Treaty Negotiations, October 1875 to July 1876, Between Canada and First Nations of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.

126 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians.


WHEN Treaties, Numbers One and Two, were made, certain verbal promises were unfortunately made to the Indians, which were not included in the written text of the treaties, nor recognized or referred to, when these Treaties were ratified by the Privy Council. This, naturally, led to misunderstanding with the Indians, and to widespread dissatisfaction among them. This state of matters was reported to the Council by the successive Lieut.-Governors of Manitoba, and by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. On examination of the original Treaty Number One, the Minister of the Interior reported that a memorandum was found attached to it signed by Mr. Commissioner Simpson, His Hon. Governor Archibald, Mr. St. John and the Hon. Mr. McKay, purporting to contain their understanding of the terms upon which the Indians concluded the treaty. This memorandum was as follows :
Memorandum of things outside of the Treaty which were promised at the Treaty at the Lower Fort, signed the 3rd day of August, A.D. 1871.
For each Chief that signed the treaty, a dress distinguishing him as Chief.
For braves and for councillors of each Chief, a dress: it being supposed that the braves and councillors will be two for each Chief.
For each Chief, except Yellow Quill, a buggy.
For the braves and councillors of each Chief, except Yellow Quill, a buggy.
In lieu of a yoke of oxen for each reserve, a bull for each, and a cow for each Chief ; a boar for each reserve, and a sow for each Chief, and a male and female of each kind of animal raised by farmers ; these when the Indians are prepared to receive them.
Revision of Treaties One and Two. 127
A plow and a harrow for each settler cultivating the ground.
These animals and their issue to be Government property, but to be allowed for the use of the Indians, under the superintendence and control of the Indian Commissioner.
Thc buggies to be the property of the Indians to whom they are given.
The above contains an inventory of the terms concluded with the Indians.
The Privy Council, by Order in Council, agreed to consider this memorandum as part of the original treaties, and instructed the Indian Commissioner to carry out the promises therein contained, which had not been implemented. They also agreed to offer to raise the annuities from three to five dollars per head, to pay a further annual sum of twenty dollars to each chief, and to give a suit of clothing every three years to each chief and head man, allowing four head men to each band, upon the distinct understanding however, that any Indian accepting the increased payment, thereby formally abandoned all claims against the Government, in connection with the verbal promises of the Commissioners, other than those recognized by the treaty and the memorandum above referred to.
The Government then invited Lieut.-Gov. Morris, in conjunction with the Indian Commissioner, Lieut.-Col. Provencher, to visit the several bands interested in the treaties, with a view to submit to them the new terms, and obtain their acceptance of the proposed revision of the treaties. His Honor accordingly placed his services at the disposal of the Government, and was at his request accompanied by the Hon. Mr. McKay, who had been present at the making of the original treaties, and was well versed in the Indian tongues. In October 1875, these gentlemen entered upon the task confided to them, and first proceeded to meet the large and important band of St. Peters, in the Province of Manitoba. The matter was fully discussed with the Indians, the Order in Council, 128 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians. and memorandum read and explained to them, and their written assent to the new terms obtained. After their return from St. Peters, owing to the advanced season of the year, it was decided to divide the work, the Lieutenant-Governor requesting the Indian Commissioner to proceed to Fort Alexander on Lake Winnipeg, and to the Broken Head and Roseau Rivers, while Messrs. Morris and McKay, would undertake to meet the Indians included in Treaty Number Two at Manitoba House on Lake Manitoba. Colonel Provencher met the Indians at the places above mentioned, and obtained the assent of the Indians of the three bands to the revised treaty. Messrs. Morris and McKay proceeded by carriage to Lake Manitoba, and thence in a sail boat, where they met the Indians of the six bands of Treaty Number Two, and after full discussion, tha Indians cordially accepted the new terms, and thus was pleasantly and agreeably closed, with all the bands of Treaties One and Two, except that of the Portage band, who were not summoned to any of the conferences, a fruitful source of dissension and difficulty. The experience derived from this misunderstanding, proved however, of benefit with regard to all the treaties, subsequent to Treaties One and Two, as the greatest care was thereafter taken to have all promises fully set out in the treaties, and to have the treaties thoroughly and fully explained to the Indians, and understood by them to contain the whole agreement between them and the Crown, The arrangement, however, of the matter with the Portage band was one of more difficulty. This band had always been troublesome. In 1870, they had warned off settlers and Governor MacTavish of the Hudson's Bay Company had been obliged to send the Hon. James McKay to make terms for three years with them for the admission of settlers. In 1874, they twice sent messengers with tobacco (the usual Indian credentials for such messengers) to Qu'Appelle to prevent the making of the treaty there. Besides the claims to the outside promises, preferred by the other Revision of Treaties One and Two. 129 Indians, they had an additional grievance, which they pressed with much pertinacity. To obtain their adhesion to Treaty Number One, the Commissioners had given them preferential terms in respect to their reserve, and the wording in the treaty of these terms enhanced the difficulty. The language used was as follows: "And for the use of the Indians of whom Oo-za- we-kwan is Chief, so much land on the south and east side of the Assiniboine, as will furnish one hundred and sixty acres for each family of five, or in that proportion for larger or smaller families, reserving also a further tract enclosing said reserve, to contain an equivalent to twenty-five square miles of equal breadth, to be laid out around the reserve." The enclosure around the homestead reserve led to extravagant demands by them. They did not understand its extent, and claimed nearly half of the Province of Manitoba under it.
