4) Treaty Process

[previous page: 3) Scrip process]

Métis individuals and peoples of Canada, as indigenous people, were affected by the treaty process, both directly and indirectly.

In 1870, Canada had argued that negotiating the Manitoba Act was necessary to quell Métis ‘rebellion.’ Nevertheless, the Dominion began dealing with First Nations in newly acquired Manitoba before it began fulfilling promises made to the Métis during the negotiations for confederation.[1] By constitutional law, lands could not be used for Canadian purposes without first extinguishing the title held by ‘Indians.’[2] Canada wanted to avoid confrontations with First Nations that would slow settlement of the North-West.[3] Yet, the Canadian government did not have a coherent plan before the treaty process was begun “at the insistence” of Saulteaux-speaking people (some of whom were as Métis as they were ‘Indian’), concerned about developments in territories within and adjacent to the new province of Manitoba.[4]

Canadian treaty arrangements began in 1871.[5] The process continued through to 1921. Eleven agreements known as the Numbered Treaties were imposed,[6] with additions — some called adhesions and others incorporations — made to the 1950s.[7] The treaty process did not end there. Decisions on locating reserves for some communities were not finalized into the 1970s and other communities began renovating treaty agreements in the 1980s.[8]

Treaty 1 talks took place in 1871 at Lower Fort Garry, to cover agreements within the boundaries of the new ‘postage stamp’ Province of Manitoba. People assembled from Roseau River, from along the Winnipeg River “above Fort Alexander,” and from Portage la Prairie, as well as from St. Peter’s Parish, Red River.[9] Although the people were described in the treaty document itself as “Chippewa and Swampy Cree,” many could also have qualified as ‘Halfbreed’/ Métis. The question of who was ‘Indian’ and who was ‘Half-breed’ had no clear answer. At Red River Settlement, the census of 1870 had set out a definition of Métis and then allowed enumerators and those they counted to decide which arbitrary census category (‘Halfbreed’, ‘White’, ‘Indian’) seemed to be the best fit.[10] Beyond the settlement, however, no such determination had been made.

The most recent precedent for treaty-making east of the Rocky Mountains, the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850,[11] had allowed the inclusion of Métis.[12] Wemyss M. Simpson, commissioner of the Treaty 1 negotiation, however, demanded a choice be made for Treaty 1: either declare as ‘Indian’ and take treaty, or declare as ‘Half-breed’ and wait to apply for a land grant under the Manitoba Act when those terms were finalized and that process got underway. Simpson recorded that,

“in all cases where it was known that a man was a half-breed, the matter as it affected himself and his children was explained to him, and the choice given to him to characterize himself. A very few only decided upon taking their grants as half-breeds.”[13]

Treaty 2, dealing with land entitlements in areas to the west and north of the province, took place at Manitoba Post a few weeks later. The people involved were described as “Chippewa” and “other Indians” of Swan Creek, Lake Manitoba, Fairford, Waterhen River, Crane River, Riding Mountain, Dauphin Lake, and “the remainder of the territory,” which included people of the Red River parishes of St. Mary’s Laprairie, St. Margaret’s, and St. Laurent.[14] Again, many who assembled could also have been described as ‘Halfbreed’/ Métis.[15] As of 1871, however, no one residing outside of the boundaries set for Manitoba qualified for any “Half-breed” recognition of land holdings or grants to protect children as legislated under the Manitoba Act — while just about everyone qualified for treaty if they agreed they had adopted “the Indian mode of life” (that is, followed a “harvesting lifestyle”).[16] Thus, the process of taking treaty could (and did) result in an “acquisition of an Indian Identity,” regardless of ancestry or degrees of “Indian blood,” (and regardless of previously held identities).[17]

Treaty 3’s initial agreement was reached in 1873. From Canada’s perspective the treaty ensured undisturbed passage through the region that lay between the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba. The people solicited were Saulteaux and “other Indians” who occupied “the country from the water shed of Lake Superior to the north west angle of the Lake of the Woods and from the American border to the height of land from which the streams flow towards Hudson’s Bay.”[18] The treaty remained open for adhesions through to 1875, but in the meantime, negotiation of Treaty 4 intervened.

