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The Stone Fort And Manitoba Post Treaties – Second Day

On the next day the conference was resumed, the chiefs and spokesmen being presented. The Indians, on being asked to express their views, “stated that there was a cloud before them which made things dark, and they did not wish to commence the proceedings till the cloud was dispersed.” On inquiry it was ascertained that they referred to the imprisonment of four Swampy Cree Indians, who had been convicted under a local law, of breach of contract, as boatmen, with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and on default of payment of a fine, had been sent to prison. The Lieutenant Governor, as a matter of favor, ordered the release of these prisoners, and the sky became clear. Next day the Indians met again and declared that they would never again raise their voice against the enforcement of the law, but much difficulty was experienced in getting them to understand the views of the Government–they wishing to have two-thirds of the Province as a reserve. Eventually on the 3rd of August, 1871, a treaty was concluded, its principal features being the relinquishment to Her Majesty of the Indian title; the reserving of tracts of land for the Indians, sufficient to furnish 160 acres of land to each family of five; providing for the maintenance of schools, and prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors on the reserves; a present of three dollars per head to the Indians and the payment to them of an annuity of three dollars per head. On the 21st of August Mr. Commissioner Simpson, accompanied by the Lieutenant-Governor, the Hon. James McKay, and Mr. Molyneux St. John...

The Stone Fort And Manitoba Post Treaties – Proclamations

Mr. Simpson accordingly issued proclamations, inviting the Indians to meet him on the 25th of July and 17th of August 1871, at these points respectively, to negotiate an Indian treaty. The Lieutenant-Governor also issued a proclamation forbidding the sale or gift of intoxicating liquors during the negotiation of the treaty, and applied to Major Irvine to detail a few of the troops under his command to preserve order, which request was acceded to. The Lieutenant-Governor and Mr. Simpson arrived at the Stone Fort on the 24th of July, 1871, but as the Indians had not all arrived the meeting was postponed till the 27th, when a thousand Indians were found to have assembled, and a considerable number of half-breeds and other inhabitants of the country were present, awaiting with anxiety to learn the policy of the Government. Lieutenant-Governor Archibald, after the Indians were assembled opened the proceedings by delivering the following address: “On the 13th September last, on my first arrival in the country, I met a number of you at the mission, I told you I could not then negotiate a Treaty with the Indians, but that I was charged by your Great Mother, the Queen, to tell you that she had been very glad to see that you had acted during the troubles like good and true children of your Great Mother. I told you also that as soon as possible you would all be called together to consider the terms of a treaty to be entered into between you and your Great Mother. “I advised you to disperse to your homes, and gave you some ammunition...

The Blackfeet Treaty – Fort Pitt, September 8th, 1876

To His Excellency The Governor Of Manitoba. Excellent Governor,–Having had some years of experience as a missionary amongst the Cree and Blackfeet Indians of the North-West Territory, I humbly undertake to submit to your consideration a few details regarding the latter tribe of Her Majesty’s Indian subjects. I do this with all the more confidence as the successful way in which you conducted the treaty with the Carlton Indians (a treaty including no small difficulties), has convinced me of your thorough knowledge of the character of this people. But, although the general character of all the tribes may be nearly the same, yet in their social dispositions they sometimes materially differ, and this, I think, will be found to be the case with the Cree and Blackfeet when compared on that point. The Cree have always looked upon the white man as a friend, or, to use their own language, as a brother. They have never been afraid of him, nor have they given him any cause to be afraid of them. The Blackfeet have acted somewhat differently; they have regarded the white man as a demi-god, far superior to themselves in intelligence, capable of doing them good or evil, according as he might be well or ill disposed towards them, unscrupulous in his dealings with others, and consequently a person to be flattered, feared and shunned, and even injured, whenever this could be done with impunity. I am not now describing the Blackfeet of the present day, but those of fifteen years ago, when I first saw them. They were then a proud, haughty, numerous people (perhaps ten...

