The Treaties at Forts Carlton and Pitt
The Treaties with The Indians of Manitoba, The North-West Territories,
and Kee-Wa-Tin, in The Dominion of Canada.
The treaties made at Forts Carlton and Pitt in the year 1876, were
of a very important character.
The great region covered by them, abutting on the areas included
in Treaties Numbers Three and Four, embracing an area of approximately
120,000 square miles, contains a vast extent of fertile territory
and is the home of the Cree nation. The Cree had, very early after
the annexation of the North-West Territories to Canada, desired
a treaty of alliance with the Government. So far back as the year
1871, Mr. Simpson, the Indian Commissioner, addressing the Secretary
of State in a dispatch of date, the 3rd November 1871, used the
"I desire also to call the attention of His Excellency to
the state of affairs in the Indian country on the Saskatchewan.
The intelligence that Her Majesty is treating with the Chippewa
Indians has already reached the ears of the Cree and Blackfeet tribes.
In the neighborhood of Fort Edmonton, on the Saskatchewan, there
is a rapidly increasing population of miners and other white people,
and it is the opinion of Mr. W. J. Christie, the officer in charge
of the Saskatchewan District, that a treaty with the Indians of
that country, or at least an assurance during the coming year that
a treaty will shortly be made, is essential to the peace, if not
the actual retention, of the country. I would refer His Excellency,
on this subject, to the report of Lieut. Butler, and to the enclosed
memoranda of Mr. W. J. Christie, the officer above alluded to."
He also enclosed an extract of a letter from Mr. Christie, then
Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and subsequently one of
the Treaty Commissioners, in which, he forwarded the messages of
the Cree Chiefs to Lieut.-Gov. Archibald, "our Great Mother's
representative at Fort Garry, Red River Settlement." This extract
and messages are as follows.
The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt - Edmonton House, 13th April,
On the 13th instant (April) I had a visit from the Cree Chiefs,
representing the Plain Cree from this to Carlton, accompanied by
a few followers.
The object of their visit was to ascertain whether their lands
had been sold or not, and what was the intention of the Canadian
Government in relation to them. They referred to the epidemic that
had raged throughout the past summer, and the subsequent starvation,
the poverty of their country, the visible diminution of the buffalo,
their sole support, ending by requesting certain presents at once,
and that I should lay their case before Her Majesty's representative
at Fort Garry. Many stories have reached these Indians through various
channels, ever since the transfer of the North-West Territories
to the Dominion of Canada, and they were most anxious to hear from
myself what had taken place.
I told them that the Canadian Government had as yet made no application
for their lands or hunting grounds, and when anything was required
of them, most likely Commissioners would be sent beforehand to treat
with them, and that until then they should remain quiet and live
at peace with all men. I further stated that Canada, in her treaties
with Indians, heretofore, had dealt most liberally with them, and
that they were now in settled houses and well off, and that I had
no doubt in settling with them the same liberal policy would be
As I was aware that they had heard many exaggerated stories about
the troops in Red River, I took the opportunity of telling them
why troops had been sent, and if Her Majesty sent troops to the
Saskatchewan, it was as much for the protection of the red as the
white man, and that they would be for the maintenance of law and
They were highly satisfied with the explanations offered, and said
they would welcome civilization. As their demands were complied
with, and presents given to them, their immediate followers, and
for the young men left in camp, they departed well pleased for the
present tune, with fair promises for the future. At a subsequent
interview with the Chiefs alone, they requested that I should write
down their words, or messages to their Great Master in Red River.
I accordingly did so, and have transmitted the messages as delivered.
Copies of the proclamation issued, prohibiting the traffic in spirituous
liquors to Indians or others, and the use of strychnine in the destruction
of animal life, have been received, and due publicity given to them.
But without any power to enforce these laws, it is almost useless
to publish them here; and I take this opportunity of most earnestly
soliciting, on behalf of the Company's servants, and settlers in
this district, that protection be afforded to life and property
here as soon as possible, and that Commissioners be sent to speak
with the Indians on behalf of the Canadian Government.
Don't forget to check out our Seed Bead Earrings and Native American Jewelry.