The Qu’appelle Treaty, Or Number Four – Fifth Day’s Conference

September 14.

Both nations, Cree and Saulteaux, having assembled, His Honor Lieut.-Governor Morris again addressed them:–

“Children of our Great Mother, I am glad to see you again after another day. How have you come to meet us? I hope you have come to us with good thoughts, and hearts ready to meet ours. I have one or two words to say to you. It is twenty days to-day since we left the Red River. We want to turn our faces homewards. You told me on Saturday that some of you could eat a great deal. I have something to say to you about that. There are Indians who live here, they have their wives and children around them. It is good for them to be here, and have plenty to eat, but they ought to think of their brothers; they ought to think that there are men here who have come from a distance, from Fort Pelly and beyond, whose wives and children are not here to eat, and they want to be at home with them. It is time now that we began to understand each other, and when there is something troubles us, I believe in telling it. When you told us you were troubled about the situation of this tent, we had it moved. Now we want you to take away our trouble, or tell us what you mean. We are troubled about this. We are servants of the Queen; we have been here many days giving you our message, and we have not yet heard the voice of the nations. We have two nations here. We have the Cree, who were here first, and we have the Ojibway, who came from our country not many suns ago. We find them here; we won’t say they stole the land and the stones and the trees; no, but we will say this, that we believe their brothers, the Cree, said to them when they came in here: “The land is wide, it is wide, it is big enough for us both; let us live here like brothers;” and that is what you say, as you told us on Saturday, as to the Half-breeds that I see around. You say that you are one with them; now we want all to be one. We know no difference between Cree and Ojibway. Now we want to ask you are you wiser, do you know more, than the Ojibbeway people that I met last year? You are a handful compared with them; they came to me from the Lake of the Woods, from Rainy Lake, from the Kaministiquia, and from the Great Lake. I told them my message, as I have told you; they heard my words and they said they were good, and they took my hand and I gave them mine and the presents; but that is not all. There was a band of Ojibway who lived at Lake Seul, to the north of the Lake of the Woods, 400 in number, and just before we came away we sent our messenger to them. He told them I had shaken hands for the Queen with all the Ojibway down to the Great Lake. He told them what we had done for these, and asked them if they found it good to take the Queen’s hand through our messenger; they were pleased; they signed the treaty; they put their names to it, saying, We take what you promised to the other Saulteaux; and our messenger gave them the money, just as our messengers will give your brothers who are not here the money if we understand each other. Now, we ask you again, are you wiser than your brothers that I have seen before? I do not think that you will say you are, but we want you to take away our last trouble. What I find strange is this: we are Chiefs; we have delivered the message of our great Queen, whose words never change, whose tongue and the tongues of whose messengers are never forked; and how is it that we have not heard any voice back from the Cree or Saulteaux, or from their Chiefs? I see before me two Chiefs; we know them to be Chiefs, because we see you put them before you to shake hands with us. They must have been made Chiefs, not for anything we are talking about to-day, not for any presents we are offering to you, not because of the land; then why are they chiefs? Because I see they are old men; the winds of many winters have whistled through their branches. I think they must have learned wisdom; the words of the old are wise; why then, we ask ourselves–and this is our trouble–Why are your Chiefs dumb? They can speak. One of them is called “Loud Voice.” He must have been heard in the councils of the nation. Then I ask myself, why do they not answer? It cannot be that you are afraid; you are not women. In this country, now, no man need be afraid. If a white man does wrong to an Indian, the Queen will punish them. The other day at Fort Ellice, a white man, it is said, stole some furs from an Indian. The Queen’s policemen took him at once; sent him down to Red River, and he is lying in jail now; and if the Indians prove that he did wrong, he will be punished. You see then that if the white man does wrong to the Indian he will punished; and it will be the same if the Indian does wrong to the white man. The red and white man must live together, and be good friends, and the Indians must live together like brothers with each other and the white man. I am afraid you are weary of my talking. Why do I talk so much? Because I have only your good at heart. I do not want to go away with my head down, to send word to the Queen, “Your red children could not see that your heart was good towards them; could not see as you see that it was for the good of themselves and their children’s children to accept the good things you mean for them.” I have done. Let us hear the voice of the people. Let us hear the voice of your old wise men.”

