The Treaties of Canada with The Indians of Manitoba - and the North-West Territories
by Alexander Morris
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TO HIS EXCELLENCY The Right Honorable the Earl of Dufferin,

Her Britannic Majesty's Ambassador at St. Petersburg, K.P.P.C., K.C.B., G.C.M.G., &c., &c., &c.

My Lord,—

Encouraged by the earnest interest, your Lordship ever evinced, in the work of obtaining the alliance and promoting the welfare of the Indian tribes in the North-West of Canada, and in opening up the Territories for settlement, by obtaining the relinquishment of the natural title of the Indians to the lands of the Fertile Belt on fair and just terms, I have the honor, by your kind permission, to dedicate this collection of the treaties made with them, to your Excellency, in the belief that its publication will be timely, and that the information now supplied in a compact form, may prove of service to the Dominion of Canada.

I have the honor to be Your Lordship's obedient servant, ALEXANDER MORRIS,

Late Lieut.-Gov. of Manitoba, the North-West Territories, and Kee-wa-tin.

TORONTO, March, 1880.


The question of the relations of the Dominion of Canada to the Indians of the North-West, is one of great practical importance The work, of obtaining their good will, by entering into treaties of alliance with them, has now been completed in all the region from Lake Superior to the foot of the Rocky Mountains. As an aid to the other and equally important duty—that of carrying out, in their integrity, the obligations of these treaties, and devising means whereby the Indian population of the Fertile Belt can be rescued from the hard fate which otherwise awaits them, owing to the speedy destruction of the buffalo, hitherto the principal food supply of the Plain Indians, and that they may be induced to become, by the adoption of agricultural and pastoral pursuits, a self supporting community—I have prepared this collection of the treaties made with them, and of information, relating to the negotiations, on which these treaties were based, in the hope that I may thereby contribute to the completion of a work, in which I had considerable part, that, of, by treaties, securing the good will of the Indian tribes, and by the helpful hand of the Dominion, opening up to them, a future of promise, based upon the foundations of instruction and the many other advantages of civilized life.



Introduction I. The Selkirk Treaty II. The Robinson Treaty III. The Manitoulin Island Treaty IV. The Stone Fort and Manitoba Post Treaties, Numbers One and Two V. Treaty Number Three; or, the North-West Angle Treaty VI. The Qu'Appelle Treaty, or Number Four VII. The Revision of Treaties Numbers One and Two VIII. The Winnipeg Treaty Number Five IX. The Treaties at Forts Carlton and Pitt X. Treaty Number Seven; or, the Blackfeet Treaty XI. The Sioux in the North-West Territories XII. The Administration of the Treaties—The Half-breeds—The Future of the Indian Tribes APPENDIX—Texts of the Treaties and Supplementary Adhesions thereto



One of the gravest of the questions presented for solution by the Dominion of Canada, when the enormous region of country formerly known as the North-West Territories and Rupert's Land, was entrusted by the Empire of Great Britain and Ireland to her rule, was the securing the alliance of the Indian tribes, and maintaining friendly relations with them. The predecessors of Canada—the Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay, popularly known as the Hudson's Bay Company—had, for long years, been eminently successful in securing the good-will of the Indians—but on their sway, coming to an end, the Indian mind was disturbed. The events, that transpired in the Red River region, in the years 1869-1870, during the period when a provisional government was attempted to be established, had perplexed the Indians. They, moreover, had witnessed a sudden irruption into the country of whites from without. In the West, American traders poured into the land, and, freighted with fire-water, purchased their peltries and their horses, and impoverished the tribes. In the East, white men took possession of the soil and made for themselves homes, and as time went on steamboats were placed on the inland waters—surveyors passed through the territories—and the "speaking wires," as the Indian calls the telegraph, were erected. What wonder that the Indian mind was disturbed, and what wonder was it that a Plain chief, as he looked upon the strange wires stretching through his land, exclaimed to his people, "We have done wrong to allow that wire to be placed there, before the Government obtained our leave to do so. There is a white chief at Red River, and that wire speaks to him, and if we do anything wrong he will stretch out a long arm and take hold of us before we can get away." The government of Canada had, anticipating the probabilities of such a state of affairs, wisely resolved, that contemporaneously with the formal establishment of their rule, there should be formed alliances with the Indians. In 1870 the Parliament of Canada created the requisite machinery for the Government of the Province of Manitoba and of the North-West Territories respectively, giving to the former a Lieutenant-Governor and Legislature, and to the latter, a Lieutenant-Governor and Council, Executive and Legislative—the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba being ex officio Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories. Subsequently the North-West Territories were erected into a distinct government, with a Lieutenant-Governor and Executive, and Legislative Council. The District of Kee-wa-tin, "the land of the north wind," was also established, comprising the eastern and northern portions of the Territories, and placed under the control of the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, and an Executive and Legislative Council. Since 1870, no less than seven treaties have been concluded, with the Indian tribes, so that there now remain no Indian nations in the North-West, inside of the fertile belt, who have not been dealt with.

It is the design of the present work to tell the story of these treaties, to preserve as far as practicable, a record of the negotiations on which they were based, and to present to the many in the Dominion and elsewhere, who take a deep interest in these sons of the forest and the plain, a view of their habits of thought and speech, as thereby presented, and to suggest the possibility, nay, the certainty, of a hopeful future for them.

Prior to proceeding to deal, with the treaties of the Dominion of Canada, it will render this book more complete to present the reader, with information as to three treaties which preceded those of the Dominion, viz., the treaty made by the Earl of Selkirk in the year 1817, those popularly known as the Robinson Treaties, made by the late Hon. William B. Robinson, of the City of Toronto, with the Indians of the shores and islands of Lakes Superior and Huron in the year 1850, and that made by the Hon. William Macdougall, for the surrender of the Indian title, to the great Manitoulin Island, both acting for and on behalf of the Government of the late Province of Canada.

Ere however entering upon an explanation of these two first-mentioned treaties, I submit a few brief observations.

The Indians inhabiting the region covered by the treaties in question, extending in Canadian territory from Lake Superior to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, are composed of distinct tribes having different languages.

The Ojibbewas, Chippawas, or Saulteaux as they now call themselves, are found in numbers in the District of Kee-wa-tin and the Province of Manitoba. In the North-West Territories they are not numerous except within the limits of Treaty number Four. These Indians migrated from the older Provinces of Quebec and Ontario many years ago.

The Crees, inhabit the North-West Territories and are divided into Plain, Wood and Swampy Crees, according to the region of the country they dwell in. The Swampy Crees reside in Manitoba and Kee-wa-tin.

The Black Feet nation are to be found towards the slope of the Rocky Mountains, in the region comprised within the limits of the Treaty number Seven.

A few Chippawayans, or Northerners, dwell within the North-West Territories.

The once powerful nation of the Assiniboines, or Stonies—a kindred tribe to the Sioux—are greatly reduced in numbers, and are now only to be met with in the North-West Territories.

The Sioux in the Dominion are refugees from the United States, the first body having come over some fourteen years ago. A large influx of similar refugees, have recently fled to the Dominion from, the same country, as the issue of the recent war between the United States and the Sioux.



In the year 1811, the Earl of Selkirk purchased [Footnote: Vide Appendix for copy of the agreement in question.] from the Governor and Company of Adventurers trading into Hudson's Bay, in consideration of ten shillings and certain agreements and understandings contained in the Indenture, a large tract of territory within Rupert's Land described in the Indenture as follows:

"All that tract of land or territory being within and forming part of the aforesaid lands and territories of the said Governor and Company, bounded by an imaginary line running as follows, that is to say, beginning on the western shore of the Lake Winnipic, otherwise Winnipeg, at a point in fifty-two degrees and thirty north latitude and thence running due west to the Lake Winnipegoos, otherwise called Little Winnipeg, then in a southerly direction through the said Lake so as to strike its western shore in latitude fifty-two degrees, then due west to the place where the parallel of fifty-two degrees north latitude intersects the western branch of Red River, otherwise called Assiniboine River, then due south from that point of intersection to the height of land which separates the waters running into Hudson's Bay from those of the Missouri and Mississippi, then in an easterly direction along the said height of land to the source of the River Winnipic, or Winnipeg (meaning by such last named river the principal branch of the waters which unite in Lake Sagenagos), thence along the main stream of these waters and the middle of the several lakes through which they flow to the mouth of the Winnipic River and thence in a northerly direction through the middle of Lake Winnipic to the place of beginning." The deed is accompanied by a map intended to show the tract of country, and there is an endorsement on the map that as the surveys were not sufficient to ascertain with precision whether, latitude 52 degrees does intersect the river called Red or Assiniboine River, it was agreed, that in case the waters of of Red River, shall on more accurate survey be found, not to extend so far north as latitude 52 degrees, then the west boundary of the tract of land intended to be within the grant, should be a line drawn due north and south, through the post upon the Red River, marked on the plan is "Carlton House."

