North-West Angle, October 1, 1873 – Government to send Surveyors

COMMISSIONER PROVENCHER (the Governor being temporarily absent)–“As soon as it is convenient to the Government to send surveyors to lay out the reserves they will do so, and they will try to suit every particular band in this respect.”

CHIEF–“We do not want anybody to mark out our reserves, we have already marked them out.”

COMMISSIONER–“There will be another undertaking between the officers of the Government and the Indians among themselves for the selection of the land; they will have enough of good farming land, they may be sure of that.”

CHIEF–“Of course, if there is any particular part wanted by the public works they can shift us. I understand that; but if we have any gardens through the country, do you wish that the poor man should throw it right away?”

COMMISSIONER–“Of course not.”

CHIEF–“These are matters that are the wind-up. I begin now to see how I value the proceedings. I have come to this point, and all that are taking part in this treaty and yourself I would wish to have all your names in writing handed over to us. I would not find it to my convenience to have a stranger here to transact our business between me and you. It is a white man who does not understand our language that is taking it down. I would like a man that understands our language and our ways. We would ask your Excellency as a favor to appoint him for us.”

GOVERNOR–“I have a very good feeling to Mr. C. Nolin, he has been a good man here; but the appointment of an Agent rests with the authorities at Ottawa and I will bring your representation to them, and I am quite sure it will meet with the respect due to it.”

CHIEF–“As regards the fire water, I do not like it and I do not wish any house to be built to have it sold. Perhaps at times if I should be unwell I might take drop just for medicine; and shall any one insist on bringing it where we are, I should break the treaty.”

GOVERNOR–“I meant to have spoken of that myself, I meant to put it in the treaty. He speaks good about it. The Queen and her Parliament in Ottawa have passed a law prohibiting the use of it in this territory, and if any shall be brought in for the use of you as medicine it can only come in by my permission.”

CHIEF–“Why we keep you so long is that it is our wish that everything should be properly understood between us,”

GOVERNOR–“That is why I am here. It is my pleasure, and I want when we once shake hands that it should be forever.”

CHIEF–“That is the principal article. If it was in my midst the firewater would have spoiled my happiness, and I wish it to be left far away from where I am. All the promises that you have made me, the little promises and the money you have promised, when it comes to me year after year–should I see that there is anything wanting, through the negligence of the people that have to see after these things, I trust it will be in my power to put them in prison.”

GOVERNOR–“The ear of the Queen’s Government will always be open to hear the complaints of her Indian people, and she will deal with her servants that do not do their duty in a proper manner.”

CHIEF–“Now you have promised to give us all your names. I want a copy of the treaty that will not be rubbed off, on parchment.”

GOVERNOR–“In the mean time I will give you a copy on paper, and as soon as I get back I will get you a copy on parchment.”

CHIEF–“I do not wish to be treated as they were at Red River–that provisions should be stopped as it is there. Whenever we meet and have a council I wish that provisions should be given to us. We cannot speak without eating.”

GOVERNOR–“You are mistaken. When they are brought together at Red River for their payments they get provisions.”

CHIEF–“We wish the provisions to come from Red River.”

GOVERNOR–“If the Great Spirit sends the grasshopper and there is no wheat grown in Red River, we cannot give it to you.”

CHIEF–“You have come before us with a smiling face, you have shown us great charity–you have promised the good things; you have given us your best compliments and wishes, not only for once but for ever; let there now for ever be peace and friendship between us. It is the wish of all that where our reserves are peace should reign, that nothing shall be there that will disturb peace. Now, I will want nothing to be there that will disturb peace, and will put every one that carries arms,–such as murderers and thieves–outside, so that nothing will be there to disturb our peace.”

GOVERNOR–“The Queen will have policemen to preserve order, and murderers and men guilty of crime will be punished in this country just the same as she punishes them herself.”

CHIEF–“To speak about the Hudson’s Bay Company. If it happens that they have surveyed where I have taken my reserve, if I see any of their signs I will put them on one side.”

GOVERNOR–“When the reserves are given you, you will have your rights. The Hudson’s Bay Company have their rights, and the Queen will do justice between you.”

CHIEF OF FORT FRANCIS–“Why I say this is, where I have chosen for my reserve I see signs that the H. B. Co. has surveyed. I do not hate them. I only wish they should take their reserves on one side. Where their shop stands now is my property; I think it is three years now since they have had it on it.”

GOVERNOR–“I do not know about that matter; it will be enquired into. I am taking notes of all these things and am putting them on paper.”

CHIEF–“I will tell you one thing. You understand me now, that I have taken your hand firmly and in friendship. I repeat twice that you have done so, that these promises that you have made, and the treaty to be concluded, let it be as you promise, as long as the sun rises over our head and as long as the water runs. One thing I find, that deranges a little my kettle. In this river, where food used to be plentiful for our subsistence, I perceive it is getting scarce. We wish that the river should be left as it was formed from the beginning–that nothing be broken.”

GOVERNOR–“This is a subject that I cannot promise.”

MR. DAWSON–“Anything that we are likely to do at present will not interfere with the fishing, but no one can tell what the future may require, and we cannot enter into any engagement.”

CHIEF–“We wish the Government would assist us in getting a few boards for some of us who are intending to put up houses this fall, from the mill at Fort Francis.”

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