Topic: Native American Treaties

North-West Angle, October 1, 1873 – Government to send Surveyors

COMMISSIONER PROVENCHER (the Governor being temporarily absent)–“As soon as it is convenient to the Government to send surveyors to lay out the reserves they will do so, and they will try to suit every particular band in this respect.” CHIEF–“We do not want anybody to mark out our reserves, we have already marked them out.” COMMISSIONER–“There will be another undertaking between the officers of the Government and the Indians among themselves for the selection of the land; they will have enough of good farming land, they may be sure of that.” CHIEF–“Of course, if there is any particular part wanted by the public works they can shift us. I understand that; but if we have any gardens through the country, do you wish that the poor man should throw it right away?” COMMISSIONER–“Of course not.” CHIEF–“These are matters that are the wind-up. I begin now to see how I value the proceedings. I have come to this point, and all that are taking part in this treaty and yourself I would wish to have all your names in writing handed over to us. I would not find it to my convenience to have a stranger here to transact our business between me and you. It is a white man who does not understand our language that is taking it down. I would like a man that understands our language...

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North-West Angle, October 1, 1873 – Third Day

Proceedings were opened at eleven o’clock by the Governor announcing that he was ready to hear what the Chiefs had to say. The Fort Francis Chief acted as spokesman, assisted by another Chief, Powhassan. MA-WE-DO-PE-NAIS–“I now lay down before you the opinions of those you have seen before. We think it a great thing to meet you here. What we have heard yesterday, and as you represented yourself, you said the Queen sent you here, the way we understood you as a representative of the Queen. All this is our property where you have come. We have understood you yesterday that Her Majesty has given you the same power and authority as she has, to act in this business; you said the Queen gave you her goodness, her charitableness in your hands. This is what we think, that the Great Spirit has planted us on this ground where we are, as you were where you came from. We think where we are is our property. I will tell you what he said to us when he planted us here; the rules that we should follow–us Indians–He has given us rules that we should follow to govern us rightly. We have understood you that you have opened your charitable heart to us like a person taking off his garments and throwing them to all of us here. Now, first of...

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North-West Angle, October 1, 1873 – Treaty Closed

The treaty was finally closed on Friday afternoon, and signed on Saturday, after which a large quantity of provisions, ammunition and other goods were distributed. When the council broke up last (Thursday) night, 3rd October, it looked very improbable that an understanding could be arrived at, but the firmness of the Governor, and the prospect that he would make a treaty with such of the bands as were willing to accept his terms, to the exclusion of the others, led them to reconsider their demands. The Hon. James McKay, and Messrs. Nolin, Genton, and Leveillee were invited in to their council, and after a most exhaustive discussion of the circumstance in which they were placed, it was resolved to accept the Governor’s terms, with some modifications. Word was sent to this effect, and at eleven o’clock on Friday, conference was again held with His Excellency. The Fort Francis Chief opened negotiations by saying: –“We present our compliments to you, and now we would tell you something. You have mentioned our councilors, warriors and messengers–every Chief you see has his councilors, warriors and messengers.” GOVERNOR–“I was not aware what names they gave me–they gave their chief men. I spoke of the subordinates of the head Chiefs; I believe the head Chiefs have three subordinates–I mean the head Chief and three of his head men.” CHIEF–“I am going to tell you...

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North-West Angle, September 30, 1873

The Lieutenant Governor and party, and the other Commissioners appointed to negotiate a treaty with the Indians, arrived here on Thursday, 24th inst., having enjoyed delightful weather during the entire trip from Fort Garry. The Governor occupies the house of the officer in charge of the H. B. Post. The grounds around it have been nicely graded and cleared of brush, and surrounded by rows of evergreens planted closely, so as to completely screen the house from wind, and at the same time contribute much to relieve the monotony of the scenery. Immediately west of this, and likewise enclosed by walls of evergreens, is the large marquee used as a Council House, by the contracting parties; and immediately surrounding it to the north and west are the tents of the other officers of the Commission and the officers and men of the Volunteers on detachment duty. Situated to the eastward, and extending all along the river bank, are the tents of the Indians to the number of a hundred, with here and there the tent of the trader, attracted thither by the prospect of turning an honest penny by exchanging the necessaries of Indian life for such amounts of the price of their heritage as they can be induced to spend. The natives now assembled here number about 800 all told, and hail from the places given below. Among...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 17th of August