The Company reserved the right to call upon the Earl to set off one-tenth, however, of the tract for the use of the servants of the Company—and the Earl covenanted, within ten years, to settle within the tract one thousand families, each of them consisting of one married couple at the least, on pain of revocation of the grant, if on receipt of notice to that effect from the Company he did not, within three years after the receipt of the notice, complete the settlement of the one thousand families.

In pursuance of his obligations, Lord Selkirk, in the autumn of the year 1811, sent out a number of families from the County of Sutherland, in Scotland, who spent the winter at Fort Churchill on the western shore of Hudson's Bay. On the arrival of spring, they travelled thence to the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, and thus was commenced the interesting settlement of the Red River, which is now included in the Province of Manitoba. It is not my purpose to notice here the eventful history of the Selkirk colonists, and I will only note the fact that in 1836, the Company bought back the whole tract, from the heirs of Lord Selkirk, for the sum of L84,000, the rights of colonists who had purchased land between 1811 and 1836, being respected.

In the year 1817 the Earl of Selkirk, visited his wide domain, and entered into negotiations with the Indian tribes, for the extinction of their title, to a tract of land described as follows:

[Footnote: A large portion of the ceded territory is now comprehended in the Territory of Dakota, United States.] "All that tract of land adjacent to Red River and Assiniboine River, beginning at the mouth of Red River and extending along the same as far as Great Forks at the mouth of Red Lake River and along Assiniboine River as far as the Musk Rat River, otherwise called Riviere des Champignons, and extending to the distance of six miles from Fort Douglas on every side, and likewise from Fort Doer, and also from the Great Forks and in other posts extending in breadth to the distance of two English statute miles back from the banks of the river."

The Indians then inhabiting the region were described as being of the Chippawa or Saulteaux and Killistine or Cree nations. They were made to comprehend, the depth of the land they were surrendering, by being told, that it was the greatest distance, at which a horse on the level prairie could be seen, or daylight seen under his belly between his legs. The consideration for the surrender, was, the payment of one hundred pounds of good merchantable tobacco, to each nation annually.

The treaty was signed by Lord Selkirk and by five Indian chiefs, who affixed thereto drawings of the animals after which they were named, by way of signature, a fac simile of which will be found elsewhere. The surrender was to the Sovereign Lord, King George the Third. The treaty was accompanied by a map which shows that the tract surrendered extended to Grand Forks in what is now United States territory. A copy of the treaty will be found in the Appendix and will prove of interest.



In consequence of the discovery of minerals, on the shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, the Government of the late Province of Canada, deemed it desirable, to extinguish the Indian title, and in order to that end, in the year 1850, entrusted the duty to the late Honorable William B. Robinson, who discharged his duties with great tact and judgment, succeeding in making two treaties, which were the forerunners of the future treaties, and shaped their course. The main features of the Robinson Treaties—viz., annuities, reserves for the Indians, and liberty to fish and hunt on the unconceded domain of the Crown—having been followed in these treaties. A special feature of the Robinson Treaties, was the adjustment of a claim made by the Indians to be paid, the amount received, by the Government, for the sale of mining locations. This was arranged, by Mr. Robinson, agreeing to pay them, the sum of L4,000 and an annuity of about L1,000, thus avoiding any dispute that might arise as to the amounts actually received by the Government. The number of Indians included in the treaties were stated by Mr. Robinson to be: on Lake Superior, 1240, including 84 half-breeds; and on Lake Huron 1422, including 200 half-breeds. [Footnote: The census return of the Department of the Interior for the year 1878 gives the numbers of these Indians as follows: Chippawas of Lake Superior ... 1,947. Chippawas of Lake Huron ... 1,458.] The relations of the Indians and half-breeds, have long been cordial; and in the negotiations as to these initial treaties, as in the subsequent ones, the claims of the half-breeds, to recognition, was urged by the Indians.

I cannot do better, in giving information with regard to these treaties, than simply to reproduce the Report of Mr. Robinson to the Honorable Colonel Bruce, Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, in which he describes the course of his negotiations and communicates their results. A copy of the treaties will be found in the Appendix. The Report is as follows:

TORONTO, 24th September, 1850.

Sir:—I have the honor herewith to transmit the Treaty which on the part of the Government I was commissioned to negotiate with the tribes of Indians inhabiting the northern shore of Lakes Huron and Superior; and I trust that the terms on which I succeeded in obtaining the surrender of all the lands in question, with the exception of some small reservations made by the Indians, may be considered satisfactory. They were such as I thought it advisable to offer, in order that the matter might be finally settled, without having any just grounds of complaint on the part of the Indians.

The Indians had been advised by certain interested parties to insist on such extravagant terms as I felt it quite impossible to grant; and from the fact that the American Government had paid very liberally for the land surrendered by their Indians on the south side of Lake Superior, and that our own in other parts of the country were in receipt of annuities much larger than I offered, I had some difficulty in obtaining the assent of a few of the chiefs to my proposition.

I explained to the chiefs in council the difference between the lands ceded heretofore in this Province and those then under consideration, they were of good quality and sold readily at prices which enabled the Government to be more liberal, they were also occupied by the whites in such a manner as to preclude the possibility of the Indian hunting over or having access to them whereas the lands now ceded are notoriously barren and sterile, and will in all probability never be settled except in a few localities by mining companies, whose establishments among the Indians, instead of being prejudicial, would prove of great benefit as they would afford a market for any things they may have to sell, and bring provisions and stores of all kinds among them at reasonable prices.

Neither did the British Government contemplate the removal of the Indians from their present haunts to some (to them) unknown region in the far West, as had been the case with their brethren on the American side.

I told them that the two chiefs who were in Toronto last winter (Shinguacouse and Nebennigoebing) only asked the amount which the Government had received for mining locations, after deducting the expenses attending their sale. That amount was about eight thousand pounds which the Government would pay them without any annuity or certainty of further benefit; or one-half of it down, and an annuity of about one thousand pounds.

There were twenty-one chiefs present, about the same number of principal men, and a large number of other Indians belonging to the different bands, and they all preferred the latter proposition, though two of them (Shinguacouse and Nebennigoebing) insisted on receiving an annuity equal to ten dollars per head.

The chiefs from Lake Superior desired to treat separately for their territory and said at once in council that they accepted my offer. I told them that I would have the treaty ready on the following morning, and I immediately proceeded to prepare it, and as agreed upon they signed it cheerfully at the time appointed.

I then told the chiefs from Lake Huron (who were all present when the others signed) that I should have a similar treaty ready for their signature, the next morning when those who signed it would receive their money; and that as a large majority of them had agreed to my terms I should abide by them.

I accordingly prepared the treaty and proceeded on the morning of the ninth instant to the council-room to have it formally executed in the presence of proper witnesses—all the chiefs and others were present. I told them I was then ready to receive their signatures; the two chiefs, Shinguacouse and Nebennigoebing, repeated their demand of ten dollars a head by way of annuity, and also insisted that I should insert in the treaty a condition securing to some sixty half-breeds a free grant of one hundred acres of land each. I told them they already had my answer as to a larger annuity, and that I had no power to give them free grants of land. The other chiefs came forward to sign the treaty and seeing this the two who had resisted up to this time also came to the table and signed first, the rest immediately following.

I trust his Excellency will approve of my having concluded the treaty on the basis of a small annuity and the immediate and final settlement of the matter, rather than paying the Indians the full amount of all moneys on hand, and a promise of accounting to them for future sales. The latter course would have entailed much trouble on the Government, besides giving an opportunity to evil disposed persons to make the Indians suspicious of any accounts that might be furnished.

Believing that His Excellency and the Government were desirous of leaving the Indians no just cause of complaint on their surrendering the extensive territory embraced in the treaty, and knowing there were individuals who most assiduously endeavored to create dissatisfaction among them, I inserted a clause securing to them certain prospective advantages should the lands in question prove sufficiently productive at any future period to enable the Government without loss to increase the annuity. [Footnote: The annuities under these treaties have recently been increased, the following item having been inserted in the Supplies Act of Canada, viz., "Annual grant to bring up annuities payable under the Robinson Treaty to the Chippawas of Lakes Huron and Superior, from 96 cents to $4 per head, $14,000."] This was so reasonable and just that I had no difficulty in making them comprehend it, and it in a great measure silenced the clamor raised by their evil advisers.

