Had I not complied with the demands of the Indians–giving them some little presents–and otherwise satisfied them, I have no doubt that they would have proceeded to acts of violence, and once that had commenced, there would have been the beginning of an Indian war, which it is difficult to say when it would have ended. The buffalo will soon be exterminated, and when starvation comes, these Plain Indian tribes will fall back on the Hudson’s Bay Forts and settlements for relief and assistance. If not complied with, or no steps taken to make some provision for them, they will most assuredly help themselves; and there being no force or any law up there to protect the settlers, they must either quietly submit to be pillaged, or lose their lives in the defence of their families and property, against such fearful odds that will leave no hope for their side. Gold may be discovered in paying quantities, any day, on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. We have, in Montana, and in the mining settlements close to our boundary line, a large mixed frontier population, who are now only waiting and watching to hear of gold discoveries to rush into the Saskatchewan, and, without any form of Government or established laws up there, or force to protect whites or Indians, it is very plain what will be the...Read More
Collection: The Treaties with the Indians of Canada
That your Honor’s message was most timely, these are ample proofs. A report will have reached you before this time that parties have been turned back by the Indians, and that a train containing supplies for the telegraph contractors, when west of Fort Pitt, were met by three Indians and ordered to return. Now after carefully investigating the matter and listening to the statements of all parties concerned, my opinion is, that an old traveler amongst Indians would have regarded the whole affair as too trivial to be noticed. I have not met with a Chief who would bear with the responsibility of the act…. Personally I am indebted both to the missionaries, and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s officials for their assistance at the Indian councils. Believing it would be satisfactory to your Honor and of service to the Commissioners, I have kept the number of all the tents visited and the names of the places where I met the Indians. By reckoning eight persons to each tent, we will have a very close approximate to the number of Indians to be treated with at Carlton, and Fort Pitt. There may have been a few tents in the forest, and I have heard there are a few Cree at Lesser Slave Lake and Lac la Biche, but the number cannot exceed twenty tents. All of which is respectfully submitted....Read More
The treaties made at Forts Carlton and Pitt in the year 1876, were of a very important character. The great region covered by them, abutting on the areas included in Treaties Numbers Three and Four, embracing an area of approximately 120,000 square miles, contains a vast extent of fertile territory and is the home of the Cree nation. The Cree had, very early after the annexation of the North-West Territories to Canada, desired a treaty of alliance with the Government. So far back as the year 1871, Mr. Simpson, the Indian Commissioner, addressing the Secretary of State in a dispatch of date, the 3rd November 1871, used the following language: “I desire also to call the attention of His Excellency to the state of affairs in the Indian country on the Saskatchewan. The intelligence that Her Majesty is treating with the Chippewa Indians has already reached the ears of the Cree and Blackfeet tribes. In the neighborhood of Fort Edmonton, on the Saskatchewan, there is a rapidly increasing population of miners and other white people, and it is the opinion of Mr. W. J. Christie, the officer in charge of the Saskatchewan District, that a treaty with the Indians of that country, or at least an assurance during the coming year that a treaty will shortly be made, is essential to the peace, if not the actual retention, of...Read More
On the 22nd the Commissioners met the Indians, when I told them that we had not hurried them, but wished now to hear their Chiefs. A spokesman, The Pond Maker, then addressed me, and asked assistance when they settled on the land, and further help as they advanced in civilization. I replied that they had their own means of living, and that we could not feed the Indians, but only assist them to settle down. The Badger, Soh-ah-moos, and several other Indians all asked help when they settled, and also in case of troubles unforeseen in the future. I explained that we could not assume the charge of their every-day life, but in a time of a great national calamity they could trust to the generosity of the Queen. The Honourable James McKay also addressed them, saying that their demands would be understood by a white man as asking for daily food, and could not be granted, and explained our objects, speaking with effect in the Cree tongue. At length the Indians informed me that they did not wish to be fed every day, but to be helped when they commenced to settle, because of their ignorance how to commence, and also in case of general famine; Ah-tuk-uk-koop winding up the debate by stating that they wanted food in the spring when they commenced to farm, and proportionate help...Read More