On the 17th, on his return, he informed me that the Chief said “He had not given me leave to meet the Indians anywhere except at Duck Lake, and that they would only meet me there.” The Carlton Indians, however, sent me word, that they would be ready next morning at ten o’clock. On the 18th, as I was leaving for the Indian encampment, a messenger came to me from the Duck Lake Indians, asking for provisions. I replied, that Mr. Christie was in charge of the distribution of provisions, but that I would not give any to the Duck Lake Indians, in consequence of the unreasonableness of their conduct, and that provisions would only be given to the large encampment. I then proceeded to the Indian camp, together with my fellow Commissioners, and was escorted by Captain Walker and his troop. On my arrival I found that the ground had been most judiciously chosen, being elevated, with abundance of trees, hay marshes and small lakes. The spot which the Indians had left for my council tent overlooked the whole. The view was very beautiful: the hills and the trees in the distance, and in the foreground, the meadow land being dotted with clumps of wood, with the Indian tents clustered here and there to the number of two hundred. On my arrival, the Union Jack was hoisted, and...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 10th of August

On Sunday, the 10th, the Rev. Mr. McKay conducted the service for the police and others, who might attend, and in the afternoon the Rev. Mr. McDougall had a service in Cree; Bishop Grandin and the Rev. Mr. Scollen also had services for the Cree and Chippewayans. On Monday, the 11th, Mr. Christie completed the payments and distribution of provisions. The police commenced crossing the Saskatchewan, with a view to leaving on Tuesday, the 12th, for Battle River. We therefore sent our horses and carts across the river, and had our tents pitched with the view of commencing our return journey, early in the morning. Just as we were about to leave Port Pitt, however, the Great Bear, one of the three Cree Chiefs who were absent, arrived at the fort and asked to see me. The Commissioners met him, when he told me that he had been out on the plains hunting the buffalo, and had not heard the time of the meeting; that on hearing of it he had been sent in by the Cree and by the Stonies or Assiniboines to speak for them. I explained to him what had been done at Carlton and Pitt, he expressed regret that I was going away as he wished to talk to me. I then said we would not remove until the next day, which gratified him much....

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – Narrative of the Proceedings

Narrative of the proceedings connected with the effecting of the treaties at Forts Carlton and Pitt, in the year 1876, together with a report of the speeches of the Indians and Commissioners, by A. G. Jackes, Esq., M.D., Secretary to the Commission. The expedition for the proposed Treaty Number Six, reached the South Saskatchewan on the afternoon of August 14th, where they were met by a messenger from the Cree Indians expressing welcome, also a messenger from Mr. L. Clarke, of Carlton House, offering to the Governor and party the hospitality of the Fort. The next morning, when about ten miles from Carlton, the Commissioners were met by a detachment of Mounted Police under Major Walker, who escorted them to the Fort; on the way the Commissioners passed an encampment of Cree whose Chief had previously seen the Governor at Duck Lake and asked him to make the treaty there; he replied that he could not promise, that he would meet the Indians where the greater number wished. These Cree joined in an invocation to the deity for a blessing on the Governor, and deputed one of their number to welcome him by shaking hands. Near the Fort were encamped about two hundred and fifty lodges of Cree, to whom the Commissioners at once served out two days’ allowance of provisions. On the 16th the Cree reported that they...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – Government House

Government House, Fort Garry, Manitoba, 4th. December, 1876. Sir,–I beg to inform you that in compliance with the request of the Privy Council that I should proceed to the west to negotiate the treaties which I had last year, through the agency of the late Rev. George McDougall, promised the Plain Cree, would be undertaken, I left Fort Garry on the afternoon of the 27th of July last, with the view of prosecuting my mission. I was accompanied by one of my associates, the Hon. J. W. Christie, and by A. G. Jackes, Esq., M.D., who was to act as secretary. I selected as my guide Mr. Pierre Levailler. The Hon. James McKay, who had also been associated in the commission, it was arranged, would follow me and meet me at Fort Carlton. On the morning of the 4th of August, I forded the Assiniboine about five miles from Fort Ellice, having accomplished what is usually regarded as the first stage of the journey to Fort Carlton, about two hundred and twenty miles. After crossing the river, I was overtaken by a party of the Sioux who have settled on the reserve assigned to them at Bird Tail Creek, and was detained the greater part of the day. I am sanguine that this settlement will prove a success, as these Sioux are displaying a laudable industry in cutting hay...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 23rd of August

