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The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories Including the Negotiations on Which They Were Based, and Other Information Relating Thereto

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One of the gravest of the questions presented for solution by the Dominion of Canada, when the enormous region of country formerly known as the North-West Territories and Rupert's Land, was entrusted by the Empire of Great Britain and Ireland to her rule, was the securing the alliance of the Indian tribes, and maintaining friendly relations with them. The predecessors of Canada--the Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay, popularly known as the Hudson's Bay Company--had, for long years, been eminently successful in securing the good-will of the Indians--but on their sway, coming to an end, the Indian mind was disturbed. The events, that transpired in the Red River region, in the years 1869-1870, during the period when a provisional government was attempted to be established, had perplexed the Indians. They, moreover, had witnessed a sudden irruption into the country of whites from without. In the West, American traders poured into the land, and, freighted with fire-water, purchased their peltries and their horses, and impoverished the tribes. In the East, white men took possession of the soil and made for themselves homes, and as time went on steamboats were placed on the inland waters--surveyors passed through the territories--and the "speaking wires," as the Indian calls the telegraph, were erected. What wonder that the Indian mind was disturbed, and what wonder was it that a Plain chief, as he looked upon the strange wires stretching through his land, exclaimed to his people, "We have done wrong to allow that wire to be placed there, before the Government obtained our leave to do so. There is a white chief at Red River, and that wire speaks to him, and if we do anything wrong he will stretch out a long arm and take hold of us before we can get away." The government of Canada had, anticipating the probabilities of such a state of affairs, wisely resolved, that contemporaneously with the formal establishment of their rule, there should be formed alliances with the Indians. In 1870 the Parliament of Canada created the requisite machinery for the Government of the Province of Manitoba and of the North-West Territories respectively, giving to the former a Lieutenant-Governor and Legislature, and to the latter, a Lieutenant-Governor and Council, Executive and Legislative--the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba being ex officio Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories. Subsequently the North-West Territories were erected into a distinct government, with a Lieutenant-Governor and Executive, and Legislative Council. The District of Kee-wa-tin, "the land of the north wind," was also established, comprising the eastern and northern portions of the Territories, and placed under the control of the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, and an Executive and Legislative Council. Since 1870, no less than seven treaties have been concluded, with the Indian tribes, so that there now remain no Indian nations in the North-West, inside of the fertile belt, who have not been dealt with....