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Treaty Nº2 “Manitoba Post Treaty” was concluded on Monday, August 21, 1871 at Manitoba Post

Treaty Nº2 “Manitoba Post Treaty” was concluded on Monday, August 21, 1871 at Manitoba Post

Two weeks after having completed Treaty Nº1, Treaty Commissioner Wemyss Simpson (first picture) set out for Manitoba Post at the north end of Lake Manitoba to complete Treaty Nº2, also known as “the Manitoba Post Treaty”. “The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, having expressed a desire to be present at the negotiation of the Treaty at

Two weeks after having completed Treaty Nº1, Treaty Commissioner Wemyss Simpson (first picture) set out for Manitoba Post at the north end of Lake Manitoba to complete Treaty Nº2, also known as “the Manitoba Post Treaty”.

“The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, having expressed a desire to be present at the negotiation of the Treaty at Manitoba Post, His Honor, accompanied by the Honorable James McKay, proceeded thither with me in company with Mr. Molyneaux St. John, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, who had assisted me in the duties connected with the former, Treaty and payments. . . “The Indians of both parts have a firm belief in the honor and integrity of Her Majesty’s representatives, and are fully impressed with the idea that the amelioration of their present condition is one of the objects of Her Majesty in making these treaties. Although many years will elapse before they can be regarded as a settled population, settled in the sense of following agricultural pursuits, the Indians have already shown a disposition to provide against the viscitudes of the chase by cultivating small patches of corn and potatoes. . . ” Although serious trouble has from time to time occurred across the boundary line [in the U.S.] with Indians of the same tribes, and indeed, of the same bands as those in Manitoba, there is no reason to fear any trouble with those who regarded themselves as subjects of Her Majesty. “Their desire is to live at peace with the white man, to trade with him, and when they are disposed, to work for him, and I believe that nothing but gross injustice or oppression will induce them either to forget the allegiance which they now claim with pride, or molest the white subjects of the sovereign, whom they regard as their supreme chief. “The system of annual payment in money I regard as a good one, because the recipient is enabled to purchase just what he requires when he can get it most cheaply, and it also enables him to buy articles at second hand from settlers and others that are quite as useful to him as are the same things when new. The sum of $3 does not appear to be large enough to enable an Indian to provide himself with many of his winter necessaries, but as he receives the same amount for his wife or wives and for each of his children, the aggregate sum is usually sufficient to procure many comforts for his family which he would otherwise be compelled to deny himself.” The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, Adam G. Archibald (second picture), brought along his family to this historical event.

Treaty Nº2 “Manitoba Post Treaty” was concluded on August 21, 1871 at Manitoba Post as they were also present and participating in the making of Treaty One. The Manitoba House Fur Trading Post was on the west shore of Lake Manitoba about fifteen miles up from the Narrows. Just adjacent, and strung along the lakeshore with its long and narrow lots was the Manitoba House Settlement, with its little Anglican Mission Church, log tower belfry, and parsonage at the centre. Nearby was the school house and post office named “Kinosoto“. The people of this little community were all descendants of employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company or North West Trading Company, of French, English, Orkney and Scottish extraction, who had intermarried with the Indians.

The Treaty provided: The purpose of the Treaty was “to open up to settlement and immigration” the land covered by the Treaty, and to ensure there would be “peace and good will between them and Her Majesty . .” Chiefs and headmen were named by the assembled Indians. These officials were authorized on their behalf to conduct the negotiations and to sign the Treaty. Chiefs and headmen were to become responsible to Her Majesty for the faithful performance by their respective Bands “of such obligations as shall be assumed by them.”

The Chiefs named were Sou-sonse (Little Long Ears), “for the Swan Creek and Lake Manitoba Indians”; Ma-sah-keey-ash (He Who Flies to the Bottom) and “Richard Woodhouse, whose Indian name is Keweetahquinnayash (He Who Flies Around the Feathers), “for the Indians of Fairford and the neighbouring localities”; Francois or Broken Fingers “for the Indians of Waterhen River and Crane River and the neighbouring localities”[Francois, or “Broken Fingers” had represented the Crane River community in Treaty making. He died shortly afterwards, and his son, Penaise, became Chief Penaise, and was employed by the Hudson Bay Company Manitoba House Post]; Mekis (The Eagle) or Giroux, “for the Indians of Riding Mountains and Dauphin Lake and the remainder of the Territory hereby ceded”.

Her Majesty’s representatives, the Commissioner and Lieutenant Governor Adams G. Archibald, who was also present, “received and acknowledged the persons so presented as Chiefs and Headmen …”

Her Majesty agreed and undertook “to lay aside and reserve for the sole and exclusive use of the Indians”.

A “present” of $3 was given to each person “belonging to the Band here represented”.

“Her Majesty’s Commissioner shall, as soon as possible after the execution of this Treaty, cause to be taken an accurate census of all the Indians inhabiting the tract above described, distributing them in families, and shall in every year ensuing the date hereof, at some period during the month of August in each year . . . at or near their respective Reserves, pay to each Indian family of five persons the sum of $15, Canadian currency, or in like proportion for a larger or smaller family, such payment to be made in such articles as the Indians shall require of blankets, clothing, prints (assorted colours), twine, or traps, at the current cash price in Montreal, or otherwise if Her Majesty shall deem the same desirable in the interest of Her Indian people, in cash.”

Persons who were of both Ojibway and European ancestry had a choice: they could enter Treaty and be citizens of the self-governing First Nations with the special direct relationship with the Crown, or they could become Canadians and relate to the Crown through the Canadian governmental system. Those persons received 220 acres for each man, woman, and child. The First Nations would receive $32 each (160 acres per family of five).

The Chiefs, on their own behalf and on behalf of their people, promised to strictly observe the Treaty, “to conduct and behave themselves as good and loyal subjects of Her Majesty the Queen, to obey and abide by the Law, to maintain peace and good order among themselves and with others. (Note that the Treaty did not make the First Nations people citizens of Canada — their relationship with the Crown was to be a direct one.) “Her Majesty agrees to maintain a School in each reserve hereby made whenever the Indians of the Reserve shall desire it.”

A memo by the Treaty Commissioner said a chief’s dress, flag and medal was “. . . promised to each chief who signed the Indian Treaty. . . All other demands were paid off as follows in cash: $40 in lieu of a buggy to each chief; $20 in lieu of the flag and medal to each 2 councillors and 2 braves of each chief.” The dress was to consist of 1 coat, 1 pr trousers, 1 pr boots, 1 hab gold braid, 1 shirt, 1 silk neck handkerchief, 1 pr socks.

“So, the Treaty was signed, the Commissioners meaning one thing, the Indians another.” The ink was hardly dry on the Treaty before disagreements broke out. The First Nation signatories complained that agreements reached during negotiations had not appeared in the written document, and that some agreements which did appear in writing were not being fulfilled by the Crown. There were disagreements as to what had been agreed to not only between the Commissioners and the First Nations, but among the Commissioners themselves. Much to the chagrin of Commissioner Simpson, the Ojibway had demanded economic development resources, including farm animals, horses, wagons, and farm tools and equipment. These demands were agreed to by the Commissioners, but Simpson had not included these items in the written Treaty. Instead he tacked on a list of “outside promises.”

Lieutenant Governor Morris returned to Manitoba House on 23 August 1875 to sign a new Treaty with respect to the “outside promises”. Chiefs assembled were “Sousonze (Lake Manitoba), Mahsahkayyash (Lake St. Martin), Richard Woodhouse (Fairford), Katahkahwaynayaas (Water Hen), Penaisse (Crane River) and Keegeegoweenin or Skyman (Riding Mountain).

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