In allowing the Indians to retain reservations of land for their own use I was governed by the fact that they in most cases asked for such tracts as they had heretofore been in the habit of using for purposes of residence and cultivation, and by securing these to them and the right of hunting and fishing over the ceded territory, they cannot say that the Government takes from their usual means of subsistence and therefore have no claims for support, which they no doubt would have preferred, had this not been done. The reservation at Garden River is the largest and perhaps of most value, but as it is occupied by the most numerous band of Indians, and from its locality (nine miles from the Sault) is likely to attract others to it, I think it was right to grant what they expressed a desire to retain. There are two mining locations at this place, which should not be finally disposed of unless by the full consent of Shinguacouse and his band; they are in the heart of the village and shew no indications of mineral wealth, they are numbered 14 and 15 on the small map appended to Messrs. Anderson and Vidal's report. I pledged my word on the part of the Government that the sale of these locations should not be completed, and as the locatees have not, I believe, complied with the conditions of the Crown Lands Department there can be no difficulty in cancelling the transaction.

The chiefs are desirous that their several reservations should be marked by proper posts or monuments, and I have told them the Government would probably send some one next spring for that purpose. As I know many of the localities I shall be able to give the necessary information when required.

When at Sault Ste. Marie last May, I took measures for ascertaining as nearly as possible the number of Indians inhabiting the north shore of the two lakes; and was fortunate enough to get a very correct census, particularly of Lake Superior. I found this information very useful at the council, as it enabled me successfully to contradict the assertion (made by those who were inciting the chiefs to resist my offers) that there were on Lake Superior alone, eight thousand Indians. The number on that lake, including eighty-four half-breeds, is only twelve hundred and forty—and on Lake Huron, about fourteen hundred and twenty-two, including probably two hundred half-breeds, and when I paid the Indians they acknowledged they knew of no other families than those on my list.

The number paid, as appears on the pay list, does not show the whole strength of the different bands, as I was obliged at their own request to omit some members of the very large families. I have annexed to this Report the names of the chiefs, their localities, and number of souls in each band as recognized by me in apportioning the money, thinking it will be useful when paying the annuity hereafter.

This information may I believe be fully relied on for Lake Superior, but the census for Lake Huron is not so perfect; and I would suggest that Captain Ironside should be furnished with copies of that document and also of the pay-lists in order that he may correct in time any errors that are found to exist.

As the half-breeds at Sault Ste. Marie and other places may seek to be recognized by the Government in future payments, it may be well that I should state here the answer that I gave to their demands on the present occasion. I told them I came to treat with the chiefs who were present, that the money would be paid to them—and their receipt was sufficient for me—that when in their possession they might give as much or as little to that class of claimants as they pleased. To this no one, not even their advisers, could object, and I heard no more on the subject. At the earnest request of the chiefs themselves I undertook the distribution of the money among their respective bands and all parties expressed themselves perfectly satisfied with my division of their funds.

On my arrival at Penetanguishene I found the chiefs Yellowhead and Snake, from Lake Simcoe, and Aissance, from Beausoleil's Island, waiting to see me, to prefer their claim to a small tract of land between Penetanguishene and the vicinity of the River Severn. I was aware of their intending to make such a claim and took the precaution of asking the chiefs assembled in council at the Sault whether it was well founded, they emphatically declared that those chiefs had no claim on Lake Huron, that they had long since ceded their lands and were in the receipt of a large annuity, this I believe to be the case and Captain Anderson, whom I met there, is of the same opinion; but I promised to inquire into it and give them an answer, and I will therefore thank you to cause the necessary information from your office to be furnished to me on the subject. Should it appear that these chiefs have any claim I think I could get their surrender of it for a small amount, and there remain sufficient funds at my disposal for the purpose.

The Canadians resident on the lands just surrendered at Sault Ste. Marie are very anxious to obtain titles to the land on which they have long resided and made improvements; they applied to me after the treaty and I advised them to memorialize the Government the usual way setting forth the manner in which they were put in possession by the military authorities of the time, and that I had little doubt that the Government would do them justice. I think the survey of the tract should be made so as to interfere as little as possible with their respective clearings and that those who can show a fair claim to the favorable consideration of the Government should be liberally dealt with.

It will be seen on referring to the treaty that I have kept within the amount at my disposal. Of the L4,160 agreed by me to be paid to the Indians of both lakes, there remains L75 unexpended. I could not from the information I possessed tell exactly the number of families I should have to pay, and thought it prudent to reserve a small sum to make good any omissions, there may still be a few who will prefer claims, though I know of none at present. If not, the amount can be paid next year with the annuity to such families as are most deserving; or it may be properly applied in extinguishing the claim made by the Lake Simcoe Indians, should it appear on inquiry to be just.

The whole amount given to me in August was L5,033 6s. 8d., of this sum their remains L800, which I have placed in the Bank of Upper Canada to the credit of the Receiver-General, and I have prepared a detailed account of the whole, which with the proper vouchers, I shall deliver to the Accountant of the Crown Lands Department.

I have much pleasure in acknowledging the valuable assistance afforded me by all the officers of the Honorable the Hudson's Bay Company resident on the lakes; and the prompt manner in which their Governor, Sir George Simpson, kindly placed their services at my disposal.

The report made last year by Messrs. Anderson and Vidal I found of much use to me, and the long services and experience of the former gentleman in Indian affairs enabled him to give me many valuable suggestions.

Captain Cooper and his officers by attending at the council, and otherwise, gave me most cheerfully all the aid in their power; and Captain Ironside, of your Department, with his assistant, Assickinach, were of essential service to me.

I found it absolutely necessary to have the aid of some one in taking the census of the Lake Huron Indians at the time they were receiving their presents at Manitoulin; and as Captain Ironside was fully occupied in attending to his own duty, I requested Mr. Keating, who had long known the Indians on that lake, to give me his assistance. This he cheerfully and very efficiently did, and afterwards was with me in distributing and paying out the money.

I have, in course of my negotiations with the Indians on the present occasion, collected some information which may be useful to your Department and will at an early day send it to you.

I will thank you to lay the two treaties accompanying this Report before His Excellency, and trust they may meet with his approval.

I have, &c., (Signed) W. B. ROBINSON. THE HON. COL. BRUCE, Superintendent-General, Indian Affairs.



Some years after the completion of the Robinson Treaties, the then Government of the old Province of Canada deemed it desirable to effect a treaty with the Indians dwelling upon the Great Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, as a complement to the former treaties, and with the object of rendering available for settlement the large tract of good land upon the Island. The duty was entrusted to the Honorable William McDougall, then Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, who, in the month of October, 1862, proceeded to the Island, accompanied by the late William Spragge, Esq., Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and Mr. F. Assicknack, of the Indian Office, Toronto, as interpreter. Mr. McDougall encountered considerable difficulties, but by firmness and decision eventually succeeded in obtaining a surrender from the Indians of the Island, excluding however from the surrender that portion of it easterly of Heywood Island and the Manitoulin Gulf.

The terms of the treaty, which will be found in the Appendix, were adapted to the peculiar circumstances of the Indians and were well and wisely framed. The result has been to render available for settlement a large tract of land on the Island, much of which is now occupied by a prosperous and thriving population. I conclude this brief notice of an important treaty by submitting, to the attention of the reader, the report of the Hon. W. McDougall, to His Excellency the Governor-General in Council, of the results of his mission.

MANITOULIN ISLAND, November 3rd, 1862.

The undersigned has the honor to state for the information of His Excellency the Governor-General in Council, that, under the authority of the Order in Council of the twelfth day of September, 1862, he proceeded early in the month of October last to visit the Great Manitoulin Island, accompanied by William Spragge, Esq., Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and Mr. F. Assicknack of the Indian Office, Toronto, as interpreter.

The resident agent, Captain Ironside, under instructions from the Department, had caused the Indians residing on the Island to be notified of the intended visit of the undersigned, and of its object and had summoned them to attend at Manitowaning on the fourth ultimo.

The Chiefs and principal men, with the exception of one or two detained by illness and nearly all the males above the age of eighteen years, were present at the council.

The undersigned stated the object of his visit, explained the wishes of the Government in regard to the settlement of the Island, and proposed the terms in respect to the Indians specified in the Order in Council authorizing the negotiation. The Indians had selected one of their Chiefs to reply to the overtures of the Government, and without taking time to consider these overtures he proceeded to announce the determination of the Indians to reject them unconditionally.

The undersigned made some further explanations and directed an ajournment of the council for an hour, during which time the Indians were requested to consider the propositions he had made with care and deliberation.

On re-assembling there was an evident disposition among the bands living westwardly of the place of meeting to listen favorably to the propositions of the Government, but the majority were still unwilling to treat, and by intimidation and threats of violence prevented any open expression of opinion except by the old war Chief, Assicknack, who declared his full assent to the wishes of the Government.

