s) ends. The Great Spirit, and not the Great Mother, gave us this land, The Great Mother sent Stamixotokon (Col. McLeod) and the Police to put an end to the traffic in fire-water. I can sleep now safely. Before the arrival of the Police, when I laid my head down at night, every sound frightened me; my sleep was broken; now I can sleep sound and am not afraid. The Great Mother sent you to this country, and we hope she will be good to us for many years. I hope and expect to get plenty; we think we will not get so much as the Indians receive from the Americans on the other side; they get large presents of flour, sugar, tea, and blankets. The Americans gave at first large bags of flour, sugar, and many blankets; the next year it was only half the quantity, and the following years it grew less and less, and now they give only a handful of flour. We want to get fifty dollars for the Chiefs and thirty dollars each for all the others, men, women, and children, and we want the same every year for the future. We want to be paid for all the timber that the Police and whites have used since they first came to our country. If it continues to be used as it is, there will soon be no firewood left for the Indians. I hope, Great Father, that you will give us all this that we ask.”

CROWFOOT–”Great Father, what do you think now, what do you say to that? What I have to say will be spoken to-morrow. My brother Chiefs will speak now.”

EAGLE TAIL–”Great Father, from our Great Mother, Stamixotokon and officers of the Police, the advice and help I received from the Police I shall never forget as long as the moon brightens the night, as long as water runs and the grass grows in spring, and I expect to get the same from our Great Mother. I hope she will supply us with flour, tea, tobacco and cattle, seed and farming implements. I have done at present.”

OLD SUN–”Father and sons, I shall speak to-morrow.”

GOVERNOR–”I fear Button Chief is asking too much. He has told us of the great good the Police have done for him and his tribe and throughout the country by driving away the whiskey traders, and now he wants us to pay the Chiefs fifty dollars and others thirty dollars per head, and to pay him for the timber that has been used. Why, you Indians ought to pay us rather, for sending these traders in fire-water away and giving you security and peace, rather than we pay you for the timber used. (Here the Indians indulged in a general hearty laugh at this proposition.) We cannot do you good and pay you too for our protection. Button Chief wants us to prevent the Cree and Half-breeds from coming in and killing the buffalo. They too are the Queen’s children, as well as the Blackfeet and Cree. We have done all we can do in preventing the slaying of the young buffalo, and this law will preserve the buffalo for many years. Button Chief wishes to get the same every year as this year; this we cannot promise. We cannot make a treaty with you every year. We will give you something to eat each year, but not so much as you will receive now. He says the Americans at first gave the Indians many large sacks of flour, and now they only receive a handful. From us you receive money to purchase what you may see fit; and as your children increase yearly, you will get the more money in the future, as you are paid so much per head.

“(To the Stony Chiefs)–When your reserves will be allotted to you no wood can be cut or be permitted to be taken away from them without your own consent. The reserve will be given to you without depriving you of the privilege to hunt over the plains until the land be taken up.”

Bear’s Paw said that he was pleased with the treaty, the Police, and the prospect of getting provisions and money, and hoped that the Commissioners would give his tribe (the Stonie) as much as possible, and that as speedily as possible. This Chief appeared by his speech to be of a mercenary bent of mind.



MLA Source Citation:

Morris, Alexander. The Treaties With The Indians Of Manitoba The NorthWest Territories And KeeWaTin In The Dominion Of Canada. Toronto: Belford, Clarke & Co. 1880. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 29 September 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/the-blackfeet-treaty-thursday-october-19th.htm - Last updated on Jul 2nd, 2013


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