August 23rd. Shortly after the business had commenced, proceedings were interrupted by the loud talking of a Chippewa, who was addressing the Indians gathered in front of the tent. The Governor said, “There was an Indian, a Chippewa, stood and spoke to you, he did not speak to his Governor as he should have done: I am willing to hear what any band has to say, but they must speak to me. I have been talking to the Cree for several days. I wish to go on with the work; if the Chippewa want to talk with me I will hear them afterwards. They are a little handful of strangers from the east, I have treated with their whole nation, they are not wiser than their people. “There are many reasons why business should go on; I hear that the buffalo are near you and you want to be off to your hunt; there are many mouths here to feed and provisions are getting low; now my friends I am ready to hear you.” TEE-TEE-QUAY-SAY–“Listen to me, my friends, all you who are sitting around here, and you will soon hear what the interpreter has to say for us.” The interpreter then read a list of the things the Indians had agreed in council to ask, viz.:–One ox and cow for each family. Four hoes, two spades, two scythes...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 18th of August

August 18th. At half-past ten His Honor Lieut.-Gov. Morris, the Hon. W. J. Christie and Hon. Jas. McKay, accompanied by an escort of North-West Mounted Police, left the Fort for the camp of the Cree Indians, who had selected a site about a mile and a half from the Hudson’s Bay Fort. There were about two hundred and fifty lodges, containing over two thousand souls. The Governor’s tent was pitched on a piece of rising ground about four hundred yards from the Indian camp, and immediately facing it. As soon as the Governor and party arrived, the Indians who were to take part in the treaty, commenced to assemble near the Chief’s tents, to the sound of beating drums and the discharge of small arms, singing, dancing and loud speaking, going on at the same time. In about half an hour they were ready to advance and meet the Governor; this they did in a large semi-circle; in their front were about twenty braves on horseback, galloping about in circles, shouting, singing and going through various picturesque performances. The semi-circle steadily advanced until within fifty yards of the Governor’s tent, when a halt was made and further peculiar ceremonies commenced, the most remarkable of which was the “dance of the stem.” This was commenced by the Chiefs, medicine men, Councilor, singers and drum-beaters, coming a little to the front...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 19th of August

Second Day August 19th. The Lieutenant-Governor and Commissioners, with the Mounted Police escort, headed by their band, proceeded to the camp to meet the Indians at 10:30 a.m. The Indians having assembled in regular order with their two leading Chiefs, Mis-tah-wah-sis and Ah-tuck-ah-coop seated in front, the Governor said: “My friends, we have another bright day before us, and I trust that when it closes our faces will continue as bright as the day before us. I spoke yesterday as a friend to friends, as a brother to brothers, as a father to his children. I did not want to hurry you, I wanted you to think of my words, and now I will be glad if you will do as I asked you then, present your Chiefs to me, and I shall be glad to hear the words of the Indians through the voice of their Chiefs, or whoever they may appoint.” The head men then brought forward Mis-tah-wah-sis, of the Carlton Indians, representing seventy-six lodges. Ah-tuck-ah-coop, of the Wood Indians, representing about seventy lodges. These were acknowledged as the leading Chiefs, after them came James Smith, of the Fort-a-la-Corne Indians, fifty lodges. John Smith, of the Prince Albert and South Branch Indians, fifty lodges. The Chip-ee-wayan, of the Plain Indians, sixty lodges. Yah-yah-tah-kus-kin-un, of the Fishing or Sturgeon lake Indians, twenty lodges. Pee-yahan-kah-mihk-oo-sit, thirty lodges. Wah-wee-kah-nich-kah-oh-tah-mah-hote, of...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 13th of September