The Indians constantly interviewed the Lieutenant-Governor on the subject, and when the Hon. Mr. Laird, then Minister of the Interior, visited Manitoba, they twice pressed their demands upon him. The Government requested the Hon. Messrs. Morris and McKay to endeavor to settle the long pending dispute, and they proceeded to the Round Plain on the river Assiniboine with that view. They met the Indians, some five hundred in number, but without result. The Indians were divided among themselves. A portion of the band had forsaken Chief Yellow Quill and wished the recognition of the Great Bear, grandson of Pee-qual-kee-quash, a former chief of the band. The Yellow Quill band wanted the reserve assigned in one locality ; the adherents of the Bear said that place was unsuited for farming, and they wished it to be placed at the Round Plain, where they had already commenced a settlement. The land to which they were entitled under the treaty was 34,000 acres, but their demands were excessive.
The Chief Yellow Quill was apprehensive of his own followers, and besides the danger of collision between the two sections was imminent. The Commissioners finally intimated to the 130 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians. band that they would do nothing with them that year, but would make the customary payment of the annuities under the original treaty and leave them till next year to make up their minds as to accepting the new terms, to which the Indians agreed.
In 1876, the Government again requested Mr. Morris to meet these Indians and endeavor to arrange the long pending dispute with them, and in July he travelled to the Long Plain on the Assiniboine with that object in view. He had previously summoned the band to meet there, and had also summoned a portion of the band known as the White Mud River Indians, dwelling on the shores of Lake Manitoba, who were nominally under the chieftainship of Yellow Quill, and were, as such, entitled to a portion of the original reserve, but did not recognize the Chief. Mr. Morris was accompanied by Mr. Graham, of the Indian Department, Secretary and Paymaster. On arrival at his destination, the Lieutenant-Governor found the Indians assembled, but in three camps. Those adhering to Yellow Quill, the Bear, and the White Mud River Indians, being located on different parts of the plains. Mr. Reid, Surveyor, was also present, to explain the extent and exact dimensions of the proposed reserve.
The next day the Indians were assembled, and the conference lasted for two days. The Yellow Quill band were still obstructive, but the other two sections were disposed to accept the terms. The question of the reserve was the main difficulty. The Yellow Quill band still desired a reserve for the whole. The others wished to remain, the Bear's party at the Round Plain, and the White Mud River Indians at Lake Manitoba, where they resided and had houses and farms. In the interval from the previous year, the Bear's band had built several houses, and made enclosures for farming. Eventually, the Indians were made to comprehend the extent of land they were really entitled to, but the Governor intimated that the land was for all, and that he would divide the band into three, Revision of Treaties One and Two. 131 each with a Chief and councillors, and that he would give each band a portion of the whole number of acres, proportionate to their numbers—the Bear at the Round Plain, the White Mud Indians at their place of residence, and the Yellow Quill band wherever they might select, in unoccupied territory. After long consultations among themselves the Indians accepted the proposal. The Bear was recognized as a Chief, and a Chief selected by the White Mud River band was accepted as such.
The Indians also agreed to accept the revised terms of Treaty Number One, and an agreement in accordance with the understanding was prepared and signed by the Lieutenant-Governor, and the Chief and head men. The Indians preferred a request to receive the two dollars, increased amount, which, as they said, "had slipped through their fingers last year," which was granted, and also that the councillors should be paid yearly, as in the other treaties, subsequently made. This the Governor promised to recommend, and it was eventually granted, being made applicable to all the band in Treaties Numbers One and Two.
