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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 small one, that is the reason I cannot finish anything that is large. You do not see the whole number of my tribe which is away at my back, that is the reason I am so slow in making ready.”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I want to hear the voice of those who are here, they can speak for themselves and for those who are away.”
CHE-E-KUK (the Worthy One)–“My ears are open to what you say. Just now the Great Spirit is watching over us; it is good. He who has strength and power is overlooking our doings. I want very much to be good in what we are going to talk about, and our Chiefs will take you by the hand just now.”
The Chiefs now rose and shook hands with the Commissioners.
KA-HA-OO-KUS-KA-TOO (he who walks on four claws)–“It is very good to meet together on a fine day, father. When my father used to bring me anything I used to go and meet him, and when my father had given it to me I gave it to my mother to cook it. When we come to join together one half at least will come.”
CHE-E-KUK (the Worthy)–“Now I am going to tell you, and you say your ears are open. You see the Qu’Appelle Lake Indians that you wished to see, you hear me speak but there are many far away, and that is the reason I cannot speak for these my children who are away trying to get something to eat; the Cree my child is not here, the Saulteaux my child is not here, the Young Dogs are not here, the Stonies my children are not here, this is not the number that you see; I am only telling you this, I think I have opened my mind.”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I know you are not all here. We never could get you all together, but you know what is good for you and for your children. When I met the Saulteaux last year we had not 4,000 there, but there were men like you who knew what was good for themselves, for their wives, for their children, and those not born. I give to those who were there, and they took my hand and took what was in it, and I sent to those who were away, and I did for them just as I did for those who were present. It is the same to-day. What we are ready to give you will be given to those who are not here. What is good for you, what you think will be good for you will be good for them. It is for you to say, not for us; we have done all that men who love their red brothers can do, it is for you now to act, on you rests the duty of saying whether you believe our message or not, whether you want the Queen to help you or not, whether or not you will go away and let the days and the years go on, and let the food grow scarcer, and let your children grow up and do nothing to keep off the hunger and the cold that is before them. It is for you to say that, not for us; if we had not your good at heart we would not have been here, and we would not have labored these many days, if our hearts were not warm towards you, and if we did not believe what we are doing, would be for your good as children of our Queen. I have said all.”
KAN-OO-SES–“Is it true you are bringing the Queen’s kindness? Is it true you are bringing the Queen’s messenger’s kindness? Is it true you are going to give my child what he may use? Is it true you are going to give the different bands the Queen’s kindness? Is it true that you bring the Queen’s hand? Is it true you are bringing the Queen’s power?”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“Yes, to those who are here and those who are absent, such as she has given us.”
KAMOOSES–“Is it true that my child will not be troubled for what you are bringing him?”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“The Queen’s power will be around him.”
KAMOOSES–“Now, I am going to ask you that the debt that has been lying in the Company’s store, I want that to be wiped out. I ask it from the great men of the Queen.”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I told you before we have nothing to do with the Company, we have nothing to do with its debts. I have told you what we will do for you, what the Queen will do for you forever. But the money that the Indian owes the Company is just like the money that the Indians owe to each other or to any trader and is not due to the Queen. We have no power to put money in your hands and your children’s to pay your debts, and it would not be right for the Queen to come in and take away either what is between you and the Company, or what is between you and the traders, or what is between you and each other. If one of you owes the Chief is it right that the Queen should wipe it out? I would be very glad if we had it in our power to wipe out your debts, but it is not in our power. All we can do is to put money in your hands and promise to put money in the hands of those who are away, and give you money every year afterwards, and help you to make a living when the food is scarce. I have told you from the first that whether my words please you or not I will tell you only the truth, and I will only speak as far as the Queen has given us power.”
(He who walks on four claws)–“Whenever you give to these my children what they desire, then you will get what you want.”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“We will give them what we have power to give. We are ready to hear.”
KAMOOSES–“Yes, I understand and my heart also, but it is not large, it is small, and my understanding is small; that is the word I tell you.”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I have told you what we are ready to do for you. Your understanding is large enough to know what is good for you. We have talked these many days, and I ask you now to talk straight, to tell me your mind, to tell me whether you wish to take our offers or not, it is for you to say.”
KEE-E-KUK–“Twenty dollars we want to be put in our hand every year, this we have heard from the others. Twenty-five dollars to each chief.”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“If I understand you aright you are mistaken. The Saulteaux did not get twenty-five dollars per head. They get five dollars every year. We promised them five dollars every year, and a messenger was sent this year to pay them that sum. I may tell you that my children at the Lake of the Woods had big hearts to ask. You say you have small. I told them that if the Queen gave them all they asked I would have to ask her to allow me to become an Indian, but I told them I could not give them what they asked, and when they understood that, and understood the full breadth and width of the Queen’s goodness, they took what I offered, and I think if you are wise you will do the same.”
(A proposition was made here by an Indian that they should receive five dollars per head every second year for fifty years, but he must have done so without authority as it was not acceded to by the other Indians who expressed their dissent strongly as soon as the offer was made.)
KAMOOSES–“I am going to speak for Loud Voice and for the other chiefs. Some chiefs are not here, they are absent, hereafter you will see them. I myself will tell them, and my child that is at my back will tell them also. Will you receive that which I am asking? I want to clear up what the Indians and I want to try and put it right, what my child will say. Well, can you give me that. We want the same Treaty you have given to the North-West Angle. This I am asking for.”
LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“Who are you speaking for? Is it for the whole of the Indians? (They expressed their assent.) Are you ready to carry it out? (They again assented.) Are your chiefs ready to sign this afternoon if we grant you these terms? (The Indians assented unanimously.) It is now after twelve, we will speak to you this afternoon.”
The Conference here ended to allow the Commissioners time to consult.