The Qu’appelle Treaty, Or Number Four – Hudson Bay Company

THE GAMBLER–“I have understood plainly before what he (the Hudson Bay Company) told me about the Queen. This country that he (H. B. Co.) bought from the Indians let him complete that. It is that which is in the way. I cannot manage to speak upon anything else, when the land was staked off it was all the Company’s work. That is the reason I cannot speak of other things.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“We don’t understand what you mean. Will you explain?”

THE GAMBLER–“I know what I have to tell you. Who surveyed this land? Was it done by the Company? This is the reason I speak of the Company, why are you staying in the Company’s house?”

LIEUT.-GOVERNOR MORRIS–“The Company have a right to have certain lands granted them by the Queen, who will do what is fair and just for the Company, for the Indians, for the Half-breeds, and for the whites. She will make no distinction. Whatever she promises she will carry out. The Company are are nothing to her except that they are carrying on trade in this country, and that they are subjects to her just as you are. You ask then why I went to the Company’s house? I came here not at my own pleasure. I am not so strong as you are. I never slept in a tent in my life before and was only too glad to find a home to go to.”

The Gambler–“I understand now. And now this Company man. This is the Company man (pointing to Mr. McDonald). This is the thing I cannot speak of. The Cree does not know, the Saulteaux does not know. It was never known when this was surveyed, neither by the Cree nor the Saulteaux.”

Lieut.-Gov. Morris–“The Company are trading in this country and they require to have places to carry out their trade. If the Queen gives them land to hold under her she has a perfect right to do it, just as she will have a perfect right to lay off lands for you if you agree to settle on them. I am sorry for you; I am afraid you have been listening to bad voices who have not the interests of the Indians at heart. If because of these things you will not speak to us we will go away with hearts sorry for you and for your children, who thus throw back in our faces the hand of the Queen that she has held out to you.”

The Gambler–“It is very plain who speaks; the Cree are not speaking, and the Saulteaux is speaking, if the Queen’s men came here to survey the land. I am telling you plainly. I cannot speak any other thing till this is cleared up. Look at these children that are sitting around here and also at the tents, who are just the image of my kindness. There are different kinds of grass growing here that is just like those sitting around here. There is no difference. Even from the American land they are here, but we love them all the same, and when the white skin comes here from far away I love him all the same. I am telling you what our love and kindness is. This is what I did when the white man came, but when he came back he paid no regard to me how he carried on.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I did not know till I came here that any survey had been made because I had nothing to do with it; but my friend, one of the Queen’s Councilors, tells me it was done by the authority of the Queen.”

THE GAMBLER–“I want to tell you the right story. I waited very much for the Queen’s messenger when I saw what the Company did. Perhaps he may know why he did so. Perhaps if I were to ask him now he would say. That is what I would think. This is the reason. I am so pleased at what I see here I cannot manage to speak because of the Company.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“We cannot see why you cannot speak to the Queen’s messengers because of the Company. The Company is no greater in her sight than one of those little children is in yours, and whatever she promises, either to the Company or the little child, she will do. The Company ought not to be a wall between you and us; you will make a mistake if you send us away with a wall between us, when there should be none.”

THE GAMBLER–“I do not send you away; for all this I am glad. I know this is not the Queen’s work. He (H. B. Co.) is the head; he does whatever he thinks all around here, that is the reason I cannot say anything.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I am very sorry that you cannot answer.”

THE GAMBLER–“The Company have stolen our land. I heard that at first. I hear it is true. The Queen’s messengers never came here, and now I see the soldiers and the settlers and the policemen. I know it is not the Queen’s work, only the Company has come and they are the head, they are foremost; I do not hold it back. Let this be put to rights; when this is righted I will answer the other.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“The Company have not brought their soldiers here. This man is not an officer of the Company. I am not an officer of the Company. We did not come at the request of the Company, but at that of the Queen. I told you that the Queen had sent her policemen here. You see the flag there, then know that we are the Queen’s servants, and not the Company’s, and it is for you to decide on the message I have delivered to you.”

THE GAMBLER–“When one Indian takes anything from another we call it stealing, and when we see the present we say pay us. It is the Company I mean.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“What did the Company steal from you?”

THE GAMBLER–“The earth, trees, grass, stones, all that which I see with my eyes.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“Who made the earth, the grass, the stone, and the wood? The Great Spirit. He made them for all his children to use, and it is not stealing to use the gift of the Great Spirit. The lands are the Queen’s under the Great Spirit. The Chippewas were not always here. They come from the East. There were other Indians here and the Chippewas came here, and they used the wood and the land, the gifts of the Great Spirit to all, and we want to try and induce you to believe that we are asking for the good of all. We do not know how the division between us is to be taken away. We do not know of any lands that were stolen from you, and if you do not open your mouths we cannot get the wall taken away. You can open your mouths if you will; we are patient but we cannot remain here always.”

THE GAMBLER–“I cannot manage to speak of anything else. It is this I am speaking. All the Indians know how the Company set their land in order long ago. The Company is making it more and that is the reason I am speaking.”

LIEUT.-GOVERNOR MORRIS–“Many, many years ago, before we were born, one of the Kings gave the Company certain rights to trade in this country. The Queen thought that this was not just neither to the white nor the red man. She considered that all should be equal; but when the Queen’s father’s father’s hand had been given she could not take it back without the Company’s consent; therefore she told the Company that the time had come when they should no longer be the great power in this country, that she would plant her own flag, that she would send her own Governor and soldiers, and that they must cease to have the only right to trade here (and I am glad to know that some of you are good traders), the Queen then told the Company that she would govern the country herself, and she told them she would give them some land. They had their forts, their places of trade where they raised cattle and grain, and she told them they could keep them, and she will no more break with them than she will with you. There is no reason why you should not talk to us. The Company have no more power, no more authority to govern this country than you have, it rests with the Queen.”