Thus was so far closed, a controversy which had lasted for some years, and had been fruitful of unpleasant feelings, the negotiations terminating in that result having been from a variety of causes more difficult to bring to a satisfactory solution than the actual making of treaties, for the acquisition of large extents of territory. On the leaving of the Lieutenant- Governor, the morning after the conclusion of the arrangement, the Indians assembled and gave three cheers for the Queen and Governor, and fired a feu de joie. Mr. Reid at once proceeded to set aside the reserves for the Bear and White Mud bands, but the selection of a reserve by the Yellow Quill band was attended with still further further difficulty, although it was eventually pointed out by them, and surveyed by Mr. Reid, it being in a very desirable locality. The despatches of the Lieutenant-Governor to the Minister of the Interior, giving an account in full of the negotiations for the revision of the 132 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians. Treaties Numbers One and Two, will complete this record, and will be found to give a clear narrative of them. These are as follows :
Sir,—I have the honor to inform you that in pursuance of your request that I should meet the Indians of Treaties Numbers One and Two, with a view to a revision of the terms thereof, and an adjustment of the disputed questions connected therewith, I proceeded to the St. Peter Reserve on the 5th of August and encamped near the Indian tents.
On the 6th I met Chief Prince and his band, being accompanied by the Hon. James McKay, who at my request gave me the benefit of his valuable services, and by Mr. Provencher. I explained to the Indians the terms offered to them by the Government, and obtained their written assent thereto, endorsed on a parchment copy of the Order in Council of date the 30th April, 1875. As however there are in the bands of Treaties Numbers One and Two, four councillors, i.e., head men, and two braves, we were under the necessity of agreeing that they should continue at that number, instead of two, as specified in the report of the Privy Council. We then brought before them your request that the portion of the reserve embraced in the proposed new town near the Pacific Railway crossing should be sold for their benefit, to which they agreed, and the formal instrument of surrender will be enclosed to you by the Indian Commissioner.
The Indians living at Nettley Creek asked to have a reserve assigned them there, and I promised to bring their request under your notice.
I did not bring up the question of the division of the band into two, as my experience with the Portage band, arising from a similar difficulty, led me to fear that complications might arise from the proposal which might prevent the settlement of the more important matter of the disposal of the open questions relating to the treaty. I was therefore of opinion that the division of the band should be postponed to next year, and acted upon that opinion. A party of Norway House Indians were present and asked for a reserve at the Grassy Narrows. I informed them that one could not be granted at that place, and learning from them that the Chief at Norway House was about leaving there with a party of Indians to confer with me, I engaged three of the Indians present to proceed at once to Norway House and inform the Indians that I would meet them there about the middle of September.
I have since learned that they met the Chief after he had left Norway House or Fort Garry, and caused him to return.
I have the honor to be, etc., ALEXANDER MORRIS, Lieut.-Governor.
Revision of Treaties One and Two. 133
SIR, —I have the honor to inform you that after my return from St. Peters, finding that in view of my contemplated mission to Lake Winnipeg it would be impossible for me to visit all the bands of Indians included in Treaties Numbers One and Two, I requested the Indian Commissioner, Mr. Provencher, to proceed to meet them at Fort Alexander and the Broken Head and Roseau rivers, while I should proceed to Lake Manitoba and meet at Manitoba House the various bands of Indians included in Treaty Number Two. In pursuance of this arrangement, I left here on the 17th of August for Oak Point, on Lake Manitoba, where I was to take a boat for Manitoba Post.
I was accompanied by the Hon. James McKay, whose presence enabled me to dispense with an interpreter, and was of importance otherwise, as he had assisted my predecessor in the making of the treaty originally at Manitoba Post. Mr. Graham, of the Indian Department, also accompanied me to make the payments and distribute the pensions. I reached Oak Point on the afternoon of the 18th, and left there on the afternoon of the 20th, arriving at Manitoba House on the evening of the 21st. The next day being Sunday, nothing of course was done relating to my mission, but on Monday morning I met the Indians at ten o'clock on the lake shore. The six bands included in the treaty were all represented by their Chiefs and head men and a large number of their people.