COTE–“The same man that has spoken will speak yet.”

KA-KIE-SHE-WAY (Loud Voice)–“This is the one who will speak; after he speaks I will show what I have to say.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“Understand me, what I want to know is, does he speak for the nations. If you prefer to speak by the voice of an orator I am glad. All we want is to hear the voice of the people, and I asked you at first to choose among yourselves those who would speak for you; therefore I am glad to hear the man you have chosen, and I am glad to hear that after he has done the Chief will speak to us.”

THE GAMBLER–“Saturday we met, we spoke to each other, we met at such a time as this time, and again we said we would tell each other something; now, then, we will report to each other a little again. This Company man that we were speaking about, I do not hate him; as I loved him before I love him still, and I also want that the way he loved me at first he should love me the same; still, I wish that the Company would keep at his work the same as he did; that I want to be signed on the paper. I want you to put it with your own hands. After he puts that there it is given to the Indians, then there will be another article to speak about. The Indians want the Company to keep at their post and nothing beyond. After that is signed they will talk about something else.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I told you on Saturday that I had nothing to do with the Company. The Company have a right to trade. I cannot make them buy goods and bring them here, or stop them from bringing them. I dare say some of you are traders; you do not ask me whether you shall buy goods and sell them again, and I do not stop you. It is the same way with the Company. If they make money in bringing goods here they will bring them just as they used to do; and I want you to understand it fully, the Company may have a little more money than the white traders, or the Half-breeds, or the Indians, but they have no more right, they have no more privileges, to trade than the Indians, or the Half-breeds, or the whites; and that is written with a higher hand than ours, and we have no power to write anything, or to add anything, to what is written and remains in the Queen’s house beyond the sea.”

THE GAMBLER–“I do not want to drive the Company anywhere. What I said is, that they are to remain here at their house. Supposing you wanted to take them away, I would not let them go. I want them to remain here to have nothing but the trade. I do not hate them; we always exchange with them, and would die if they went away.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I do not know whether we rightly understand or not. I think you have spoken wise words; the Company helps you to live, and they have a right to sell goods as other traders. I do not know that I understand you rightly, that you do not want them to sell goods anywhere except at the posts; to keep at their posts there. If that is what you mean, I cannot say yes to that; they have the same right to sell goods anywhere that you have. They are no longer as they were once. The Government of the country, I think I told you that before–understand me distinctly–the Government have nothing to do with the Company, but the Company and all their servants are subjects of the Queen and love and obey her laws. The day has gone past when they made the laws. They have to hear the laws the Queen makes, and like good subjects submit to them.”

THE GAMBLER–“The Company is not to carry anything out into the country, but are to trade in the Fort. That is what we want signed on the paper; then we will talk on other subjects.” LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I have told you before, and I tell you again, that the Company as traders have the right to sell goods anywhere they please, just as you have, just as the whites have, just as the Half-breeds have, and we have no power to take it away from them. If the Company were to ask me to say to you that you were not to trade anywhere except in their Fort by the lake, you would think it very hard, and I would say to the Company, No, you shall not interfere with the Indians throughout our land. I would like to give you pleasure but I cannot do wrong; we won’t deceive you with smooth words. We will tell you the simple truth what we can do and what we cannot do, but we cannot interfere as you ask us.”

THE GAMBLER–“Cannot you sign such a paper?”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“No; the Queen has signed the great paper, and the Company have no more rights than any one else, but they have the same.”

KA-KIE-SHE-WAY (Loud Voice)–“I would not be at a loss, but I am, because we are not united–the Cree and the Saulteaux–this is troubling me. I am trying to bring all together in one mind, and this is delaying us. If we could put that in order, if we were all joined together and everything was right I would like it, I would like to part well satisfied and pleased. I hear that His Excellency is unwell, and I wish that everything would be easy in his mind. It is this that annoys me, that things do not come together. I wish for one day more, and after that there would not be much in my way.”