Treaty 4’s initial signing was achieved in 1874 with Cree, Saulteaux, and “other Indians” (including Assiniboine and Métis) inhabiting approximately 50,000 square miles of the Qu’Appelle region (now southern Saskatchewan).[19] The new commissioner, Alexander Morris, was aware that all people of the area “were … concerned about the declining numbers of the animals which provided them with a living,” and that they wanted “protection against loss of land and livelihood.”[20] People were particularly discontented that Rupert’s Land had been transferred to Canada without their consultation, and that newcomers were taking up land without Canada having protected pre-existing claims.[21] There was still no process to deal with Métis concerns as distinct from First Nations entitlements. Morris apparently gave “a great deal of consideration,” to that problem, but did not come up with a solution. He did, however, conclude there were “three categories of Métis in the North West. Those who were married to and living among the Indians, those had taken up homes and farms and were living as whites, and those who lived a life similar to the Indians and who depended upon the buffalo for survival.”[22]

Other analysts took the matter of categorizing the “Mixed or Half-Breed Races” of the North-West further. One such pundit was A.P. Reid, Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie (soon to be Superintendent of the Nova Scotia Hospital for the Insane), and supporter of ‘stirpiculture’/ eugenics (the selective breeding of human beings, and sterilization of the ‘unfit’). In 1874, Reid presented his findings in an article published in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain. He asserted that in Manitoba there were nine “mixed races,”[23] which he ranked from “most desirable to least desirable.”[24] People belonging to Reid’s so-called ‘races’ were “progeny of”:

1. The Anglo-Saxon father and Indian mother;

2. The French and French-Canadian father and Indian mother;

3. The Anglo-Saxon father and mixed Anglo-Saxon and Indian mother;

4. The French father and mixed French and Indian mother;

5. The ‘half-breed’ Anglo-Saxon and Indian as father and mother;

6. The ‘half-breed’ French and Indian as father and mother;

7. The descendants proceeding from intermarriage of the fifth class;

8 The descendants proceeding from intermarriage of the sixth class;

9. The mixed or ‘half-breed’ father and Indian mother.”[25]

In Reid’s opinion, all of these ‘progeny’ exhibited a “marked change in physique, which was common to all the classes … that quickly followed the removal of Europeans to American soil.”[26]

Yet, when it came to making treaties, it was evident that neither Reid nor other observers were able to rely on any uniformly ‘marked physique’ to differentiate Métis either from ‘Indians’ or from ‘whites.’[27]

Reid also remarked that, within Manitoba, the appellation “Half-breed” was rejected as pejorative by those to whom was applied.[28] Nevertheless, by 1875, people who self-identified as “Halfbreeds of Rainy River and Lake,” were demanding consideration by way of an Adhesion to Treaty 3. Nicholas Chatelaine/ Chastellaine was their representative spokesperson. He was a “French Half-breed” who had fought in the War of 1812, had participated in the Robinson Treaties, and had acted as an interpreter and witness for the Treaty 3 negotiations of 1873.[29] Chatelaine/ Chastellaine asserted that “by virtue of their Indian blood,” Métis people possessed “a certain interest or title in the lands or territories in the vicinity of Rainy Lake and the Rainy River.” He sought compensation “for the commutation or surrender” of their claims.[30] Government officials, however, insisted that all communities within the Treaty territory must either declare as ‘Indian’ or as ‘white’ — they could not claim to have the rights of both categories.[31] Still, the wording of their adhesion named signatories as “Halfbreed” and implied that, like First Nations, Métis held original title to lands.[32] The provision of this distinctly “Halfbreed” treaty turned out to be an anomaly however.[33]

Treaty 5 talks began in 1875, concerning a southern portion of what is now central-northern Manitoba, and initiated “in large part as a result of the insistence of the Native people of that region.” [34] David Rundle, leader of “Swampy Cree Christian Indians of Rossville” (a Methodist mission),[35] solicited the help of Anglican Rev. James Settee and the Chief at St. Peter’s, Mis-koo-kenew/ ’Red Eagle’/ Henry Prince (to whom Rundle was related). They notified Commissioner Morris of Rundle’s concern that recent restructuring of the HBC maritime and inland transportation system had adversely affected people at Norway House and the district serviced by York Factory.[36] Some 140 men — described as “industrious able bodied men nearly all middle aged with small families” — had lost employment. Shipping activity at Port Nelson was curtailed (transoceanic vessels being rerouted to Churchill) and inland “tripping” by boat brigades from York Factory had ceased. As a result, an additional fifty or so men of the ‘Long Portage’/ Portage la Loche brigades — which transported goods from the height of land at the Lac la Loche post throughout the Mackenzie basin — were also no longer needed.[37] Rundle reported that men with families were leaving the Nelson River area, migrating southward, and collecting at Norway House. He explained that although local inhabitants had taken up farming with some success, resources in the area were insufficient to support new arrivals.[38] There was too much swampland to allow all families “to escape from starvation” by tilling the soil. He wanted the Canadian government to meet with people in the area (numbering approximately 800) and arrange the allotment of settlement lands among them. Morris complied — with a view to obtaining the surrender of lands east of Lake Winnipeg.[39]