Ascertaining that the Chief's opposition came from Indians living eastwardly of Heywood Sound, the undersigned determined to modify the propositions of the Government, so as to meet in some degree the objections from that quarter.

He accordingly adjourned the council until the following Monday, the first day of meeting being Saturday, informing the Indians that those who were disposed to continue the negotiations would remain while those who had resolved to reject every proposition of the Government might go home. He also informed them that no threats or intimidation would be allowed, and that any one who should attempt violence would be surely punished. Nearly all the Indians remained or returned on Monday, and being apprised of the nature of the proposition the undersigned intended to submit, namely, to exclude that part of the island eastwardly of the Manitoulin Gulf and Heywood Sound from the proposed agreement, they came to the adjourned meeting in a more friendly mood and expressed their willingness to surrender for sale and settlement all that part of the island westwardly of the Gulf and Sound.

The undersigned submits herewith the deed or instrument which embodies the agreement made and concluded between the respective parties. It was executed by the undersigned and the Deputy-Superintendent of Indian Affairs on behalf of the Government, and by nineteen of the Chiefs and principal men on behalf of the Indians.

In consequence of the modification of the terms of agreement authorized by the Order in Council as above-mentioned and the addition of other terms deemed necessary to prevent future difficulty, and which will be found in the instrument, the undersigned caused a provision to be inserted that it was not to take effect until approved by the Governor-General in Council.

The undersigned therefore now begs to submit the same for such approval.

(Signed) WM. McDOUGALL, Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs.



In the year 1871, the late Honorable Joseph Howe, then Secretary of State of Canada, recommended the appointment by the Privy Council of Canada, of Mr. Wemyss McKenzie Simpson, as Indian Commissioner, in consequence of "the necessity of arranging with the bands of Indians inhabiting the tract of country between Thunder Bay and the Stone Fort, for the cession, subject to certain reserves such as they should select, of the lands occupied by them." Mr. Simpson accepted the appointment, and in company with Messrs. S. J. Dawson and Robert Pether visited the Ojjibewas or Chippawa Indians, between Thunder Bay and the north-west angle of the Lake of the Woods, and took the initiatory steps for securing a treaty with them thereafter. On his arrival at Fort Garry, he put himself, as directed by his instructions, in communication with his Honor, the Hon. A. G. Archibald, then Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba and the North-West Territories. A conference took place between His Honor, Messrs. Simpson, Dawson and Pether, and the Hon. James McKay, a member, at that time, of the Executive Council of Manitoba, and himself a half-breed intimately acquainted with the Indian tribes, and possessed of much influence over them. The Indians in Manitoba, in the fall of 1870, had applied to the Lieutenant-Governor to enter into a treaty with them, and had been informed that in the ensuing year negotiations would be opened with them. They were full of uneasiness, owing to the influx of population, denied the validity of the Selkirk Treaty, and had in some instances obstructed settlers and surveyors. In view of the anxiety and uneasiness prevailing, those gentlemen were of opinion "that it was desirable to secure the extinction of the Indian title not only to the lands within Manitoba, but also to so much of the timber grounds east and north of the Province as were required for immediate entry and use, and also of a large tract of cultivable ground west of the Portage, where there were very few Indian inhabitants." It was therefore resolved to open negotiations at the Lower Fort Garry, or Stone Fort, with the Indians of the Province, and certain adjacent timber districts, and with the Indians of the other districts at Manitoba Post, a Hudson's Bay fort, at the north end of Lake Manitoba, the territory being occupied principally by one nation, the Chippawas, of whom the Saulteaux of the lakes are a branch, although there are also a number of Swampy Crees resident within it.

Mr. Simpson accordingly issued proclamations, inviting the Indians to meet him on the 25th of July and 17th of August, 1871, at these points respectively, to negotiate an Indian treaty. The Lieutenant-Governor also issued a proclamation forbidding the sale or gift of intoxicating liquors during the negotiation of the treaty, and applied to Major Irvine to detail a few of the troops under his command to preserve order, which request was acceded to.

The Lieutenant-Governor and Mr. Simpson arrived at the Stone Fort on the 24th of July, 1871, but as the Indians had not all arrived the meeting was postponed till the 27th, when a thousand Indians were found to have assembled, and a considerable number of half-breeds and other inhabitants of the country were present, awaiting with anxiety to learn the policy of the Government.

Lieutenant-Governor Archibald, after the Indians were assembled opened the proceedings by delivering the following address:

"On the 13th September last, on my first arrival in the country, I met a number of you at the mission, I told you I could not then negotiate a Treaty with the Indians, but that I was charged by your Great Mother, the Queen, to tell you that she had been very glad to see that you had acted during the troubles like good and true children of your Great Mother. I told you also that as soon as possible you would all be called together to consider the terms of a treaty to be entered into between you and your Great Mother.

"I advised you to disperse to your homes, and gave you some ammunition to enable you to gain a livelihood during the winter by hunting.

"I promised that in the spring you would be sent for, and that either I, or some person directly appointed to represent your Great Mother, should be here to meet you, and notice would be given you when to convene at this place to talk over what was right to be done.

"Early in the spring, Mr. Simpson, who sits beside me, was made Commissioner. He left his home at once for this Province, by Rainy Lake and the Lake of the Woods.

"The Indians of the lake districts meet, as you know, on Rainy River yearly, about the 20th June, to fish for sturgeon, I and they could not be called together sooner.

"Mr. Simpson met them there at that time, and talked over their affairs with them, and made certain arrangements with them. He then hurried on to see you, and reached this Province a week ago last Sunday. He then sent messengers at once to all the Indians within certain bounds, asking them to meet him here on the 25th day of July. Some of you were unable to come so soon, and he has therefore, at the instance of those who were here, waited till to-day to open the talk. I believe that now you are all arrived, and ready to proceed to business.

"It will be the duty of the Commissioner to talk to you on the particular details of the treaty, and I will give place to him presently, but there are one or two things of a general kind which I would like, before I close, to bring to your notice, for you to think about among yourselves.

"First. Your Great Mother, the Queen, wishes to do justice to all her children alike. She will deal fairly with those of the setting sun, just as she would with those of the rising sun. She wishes order and peace to reign through all her country, and while her arm is strong to punish the wicked man, her hand is also open to reward the good man everywhere in her Dominions.

"Your Great Mother wishes the good of all races under her sway. She wishes her red children to be happy and contented. She wishes them to live in comfort. She would like them to adopt the habits of the whites, to till land and raise food, and store it up against a time of want. She thinks this would be the best thing for her red children to do, that it would make them safer from famine and distress, and make their homes more comfortable.

"But the Queen, though she may think it good for you to adopt civilized habits, has no idea of compelling you to do so. This she leaves to your choice, and you need not live like the white man unless you can be persuaded to do so of your own free will. Many of you, however, are already doing this.

"I drove yesterday through the village below this Fort. There I saw many well-built houses, and many well-tilled fields with wheat and barley and potatoes growing, and giving promise of plenty for the winter to come. The people who till these fields and live in these houses are men of your own race, and they shew that you can live and prosper and provide like the white man.

"What I say in my drive is enough to prove that even if there was not a buffalo or a fur bearing animal in the country, you could live and be surrounded with comfort by what you can raise from the soil.

"Your Great Mother, therefore, will lay aside for you 'lots' of land to be used by you and your children forever. She will not allow the white man to intrude upon these lots. She will make rules to keep them for you, so that as long as the sun shall shine, there shall be no Indian who has not a place that he can call his home, where he can go and pitch his camp or if he chooses build his house and till his land.

"These reserves will be large enough, but you must not expect them to be larger than will be enough to give a farm to each family, where farms shall be required. They will enable you to earn a living should the chase fail, and should you choose to get your living by tilling, you must not expect to have included in your reserve more of hay grounds than will be reasonably sufficient for your purposes in case you adopt the habits of farmers. The old settlers and the settlers that are coming in, must be dealt with on the principles of fairness and justice as well as yourselves. Your Great Mother knows no difference between any of her people. Another thing I want you to think over is this: in laying aside these reserves, and in everything else that the Queen shall do for you, you must understand that she can do for you no more than she has done for her red children in the East. If she were to do more for you that would be unjust for them. She will not do less for you because you are all her children alike, and she must treat you all alike.

"When you have made your treaty you will still be free to hunt over much of the land included in the treaty. Much of it is rocky and unfit for cultivation, much of it that is wooded is beyond the places where the white man will require to go, at all events for some time to come. Till these lands are needed for use you will be free to hunt over them, and make all the use of them which you have made in the past. But when lands are needed to be tilled or occupied, you must not go on them any more. There will still be plenty of land that is neither tilled nor occupied where you can go and roam and hunt as you have always done, and, if you wish to farm, you will go to your own reserve where you will find a place ready for you to live on and cultivate.