The Chiefs and head men came to pay their respects to the Commissioners in the morning, at Fort Pitt. SWEET GRASS–“We are all glad to see you here, and we have come to say good-bye before you leave.” THE BIG BEAR–“I find it difficult to express myself, because some of the bands are not represented. I have come off to speak for the different bands that are out on the plains. It is no small matter we were to consult about. I expected the Chiefs here would have waited until I arrived. The different bands that are out on the plains told me that I should speak in their stead; the Stony Indians as well. The people who have not come, stand as a barrier before what I would have had to say; my mode of living is hard.” SWEET GRASS, to Big Bear–“My friend, you see the representative of the Queen here, who do you suppose is the maker of it. I think the Great Spirit put it into their hearts to come to our help; I feel as if I saw life when I see the representative of the Queen; let nothing be a barrier between you and him; it is through great difficulty this has been brought to us. Think of our children and those to come after, there is life and succor for them, say...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 24th of August

On the 24th the Commissioners again met the Indians, when I presented the Head Chiefs with their medals, uniforms and flags, and informed them that Mr. Christie would give the other Chiefs and Councilor the same in the evening. Some half a dozen of Saulteaux then came forward, of whom I found one was from Qu’Appelle, and had been paid there, and the others did not belong to the Carlton region. I told them that I had heard that they had endeavoured to prevent me crossing the river and to prevent a treaty being made, but that they were not wiser than the whole of their nation, who had already been treated with. They did not deny the charge, and their spokesman becoming insolent, I declined to hear them further, and they retired, some stating that they would go to Fort Pitt, which I warned them not to do. Besides these Saulteaux, there were others present who disapproved of their proceedings, amongst them being Kis-so-way-is, already mentioned, and Pecheeto, who was the chief spokesman at Qu’Appelle, but is now a Councillor of the Fort Ellice Band. I may mention here that the larger part of the Band to whom these other Saulteaux belonged, with the Chief Yellow Quill, gave in their adhesion to Treaty Number Four, at Fort Pelly about the time that their comrades were troubling me at...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 17th of September

The 17th being Sunday we remained at our camp, and on Monday morning, the 18th, we commenced our long return journey, with the incidents of which I will not trouble you further than to state that, on arriving on the 4th of October at an encampment about thirty miles from Portage la Prairie, we found it necessary to leave our tents and carts to follow us leisurely (many of the horses having become completely exhausted with the long journey of sixteen hundred miles) and push on to the Portage; on the 5th we reached the Portage, where Mr. Christie and Dr. Jackes remained, their horses being unable to go farther, and I went on to Poplar Point, forty-five miles from Fort Garry, where I found accommodation for the night from Mr. Chisholm, of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Post there. I arrived at Fort Garry on the afternoon of the 6th of October having been absent for over two months and a half. Mr. McKay, having taken another road, had arrived before me; Mr. Christie and Dr. Jackes reached here subsequently. Having thus closed the narrative of our proceedings, I proceed to deal with the results of our mission, and to submit for your consideration some reflections and to make some practical suggestions. 1st. The Indians inhabiting the ceded territory are chiefly Cree, but there are a few Assiniboines on...

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The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – 31st of August

On the morning of the 31st, the previous day having been wet, Mr. Christie and I left for Fort Pitt, Mr. McKay having preceded us by the other road–that by way of Battle River. We arrived on the 5th September, the day appointed, having rested, as was our custom throughout the whole journey, on Sunday, the 3rd. About six miles from the fort we were met by Col. Jarvis and the police, with their band, as an escort, and also by Mr. McKay, the Factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, who informed us that he had rooms ready for our occupation. We found over one hundred lodges of Indians already there, and received a message from them, that as their friends were constantly arriving, they wished delay until the 7th. On the morning of the 6th, Sweet Grass, who had come in, in consequence of my message, accompanied by about thirty of the principal men, called to see me and express their gratification at my arrival. Their greeting was cordial, but novel in my experience, as they embraced me in their arms, and kissed me on both cheeks, a reception which they extended also to Mr. Christie and Dr. Jackes. The Hon. James McKay arrived from Battle River in the evening, and reported that he had met there a number of Indians, principally Saulteaux, who had been camped there...

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