In consequence of the discovery of minerals, on the shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, the Government of the late Province of Canada, deemed it desirable, to extinguish the Indian title, and in order to that end, in the year 1850, entrusted the duty to the late Honorable William B. Robinson, who discharged his duties with great tact and judgment, succeeding in making two treaties, which were the forerunners of the future treaties, and shaped their course. The main features of the Robinson Treaties–viz., annuities, reserves for the Indians, and liberty to fish and hunt on the unconceded domain of the Crown–having been followed in these treaties. A special feature of the Robinson Treaties, was the adjustment of a claim made by the Indians to be paid, the amount received, by the Government, for the sale of mining locations. This was arranged, by Mr. Robinson, agreeing to pay them, the sum of £4,000 and an annuity of about £1,000, thus avoiding any dispute that might arise as to the amounts actually received by the Government. The number of Indians included in the treaties were stated by Mr. Robinson to be: on Lake Superior, 1240, including 84 half-breeds; and on Lake Huron 1422, including 200 half-breeds. The relations of the Indians and half-breeds, have long been cordial; and in the negotiations as to these initial treaties, as in the subsequent...Read More
Collection: The Treaties with the Indians of Canada
This treaty, is, so generally called, from having been made at the Qu’Appelle Lakes, in the North-West Territories. The Indians treated with, were a portion of the Cree and Saulteaux Tribes, and under its operations, about 75,000 square miles of territory were surrendered. This treaty, was the first step towards bringing the Indians of the Fertile Belt into closer relations with the Government of Canada, and was a much needed one. In the year 1871, Major Butler was sent into the North-West Territories by the Government of Canada, to examine into and report, with regard to the state of affairs there. He reported, to Lieutenant Governor Archibald, that “law and order are wholly unknown in the region of the Saskatchewan, in so much, as the country is without any executive organization, and destitute of any means of enforcing the law.” Towards remedying this serious state of affairs, the Dominion placed the North-West Territories under the rule of the Lieutenant Governor and Council of the Territories, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, being, ex officio, Governor of the Territories. This body, composed of representative men, possessed executive functions, and legislative powers. They entered upon their duties with zeal, and discharged them with efficiency. Amongst other measures, they passed a prohibitory liquor law, which subsequently was practically adopted by a Statute of the Dominion. They proposed the establishment of a Mounted Police...Read More
The Indians having assembled presented the Chiefs, whose names appear on the Treaty to the Commissioners as their Chiefs. KAMOOSES–“To-day we are met together here and our minds are open. We want to know the terms of the North-West Angle Treaty.” LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“Do we understand that you want the same terms which were given at the Lake of the Woods (The Indians assented.) I have the Treaty here in a book. You must know that the steamboats had been running through their waters, and our soldiers had been marching through their country, and for that reason we offered the Ojibway a larger sum than we offered you. Last year it was a present, covering five years; with you it was a present for this year only. I paid the Indians there a present in money down of twelve dollars per head. I have told you why we offered you less, and you will see there were reasons for it. That is the greatest difference between what we offered you and what was paid them, but on the other hand there were some things promised you that were not given at the Lake of the Woods. (His Honor then explained the terms granted in that Treaty.) We promised there that the Queen would spend $1,500 per year to buy shot and powder, ball and twine. There were 4,000 of them....Read More
September 14. Both nations, Cree and Saulteaux, having assembled, His Honor Lieut.-Governor Morris again addressed them:– “Children of our Great Mother, I am glad to see you again after another day. How have you come to meet us? I hope you have come to us with good thoughts, and hearts ready to meet ours. I have one or two words to say to you. It is twenty days to-day since we left the Red River. We want to turn our faces homewards. You told me on Saturday that some of you could eat a great deal. I have something to say to you about that. There are Indians who live here, they have their wives and children around them. It is good for them to be here, and have plenty to eat, but they ought to think of their brothers; they ought to think that there are men here who have come from a distance, from Fort Pelly and beyond, whose wives and children are not here to eat, and they want to be at home with them. It is time now that we began to understand each other, and when there is something troubles us, I believe in telling it. When you told us you were troubled about the situation of this tent, we had it moved. Now we want you to take away our trouble, or tell...Read More
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...Read More
The Cree having come and shaken hands, His Honor Lieut.-Gov. Morris rose and said: “My friends, I have talked much; I would like to hear your voices, I would like to hear what you say.” KA-KU-ISH-MAY, (Loud Voice–a principal chief of the Cree)–“I am very much pleased with that, to listen to my friends, for certainly it is good to report to each other what is for the benefit of each other. We see the good you wish to show us. If you like what we lay before you we will like it too. Let us join together and make the Treaty; when both join together it is very good.” The Saulteaux arrived at this juncture, when the Lieut.-Governor said: “I will say to the two tribes what I said to the Cree before the Saulteaux came. You have heard my voice for many days, you know its sound. You have looked in my face, you have seen my mind through my face, and you know my words are true and that they do not change. But I am not here to talk to-day, I am here to listen. You have had our message, you have had the Queen’s words. It is time now that you spoke. I am here to listen, my ears are open. It is for you to speak.” KAMOOSES–“Brothers, I have one word and a...Read More