I explained to them the object of our mission, my remarks being fully interpreted by Mr. McKay, and obtained their assent in writing to the Order in Council of the 30th April last, the terms of which were accepted with cordiality and good feeling by the Indians.
The new medals and uniforms were distributed to the Chiefs and head men, and the payments under the revised treaty were then commenced by Mr. McKay and Mr. Graham, and continued until 12.30 p.m.
On the 24th, the payments were resumed and concluded, but owing to heavy rain and high winds, we were unable to leave Manitoba Post until the 25th. The Indians on our departure again firing their guns in token of their respect and good will. Owing to stormy weather, which obliged us to encamp on Bird Island, we did not return to Oak Point until the afternoon of the 27th.
0n the 28th, the Indians residing in that vicinity, and belonging to Sousanye's band, were paid by Messrs. McKay and Graham. I returned to Fort Garry on the 1st September, in the afternoon, my journey having been protracted by unfavorable weather, and by the fact that owing to the prevalence of shoals. the navigation of Lake Manitoba is difficult in stormy weather.
As only a small portion of the Riding House Indians were present, I informed them that Mr. Graham would proceed to the mountains after our 134 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians. return, to make the payments, and that I would send by him a reply to their requests, as to the retention by them of the reserve originally designated in the treaty, and this I have since done affirmatively with your sanction. Mr. Provencher succeeded in obtaining the adhesion of the bands at Fort Alexander, Broken Head and Roseau rivers to the new terms, and has handed me the copies of the Order in Council with their assents endorsed thereon.
You will therefore perceive that with the exception of the Portage band with regard to whom I wrote you fully on the 2nd of August last, the assent of all the Indians interested therein to the proposed mode of settlement of the unrecorded promises made at the conclusion of Treaties Numbers One and Two, has been obtained, and I feel that I have reason to congratulate the Privy Council on the removal of a fruitful source of difficulty and discontent. But I would add. that it becomes all the more important that a better system of Indian administration should be devised so as to secure the prompt and rigid carrying out of the new terms in their entirety.
You are already in possession of my views on this subject, and I trust that local agents will be appointed to be supervised by the Indian Commissioner and that an Indian Council of advice and control, sitting at Fort Garry, will be entrusted with the direction of the Treaties One, Two, and the upper portion of Three, and the new Treaty Number Five, so as to secure prompt and effective administration of Indian Affairs.
Under the system of local agents, the necessity of large gatherings of the Indians will be avoided, and much expense to the Government, and inconvenience to the Indians, avoided. I have further to record my sense of the services rendered to me by Messrs. McKay and Graham. The latter discharged his duties with promptitude and efficiency, and Mr. McKay and he introduced a mode of distribution of the provisions to which I would call your attention.
I have the honor to be, etc., ALEXANDER MORRIS, Lieut. -Governor.
SIR, —In accordance with your request I have commenced my visits to the Indian bands included in Treaties Numbers One and Two, with a view to settling the matters in dispute. I left here on the 22nd inst., and was accompanied by the Hon. James McKay, whom I had invited to accompany me in consequence of his having been present at the making of the treaties. and by the Indian Commissioner.
I reached the Round Plain on the Assiniboine river, where Yellow Quill's Revision of Treaties One and Two. 135 band of Saulteaux had assembled on the 26th, and met the Indians next day, explaining to them our mission, and telling them what I was empowered to promise them. This band, as you are aware, has always been dissatisfied, and have been difficult to deal with. I found them in an intractable frame of mind, and the difficulty of the position was enhanced by a division amongst themselves.