"There is another thing I have to say to you. Your Great Mother cannot come here herself to talk with you, but she has sent a messenger who has her confidence.

"Mr. Simpson will tell you truly all her wishes. As the Queen has made her choice of a chief to represent her, you must, on your part, point out to us the chiefs you wish to represent you, as the persons you have faith in.

"Mr. Simpson cannot talk to all your braves and people, but when he talks to chiefs who have your confidence he is talking to you all, and when he hears the voice of one of your chiefs whom you name he will hear the voice of you all. It is for you to say who shall talk for you, and also who shall be your chief men. Let them be good Indians, who know your wishes and whom you have faith in.

"You will look to the Commissioner to fulfil everything he agrees to do, and the Queen will look to the chiefs you name to us, to see that you keep your parts of the agreement.

"It is our wish to deal with you fairly and frankly.

"If you have any questions to ask, ask them, if you have anything you wish the Queen to know, speak out plainly.

"Now chiefs and braves and people, I introduce to you Mr. Simpson, who will say anything he thinks fit in addition to what I have said.

"When you hear his voice you are listening to your Great Mother the Queen, whom God bless and preserve long to reign over us."

Mr. Simpson also addressed them, and thereafter, in compliance with a request of the Lieutenant-Governor, the Indians retired to select their chiefs and principal spokesmen.

On the next day the conference was resumed, the chiefs and spokesmen being presented. The Indians, on being asked to express their views, "stated that there was a cloud before them which made things dark, and they did not wish to commence the proceedings till the cloud was dispersed." On inquiry it was ascertained that they referred to the imprisonment of four Swampy Cree Indians, who had been convicted under a local law, of breach of contract, as boatmen, with the Hudson's Bay Company, and on default of payment of a fine, had been sent to prison. The Lieutenant-Governor, as a matter of favor, ordered the release of these prisoners, and the sky became clear. Next day the Indians met again and declared that they would never again raise their voice against the enforcement of the law, but much difficulty was experienced in getting them to understand the views of the Government—they wishing to have two-thirds of the Province as a reserve. Eventually on the 3rd of August, 1871, a treaty was concluded, its principal features being the relinquishment to Her Majesty of the Indian title; the reserving of tracts of land for the Indians, sufficient to furnish 160 acres of land to each family of five; providing for the maintenance of schools, and prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors on the reserves; a present of three dollars per head to the Indians and the payment to them of an annuity of three dollars per head. [Footnote: In consequence of misunderstandings having arisen, owing to the Indians alleging that certain promises had been made to them which were not specified in these treaties, a revision of them became necessary, and was effected in 1875, as will be seen reported hereafter.] (See copy of treaty which will be found in the Appendix.) On the 21st of August Mr. Commissioner Simpson, accompanied by the Lieutenant-Governor, the Hon. James McKay, and Mr. Molyneux St. John (lately Sheriff of the North-West Territories), met the Indians at Manitoba Post, and found them disposed to accept the terms of the treaty made at the Stone Fort, with which they had already become familiar, so that little time was lost in effecting a treaty with them as they had no special terms to prefer. By these two treaties, there was acquired by the Crown, the extinguishment of the Indian title in Manitoba, and in a tract of country fully equal in resources beyond it.

Having submitted these preliminary remarks, I conclude my notice of these treaties by quoting, as matter alike of historical record and practical interest, the despatches of Lieutenant-Governor Archibald and the excellent and instructive report, addressed to the Secretary of State by Mr. Simpson, embracing as it does a full and graphic narrative of the proceedings which took place at the negotiation of these treaties, and of the difficulties which were encountered by the Commissioner, and the mode in which they were overcome.


Sir,—I have the honor to enclose you copy of a proclamation I have caused to be issued with a view to prevent the danger arising from intoxicating drinks being given to the Indians, on the occasion of the meeting to negotiate a treaty.

I look upon the proceedings, we are now initiating as important in their bearing upon our relations to the Indians of the whole continent. In fact the terms we now agree upon will probably shape the arrangements we shall have to make with all the Indians between the Red River and the Rocky Mountains. It will therefore be well to neglect nothing that is within our power to enable us to start fairly with the negotiations.

With that view, I have, amongst other things, asked Major Irvine to detail a few of his troops to be present at the opening of the treaty. Military display has always a great effect on savages, and the presence even of a few troops will have a good tendency.

I fear we shall have to incur a considerable expenditure for presents of food, etc. during the negotiations; but any cost for that purpose I shall deem a matter of minor consequence. The real burden to be considered is that which has to be borne in each recurring year.

I doubt if it will be found practicable to make arrangements upon so favorable a basis as that prescribed by His Excellency the Governor-General as the maximum to be allowed, in case of a treaty with the Lake Indians.

Nor indeed would it be right, if we look to what we receive, to measure the benefits we derive from coming into possession of the magnificent territory we are appropriating here by what would be fair to allow for the rocks and swamps and muskegs of the lake country east of this Province.

But to this subject I shall probably take occasion to call your attention at an early day.


LOWER FORT GARRY, July 20th, 1871.

Sir,—I have the honor to inform you that on Monday last I came to this Fort with the Commissioner to meet the Indians called here, with a view to negotiate a treaty, intending to open the business on Tuesday morning.

It appeared, however, on inquiry, that some bands of Indians had not arrived on Tuesday morning, and we were therefore obliged to postpone the opening of the meeting till Thursday. On that day the Indians from all the sections of the country to which the invitation extended were found present to the number of about one thousand. A considerable body of half-breeds and other inhabitants of the country were also present, awaiting with some anxiety to learn what should be announced as the policy of the Government.

I enclose you a memorandum of the observations with which I opened the meeting. On reading them you will observe one or two points which may require some explanation.

At the time of the treaty with the Earl of Selkirk, certain Indians signed as Chiefs and representatives of their people. Some of the Indians now deny that these men ever were Chiefs or had authority to sign the treaty.

With a view therefore to avoid a recurrence of any such question we asked the Indians, as a first step, to agree among themselves in selecting their Chiefs and then to present them to us and have their names and authority recorded.

Furthermore, the Indians seem to have false ideas of the meaning of a reserve. They have been led to suppose that large tracts of ground were to be set aside for them as hunting grounds, including timber lands, of which they might sell the wood as if they were proprietors of the soil.

I wished to correct this idea at the outset.

Mr. Simpson followed me with some observations in the same strain, after which the Indians retired to select their Chiefs and spokesmen.

On Friday morning the Chiefs and spokesmen were duly presented, and after their names were recorded, the Indians were invited to express their views.

After some delay they stated that there was a cloud before them which made things dark, and they did not wish to commence the proceedings till the cloud was dispersed.

On inquiring into their meaning, I found that they were referring to some four of their number who were prisoners in gaol. It seems that some Swampy Indians had entered into a contract with the Hudson's Bay Company as boatmen, and had deserted, and had been brought up before magistrates under a local law of last session, and fined, and in default of payment sent to prison for forty days.

Of this term some considerable part had expired. A few of the offenders had paid their fines, but there were still four Indians remaining in prison.

On learning the facts I told the Indians that I could not listen to them if they made a demand for the release of the Indians as a matter of right; that every subject of the Queen, whether Indian, half-breed or white, was equal in the eye of the law; that every offender against the law must be punished, whatever race he belonged to; but I said that on the opening of negotiations with them the Queen would like to see all her Indians taking part in them, and if the whole body present were to ask as a matter of grace and favor, under the circumstances, that their brethren should be released, Her Majesty would be willing to consent to their discharge; she would grant as a favor what she must refuse if asked for on any other ground. They replied by saying that they begged it as a matter of favor only. Thereupon I acceded to their request, and directed the discharge of the four Indians. This was received with great satisfaction. I explained again, that there might be no misunderstanding about it, that henceforth every offender against the law must be punished. They all expressed their acquiescence in what I said. The discharge of the prisoners had an excellent effect.

Next morning the Indians, through one of their spokesmen, declared in presence of the whole body assembled that from this time they would never raise their voice against the law being enforced. After the order of the release, the Chiefs and spokesmen addressed us questions were asked and answered, and some progress made in the negotiations. Eventually the meeting adjourned till this morning at ten o'clock.

A general acquiescence in the views laid down by Mr. Simpson and myself was expressed, but it was quite clear by the proceedings of to-day, that our views were imperfectly apprehended. When we met this morning, the Indians were invited to state their wishes as to the reserves, they were to say how much they thought would be sufficient, and whether they wished them all in one or in several places.

