The Treaties At Forts Carlton And Pitt – Commissioners crossed the Saskatchewan

The Commissioners crossed the Saskatchewan and journeyed to Fort Pitt. Near it they were met by an escort of Mounted Police, who convoyed them to the fort.

There they found a number of Indians assembled, and, during the day, Sweet Grass arrived. In the evening the Chief and head men waited upon the Commissioners. Delay was asked and granted before meeting. Eventually the conference was opened. The ceremonies which attended it were imposing. The national stem or pipe dance was performed, of which a full narrative will be found hereafter. The conference proceeded, and the Indians accepted the terms made at Carlton with the utmost good feeling, and thus the Indian title was extinguished in the whole of the Plain country, except a comparatively small area, inhabited by the Black Feet, comprising about 35,000 square miles, I regret to record, that the Chief Sweet Grass, who took the lead in the proceedings, met with an accidental death a few months afterwards, by the discharge of a pistol. The Indians, in these two treaties, displayed a strong desire for instruction in farming, and appealed for the aid of missionaries and teachers.

The latter the Commissioners promised, and for the former they were told they must rely on the churches, representatives of whom were present from the Church of England, the Methodist, the Presbyterian and the Roman Catholic Church. The Bishop (Grandin) of the latter Church traveled from Edmonton to Fort Pitt and Battleford to see the Commissioners and assure them of his good will. After the conclusion of the treaty, the Commissioners commenced their long return journey by way of Battleford, and arrived at Winnipeg on the 6th day of October, with the satisfaction of knowing that they had accomplished a work which, with the efficient carrying out of the treaties, had secured the good will of the Cree Nation, and laid the foundations of law and order in the Saskatchewan Valley.

The officers of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the missionaries of the various churches, Colonel McLeod of the Mounted Police Force, his officers and men, and the Half-breed population, all lent willing assistance to the commissioners, and were of substantial service.

I now submit the dispatch of the Lieutenant-Governor, giving an account of the journey and of the negotiations attending the treaty, and I include a narrative of the proceedings taken down, day by day, by A. G. Jackes, Esq., M.D., Secretary to the Commission, which has never before been published, and embraces an accurate account of the speeches of the Commissioners and Indians. It is satisfactory to be able to state, that Lieut.-Gov. Laird, officers of the police force and Mr. Dickieson have since obtained the adhesion to the treaty, of, I believe, all but one of the Chiefs included in the treaty area, viz.: The Big Bear, while the head men even of his band have ranged themselves under the provisions of the treaty.

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