The Blackfeet Treaty – Friday, October 20th

On this day the Indians accepted the terms of the treaty, and several of the Chiefs made speeches. The first speaker was Crowfoot. CROWFOOT–“While I speak, be kind and patient. I have to speak for my people, who are numerous, and who rely upon me to follow that course which in the future will tend to their good. The plains are large and wide. We are the children of the plains, it is our home, and the buffalo has been our food always. I hope you look upon the Blackfeet, Blood, and Sarcees as your children now, and that you will be indulgent and charitable to them. They all expect me to speak now for them, and I trust the Great Spirit will put into their breasts to be a good people–into the minds of the men, women and children, and their future generations. The advice given me and my people has proved to be very good. If the Police had not come to the, country, where would we be all now? Bad men and whiskey were killing us so fast that very few, indeed, of us would have been left to-day. The Police have protected us as the feathers of the bird protect it from the frosts of winter. I wish them all good, and trust that all our hearts will increase in goodness from this time forward. I am satisfied. I will sign the treaty.” BUTTON CHIEF–“I must say what all the people say, and I agree with what they say. I cannot make new laws. I will sign.” RED CROW–“Three years ago, when the Police first...

The Blackfeet Treaty – Monday, 17th October

This was the day appointed for the opening of the Treaty, but as a number of the Indian Chiefs, who had a long distance to come, were absent, it was deferred until the following Wednesday. The Governor, however, addressed a number of the Chiefs who were assembled at the Council House. He said, “Last year a message was sent to you by the Councilors of the Great Mother that they would meet you at an early date, and as her Councilors always keep their promises, they have appointed Col. McLeod and myself to meet you here now. We appointed this day, and I have come a very long distance to keep my promise, and have called you together to discover if you all have responded to my summons, and if any Chiefs are now absent, to learn when they shall arrive. You say that some of the Blood Chiefs are absent, and as it is our wish to speak to them as well as to you, and as they have a very long way to come to reach this place, we shall give them until next Wednesday to come in. On that day, I will deliver to you the Queen’s message, but if any of the Chiefs would desire to speak now, we will be glad to listen to them. I would tell you now, that while you remain, provisions will be issued for the use of those who wish to accept them.” CROWFOOT–“I am glad to see the Queen’s Chief and Stamixotokon (Col McLeod), who is a great Chief and our friend. I will wait and hold a...

The Blackfeet Treaty – Government House, Battleford, North-West Territory

Sir,–I have the honor to inform you that on the 4th August I received at Swan River your telegram dated on the first of that month. It notified me that a Commission appointing Lieut.-Col. James F. McLeod, C.M.G., and myself, Commissioners to negotiate a treaty with the Blackfeet and other Indians of the unsurrendered parts of the North-West Territories adjoining the United States boundary, had been forwarded to Fort McLeod. I immediately made preparations for the journey. These occupied me a week, as arrangements had to be made for the removal of furniture and other property to Battle River, where the Government House for the territories, in course of construction, would probably be ready for occupation on my return from the treaty negotiations. On the 11th August I left Swan River for Fort McLeod, via Battleford, proposing to go from the latter place by Cypress Hills to my destination. I took the Quill Lake trail and came to the telegraph line, about four miles from Big Stone Lake. Thence I followed that line until I came to the trail at the elbow of the North Saskatchewan leading to Battle River. Where the telegraph crosses the South Saskatchewan I found an excellent ferry scow, and a ferryman placed there by the Public Works Department. I arrived at the ferry about noon on the 20th, and though a high wind rendered it difficult to manage the scow, the horses, with the vehicles and their contents, were safely ferried before sunset. On the following evening I reached the Elbow, and the morning thereafter before leaving camp, Inspector Walker, of Battleford, drove up,...

The Blackfeet Treaty – Payments were Completed

About noon on Friday the payments were completed, and the Commissioners proceeded to close the accounts. They found that the number of Indians paid, who had accepted the terms of the new treaty was as follows:– Head Chiefs, 10 at $25 = $250 Minor Chiefs and Councilors, 40 at 15 = $600 Men, women and children, 4,342 at 12 = $52,104 Total, 4,392 = $52,954 The Cree who gave in their adhesion to Treaty Number Six were only paid the gratuity, this year’s annuity being still due them. These were paid from the funds of Treaty Number Six as follows:– Chief, 1 at $25 = $25 Councilors, 2 at 15 = $30 Men, women and children, 429 at 12 = $5,148 Total, 432 = $5,203 The officers of the Police Force, who conducted the payments, discharged this duty in a most efficient manner. Not in regard to the payments alone were the services of the officers most valuable. With respect to the whole arrangements, Lieut. Col. McLeod, my associate Commissioner, both in that capacity and as Commander of the Police, was indefatigable in his exertions to bring the negotiations to a successful termination. The same laudable efforts were put forth by Major Irvine and the other officers of the Force, and their kindness to me, personally I shall never fail to remember. The volunteer band of the Police at Fort McLeod deserve more than a passing notice, as they did much to enliven the whole proceedings. The Commissioners at first had not a good interpreter of the Blackfoot language, but on Wednesday they secured the services of Mr. Bird,...

