Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, 26 April 1870, Debates on Manitoba Confederation with Canada.

Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia

Second Session

Assembly Chamber, Upper Fort Garry

Tuesday, April 26, 1870

Hon. Mr. Bunn said — [...] With reference to this invitation of the President calling for an expression of views entertained in any parish in regard to public questions, I have a few remarks to make with regard to the proposed four-mile grant of land. I have heard that the Indians in my neighborhood are discontented with this projected land grant, and are talking of putting in certain claims which will, I think, interfere very much with the object we contemplate and ought to cause us to hesitate before pushing this matter farther. The Indians have got the idea that we are going to interfere with their special rights as Indians and that, without extinguishing their title we are going to appropriate their land. This is what they think with regard to the conversion of the two-mile hay privilege into absolute ownership. But, apart from this, they have declared their intention not to part with all their land. There is a certain portion of this country concerning which, I have been informed, they will enter into no treaty. This section is described to me as starting from the Indian Reserve, three or four miles below the Stone Fort, and going westward to where a line running due west would reach the Manitobah Lake — from thence to the Little Saskatchewan,— following that river to Lake Winnipeg — across the Lake to the east shore — along this line to White Mud River — and thence to the starting point (hear, hear). The portion of this with which we have particularly to do, is that in which some of our people have settled. Perhaps Mr. Sinclair of St. Peters could give us some information on the subject. The Indians claim that they will not treat for this land, but I think they have done so. I believe that this question of the hay privilege and interference with Indian rights is one in which we ought to exercise a great deal of caution. When we come to deal with the hay privilege particularly, I will have more to say on the subject.
Hon. Mr. Sinclair (St. Peter's) — As to this matter of the hay privilege, there can be little question with us; for the Indian Settlement, so called, has always been looked upon as an Indian reserve. There is a Chief of this reserve. There are, I believe, many Christian Indians, more especially Swampies, who are agreeable to have this hay privilege changed into ownership. But there are more opposed to it — and their influence is heavier in the scale. Their cry is, let us keep still. Let the Indian Settlement be as formerly (hear, hear).
Hon. Mr. Bunn — I thought you might know something of the camp of Indians who do not usually belong to the Indian Settlement, but are now there.
Hon. Mr. Sinclair — There are Indians down there belonging to the Upper Settlement, and the views they hold are similar to the majority of the Indians below.
After some debate,
The President said — What we have just heard on this subject admonishes us to be cautious. During the last session I had the honor to address this Chamber on the subject just alluded to, and though a report was published of the proceedings, I did not see the remarks I have spoken of. I recommended then that this question should be dealt with, wisely, cautiously; and I still say that if it is brought before this House as it ought to be, we may yet pass over the difficulty (hear, hear). This hay privilege question is before us — it will touch us everywhere — because it touches one of the most vital interests in this country — the land question (cheers).
Hon. Mr. Bunn — Unless this question is satisfactorily settled, I believe the public peace is very likely to be endangered. It is the only question likely to affect injuriously the public peace, as far as I can see.
The President — If we are going to have war on the hay now, it is better it should be there than any where else (laughter).
After further debate,
Hon. Mr. Hay — Setting aside this question, I would propose a vote of thanks to the law committee. The length of their report shows that they have not been idle. As they have not completed it, I would suggest that they should be allowed any reasonable time they might ask to complete their labors.
Hon. Mr. Olone seconded the motion, which was carried, with the understanding that the committee should work on during the present session, and that in the meantime that portion of the report already presented be taken up by the House.
At half-past six o'clock P.M. the House adjourned till eleven o'clock next forenoon, on motion of Hon. Mr. Bunn.


Manitoba. Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia Debates. Edited by Norma Jean Hall. 2010. Digitized by the Province of Manitoba.



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