The Winnipeg Treaty – Boundaries

I now beg to call your attention to the boundaries of the treaty, which, you will observe, vary somewhat from those suggested in your memorandum to the Privy Council. The Commissioners adopted as the southern boundary of the treaty limits, the northern boundary of Treaties Numbers Two and Three. They included in the limits all the territory to which the Indians ceding, claimed hunting and other rights, but they fixed the western boundary as defined in the treaty, for the following reasons:

1st. The extension of the boundary carries the treaty to the western limit of the lands claimed by the Saulteaux and Swampy Cree Tribes of Indians, and creates an eastern base for the treaties to be made with the Plain Cree next year.

2nd. The Swampy Cree at the Pas, on the Saskatchewan, would otherwise have had to be included in the western treaties.

3rd. That the extension of the boundaries will add some six hundred to the number of Indians in the suggested limits, of whom three hundred at Wahpahhuha or the Pas on the Saskatchewan would have had to be treated with owing to the navigation of the Saskatchewan, in any event.

4th. The inclusion of the Norway House Indians in the treaty, and the surrender of their rights, involved a larger area of territory.

5th. That a number of the Norway House Indians came from Moose Lake and the Cumberland region, and possessed rights there which have been included in the boundaries.

6th. Unless the boundaries had been properly defined, in conformity with known geographical points, a portion of the country lying between the territories formerly ceded and those comprised in Treaty Number Five, would have been left with the Indian title unextinguished.

For these reasons, the Commissioners defined the boundaries as they are laid down in the treaty, and it will remain with the Government to send a Commissioner to the Pas to obtain the adhesion of the Indians there to the treaty next summer, or not as they shall decide, though the Commissioners strongly urge that step to be taken as a necessity.

I forward the original of the treaty to you by the Hon. Mr. Christie, and in order to the better understanding of the treaty area, I enclose a very valuable map copied from one made for me at my request on board of the Colville, by Roderick Ross, Esq., who accompanied me from Norway House to the Stone Fort, and to whom I was indebted for much valuable assistance and co-operation, as we were in fact to the Company’s officers generally. This map is prepared from actual observation, and locates many places not indicated on any existing map, and covering as it does an area of over 100,000 square miles, which, exclusive of the great waters, has been included in the treaty, possesses much value.

I enclose herewith duplicates of the pay sheets, a statement of the cash expenditure, showing the balance on hand of the credit which was given me for the purposes of the treaty, and statements of the distribution of the provisions and of the clothing, and medals, as given to the chiefs and head men. These statements will show that every arrangement was made to secure the utmost economy in effecting the treaty, and yet to give satisfaction to the Indians concerned.

I mention here that the Indians were uniformly informed that no back payments of the present would be made to those who did not attend the meetings with the Commissioners, but that next year those not present would receive payment with the others, if they presented themselves.

I have to express my sense of the services rendered to the Government by my associate the Hon. James McKay, and the Hon. Thomas Howard, who acted as Secretary and Pay Master to the Commissioners as well as of the many kind services we received from Captain Hackland, and the other officers of the Colville, from the Wesleyan Missionaries, and from the officers of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

I take this opportunity of suggesting that the supervision of Treaty Number Five, and the carrying out of the treaty obligations with the Indians of the St. Peter’s Band, and of those of Fort Alexander and the River Roseau and Broken Head, which fall into Lake Winnipeg, should be entrusted to a local agent, stationed at the Stone Fort or in the vicinity of St. Peter’s, and who would thence supervise the whole District.

In conclusion, I have only to express the hope that the action of the Commissioners, which in every respect was governed by a desire to promote the public interest, will receive the approval of the Privy Council, and be regarded by them as the satisfactory discharge of an onerous and responsible duty.

I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, Alexander Morris, Lieut. Gov. N. W. T.

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