The original Chief of the Portage band was Pee-quah-kee-quah, who was a party to the treaty with Lord Selkirk. On his death he was succeeded by his son, who died some years ago, leaving a boy, who has now grown up. Yellow Quill was appointed chief by the Hudson's Bay Company when Pee-quah-kee-quah's son died. The grandson is now grown up and has returned from the plains, where he has been, and claims to be recognized as an hereditary chief, and about half the band have followed his lead. After we had been in conference for some time, an Indian rose and told me that when the chief of the Portage died, he charged him to keep the land for his son, and that they wished a reserve at the Portage. Another rose and produced Pee- quah-kee-quah's King George medal, and said the chief had placed it in his keeping and charged him to deliver it to his son, when he was old enough to be a chief, and then placed it round the neck of Kes-kee-maquah, or the Short Bear. They then asked that I should receive him as a chief, in place of Yellow Quill. I told them that could not be done. That Yellow Quill must remain a chief, but that I would report their request on behalf of the young chief to the Government at Ottawa and let them know their decision, but that they could get no reserve at the Portage, as only that mentioned in the treaty would be given, and with this they were satisfied. The conference then went on, the two parties sitting apart and holding no intercourse with each other. I spent two days with them, making no progress, as they claimed that a reserve thirty miles by twenty was promised them, as shewn in the rough sketch enclosed, made at their dictation and marked " A." I produced the plan of the reserve. as proposed to be allotted to them, containing 34,000 acres, but Yellow Quill said it was not in the right place, and was not what was promised, and morever it was not surrounded by the belt of five miles, mentioned in the treaty, but was only partially so, and did not cross the river. I told them they could get no more land than was promised in the treaty. They appealed to Mr. McKay whether the Reserve was not promised to be on both sides cf the river, and he admitted that it was. I told them it was not so written in the treaty, and that if the Government should allow it to cross the rive": the rights of navigation must be conserved, but I would consult the Queen's Councillors. They replied that they would go to the " Grand Father " and get him to intercede for them, meaning the " President of the United States." as I afterwards discovered, an American Indian having persuaded them to take this course.
They refused to discuss rr accept anything until the Reserve Question was settled, and while I was speaking on the afternoon of the second day, Yellow Quill's Councillors went away, and left him alone, when he followed.
136 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians.
I then left the Council tent, leaving word that I would depart in the morning. Yellow Quill came back and said that he would accept the five dollars, but Mr. McKay told him he had not taken my hand, and that it would not be paid, as my offer was conditioned on a settlement of all questions between them and the Government. About six o'clock, Yellow Quill and his Councillors sent me the following message which had been written for them by Mr. Deputy Sheriff Setter from their dictation.
"They didn't come to see you. You came to see them, and if you choose to come and speak to them again, you can come if you like."
I felt that I must now deal firmly with them, and therefore prepared the following reply:
" It is not right, for they came to see me at my request, as their Governor, and I came to meet them. After spending two days with them, their Chief insulted me by rising and going out while I was speaking, and breaking up the Conference. I represent the Queen, and his action was disrespectful to her. I will not go to meet you again. If you are sorry for the way I have been treated you can come and see me."
I charged Mr. McKay to deliver it to them in their Council, which he did, when they denied having meant to send the message in the terms in which it was, and disclaimed all intended offence. The message had its desired effect, but their disclaimer was not correct, as Mr. Setter informs me that he had originally written a welcome to me, which they caused him to strike out, and to say that " I could come if I chose." Next morning I struck my tents and loaded my waggons and prepared to leave. Seeing this, Yellow Quill and his Councillors came to Mr. McKay, and asked if I would not see them again, to which I consented. On proceeding to Mr. Provencher's pay tent, I met the Chief, Yellow Quill. His spokesman rose, saying " that they were glad to have met me, that they had found my words good; that they had not desired to offend the Queen or me, and were sorry ; that God had watched us during two days, and He was again looking on." I accepted their apology, and then proceeded to practical business. the whole tone and demeanor of the Indians being changed, having become cordial and friendly. I may mention here, that Yellow Quill reproached his Councillors for their conduct. He also informed Mr. McKay privately, that he could not act otherwise as he was in danger of his life from some of his own "braves." He was guarded all the time bya man armed with a bow and steel-pointed arrows. I promised to state their claims as to the reserve, but told them it would not be granted, but that I Would change the location of the reserve, as it had been selected without their approval, and would represent their view as to its locality, and as to crossing the river, the navigation of which, however, could not be interfered with. They asked to be paid three dollars per head or one dollar per year for the following transaction: In 1868a number of Ontario farmers had settled on Rat Creek. Yellow Quill's band drove them off and trouble was impending. Governor McTavish sent Mr: McKay up to arrange the difficulty, in antici Revision of Treaties One and Two. 137pation of the advent of Canadian power. He made a lease for three years of their rights, assuring them that before that time the Canadian Government would make a treaty with them and recognize the temporary arrangement, and in consquence the settlers were unmolested. The question was not raised at the " Stone Fort " Treaty, and I told them I had not known of it before, but supposed the Government would hold that the treaty had covered it, and that the extra two dollars would compensate for it, but that I would represent their views and give them an answer. They complained of the mode of payment, as my predecessor assured them that their children who were absent should be paid when they presented themselves, and that they only got two years payment instead of the full amount. As these were Mr. Provencher's instructions I promised to report it. They expressed themselves quite satisfied with the arrangements as to the outside promises, and would gladly accept of it, if the reserve question was settled, but that they could not receive that as surveyed. I took the opportunity of explaining to them that the "President of the United States " had no power here, and that the Queen and Her Councillors were the only authorities they had to deal with, and that I would state their wishes as fullv as they could do themselves. They asked if I would come back, but I said not this year, but next year either I or some other Commissioner would meet them. Eventually they cheerfully agreed to accept the three dollars annuity as usual, and to defer a final adjustment of the question between us until next year, and promised to accompany any one I sent to select the reserve and agree on its locality. They again thanked me for my kindness and patience with them, and I took leave of them. I regard the result as very satisfactory, as I left the band contented, and you are aware of their intimate relation with the "Plain Indians," and the difficulty their message to Qn'Appelle, " that the white man had not kept his promises,'." caused us then, and it is very important that they should be satisfied. I returned to the Portage, and Mr. Provencher proceeded to Totogan, and paid the White Mud section of the band, numbering one hundred and thirty, who are nominally included in it, but do not recognize Yellow Quill's authority, the usual annuities, which they accepted without demur.