I now beg to call your attention to the boundaries of the treaty, which, you will observe, vary somewhat from those suggested in your memorandum to the Privy Council. The Commissioners adopted as the southern boundary of the treaty limits, the northern boundary of Treaties Numbers Two and Three. They included in the limits all the territory to which the Indians ceding, claimed hunting and other rights, but they fixed the western boundary as defined in the treaty, for the following reasons: 1st. The extension of the boundary carries the treaty to the western limit of the lands claimed by the Saulteaux and Swampy Cree Tribes of Indians, and creates an eastern base for the treaties to be made with the Plain Cree next year. 2nd. The Swampy Cree at the Pas, on the Saskatchewan, would otherwise have had to be included in the western treaties. 3rd. That the extension of the boundaries will add some six hundred to the number of Indians in the suggested limits, of whom three hundred at Wahpahhuha or the Pas on the Saskatchewan would have had to be treated with owing to the navigation of the Saskatchewan, in any event. 4th. The inclusion of the Norway House Indians in the treaty, and the surrender of their rights, involved a larger area of territory. 5th. That a number of the Norway House Indians came...Read More
To The Honorable The Minister Of The Interior. Sir,–I have the honor to inform you, that under authority of the Commission of the Privy Council to that effect, I proceeded to Lake Winnipeg for the purpose of making a treaty with the Saulteaux and Swampy Cree Indians, in company with my associate, the Hon. James McKay, leaving Fort Garry for Chief Prince’s Landing on the Red River, on the 17th September last, in order to embark on the Hudson’s Bay Company’s new propeller, the Colville, which Chief Commissioner Graham had kindly placed at our disposal on advantageous terms. We selected this mode of conveyance, as traveling and conveyance of provisions in York boats would, at the advanced period of the season, have occupied at least eight weeks, if at all practicable. The steamer left the landing at five o’clock on the 18th September, but owing to the prevalence of a gale of northerly wind was compelled to be anchored at the three channels of the Red River, inside of the bar which obstructs the entrance of the lake. The wind continued during the 18th and 19th, but on the afternoon of the latter day, Captain Hackland, a sailor of much practical experience on the Northern Seas decided to risk going out, as the water on the bar was running down so fast that he feared that the steamer would...Read More
On the 27th we met the Indians near the Chief’s house in the open air, at a spot where a large fire had been lighted by them, as the weather was cold. We took a similar course as at Norway House in severing the question of terms of the treaty and reserves, and with like satisfactory results. After a lengthy discussion the Indians agreed to accept the terms, and we then entered upon the difficult question of the reserves. They complained of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s reserve, and wished to have the land covered by it, but we explained whatever had been promised the Company would be given just as promises made to them would be kept. They said the Company’s reserve should be at the abandoned post at the mouth of the river, and not at the end of the portage. We informed them that we would inquire as to this. They then claimed a reserve on both sides of the river of large extent, and extending up to the head of the Grand Rapids, but this we declined to accede to. Eventually, as the locality they had hitherto occupied is so important a point, controlling as it does the means of communication between the mouth of the river, and the head of the rapids, and where a “tram-way” will no doubt ere long require to be constructed,...Read More
This treaty, covers an area of approximately about 100,000 square miles. The region is inhabited by Chippewa and Swampy Cree. The necessity for it had become urgent. The lake is a large and valuable sheet of water, being some three hundred miles long. The Red River flows into it and the Nelson River flows from it into Hudson’s Bay. Steam navigation had been successfully established by the Hudson’s Bay Company on Lake Winnipeg. A tramway of five miles in length was being built by them to avoid the Grand Rapids and connect that navigation with steamers on the River Saskatchewan. On the west side of the lake, a settlement of Icelandic immigrants had been founded, and some other localities were admirably adapted for settlement. Moreover, until the construction of the Pacific Railway west of the city of Winnipeg, the lake and Saskatchewan River are destined to become the principal thoroughfare of communication between Manitoba and the fertile prairies in the west. A band of Indians residing at Norway House, who had supported themselves by serving the Hudson’s Bay Company as boatmen on the route from Lake Winnipeg to the Hudson Bay, by way of the Nelson River, but whose occupation was gone, owing to supplies being brought in by way of the Red River, desired to migrate to the western shore of Lake Winnipeg, and support themselves there by...Read More
The making of this treaty, which completed the series of treaties, extending from Lake Superior to the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, was entrusted, by the Privy Council, to the Hon. David Laird (who, after the effecting of the Carlton and Fort Pitt Treaties, had, in 1876, been appointed Lieutenant Governor of the North-West Territories, subsequently to the erection of these territories into a distinct Government) and Lieut. Col. McLeod, of the Mounted Police Force. The necessity which had arisen for making the treaty is thus stated by the Hon. the Minister of the Interior, the Hon. David Mills, in his Annual Report for 1877: “The conclusion, in 1876, of the treaty with the Cree, Assiniboine and Saulteaux Indians (being the sixth of the series of treaties up to that time negotiated with the Indians of the North-West) left but a small portion of the territory lying between the boundary line and the 54th parallel of latitude un-surrendered. “The un-surrendered portion of the territory, including about fifty thousand square miles, lies at the south-west angle of the territories, north of the boundary line, east of the Rocky Mountains, south of Red River (Treaty Number Six) and west of the Cypress Hills, or Treaty Number Four. This portion of the North-West is occupied by the Blackfeet, Blood, and Sarcees or Piegan Indians, some of the most warlike and intelligent but...Read More