The Blackfeet Treaty – Saturday, 22nd September 1876

On Saturday, 22nd September, we met the Indians to conclude the treaty. Mekasto, or Red Crow the great Chief of the South Bloods, had arrived the previous evening, or morning, on the ground, and being present, came forward to be introduced to the Commissioners. The assemblage of Indians was large. All the head Chiefs of the several tribes were now present; only two Blackfeet and two Blood minor Chiefs were absent. The representation was all that could be expected. The Commissioners had previously informed the Indians that they would accept the Chiefs whom they acknowledged, and now close in front of the tent sat those who had been presented to the Commissioners as the recognized Chiefs of the respective bands. The conditions of the treaty having been interpreted to the Indians, some of the Blood Chiefs, who bad said very little on the previous day, owing to Red Crow’s absence, now spoke, he himself in a few kind words agreeing to accept the treaty. Crowfoot then came forward and requested his name to be written to the treaty. The Commissioners having first signed it, Mr. L’Heureux, being familiar with the Blackfoot language, attached the Chiefs’ names to the document at their request and witnessed to their marks. While the signing was being proceeded with, a salute was fired from the field guns in honor of the successful conclusion of the negotiations. I may mention, in this connection, that on Saturday also I was waited upon by a deputation of Half-breeds, who presented me with a petition, expressing the hope that the buffalo law might not be stringently enforced during...

The Blackfeet Treaty – On Tuesday

On Tuesday, at two o’clock, the Cree Chief and his band assembled according to appointment. The Commissioners ascertained from him that he had frequented for some time the Upper Bow River country, and might fairly be taken into the present treaty, but he expressed a wish to have his reserve near Pigeon Lake, within the limits of Treaty Number Six, and from what we could learn of the feelings of the Blackfeet toward the Cree, we considered it advisable to keep them separate as much as possible. We therefore informed the Chief that it would be most expedient for him to give in his adhesion to the treaty of last year, and be paid annually, on the north of Red Deer River, with the other Cree Chiefs. He consented. We then told him that we could not pay him until after the Blackfeet had been dealt with, as it might create jealousy among them, but that in the meantime his band could receive rations. He said it was right that he should wait until we had settled with the Blackfeet, and agreed to come and sign his adhesion to Treaty Number Six at any time I was prepared to receive him. During Tuesday, several parties of Indians came in, but the principal Blood Chiefs had not yet arrived. According to appointment, however, the Commissioners met the Indians at two o’clock on Wednesday. An outline was given of the terms proposed for their acceptance. We also informed them we did not expect an answer that day, but we hoped to hear from them to-morrow. That day we again intimated to...

The Blackfeet Treaty – On our journey

On our journey, while within the limits of Treaty Number Six, we met scarcely any Indians, but after we crossed Red Deer River we met a few Cree and Half-breeds, and several hunting parties of Blackfeet. The former generally use carts in traveling, but the Blackfeet and their associates are always on horseback. The Cree appeared friendly, but were not so demonstrative as the Blackfeet, who always rode up at once with a smile on their countenances and shook hands with us. They knew the uniform of the Mounted Police at a distance, and at once recognized and approached them as their friends. We resumed our journey on Monday and arrived at Fort McLeod on the Old Man’s River, on Tuesday the 4th September. The distance between the Blackfoot crossing of the Bow River and the Fort is about seventy-nine miles, thus making the length of our journey from Battleford three hundred and sixty-five miles as measured by Major Irvine’s odometer. A few miles from Fort McLeod I was met by the Commissioners of the Mounted Police and a large party of the Force, who escorted me into the Fort, while a salute was fired by the artillery company from one of the hills overlooking the line of march. The men, whose horses were in excellent condition, looked exceedingly well, and the officers performed their duties in a most efficient manner. The villagers presented me with an address of welcome, and altogether my reception at Fort McLeod was such as to satisfy the most fastidious lover of display, and more than enough to satisfy the writer. At Fort McLeod,...
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