I would now make the following recommendations :
1st. That you should write to Yellow Quill declining to entertain his demands for the large reserve, but offering to them a reserve including the " Eagle's Nest" on the north side of the river, and laid off in the terms of the treaty, with the land comprised in the one hundred and sixty acres for each family, surrounded by the belt mentioned in the treaty, in the manner suggested in the enclosed rough sketch "B, " reserving the rights of navigation and access to the river. The land is of inferior quality to that already offered them.
2nd. I would propose that the young chief should be recognized as head of the section of the band adhering to him. He and his section are ready to accept the terms and the reserve as described in the treaty. They behaved 138 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians. very well and told Mr. McKay that they were glad I had not recognized him then, as it would have led to bloodshed, and they would be content if the recognition came when the reserve was settled. The young chief is an intelligent, well disposed man, aged about twenty-six.
3rd. I would propose that the White Mud Indians, who live there constantly, should be recognized as a distinct band and should elect a Chief.
4th. I would recommend that the arrears due to Indians who have not yet received their annuities, should be paid in full at once, but that a period of two years should be fixed for those bona fide members of the band to come in and be paid, and that after that they should only receive one year's payment. If these steps are taken, I think we shall have no more trouble with these Indians.
In conclusion I have to express my obligations to the Hon. Mr. Mckay for the valuable services he rendered me. The Indians told me they would not have come into the Stone Fort Treaty but for him, and I know it was the case.
I have the honor to be, etc., ALEXANDER MORRIS; Lieut.-Governor.
SIR—I have the honor to inform you that, in compliance with your request, I left this on the 14th ult. with the view of proceeding to the Long Plain on the Assiniboine, in order to meet the Indians of the Portage Band, to arrange the dispute with regard to the reserve, and to settle the outside promises. Mr. Graham, of the Indian Department, and Mr. Reid, P.L.S., also went there at my request, the one to act as paymaster, and the other, as you wished, to survey the reserve. Owing to the prevalence of heavy rain the roads were in so bad a condition that I was four days in reaching the Long Plain, while we were also subjected to incovenience and expense by the detention of the provisions, owing to the same cause. Added to my other discomforts was the presence of mosquitoes in incredible numbers, so that the journey and the sojourn at the Plain were anything but pleasurable. I had taken the precaution to request Mr. Cummings, the interpreter, to summon the White Mud Indians as well as Yellow Quill's band, and those who adhered to the Short Bear.
On my arrival at the Long Plains, which I accomplished on the 17th, I found about five hundred Indians assembled, but camped in three separate encampments. On arriving, I was saluted by a few de joie. At the Portage, Mr. Graham had obtained some provisions, which he had sent forward in carts.
Revision of Treaties One and Two.  139
On our way we met some carts sent by the Indians to relieve my waggons of the tents and baggage, the Indian trail being almost impracticable ; but instead of so using them I sent them on toward the Portage to meet the loaded carts, and was thus enabled to get the temporary supply of provisions to the Plain, which was fortunate, as the Indians were without food. The evening of my arrival the Councillors of Yellow Quill came to talk with me, but I declined to do so, telling them that the Chief had not come, and I would only speak with him. I acted thus, in consequence of the conduct of their head men, last year, when they controlled the Chief and coerced the whole band. In a. short time Yellow Quill came with them to see me, and finding that they had come about provisions, I referred them to Mr. Graham, who, I informed them, had charge of the provisions and payments. The incident had a marked effect in giving tone to the following negotiations.
