At four o’clock the Commissioners entered the marquee erected for the accommodation of themselves, and the Indians, who in a short time arrived, shook hands with the Commissioners, the officers of the guard, and other gentlemen who were in the tent, and took their seats.
It having been noticed that Cote, “the Pigeon,” a leading Chief of the Saulteaux tribe, had not arrived but that several of his band were present and claimed that they had been sent to represent him, His Honor the Lieut.-Governor instructed the (acting) interpreter, William Daniel, to enquire why their Chief had not come to meet the Commissioners, the white chiefs?
To this question they answered, that he had given no reason.
His Honor, through the interpreter, told them that the Queen had sent him and the other Commissioners to see their Chief and their nation, and that the least a loyal subject could do would be to meet the messengers of the Queen.
His Honor then addressed the Cree as follows: “The Commissioners having agreed that as Lieut. -Governor he should speak to them, as we are sent here by the Queen, by the Great Mother–the Queen has chosen me to be one of her Councilors, and has sent me here to represent her and has made me Governor of all her Territories in the North-West. She has sent another of her Councilors who has come all the way from Ottawa. She has also sent with us Mr. Christie, whom you all know, who has lived for a long time in this country, but who had gone away from it to live in another part of the Dominion of Canada. The Queen loves her Red children; she has always been friends with them; she knows that it is hard for them to live, and she has always tried to help them in the other parts of the Dominion. Last year she sent me to see her children at the Lake of the Woods. I took her children there by the hand, and the white man and the red man made friends for ever. We have come here with a message from the Queen and want to tell you all her mind. We want to speak to you about the land and what the Queen is willing to do for you, but before we tell you, we want you to tell us, who your Chiefs and headmen are who will speak for you, while we speak for the Queen, and we want to know what bands of Cree are here and who will speak for them. We wish to know if the Cree are ready to speak with us now?”
RA-KU-SHI-WAY, THE LOUD VOICE,–Said in reply: “I do not wish to tell a lie. I cannot say who will speak for us; it will only be known after consultation.”
HIS HONOR THE LIEUT.-GOV.–”By to-morrow you will probably have chosen whom you will have to speak for you and the Commissioners will be glad to meet you after you have chosen your spokesmen, and will meet you at ten o’clock. We want you to tell us openly what you want and we will speak to you for the Queen in the same way. The Colonel will send a man round to sound a bugle at ten o’clock to let you know.”
To the Saulteaux His Honor said: “We are here with a message from the Great Mother and want you to open my mouth so that I can tell you what I have to say. If you and your Chiefs will meet together in council and talk it over we will be glad to meet you, if you bring your Chief to-morrow. You must also choose your speakers who will come with your Chief and speak for you.”
LOUD VOICE–”I will tell the message that is given me to tell. I have one thing to say, the first word that came to them was for the Saulteaux tribe to choose a place to pitch their tents.”
HIS HONOR–”This place was chosen because it is a good place for my men–for the soldiers–there is plenty of water and grass, and I will meet you here to-morrow. That is all at present.”
After the departure of the main body of Cree Indians, Saulteaux, from the Cypress Hills, entered the tent saying that they had no Chief, and did not want to go with the main body of the nation, that they had plenty of friends on the plains.
His Honor said they would hear the Queen’s message with the rest of the Indians.