In defining the limits of their reserves, so far as we could see, they wished to have about two-thirds of the Province. We heard them out, and then told them it was quite clear that they had entirely misunderstood the meaning and intention of reserves. We explained the object of these in something like the language of the memorandum enclosed, and then told them it was of no use for them to entertain any such ideas, which were entirely out of the question. We told them that whether they wished it or not, immigrants would come in and fill up the country; that every year from this one twice as many in number as their whole people there assembled would pour into the Province, and in a little while would spread all over it, and that now was the time for them to come to an arrangement that would secure homes and annuities for themselves and their children.

We told them that what we proposed to allow them was an extent of one hundred and sixty acres for each family of five, or in that proportion; that they might have their land where they chose, not interfering with existing occupants, that we should allow an annuity of twelve dollars for every family of five, or in that proportion per head. We requested them to think over these propositions till Monday morning.

If they thought it better to have no treaty at all, they might do without one, but they must make up their minds; if there was to be a treaty, it must be on a basis like that offered.

That under some such arrangements, the Indians in the east were living happy and contented enjoying themselves, drawing their annuities, and satisfied with their position.

The observations seemed to command the acquiescence of the majority, and on Monday morning we hope to meet them in a better frame for the discussion and settlement of the treaty.

I have, etc., ADAMS G. ARCHIBALD. The Honorable The Secretary of State for the Provinces.


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 Swampies and Chippewas 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.

OTTAWA, November 3rd, 1871.


Sir,—I have the honor to submit to you, for the information of His Excellency the Governor-General, a report of my negotiations with the Indians of the Province of Manitoba, and with certain of the Indians of the North-West Territory, entered upon by me, in accordance with your instructions, dated 3rd May, 1871.

Having, in association with S. J. Dawson, Esq., and Robert Pether, Esq., effected a preliminary arrangement with the Indians of Rainy Lake, the particulars of which I have already had the honor of reporting to you in my Report, dated July 11th, 1871, I proceeded by the Lake of the Woods and Dawson Road to Fort Garry, at which place I arrived on the 16th July.

Bearing in mind your desire that I should confer with the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, I called upon Mr. Archibald, and learned from him that the Indians were anxiously awaiting my arrival, and were much excited on the subject of their lands being occupied without attention being first given to their claims for compensation. Amongst the settlers, also, an uneasy feeling existed, arising partly from the often-repeated demands of the Indians for a treaty with themselves, and partly from the fact that certain settlers in the neighborhood of Portage la Prairie and other parts of the Province, had been warned by the Indians not to cut wood or otherwise take possession of the lands upon which they were squatting. The Indians, it appeared, consented to their remaining on their holdings until sufficient time had been allowed for my arrival, and the conclusion of a treaty; but they were unwilling to allow the settlers the free use of the country for themselves or their cattle. Mr. Archibald and those residents in the Province of Manitoba with whom I conversed on the subject, appeared to think that no time should be lost in meeting the Indians, as some assurances had already been given them that a treaty would be made with them during the summer of 1871; and I therefore, at once, issued notices calling certain of the Indians together, naming two places at which I would meet them. The first meeting, to which were asked the Indians of the Province and certain others on the eastern side, was to be held on the 25th of July, at the Stone Fort, a Hudson's Bay Company's Post, situated on the Red River, about twenty miles northward of Fort Garry—a locality chosen as being the most central for those invited. The second meeting was appointed to be held on August 17th, at Manitoba Post, a Hudson's Bay Company's Post, at the north-west extremity of Lake Manitoba, as it was deemed that such of the bands of Indians residing without the limits of the Province of Manitoba, as I purposed to deal with at present, would meet there more readily than elsewhere.

On Monday, the 24th of July, I met the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba at the Stone Fort; but negotiations were unavoidably delayed, owing to the fact that only one band of Indians had arrived, and that until all were on the spot those present declined to discuss the subject of a treaty, except in an informal manner. Amongst these, as amongst other Indians with whom I have come in contact, there exists great jealousy of one another, in all matters relating to their communications with the officials of Her Majesty; and in order to facilitate the object in view, it was most desirable that suspicion and jealousy of all kinds should be allayed. The fact of the Commissioner having arrived was sufficient evidence of the good intentions of Her Majesty's Government, and it seemed better to await the arrival of all whom I had summoned, than to press matters to an issue while any were absent. This, however, entailed the necessity of feeding those who were already there, and others as they arrived.

It is customary in dealing with Indians to do so, and in this case it was absolutely necessary, for, obviously, it would have been impossible to invite those people from a distance, and then leave them to starve at our doors, or, in search of food, to plunder the neighborhood into which they had been introduced. At that season of the year the Indians were not engaged in fishing or hunting, and consequently large numbers of men, women and children attended at the place of meeting, for all of whom food was provided. The price of provisions, even at the lowest price for which they could be obtained, was high, pork being fifty dollars a barrel, and flour twenty shillings sterling per hundred, and such cattle as I was able to purchase L16 per head, so that the expense of keeping the Indians during the negotiation of treaty and payment of the gratuity, which lasted eleven days, forms no small share of the total expenditure. In addition to this expense, it was thought necessary by the Lieutenant-Governor that Major Irvine commanding the troops at Fort Garry should be requested to furnish a guard at the Stone Fort during the negotiations, and that there should be at hand, also, a force of constabulary, for the purpose of preventing the introduction of liquor amongst the Indian encampments. Other expenses of a somewhat similar nature were incurred, which would be totally unnecessary upon any future occasion of payment being made to the Indians of Manitoba. I may here refer to the apparently prolonged duration of the first negotiation, and explain, in reference thereto, the causes, or some of them, that entailed the loss of time and attendant expense. For some time a doubt has existed whether the Chief, nominally at the head of the Indians of the Indian settlement, possessed the good will and confidence of that band; and I thought it advisable to require that the several bands of Indians should select such Chiefs as they thought proper, and present these men as their authorized Chiefs, before anything was said as to the terms of a treaty. The Indians having acquiesced in this proposal, forthwith proceeded to such election; but the proceeding apparently involved discussion and consideration amongst themselves, and two days elapsed before the men chosen were presented for recognition, and the business of the meeting commenced.

When the peculiar circumstances surrounding the position of the Indians of the Province were pointed out, the future of the country predicted, and the views and intentions of the Government explained by the Lieutenant-Governor and myself, the Indians professed a desire for time to think over what had been said before making any reply; and when their answer came it proved to contain demands of such an exorbitant nature, that much time was spent in reducing their terms to a basis upon which an arrangement could be made.

Every band had its spokesman in addition to its Chief, and each seemed to vie with another in the dimensions of their requirements. I may mention, as an illustration, that in the matter of reserves, the quantity of land demanded for each band amounted to about three townships per Indian, and included the greater part of the settled portions of the Province. It was not until the 3rd of August, or nine days after the first meeting, that the basis of arrangement was arrived at, upon which is founded the treaty of that date. Then, and by means of mutual concessions, the following terms were agreed upon. For the cession of the country described in the treaty referred to, and comprising the Province of Manitoba, and certain country in the north-east thereof, every Indian was to receive a sum of three dollars a year in perpetuity, and a reserve was to he set apart for each band, of sufficient size to allow one hundred and sixty acres to each family of five persons, or in like proportion as the family might be greater or less than five. As each Indian settled down upon his share of the reserve, and commenced the cultivation of his land, he was to receive a plough and harrow. Each Chief was to receive a cow and a male and female of the smaller kinds of animals bred upon a farm. There was to be a bull for the general use of each reserve. In addition to this, each Chief was to receive a dress, a flag and a medal, as marks of distinction; and each Chief, with the exception of Bozawequare, the Chief of the Portage band, was to receive a buggy, or light spring waggon. Two councillors and two braves of each band were to receive a dress, somewhat inferior to that provided for the Chiefs, and the braves and councillors of the Portage band excepted, were to receive a buggy. Every Indian was to receive a gratuity of three dollars, which, though given as a payment for good behaviour, was to be understood to cover all dimensions for the past.

On this basis the treaty was signed by myself and the several Chiefs, on behalf of themselves and their respective bands, on the 3rd of August, 1871, and on the following day the payment commenced.

The three dollars gratuity, above referred to, will not occur in the ordinary annual payments to the Indians of Manitoba, and, though doubling the amount paid this year, may now properly be regarded as belonging to a previous year, but only now liquidated.

A large number of Indians, entitled to share in the treaty, were absent on the 3rd August, and in the belief that I should, almost immediately, be able to obtain a more accurate knowledge than I possessed of the numbers of the several bands, I paid to each person present only three dollars—the gratuity—postponing for a short time the first annual payment. Having completed this disbursement, I prepared to start for Manitoba Post, to open negotiations with the Indians on the immediate north and north-west borders of the Province of Manitoba, promising however to visit the several bands of the first treaty, in their own districts, and to there pay them. By this means the necessity for their leaving their own homes, and for the Government's feeding them while they were being paid, and during their journey home, was avoided.

After completing the treaty at Manitoba Post, of which mention is herein after made, I visited Portage la Prairie, the Indian settlement at St. Peter's, Riviere Marais, and the Town of Winnipeg, according to my promise, and at each place, with the exception of Riviere Marais, found the Indians satisfied with the treaty and awaiting their payment. At Riviere Marais, which was the rendezvous appointed by the bands living in the neighborhood of Pembina, I found that the Indians had either misunderstood the advice given them by parties in the settlement, well disposed towards the treaty, or, as I have some reason to believe had become unsettled by the representations made by persons in the vicinity of Pembina, whose interests lay elsewhere than in the Province of Manitoba; for, on my announcing my readiness to pay them, they demurred at receiving their money until some further concessions had been made by me.

With a view to inducing the Indians to adopt the habits and labors of civilization, it had been agreed, at the signing of the treaty as before mentioned, to give certain animals as a nucleus for stocking the several reserves, together with certain farming implements; and it was now represented to me by the spokesman of the bands, that as the Queen had, with that kindness of heart which distinguished her dealings with her red children, expressed a desire to see the Indians discard their former precarious mode of living and adopt the agricultural pursuits of the white man, they were desirous of acceding to the wish of their great Mother, and were now prepared to receive the gifts she had been good enough to speak of, through her Commissioner, in full. But, as it could make no difference whatever to their great Mother whether these things were given in kind or in money value, her red children of the Pembina bands were resolved to receive them in the latter form. I had put a valuation upon all the articles mentioned in the supplement to the treaty, and could go no further in the matter unless I was prepared to pay them for all these articles at the rates they would now proceed to mention. I declined to comply with the request, and they declined to receive their first annual payment, whereupon I broke up my camp and returned to Winnipeg. As I foresaw at the time this determination on their part was shortly repented, and a number of their leading men were subsequently paid at Winnipeg, while at the request of the Indians, the money for the remainder, together with a pay sheet, was forwarded to the officer in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's Post at Pembina, with instructions to pay the Indians as per list as each might present himself. At Portage la Prairie, although the number paid at the Stone Fort was largely increased, there still remained many who, from absence or other causes, were not paid, and by the request of the Chief the money was left for these with the officers in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's Post, in the same manner as was done for the Pembina bands.

As I was unable to proceed to Fort Alexander, the payments for the Indians or for such of them as were present at the signing of the treaty, were sent in like manner to the officer in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's Post at Fort Alexander; but it may be as well to mention that the number so paid will fall far short of the total number belonging to that place. The latter remark will apply to the Pembina band, for their payment was sent as per gratuity list, and there must necessarily have been others who did not receive payment. All these must receive their back payments during the course of next year.

During the payment of the several bands, it was found that in some, and most notably in the Indian settlement and Broken Head River Band, a number of those residing among the Indians, and calling themselves Indians, are in reality half-breeds, and entitled to share in the land grant under the provisions of the Manitoba Act. I was most particular, therefore, in causing it to be explained, generally and to individuals, that any person now electing to be classed with Indians, and receiving the Indian pay and gratuity, would, I believed, thereby forfeit his or her right to another grant as a half-breed; and in all cases where it was known that a man was a half-breed, the matter, as it affected himself and his children, was explained to him, and the choice given him to characterize himself. A very few only decided upon taking their grants as half-breeds. The explanation of this apparent sacrifice is found in the fact that the mass of these persons have lived all their lives on the Indian reserves (so called), and would rather receive such benefits as may accrue to them under the Indian treaty, than wait the realization of any value in their half-breed grant.

The Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba having expressed a desire to be present at the negotiation of the treaty at Manitoba Post. His Honor, accompanied by the Hon. James McKay, proceeded thither with me, in company with Mr. Molyneux St. John, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, who had assisted me in the duties connected with the former treaty and payments. I left Winnipeg on the 13th August, but owing to adverse winds on Lake Manitoba did not arrive until two days after the time appointed. I found that, in the meanwhile, the officer in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's Post had been obliged to give some provisions to the Indians pending my arrival, but on my speaking to the leading men of the bands assembled, it was evident that the Indians of this part had no special demands to make, but having a knowledge of the former treaty, desired to be dealt with in the same manner and on the same terms as those adopted by the Indians of the Province of Manitoba.

The negotiation with these bands therefore occupied little time and on the 21st August, 1871, a treaty was concluded by which a tract of country three times as large as the Province of Manitoba was surrendered by the Indians to the Crown. Payment in full, that is to say, the gratuity and the first payment, was at once made; and I have since written to the officers in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's Posts within the tract above referred to, requesting them to procure for me a reliable census of the Indians, parties to this treaty.

I have referred to the cost of effecting these treaties, and remarked that it will prove to be exceptional. It may be regarded as entirely so, as far as the Indians with whom the dealings were held are concerned. In the future the annual payment will be only one-half to each Indian of the amount paid this year, for the gratuity was the same as the payment, and the heavy expense of feeding the Indians while at the place of meeting and on their journey home, will be avoided by the payment being made at or near their own reserves.

All the collateral expenses, therefore, of this year, including dresses, medals, presents to the Indians, etc., etc., will not appear in the expenses attending during future payments.

But it is to be remembered that a large number of Indians, whose lands were ceded by the second treaty, were not present. The distance from the hunting grounds of some to Manitoba Post is very great; but while their absence was to be regretted for some reasons, it effected a very considerable saving in the item of provisions.

During the ensuing season, these persons will probably be found at the place where the payments will be made, and will then require their payments as if they had been present at the signing of the treaty.

Of the land ceded in the Province of Manitoba, it will be hardly necessary for me to speak, as His Excellency the Governor-General is already in possession of accurate information touching its fertility and resources; but I may observe that, valuable as are these lands, they are fully equalled if not exceeded by the country of which the Government now comes into possession by virtue of the treaty concluded at Manitoba Post. Already settlers from the Provinces in Canada and elsewhere are pushing their way beyond the limits of the Province of Manitoba; and there is nothing but the arbitrary limits of that Province, and certain wood and water advantages found in the territory beyond it, to distinguish one part of the country from the other. The fertility that is possessed by Manitoba is shared by the country and its confines. The water courses of the Province are excelled by those of the territory; and the want of wood which threatens serious difficulty in the one is by no means so apparent in the other.

The Indians of both parts have a firm belief in the honor and integrity of Her Majesty's representatives, and are fully impressed with the idea that the amelioration of their present condition is one of the objects of Her Majesty in making these treaties. Although many years will elapse before they can be regarded as a settled population—settled in the sense of following agricultural pursuits—the Indians have already shown a disposition to provide against the vicissitudes of the chase by cultivating small patches of corn and potatoes. Moreover, in the Province of Manitoba, where labor is scarce, Indians give great assistance in gathering in the crops. At Portage la Prairie, both Chippawas and Sioux were largely employed in the grain field; and in other parishes I found many farmers whose employes were nearly all Indians.

Although serious trouble has from time to time occurred across the boundary line, with Indians of the same tribes, and indeed of the same bands as those in Manitoba, there is no reason to fear any trouble with those who regard themselves as subjects of Her Majesty. Their desire is to live at peace with the white man, to trade with him, and, when they are disposed, to work for him; and I believe that nothing but gross injustice or oppression will induce them either to forget the allegiance which they now claim with pride, or molest the white subjects of the sovereign whom they regard as their Supreme Chief.

The system of an annual payment in money I regard as a good one, because the recipient is enabled to purchase just what he requires when he can get it most cheaply, and it also enables him to buy articles at second hand, from settlers and others, that are quite as useful to him as are the same things when new. The sum of three dollars does not appear to be large enough to enable an Indian to provide himself with many of his winter necessaries; but as he receives the same amount for his wife or wives, and for each of his children, the aggregate sum is usually sufficient to procure many comforts for his family which he would otherwise be compelled to deny himself.

* * * * *

I take this opportunity of acknowledging the assistance afforded me in successfully completing the two treaties, to which I have referred, by His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, the Hon. James McKay, and the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company. In a country where transport and all other business facilities are necessarily so scarce, the services rendered to the Government by the officers in charge of the several Hudson's Bay Posts has been most opportune and valuable.

I have, etc., WEMYSS M. SIMPSON, Indian Commissioner.