On Monday I met the Indians, who ranged themselves in three parties. I explained to them the proposed arrangement of the outside promises very fully, and told them that as they were willing to accept of the settlement last year, I did so for their information only. I then took up the question of the reserve, read the terms in which it was referred to in the Stone Fort Treaty, explained to them that they were getting double the land any other Indians in Treaties Numbers One and Two were doing, but told them the reserve belonged to all of them, and not to Yellow Quill's band alone. I then called on them to speak to me, asking Yellow Quill first. He said he did not understand the extent of the reserve. I then asked Mr. Reid to shew them a diagram of it, and to explain to them its length in ordinary miles, and otherwise, which he did very satisfactorily, and at length they comprehended it. I then called on Short Bear's band to express their views. They said they wanted a reserve at the Long Plain, if it was only a little piece 0f land ; that they liked the place, that they had built houses and planted gardens, had cut oak to build more houses, and wished to farm there. I then called on the White Mud Indians. They said that they were Christians and had always lived at the White Mud River ; that they did not wish to join either Yellow Quill's or Short Bear's reserve, but desireda reserve at the Big Point. I told them they could not have it there, as there were settlers, and the Government wished them to join one of the other bands, and explained to them that their holdings would be respected, except where inadvertently sold. I took this course, as I had ascertained that the plan of Yellow Quill's head men was to make no settlement this year, and that they had induced the other Indians to agree to act in that way. I accordingly so shaped my opening speech and my dealings with the Indians as to defeat this project, by securing the support of Short Bear's and the White Mud Indians, which I succeeded in doing, though Yellow Quill's spokesman taunted the others with having broken their agreement. As the conference proceeded, Yellow Quill's councillors said they did not want the band broken up, as they wished all to live 140 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians. together. I told Yellow Quill he would have his reserve on both sides of the river, reserving, the navigation, and that if they could agree to go to one reserve, I would be pleased; but if not, that I would settle the matter. Yellow Quill said his councillors were willing that the other Indians should have a separate reserve provided they retained the belt of twenty-five miles, in addition to their proportion of the reserve. I informed them this could not be done; the reserve belonged to all. They then asked for an adjournment, in order that they might meet together and have a smoke over it, to assemble again when I hoisted my flag. After a couple of hours interval I agnin convened them. The Short Bears and White Mud Indians adhered to what they stated to me, but Yellow Quill's band insisted on one reserve for all, but admitted that the objections of Short Bear's band to the place asked by them were well founded, and that it was sandy and unfit for farming, and that they would like to select a reserve higher up the River Assiniboine. I then adjourned the conference until morning, and asked them to meet together and be prepared for settlement.
On Tuesday, the 20th June, the Indians again respOnded to the hoisting of my flag, and met at 9 o'clock. Yellow Quill told me that his band are now willing to separate from the others, and wished to select a reserve higher up the river. I informed them that I would accede to their request, but that they must do it at once, and on the approval thereof by the Privy Council it would be laid off. Short Bear's band still desired a reserve at the Long Plain, to which I assented. The White Mud River Indians asked for a separate reserve where they could farm, and I informed them that under the discretionary powers I possessed I would have a reserve selected for them, giving them their proportion of the original reserve. The Indians then asked that the two dollars per head, which had, as they said, slipped through   their fingers last year, should be paid to them, and I told them that I had been authorized to do so, which gave them much satisfaction. In anticipation of a settlement I had prepared a draft agreement, which was being copied for me by Mr. Graham. I informed them of this, and stated that I would sign it, and that the Chiefs and Councillors must do so likewise, so that there could be no misunderstanding. When the agreement was completed, I asked Mr. Cummings, the Interpreter, to read it to them, which he did. Three Indians, who understood English, and who had at an early period been selected by the Indians to check the interpretation of what was said, standing by, and Mr. Cummings being assisted by Mr. Cook, of St. James, who, at Mr. Cummings' request, I had associated with him, on the Indians choosing their interpreters. I then signed the agreement, and called upon Yellow Quill to do so. He came forward cheerfully and said he would sign it, because he now understood what he never did before, viz., what was agreed to at the Stone Fort. I then called on his Councillors to sign, but they refused, saying they had agreed by the mouth. I then told the Indians that unless the Councillors signed nothing could be done, and that the Coun.cillors who refused would be responsible for the failure of the negotiations.
