Winnipeg, Manitoba, 7th October, 1875
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Sir,–We have now the honor to submit, for your information, our final report in connection with our missions to the Indians included in Treaty No 4.
As former reports have made you fully acquainted with the arrangements that had been entered into previous to our departure from this place, any further reference to them is unnecessary.
Having left Winnipeg on the 19th August, we arrived at Fort Ellice on the 24th, the day appointed for the meeting the Indians of that place. The same evening we had an interview with, and fully explained the terms and conditions of the treaty to some of the Indians who were not present when the treaty was concluded last year. Next morning, by appointment, we met all the Indians and explained to them the object of our mission, and, after considerable discussion, made arrangements to commence paying the annuities next day. This, however, was prevented by heavy rains, which continued more or less to retard our operations on the two following days, the 27th and 28th, but everything was satisfactorily concluded with this band on the evening of the latter day, and on the following morning we started for the Qu’Appelle Lakes, accompanied by an escort of fifteen men of the Mounted Police Force, under the command of Sub-Inspector McIllree, which had arrived at Fort Ellice on the evening of the 26th, and reached our destination on the forenoon of the 2nd September.
As you are aware, we had heard before leaving Winnipeg, that the number of Indians assembled at the Qu’Appelle Lakes would be very large, but we did not anticipate that so many as we found (nearly five hundred lodges) would be congregated.
We at once saw that the funds at our disposal to pay the annuities and gratuities would be inadequate, and availed ourselves of the opportunity presented by the return of Major Irvine to Winnipeg, to forward a telegram on the 5th September, requesting a further amount of six thousand dollars to be placed to our credit; and we may state here, though out of the order of time, as we found after the first two days payments that we had still underestimated the number of Indians present, we transmitted a telegram to Winnipeg by special messenger, on the 9th September, for a further credit of fifteen thousand dollars.
On the 3rd September we met the Indians and explained the object of our mission, and, for the benefit of those who were absent last year, the terms and conditions of the treaty, and stated that we were now ready to fulfil so many of the obligations therein contained as the Government were bound to execute this year. The Indians declined saying anything on this occasion, but wished to meet and confer with in the following day, as they had something they wished to speak about. They accordingly met us on the 4th, and made several demands, one of which was that the annuities be increased to twelve dollars per head. We replied that the treaty concluded last year was a covenant between them and the Government, and it was impossible to comply with their demands; that all we had to do was to carry out the terms of the treaty in so far as the obligations of the same required. An idea seemed prevalent among the Indians who were absent last year that no treaty had been concluded then; that all which had been done at that time was merely preliminary to the making of the treaty in reality, which they thought was to be performed this year. The prevalence of this opinion amongst them operated very prejudicially to the furthering of our business, and we saw that until this was done away with it would be impossible to do anything towards accomplishing the real object of our mission. After a great deal of talking on their part, and explanation on ours, the meeting adjourned until Monday morning, as it was necessary that provisions should be issued to the different bands that evening for the following day.
On Monday (the 6th) we again met the Indians, and as they evidently wished to have another day’s talking to urge the same demands they had made on Saturday, we assured them all further discussion on the subject was useless; that if they declined to accept the terms of the treaty we must return and report to the Government that they had broken the promise made last year. They then asked that we should report to the Government what they had demanded. This we agreed to do. After some further explanation to those Chiefs who had not signed the treaty, the payment of the annuities and gratuities was commenced and continued by Messrs. Dickieson and Forsyth on this and the three following days until completed, during which time Mr. Christie conferred with the Chiefs as to the locality of their reserves.
Six Chiefs who had not been present last year when the treaty was concluded, agreed to accept the terms of the same, and signed their adhesion previous to being paid. The instruments thus signed by them are transmitted herewith.
The suits of clothes, flags, medals and copies of the treaty were given to the Chiefs and headmen as they were paid, and on the 10th the ammunition and twine were distributed, also provisions to each band for the return journey to their hunting grounds. * * * * * *
We have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servants, W. J. Christie, Indian Commissioner. M. G. Dickieson.
Report of the proceedings at the Conference between the Hon. Alexander Morris, Lieut.-Governor of the North-West Territories, the Hon. David Laird, Minister of the Interior, and W. J. Christie, Esq., the Commissioners appointed by Order in Council to treat with the Indians inhabiting the country described in the said Order in Council, the first conference having been held at Qu’Appelle, September 8th, 1874: