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The Treaties
Treaties Menu
Treaties One and Two
The First and Second of the Eleven Treaties
Leading up to the Treaties
  • The Metis in the West were especially concerned. Surveyors had been assessing the land, and the thought of imminent change was looming. Therefore, under the leadership of Louis Riel, the Metis put together lists of rights for their people, and sent Riel to parliament. The lists became the Manitoba act and in 1870 it went into effect on May 15, and Manitoba became the fifth province of Canada.
  • Now that the most stark political turmoil had been settled, the government wanted to find a way to move into peace talks with the people on the land between Manitoba and Southern Ontario, as well as the Natives living in Manitoba.
  • The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, Adams G. Archibald was sent to the new province with instructions to settle treaties with the Natives, but found since there were so many different tribes, with varying claims about their lands, that it was best to wait before negotiating.
  • To deal with the lands between Thunder Bay and Fort Garry, a different man had been appointed Indian Commissioner; his name was Wemyss Simpson. Simpson was told to offer the natives a maximum payment of $12 per family per year, with slightly higher allowances for larger families. Simpson's first treaty agreement, with Indians at Lake-of-the-Woods failed.
  • 1871
    • Simpson, Dawson, Archibald and James McKay- a half-breed on the Manitoba executive council- meet in Manitoba to discuss treaty approaches.
    • They decide which land was best to cede from the Indians, which they would do within two separate treaties, so not all the natives had to meet at once.
Treaty One
  • On July 18, 1871, Simpson issued a proclamation inviting the Indians to meet with him at Fort Garry on the 25th.
  • On July 27th, treaty negotiations starting, with Archibald announcing that the Queen wanted to deal fairly and justly with her subjects, while also explaining the benefits of farming to their lifestyle. He stressed that they would still be free to hunt over all the lands.
  • Simpson then asked each tribe to pick a chief to represent them as a signer of the treaty, so that there would be no future accusations of unfair, or unjust agreements
  • The natives took two days to pick a chief, and came back requesting that four Swampy Crees jailed for breaching a contract with the Hudson's Bay Company be released before they continue. The Swampy Crees were released.
  • After the natives asked for 2/3rds of the land, Archibald told them that immigrants would settle regardless, and that the claim was extreme.
  • Archibald proposed 160 acres for each family of five and an annuity of twelve dollars, and the option of not signing the treaty if they thought that was better
  • After a couple days deliberation, the Indians accepted the treaty
  • The Treaty was signed on August 3, 1871.
  • Signing on behalf of the government were Lieutenant-Governor Archibald, Commissioner Simpson, Major Irvine and eight witnesses.
  • The signatories for the Chippewas and Crees were Red Eagle (Mis-koo-ki-new or Henry Prince); Bird Forever (Ka-ke-ka-penais or William Pennefather); Flying Down Bird (Na-sha-ke-penais); Centre of Birds Tail (Na-na-wa-nanan); Flyinground (Ke-we-tay-ash); Whippoorwill (Wa-ko-wush); and Yellow Quill (Os-za-we-kwun).
  • The Treaty was formally ratified by the Governor General in Council on September 12, 1871.
Treaty Two
  • The second treaty was signed at Manitoba Post on the 21st of August 1871, under the same terms and conditions of the first treaty.
  • Negotiations went smoothly, and Commissioner Simpson, accompanied by Lieutenant-Governor Archibald, the Honourable James McKay and Molyneux St. John, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly signed on behalf of the crown, along with seven witnesses.
  • The signators for the Chippewas were Mekis, Francois (Broken Fingers), Ma-sah-kee-yash and Richard Woodhouse and Sou-sonce.
  • Treaty Two was ratified by the Governor General in Council on November 25, 1871.
The Terms of the Treaties
  • All of Archibald's promises were fulfilled, except some conditions concerning hunting and agriculture
  • The band of Yellow Quill received a further 25 square miles of land to be laid out around the reserve.
  • Each reserve had a government maintained school upon request
  • Each Indian man, woman and child was given a gratuity of three dollars and an annuity of three dollars, or a total of fifteen dollars per family.
  • The annuity was to be paid in goods, but could also be paid in cash if it was deemed to be in the Indians' interest.
  • The government further promised that an accurate census of all the Indians inhabiting the treaty areas would be undertaken as soon as possible.
The Difficulties of the Treaties
  • Natives complained that they weren't getting the agricultural implements Archibald had promised and that certain 'outside promises-' referring to agricultural and medical aid-made outside of the treaty agreement weren't being fulfilled
  • While there were some debate as to whether the promises were true, the government issued an official statement on April 30, 1875 declaring:

    That the written Memorandum attached to Treaty No. 1 be considered as part of that Treaty and of Treaty No. 2, and that the Indian Commissioner be instructed to carry out the promises therein contained insofar as they have not yet been carried out, and that the Commissioner be advised to inform the Indians that he has been authorized so to do.

  • Each Chief got a special dress, a buggy, a yoke of Oxen, a bull, a cow, a boar and a sow.
  • Each farmer got a male and female of the animal they were to raise and a plow and harrow for each settler cultivating the ground.
  • In 1875, Commissioner Provencher and Lieutenant-Governor Morris visited the bands to gain their agreement and all bands agreed except the Portage Band, who had disputes over the land of their reserve. A year later the conflict was resolved.
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