Revision of Treaties One and Two. 141
One of them then signed, but the other persistently refused. I repeated my warning, and at length he reluctantly came forward and said he wished to ask me a question, " Would the head men be paid ?" I told him I had no authority to do so, but would report his request. He said he did not expect it this year, but hoped for it next. Eventually he signed the agreement. I then said I would recognize Short Bear as a Chief, and asked him to select his Councillors and braves. He did so at once, making a judicious choice, and came forward to touch the pen, saying, " I thank you for my people. " His Councillors promptly followed, one of them asking for a part of the reserve on the other side of the river, which I refused. I then called on the White Mud River Indians to select a Chief and one Councillor, being under the impression at the time that they were the least numerous band, which, however, has turned out not to be the case, which they did at once, and on their being presented to me they signed the agreement. I then gave a medal to Yellow Quill, and promised to send the other two Chiefs medals when procured from Ottawa, the supply here being exhausted. To the Chiefs and Councillors suits of clothing were then distributed, Yellow Quill and his head men having hitherto refused to accept either medals or coats, but now taking them. Yellow Quill then presented me with a skin coat, and said that he parted with the Other Indians as friends, and that there would be no hard feelings. The conference then broke up, and thus terminated a difficulty which has existed for several years, and the influence of which was felt as an obstacle, as you are aware, at Qu'Appelle when the treaty was made there. Mr. Graham at once commenced the payments, and during the evening the three Chiefs and their Councillors called on me, evidently being on the most friendly terms with each other, a state of things which had not existed for a considerable period. In the morning, as I was leaving for the Portage, the Indians assembled near my waggon and gave three checrs for the Queen and three for the Governor, and I then drove off amid a salute of firearms from all sections of the encampment. I left Mr. Graham to complete the payments, and here record my sense of the efficient services he rendered me. He understands the Indian character, and gets on well with them. I requested Mr. Reid to visit the White Mud region and ascertain what persons are entitled to holdings under the terms of your instructions, and also to survey Short Bear's reserve.
Yellow Quill is to go without delay to look up a reserve, and as there are no settlers in the region in question, I propose that if Mr. Reid sees no objection to the locality he should at once lay it off, so as to effectually terminate the chronic difficulty with this band. I shall be glad to receive by telegram your approval of his doing so. The interpreters, Mr. Cummings Mr. Cook, of St. James, a trader, and Kissoway, an Indian trader belonging to the band, rendered me much service ; the latter trades in the west, and was passing the Portage on his way to Fort Garry, and as he belonged to Yellow Quill's band, and is a relative of his, being a son of the deceased 142 The Treaties of Canada with the Indians. Pecheto, (another of whose sons was the spokesman at Qu'Appelle, as you will recollect) he came to the Long Plains to advise the band to come to terms. He remained at my request until the negotiations were concluded, and exerted a most beneficial influence over Yellow Quill's band. I call your attention to the request of Yellow Quill's Councillors, that they should be paid. As in Treaties Three, Four and Five, they are paid, and as the expense would not be large, I am of opinion that before the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Superintendency of Manitoba proceeds to make the payments in Treaties One and Two, he should be authorized to pay the head men. It will be difficult to explain why the difference is made, and it will secure in every hand, men who will feel that they are officers of the Crown and remunerated as such. I returned to Fort Garry on the 23rd inst., encountering on the way a very severe thunder storm, which compelled me to take advantage of the very acceptable shelter of the kindly proffered residence of the Hon. Mr. Breland, at White Horse Plains, instead of a tent on the thoroughly-drenched prairie. I congratulate you that with the successful issue of this negotiation is closed, in Treaties One and Two, the vexed question of the open promises. I forward by this mail a copy of the agreement I have above alluded to, retaining the original for the present, and will be pleased to hear of its speedy approval by the Privy Council.
I have the honor to be, etc., ALEXANDER MORRIS, Lieut.-Governor.


Morris, Alexander. The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories Including the Negotiations on Which They Are Based, and Other Information Relating Thereto.. Toronto: Willing & Williamson, 1880. Digitized by University of Alberta Libraries.



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