Lower Fort Garry, Manitoba, July 30th, 1871
Sir,–I have the honor to inform you, for the information of His Excellency the Governor-General, that I arrived in this Province on the 16th instant, and, after consultation with the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, determined upon summoning the Indians of this part of the country to a conference for the purpose of negotiating a treaty at Lower Fort Garry, on Tuesday, the 25th instant, leaving for a future date the negotiation with the Indians westward of and outside of the Province of Manitoba.
Proclamations were issued, and every means taken to insure the attendance of the Indians, and on Monday, the 24th instant, I proceeded to Lower Fort Garry, where I met His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.
On Tuesday, finding that only a small portion of the Indians had arrived, we held a preliminary conference with Henry Prince–the Chief of the Swampie and Chippewa residing on what is known as the Indian Reserve, between Lower Fort Garry and Lake Winnipeg–at which we arranged a meeting for the next day at twelve o’clock, for the purpose of ascertaining the names of the Chiefs and head men of the several tribes. At this preliminary conference, Henry Prince said that he could not then enter upon any negotiations, as he was not empowered to speak or act for those bands of Indians not then present.
In the meantime it was found necessary to feed the Indians assembled here, and accordingly provisions were purchased and rations served out.
On Wednesday, the 26th, His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor and myself met those Indians who had arrived, in council, and addressed them with the view of explaining the purport of my commission, and the matters which were to form the subject of a treaty.
It having been reported that the Indians who had not then arrived were on their road here, we agreed that another meeting should take place on the following day, at which the Chiefs and head men were to be presented to us.
On Thursday, pursuant to appointment, we again met the Indians, when the Chiefs and head men of the several bands present were named and presented. I then explained to them the nature of Indian reserves, and desired them to determine, in council among themselves, the locality in which they desired their reserves to be laid out.
On Friday, the 28th, we again met the Indians, but they were not then prepared to state their demands, and another meeting was appointed for Saturday.
On Saturday, the 29th, we again met them, all having by this time arrived. When the subject of reserves came up, it was found that the Indians had misunderstood the object of these reservations, for their demands in this respect were utterly out of the question. After a prolonged discussion with them, I consulted with the Lieutenant Governor, and determined to let them at once understand the terms that I was prepared to offer and I pointed out that the terms offered were those which would receive Her Majesty’s consent. On further explanation of the subject, the Indians appeared to be satisfied, and willing to acquiesce in our arrangements as hereinafter mentioned, and having given them diagrams showing the size of the lots they would individually become possessed of, and having informed them of the amount of their annuity, it was finally settled that they should meet on Monday, the 31st and acquaint me with their decision.
The reserves will comprise sufficient land to give each family of five persons one hundred and sixty acres, or in like proportion together with an annual payment in perpetuity of twelve dollars for each family of five persons, or in like proportion.
As far as I can judge, I am inclined to think that the Indians will accept these terms.
I am happy to be able to say that the precautions taken to prevent the introduction of liquor amongst the Indians have been wholly successful, and that perfect order and contentment have prevailed up to the present time.
I have etc. Wemyss M. Simpson, Indian Commissioner. The Honorable The Secretary of State for the Provinces, Ottawa.