THE GAMBLER–“I have understood plainly before what he (the Hudson Bay Company) told me about the Queen. This country that he (H. B. Co.) bought from the Indians let him complete that. It is that which is in the way. I cannot manage to speak upon anything else, when the land was staked off it was all the Company’s work. That is the reason I cannot speak of other things.” LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“We don’t understand what you mean. Will you explain?” THE GAMBLER–“I know what I have to tell you. Who surveyed this land? Was it done by the Company? This is the reason I speak of the Company, why are you staying in the Company’s house?” LIEUT.-GOVERNOR MORRIS–“The Company have a right to have certain lands granted them by the Queen, who will do what is fair and just for the Company, for the Indians, for the Half-breeds, and for the whites. She will make no distinction. Whatever she promises she will carry out. The Company are are nothing to her except that they are carrying on trade in this country, and that they are subjects to her just as you are. You ask then why I went to the Company’s house? I came here not at my own pleasure. I am not so strong as you are. I never slept in a tent in my life before and...Read More
September 12, 1874. In the morning four Indians, two Cree and two Saulteaux, waited on the Commissioners and asked that they should meet the Indians half way, and off the Company’s reserve, and that the soldiers should remove their camps beside the Indian encampment, that they would meet the Commissioners then and confer with them; that there was something in the way of their speaking openly where the marquee had been pitched. Their request was complied with as regarded the place of meeting only, and the spot for the conference selected by Col. Smith and the Indians. The meeting was opened by the Lieut.-Governor, who said, “Cree and Saulteaux,–I have asked you to meet us here to-day. We have been asking you for many days to meet us and this is the first time you have all met us. If it was not my duty and if the Queen did not wish it, I would not have taken so much trouble to speak to you. We are sent a long way to give you her message. Yesterday I told the Cree her message, and I know that the Saulteaux know what it was, but that there may be no mistake, I will tell it to you again and I will tell you more. When I have given my message understand that you will have to answer it, as I...Read More
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...Read More
September 9, 1874. The Indians, both Cree, Saulteaux and their Chiefs having arrived, His Honor Lieut.-Governor Morris said: “I am glad to see so many of the Queen’s red children here this morning. I told those I saw yesterday that I was one of the Queen’s councilors, and had another councilor with me from Ottawa and that the Queen had sent Mr. Christie who used to live amongst you to help us. Yesterday the Cree nation with their Chief were here, the Saulteaux did not come to meet the Queen’s servants, their Chief was not here. I thought that the Saulteaux could not have understood that the Queen had sent her servants to see them, or they would have come to meet them. If Loud Voice or any other Chief came down to Fort Garry to see me, and I sent one of my servants to meet them instead of shaking hands with them, would they be pleased? I wanted you to meet me here to-day because I wanted to speak to you before the Great Spirit and before the world. I want both Cree and Saulteaux to know what I say. I told those who were here yesterday that we had a message from the Queen to them. Last year I made a treaty with the Indians, 4,000 in number, at the Lake of the Woods. To-day the...Read More
Some years after the completion of the Robinson Treaties, the then Government of the old Province of Canada deemed it desirable to effect a treaty with the Indians dwelling upon the Great Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, as a complement to the former treaties, and with the object of rendering available for settlement the large tract of good land upon the Island. The duty was entrusted to the Honorable William McDougall, then Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, who, in the month of October, 1862, proceeded to the Island, accompanied by the late William Spragge, Esq., Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and Mr. F. Assicknack, of the Indian Office, Toronto, as interpreter. Mr. McDougall encountered considerable difficulties, but by firmness and decision eventually succeeded in obtaining a surrender from the Indians of the Island, excluding however from the surrender that portion of it easterly of Heywood Island and the Manitoulin Gulf. The terms of the treaty, which will be found in the Appendix, were adapted to the peculiar circumstances of the Indians and were well and wisely framed. The result has been to render available for settlement a large tract of land on the Island, much of which is now occupied by a prosperous and thriving population. I conclude this brief notice of an important treaty by submitting, to the attention of the reader, the report of the Hon. W. McDougall,...Read More
In the year 1871, the late Honorable Joseph Howe, then Secretary of State of Canada, recommended the appointment by the Privy Council of Canada, of Mr. Wemyss McKenzie Simpson, as Indian Commissioner, in consequence of “the necessity of arranging with the bands of Indians inhabiting the tract of country between Thunder Bay and the Stone Fort, for the cession, subject to certain reserves such as they should select, of the lands occupied by them.” Mr. Simpson accepted the appointment, and in company with Messrs. S. J. Dawson and Robert Pether visited the Ojjibewa or Chippawa Indians, between Thunder Bay and the north-west angle of the Lake of the Woods, and took the initiatory steps for securing a treaty with them thereafter. On his arrival at Fort Garry, he put himself, as directed by his instructions, in communication with his Honor, the Hon. A. G. Archibald, then Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba and the North-West Territories. A conference took place between His Honor, Messrs. Simpson, Dawson and Pether, and the Hon. James McKay, a member, at that time, of the Executive Council of Manitoba, and himself a half-breed intimately acquainted with the Indian tribes, and possessed of much influence over them. The Indians in Manitoba, in the fall of 1870, had applied to the Lieutenant-Governor to enter into a treaty with them, and had been informed that in the ensuing year negotiations...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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