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The Robinson Treaties

The Treaties with The Indians of Manitoba, The North-West Territories, and Kee-Wa-Tin, in The Dominion of Canada.

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 £4,000 and an annuity of about £1,000, 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.

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:

The census return of the Department of the Interior for the year 1878 gives the numbers of these Indians as follows:

  • Chippawa of Lake Superior 1,947.
  • Chippawa of Lake Huron 1,458.

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