COTE–“You wanted me to come here and I came here. I find nothing, and I do not think anything will go right. I know what you want; I cannot speak of anything here concerning my own land until I go to my own land. Whenever you desire to see me I will tell you what you are asking me here. Now I want to return.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“We asked the Chief to come here. He has as much right to be here as another Indian. We cannot go there and ask the people of the two great tribes to meet in one place as they have done when they were asked to meet us. You have had many days to talk together. If the Saulteaux are determined that they want an agreement to prevent the Company from trading, it cannot be given. I think the Chief here spoke wisely. He says he is in trouble because you do not understand each other. Why are you not of one mind? Have you tried to be of one mind? Must we go back and say we have had you here so many days, and that you had not the minds of men–that you were not able to understand each other? Must we go back and tell the Queen that we held out our hands for her, and her red children put them back again? If that be the message that your conduct to-day is going to make us carry back, I am sorry for you, and fear it will be a long day before you again see the Queen’s Councilors here to try to do you good. The Queen and her Councilors may think that you do not want to be friends, that you do not want your little ones to be taught, that you do not want when the food is getting scarce to have a hand in yours stronger than yours to help you. Surely you will think again before you turn your backs on the offers; you will not let so little a question as this about the Company, without whom you tell me you could not live, stop the good we mean to do. I hope that I am perfectly understood; when we asked the chief here we wanted to speak with him about his lands at his place; when we asked “Loud Voice” here we wanted to speak with him about the land at his place; so when we asked the other chiefs here we wanted to speak with them about the lands at their places. Why? because we did not want to do anything that you would not all know about, that there might be no bad feelings amongst you. We wanted you to be of one mind and heart in this matter, and that is the reason you are here to-day. Now it rests with you; we have done all we could. Have you anything more to say to us, or are we to turn our backs upon you, and go away with sorry hearts for you and your children? It remains for you to say.”

THE GAMBLER–“We do not understand you and what you are talking about. I do not keep it from you; we have not chosen our Chiefs; we have not appointed our soldiers and Councilors; we have not looked around us yet, and chosen our land, which I understand you to tell us to choose. We do not want to play with you, but we cannot appoint our Chiefs and head men quickly; that is in the way. Now it is near mid-day, and we cannot appoint our Chiefs. This Chief who got up last–the Queen’s name was used when he was appointed to be Chief–he wants to know where his land is to be and see it, what like it is to be, and to find the number of his children; that is what is in his mind. He says he came from afar, he had a good mind for coming, and he takes the same good mind away with him. I have not heard him say to the Saulteaux to keep back their land.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I think I understand you. We do not want to separate in bad feeling, or to avoid any trouble in coming to an understanding with you; because I do not believe that if we do not agree it will ever be my good fortune to endeavor to do so again. “Loud Voice,” the Chief, has told us he wants a day to think it over. The Chief “Cote,” from the north, would like to go home, but I am sure he will stop a day and try to understand his brothers, and agree as the others did at the Lake of the Woods. I put my name, and the Chiefs and the head men put theirs, and I gave the Chief a copy, and I told him when I went home to Red River I would have it all written out, a true copy made on skin, that could not be rubbed out, that I would send a copy to his people so that when we were dead and gone the letter would be there to speak for itself, to show everything that was promised; and that was the right way to do. I did so, and sent a copy of the treaty written in letters of blue, gold, and black to the Chief “Maw-do-pe-nais,” whom the people had told to keep it for them. He who speaks for the Saulteaux tells us they have not made up their minds yet about the land–he tells us they have not decided to refuse our hands. I am glad to hear him say that, and if it will please my Indian brethren here we will be glad to wait another day and meet them here to-morrow morning, if they will promise me with the words of men that they will look this matter straight in the face; that they will lay aside every feeling except the good of their people, and try to see what is right, and that they will come back and say, ‘We have done our best, we have tried to be of one mind, and considered what was best for now, and to-morrow, and the years that are to come when we have all passed away. This is our answer. We are very much in earnest about this matter.’ The Chief said I was not very well, yet I am here. Why? Because the duty was laid upon me I was afraid of the journey, but when a Chief has a duty to do he tries to do it, and I felt that if I could do you any good, as I believed I could, I ought to be here. I tell you this, trust my words, they come from the heart of one who loves the Indian people, and who is charged by his Queen to tell them the words of truth.”

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