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...Read More
In the year 1871 the Privy Council of Canada issued a joint commission to Messrs. W. M. Simpson, S. J. Dawson and W. J. Pether, authorizing them to treat with the Ojibway Indians for the surrender to the Crown of the lands they inhabited–covering the area from the watershed of Lake Superior to the north-west angle of the Lake of the Woods, and from the American border to the height of land from which the streams flow towards the Hudson’s Bay. This step had become necessary in order to make the route known as “the Dawson route,” extending from Prince Arthur’s Landing on Lake Superior to the north-west angle of the Lake of the Woods, which was then being opened up, “secure for the passage of emigrants and of the people of the Dominion generally,” and also to enable the Government to throw open for settlement any portion of the land which might be susceptible of improvement and profitable occupation. The Commissioners accepted the appointment, and in July 1871, met the Indians at Fort Francis. The tribes preferred claims for right of way through their country. The Commissioners reported “that they had admitted these to a limited extent and had made them presents in provisions and clothing and were also to pay them a small amount in money, it being fully and distinctly understood by the Indians that these...Read More
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...Read More
To The Hon. Alexander Morris, Lieutenant Governor, Fort Garry. Sir,–Under instructions received from you, dated 14th July last, we were directed to proceed to the Dog Head Point and Berens River, on Lake Winnipeg, and there obtain the adhesion of certain Indians to the treaty that was made and concluded at Norway House last year, and we have now the honor to report…. With a fair wind and fine weather we reached the Narrows on Monday afternoon, the 24th, at half-past four. Mr. Howard called at the Hudson’s Bay Company’s post to see about the provisions stored there, where he found Thickfoot and the Jack-Fish Head Indians encamped, about twenty-five families in all, and learned from them that they were desirous to meet and speak to us where they were, and not across the Narrows at the Dog Head; but as the place of meeting was distinctly fixed, Mr. Howard informed them that they would have to move their camps. Mr. Reid having, in the meantime, gone to the Dog Head Point, was received with a salute from the Indians there encamped, viz.: the Blood Vein River, Big Island and Sandy Bar bands, and, almost simultaneously with Mr. Howard’s arrival there, the Indians belonging to Thickfoot and the Jack-Fish Head arrived also. We hardly had time to make our camp before being waited upon by a representative from all...Read More
To The Honorable Alexander Morris, Lieutenant Governor, Fort Garry. Sir, –I have the honor to inform you that in compliance with your instructions, a copy of which I hereunto annex, I proceeded, accompanied by Mr. Reid, to the Dog Head and Berens River on Lake Winnipeg, and there successfully secured the adhesion of the Island and Grand Rapids of Berens River Bands of Indians to Treaty Number Five, and, having paid the annuities to the Berens River Indians, returned to the Stone Fort. As mentioned in the joint report submitted to you by Mr. Reid and myself, I had the greatest difficulty in procuring a boat to take me on my mission, and only through the kindness of Mr. Flett, of the Hudson’s Bay Company, at the Stone Fort, was I able to obtain even the loan of one as far as Berens River, from where I had to return it…. I left the Stone Fort for the Grand Rapids, on the morning of the 17th of August, and after a very fast, though rough and dangerous passage, reached the mouth of the Saskatchewan River, early on the morning of the 26th. I found, on entering the river, that the Indians were encamped near its mouth, on the south bank, where I landed, and arranged to meet them at noon that day. As the provisions were stored at the...Read More
Sir, –I have the honor to enclose copy of a treaty made by myself, Lieut. -Col. Provencher, Indian agent and S. J. Dawson, Esq., Commissioner, acting on behalf of Her Majesty, of the one part, and the Saulteaux tribe of Ojibway Indians on the other, at the North-West Angle of the Lake of the Woods, on the 3rd of October, for the relinquishment of the Indian title to the tract of land therein described and embracing 55,000 square miles. In the first place, the holding of the negotiation of the treaty had been appointed by you to take place at the North-West Angle before you requested me to take part therein, and Mr. Dawson had obtained the consent of the Indians to meet there on the 10th of September, but they afterwards changed their minds, and refused to meet me unless I came to Fort Francis. I refused to do this, as I felt that the yielding to the demand of the Indians in this respect would operate injuriously to the success of the treaty, and the results proved the correctness of the opinion I had formed. I therefore sent a special agent (Mr. Pierre Levaillier) to warn them that I would meet them as arranged at the North-West Angle on the 25th, or not at all this year, to which they eventually agreed. I left here for the...Read More
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