September 11, 1874.
The Cree and their Chiefs met the Commissioners. The Saulteaux Chief was not present, though most of the tribe were present.
An Indian, “the Crow,” advised the assembled Cree, the Saulteaux not having arrived, to listen attentively to what words he said.
His Honor the Lieut.-Governor then arose and said: “I am glad to meet you here to-day. We have waited long and began to wonder whether the Queen’s red children were not coming to meet her messengers. All the ground here is the Queen’s and you are free to speak your mind fully. We want you to speak to me face to face. I am ready now with my friends here to give you the Queen’s message. Are your ears open to hear? Have you chosen your speakers?”
THE LOUD VOICE–”There is no one to answer.”
HIS HONOR–”You have had time enough to select your men to answer and I will give you the Queen’s message. The Queen knows that you are poor; the Queen knows that it is hard to find food for yourselves and children; she knows that the winters are cold, and your children are often hungry; she has always cared for her red children as much as for her white. Out of her generous heart and liberal hand she wants to do something for you, so that when the buffalo get scarcer, and they are scarce enough now, you may be able to do something for yourselves.”
THE LOUD VOICE (to the Indians)–”I wonder very much at your conduct. You understand what is said and you understand what is right and good. You ought to listen to that and answer it, every one of you. What is bad you cannot answer.”
HIS HONOR–”What the Queen and her Councilors would like is this, she would like you to learn something of the cunning of the white man. When fish are scarce and the buffalo are not plentiful she would like to help you to put something in the land, she would like that you should have some money every year to buy things that you need. If any of you would settle down on the land, she would give you cattle to help you; she would like you to have some seed to plant. She would like to give you every year, for twenty years, some powder, shot, and twine to make nets of. I see you here before me to-day. I will pass away and you will pass away. I will go where my fathers have gone and you also, but after me and after you will come our children. The Queen cares for you and for your children, and she cares for the children that are yet to be born. She would like to take you by the hand and do as I did for her at the Lake of the Woods last year. We promised them and we are ready to promise now to give five dollars to every man, woman and child, as long as the sun shines and water flows. We are ready to promise to give $1,000 every year, for twenty years, to buy powder and shot and twine, by the end of which time I hope you will have your little farms. If you will settle down we would lay off land for you, a square mile for every family of five. Whenever you go to a Reserve, the Queen will be ready to give you a school and schoolmaster, and the Government will try to prevent fire-water from being sent among you. If you shake hands with us and make a treaty, we are ready to make a present at the end of the treaty, of eight dollars for every man, woman and child in your nations. We are ready also to give calico, clothing and other presents. We are ready to give every recognized Chief, a present of twenty-five dollars, a medal, and a suit of clothing. We are also ready to give the Chief’s soldiers, not exceeding four in each band, a present of ten dollars, and next year and every year after, each chief will be paid twenty-five dollars, and his chief soldiers not exceeding four in each band, will receive ten dollars. Now I think that you see that that the Queen loves her red children, that she wants to do you good, and you ought to show that you think so. I cannot believe that you will be the first Indians, the Queen’s subjects, who will not take her by the hand. The Queen sent one of her councilors from Ottawa, and me, her Governor, to tell you her mind. I have opened my hands and heart to you. It is for you to think of the future of those who are with you now, of those who are coming after you, and may the Great Spirit guide you to do what is right. I have only one word more to say. The last time I saw you I was not allowed to say all I wanted to say until you went away. What I wanted to say is this, I have put before you our message, I want you to go back to your tents and think over what I have said and come and meet me to-morrow. Recollect that we cannot stay very long here. I have said all.”