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 Ojibbeway 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 presents and clothing were accepted by them as an equivalent for all past claims whatever." The Commissioners having explained to them fully the intentions of the Government as to obtaining a surrender of their territorial rights, and giving in return therefor reserves of land and annual payments, asked them to consider the proposals calmly* and meet the Commissioners the succeeding summer to come to an arrangement. In 1872, the Indians were found not to be ready for the making of a treaty and the subject was postponed. In the year 1873 a commission was issued to the Hon. Alexander Morris, then Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba and the North-West Territories, Lieut.-Col. Provencher, who had in the interval been appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the place of Mr. Simpson, who had resigned, and Lindsay Russell Esq., but the latter being unable to act, Mr. Dawson, now M.P. for Algoma, was appointed Commissioner in his stead. These Commissioners having accepted the duty confided to them, met the Indians at the north-west angle of the Lake of the Woods in the end of September, 1873, and, after protracted and difficult negotiations, succeeded in effecting a treaty with them. A copy of the treaty will be found in the Appendix, and a brief record of the utterances of the Indians and of the Commissioners, which was taken down in short hand by one of the soldiers of the militia force, is hereto subjoined. This treaty was one of great importance, as it not only tranquilized the large Indian population affected by it, but eventually shaped the terms of all the treaties, four, five, six and seven, which have since been made with the Indians of the North-West Territories—who speedily became apprised of the concessions which had been granted to the Ojibbeway nation. The closing scenes were striking and impressive. The chief speaker, Mawe-do-pe-nais, thus winding up the conference on the part of the Indians, in his final address to the Lieutenant-Governor and his fellow Commissioners:

"Now you see me stand before you all: what has been done here to day has been done openly before the Great Spirit and before the nation, and I hope I may never hear any one say that this treaty has been done secretly: and now in closing this council, I take off my glove, and in giving you my hand I deliver over my birthright and lands: and in taking your hand I hold fast all the promises you have made, and I hope they will last as long as the sun rises and the water flows, as you have said."

The conference then adjourned, and on re-assembling, after the treaty had been read and explained, the Commissioners signed it and the Lieutenant-Governor called on an aged hereditary Chief, Kee-ta-kay-pi-nais, to sign next. The Chief came forward, but declined to touch the pen, saying, "I must first have the money in my hand." The Lieutenant-Governor immediately held out his hand and directed the interpreter to say to the chief, "Take my hand and feel the money in it. If you cannot trust me for half an hour do not trust me forever." When this was repeated by the interpreter, the Chief smiled, took the out-stretched hand, and at once touched the pen, while his mark was being made, his last lingering distrust having been effectively dispelled by this prompt action and reply. The other Chiefs followed, and then the interpreter was directed to tell Kee-ta-kay-pi-nais, the Chief, that he would be paid forthwith, but the Chief at once replied, "Oh no, it is evening now, and I will wait till to-morrow." The payments were duly made next day, and so was closed, a treaty, whereby a territory was enabled to be opened up, of great importance to Canada, embracing as it does the Pacific Railway route to the North-West Territories—a wide extent of fertile lands, and, as is believed, great mineral resources. I now quote the official despatch of the Lieutenant-Governor, dated the 14th October, 1873, in which will be found, a full narrative of the proceedings, connected with the treaty, and a statement of the results thereby effected. I also submit a short-hand report of the negotiations connected with the treaty.


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 Ojibbeway 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 Angle on the 23rd September and arrived there on the 25th, when I was joined by Messrs. Provencher and Dawson the last named of whom I was glad to find had been associated with the Commissioners in consequence of the resignation of Mr. Lindsey Russell, thereby giving us the benefit as well of his knowledge of the country to be dealt with, as of the several bands of Indians therein. Mr. Pether, of Fort Francis, was also in attendance, and Mr. Provencher was accompanied by Mr. St. John, of his department.

On arriving, the Indians, who were already there, came up to the house I occupied, in procession, headed by braves bearing a banner and a Union Jack, and accompanied by others beating drums. They asked leave to perform a dance in my honor, after which they presented to me the pipe of peace. They were then supplied with provisions and returned to their camp. As the Indians had not all arrived, and for other reasons, the 26th, 27th and 28th were passed without any progress but on the 29th I sent them word that they must meet the Commissioners next morning. Accordingly, on the 30th, they met us in a tent, the use of which I had obtained from the military authorities. I explained to them the object of the meeting, but as they informed me that they were not ready to confer with us, I adjourned the meeting until next day. On the 1st October they again assembled. The principal cause of the delay was divisions and jealousies among themselves. The nation had not met for many years, and some of them had never before been assembled together. They were very jealous of each other, and dreaded any of the Chiefs having individual communications with me, to prevent which they had guards on the approaches to my house and Mr. Dawson's tent. On the 2nd October they again assembled, when I again explained the object of the meeting, through Mr. McPherson, an intelligent half-breed trader, whose services I secured. M. Chatelan, the Government interpreter, was also present. They had selected three spokesmen, and had also an Indian reporter, whose duty was to commit to memory all that was said. They had also secured the services of M. Joseph Nolin, of Point du Chene, to take notes in French of the negotiations, a copy of which notes I obtained from him and herewith enclose. The spokesmen informed me they would not treat as to the land until we settled with them as to the Dawson route, with regard to which they alleged Mr. Dawson had made promises which had not been kept, and that they had not been paid for the wood used in building the steamers, nor for the use of the route itself. Mr. Dawson explained that he had paid them for cutting wood, but had always asserted a common right to the use of wood and the water way. He asked them what promise had not been kept, and pointed out that the Government had twice before endeavored to treat with them for a settlement of all matters. He referred them to me as to the general question of the use of the route. They were unable to name any promises which had not been kept. Thereupon I told them I came on behalf of the Queen and the Government of the Dominion of Canada to treat with them with regard to the lands and all other matters, but that they refused to hear what I had to say; they had closed my mouth; and as we would not treat except for the settlement of all matters past and future I could not speak unless they asked me to do so. They conferred among themselves, and seeing that we were quite firm, the spokesman came forward and said that they would not close my mouth, after which they would make their demands. The Commissioners had had a conference and agreed, as they found there was no hope of a treaty for a less sum, to offer five dollars per head, a present of ten dollars, and reserves of farming and other lands not exceeding one square mile per family of five, or in that proportion, sums within the limits of our instructions, though I had private advices if possible not to give the maximum sum named, as the Government had been under a misapprehension as to amounts given to the bands in the United States. The Chiefs heard my proposal, and the meeting adjourned until next day. On the 3rd October the Chiefs again assembled and made a counter proposition, of which I enclose a copy, being the demand they have urged since 1869. I also enclose an estimate I had made of the money value of the demand, amounting to $125,000 per annum. On behalf of the Commissioners I at once peremptorily refused the demand. The spokesmen returned to the Chiefs, who were arranged on benches, the people sitting on the ground behind them, and on their return they informed me that the Chiefs, warriors and braves were of one mind, that they would make a treaty only if we acceded to their demand. I told them if so the conference was over, that I would return and report that they had refused to make a reasonable treaty, that hereafter I would treat with those bands who were willing to treat, but that I would advise them to return to the council and reconsider their determination before next morning, when, if not, I should certainly leave. This brought matters to a crisis. The Chief of the Lac Seul band came forward to speak. The others tried to prevent him, but he was secured a hearing. He stated that he represented four hundred people in the north, that they wished a treaty, that they wished a school-master to be sent them to teach their children the knowledge of the white man; that they had begun to cultivate the soil and were growing potatoes and Indian corn, but wished other grain for seed and some agricultural implements and cattle. This Chief spoke under evident apprehension as to the course he was taking in resisting the other Indians, and displayed much good sense and moral courage. He was followed by the Chief "Blackstone," who urged the other Chiefs to return to the council and consider my proposals, stating that he was ready to treat, though he did not agree to my proposals nor to those made to me. I then told them that I had known all along they were not united as they had said; that they ought not to allow a few Chiefs to prevent a treaty, and that I wished to treat with them as a nation and not with separate bands, as they would otherwise compel me to do, and therefore urged them to return to their council, promising to remain another day to give them time for consideration. They spent the night in council, and next morning having received a message from M. Charles Nolin, a French half-breed, that they were becoming more amenable to reason, I requested the Hon. James McKay (who went to the Angle three times to promote this treaty), Charles Nolin and Pierre Levaillier to go down to the Indian Council, and as men of their own blood, give them friendly advice. They accordingly did so, and were received by the Indians, and in about half an hour afterwards were followed by Messrs. Provencher and St. John, who also took part in the interview with the Council of Chiefs. The Chiefs were summoned to the conference by the sound of a bugle and again met us, when they told me that the determination to adhere to their demands had been so strong a bond that they did not think it could be broken, but they had now determined to see if I would give them anything more.

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