THE GAMBLER–“This is the reason I waited for the Queen’s messengers to come here because I knew the Company was strong and powerful, and I knew they would set every thing in order. Truly since the Company came here they have brought me many things which are good, but the Company’s work is in my way and I cannot utter my words.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“What do you complain of? I can not tell.”

THE GAMBLER–“The survey. This one (pointing to an Indian) did not say so, and this Saulteaux and he was never told about it. He should have been told beforehand that this was to have been done and it would not have been so, and I want to know why the Company have done so. This is the reason I am talking so much about it.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I have told you before that the Queen had promised to give the Company certain lands around the forts and she gave them land around this fort. I have told you that what she promised she will do. She has taken all the lands in this country to manage; they were hers; they were her fathers; if she gives you reserves they will be yours and she will let no one take them from you unless you want to sell them yourselves. It will be a sorry thing if this nation and that nation scattered all over the country are to suffer because of this little piece of land I see around me. What good is it going to do to raise up a question of this kind and block the way to our understanding each other when the Queen’s hand, full of love and generosity is held out to you? The blame rests with you; it is time for you to talk, to open your mouth, because I cannot take away what shuts it, you must do it yourselves.”

THE GAMBLER–“This is my chief, the Queen never told this man. If this had been told him, I would not have said what I said just now. The Company’s store was only there at first. I do not push back the Queen’s hand. Let this be cleared up.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“Once for all we tell you, whatever number of acres the Queen has promised to the Company at this post, they will receive no more and no less. We will ascertain what was promised, and will take care to see that what was promised and that only will be performed with regard to the land around this Fort. We can give you no other answer.”

THE GAMBLER–“I am telling you and reporting what I had to tell. The Company have no right to this earth, but when they are spoken to they do not desist, but do it in spite of you. He is the head and foremost. These Indians you see sitting around report that they only allowed the store to be put up. That is the reason I was very glad when I heard you were coming. The Indians were not told of the reserves at all. I hear now, it was the Queen gave the land. The Indians thought it was they who gave it to the Company, who are now all over the country. The Indians did not know when the land was given.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I am weary hearing about the country. You might understand me now. You are stronger than that little boy over there, and the Company is stronger than a single trader, but the Company has its master, the Queen, and will have to obey the laws as well as all others. We have nothing to do with the Company. We are here to talk with you about the land, I tell you what we wish to do for your good, but if you will talk about the Company I cannot hinder you, I think it is time now you should talk about what concerns you all.”

THE GAMBLER–“That is the reason I waited so long. I cannot speak of anything else, my mind is resting on nothing else I know that you will have power and good rules and this is why I am glad to tell you what is troubling me.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I have told you before and tell you again that the Queen cannot and will not undo what she has done. I have told you that we will see that the Company shall obey what she has ordered, and get no more and no less than she has promised. We might talk here all the year and I could not give you any other answer, and I put it to you now face to face–speak to me about your message, don’t put it aside, if you do the responsibility will rest upon your nation, and during the winter that is coming, many a poor woman and child will be saying, how was it that our Councilors and our braves shut their ears to the mouth of the Queen’s messengers and refused to tell them their words. This Company, I have told you is nothing to us, it is nothing to the Queen, but their rights have to be respected just as much as those of the meanest child in the country. The Queen will do right between you and them I can say no more than what I have said and if the Indians will not speak to us we cannot help it, and if the Indians won’t answer our message, we must go back and tell the Queen that we came here and did everything we could to show the Indians we were in earnest in proving her love for them and that when there was a little difficulty, I came at once to meet them half way. What prevents you from coming out and speaking openly. I cannot take away the difficulty you speak of, and if you will not answer us, there is no use in talking.”

THE GAMBLER–“I told the chief of the soldiers what was in our way, what was troubling us and now we are telling you. It is that I am working at.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“What is troubling you?”

PIS-QUA (the plain) pointing to Mr. McDonald, of the Hudson’s Bay Company–“You told me you had sold your land for so much money, L300,000. We want that money.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I wish our Indian brother had spoken before what was in his mind. He has been going here and there, and we never knew what he meant. I told you that many years ago the Queen’s father’s father gave the Company the right to trade in the country from the frozen ocean to the United States boundary line, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. The Company grew strong and wanted no one to trade in the country but themselves. The Queen’s people said, “no, the land is not yours, the Queen’s father’s father gave you rights to trade, it is time those rights should stop.” You may go on and trade like any other merchant, but as it was worth money to you to say to this trader you shall not buy furs at any post, the Queen would not act unjustly to the Company. She would not take rights away from them any more than from you; and to settle the question, she took all the lands into her own hands and gave the Company a sum of money in place of the rights which she had taken from them. She is ready to deal with you justly. We are here to-day to make to you her good offers. We have nothing to hide, nothing to conceal. The Queen acts in daylight. I think it is time you are going to talk with us about the offers we have made.”

THE GAMBLER–“I have made up about no other article. I suppose, indeed, I would make the thing very little and very small. When I get back I will think over it.”

LIEUT.-GOV. MORRIS–“I have a word to say to you. In our land we worship the Great Spirit, and do not work on Sunday. I am glad to see that you are going back into council, and I will only ask you to think of these things with single hearts desiring only to do what is right and trusting my words. On Monday morning we will be glad to meet you here and hope we will find then that your heart has come to ours, that you will see that it is for your children’s good, to take our hands and the promises we have given. As I told you before we would be glad to stay longer with you, but we are obliged to go away. We ask you then to meet us on Monday morning and Mr. Pratt will tell you so that there may be no mistake as to what we have promised. He has it written down so that it may not be rubbed out.”

The conference then ended.

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