Despite the mixed heritage common to families associated with wage labourers of the HBC, in correspondence and formal documents associated with Treaty 5, all of the people affected were described as ‘Indians.’ It is not apparent from archival sources that everyone normally described themselves as such — though many might well have self-identified according to first language (that spoken by their Aboriginal mother). The designation ‘Indian’ was required for treaty purposes however, because there was no provision by which Métis claims could be made. The first signatory groups were therefore classified as Saulteaux/ Ojibway, Swampy Cree, and “other Indians” of the Berens River, Poplar River, and Norway House region.[40]

The Beren’s River Band, led by Nah-wee-kee-sick-quah-yash/ Nauwigizigweas/  Naawigiizhigweyaash/ Jacob Berens, can be cited as an example of the inclusion within Treaty 5 of individuals who had extended ties to Métis families throughout the North-West:

  • Beren’s wife, Mary McKay, was of Cree, French, and Scottish descent.
    • She was the daughter of a ‘Scots-Cree’ HBC clerk, William McKay, and Juliat ‘Julie’/‘Julia’ Chalifoux/ Jolybois, whose father is reputed to be Joseph Chalifoux/ Jalifoux/ Jollifoux/ Chalefoux/ Chalifous/ Chilifox of Quebec, employed by the HBC at Norway House in 1838. Mary’s parents resided with the Beren’s River Band—at least to the death of Juliat in 1860 when William transported her remains to Red River Settlement for interment at St. Andrew’s Anglican cemetery.
    • Mary’s father, William McKay, was a son of Donald ‘le malin’/ ‘Mad’ McKay (of Scotland) and Margaret Elizabeth Sutherland, a daughter of HBC officer, James Sutherland. After the murder of William McKay’s mother in a raid on Albany House in 1793, he was sent “to Scotland and was educated there.” Later, his younger brother Donald McKay Jr. was also taken to Scotland to attend school, from whence he migrated with his father and step family to Nova Scotia in 1822.
    • Mary McKay’s brother, John Dougall McKay, was also sent overseas, at age 16, to be trained in bookkeeping and carpentry. After his return, he worked for the HBC and married Harriet McKay, a daughter of Harriet Ballenden and John Richards McKay—whose sister, Elizabeth McKay, had married Cuthbert Grant the younger. John Richards McKay, who was educated in England, is notable for having set up an academy “to teach writing, arithmetic, reading, English, French, dancing, fencing and the Graces,” at Red River Settlement, c.1827 to 1833. By his marriage to Harriet McKay, John Dougall McKay was brother-in-law to ‘Gentleman Joe’/ Joseph McKay (of St. François Xavier, Red River). In turn, ‘Gentleman Joe’ McKay, by his marriage to Anne Flora McKay, was son-in-law to Anne Marguerite Flora ‘Flavie’ Poitras (a daughter of Hon. Pierre Poitras Sr. of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia and Marie Bruyere). A Pierre Poitras (either Senior or Junior) was among the eleven signatories on a petition from Qu’Appelle in 1873 asking that the Lieutenant Governor, “give us lands in compensation of our rights to the lands of the country as Métis.” A Pierre Poitras also signed as witness to Treaty Four, Fort Qu’Appelle, in 1874. For his part, ‘Gentleman Joe’ later became “very involved in the Riel Rebellion at Batoche.”
    • Mary McKay’s other brother, William F. McKay, married Elizabeth Grant (daughter of Cuthbert Grant the younger). By way of marriage connections to McGillis, Cayen (including Kitowêhâw/ Alexander Cayen who was imprisoned to 1886 for his part in the resistance of 1885), and McKay families, Mary McKay was also related to Joseph Cook, teacher at St. Peter’s Industrial School, and his wife Catherine Sinclair.[41]

Naawigiizhigweyaash/ Jacob Beren’s family was not alone in having ties to geographically dispersed and culturally diverse relatives.[42]

People, regardless of affiliation, were not satisfied with the Canadian government’s implementation of Treaty 5.[43] The request of David Rundle’s Band to move to Grassy Narrows/ Whitemud River, Lake Winnipeg (not to be confused with Whitemud River on Lake Manitoba), for example, was not finalized until 1877, by which time they had instead been granted a reserve at Fisher River.[44] Negotiations for land allotments and adhesions to the treaty had slowed when it became known that, in keeping with Treaty 4, “Native signatories [of nearby Treaty 6] had received a more generous land allotment — 640 acres instead of the 160 acres per family granted under Treaty Five — and more generous provisions for agricultural implements.”[45] Additional problems arose, including:

“numerous disputes over the location and size of reserves, the chiefs selected, and the payment of treaty promises. … The Native people repeatedly complained that the government was not honouring its commitments. … The Native people very quickly recognized that some of the divisions and band unions agreed to during the negotiations were not practical.”[46]

Requests for smaller reserves more reflective of actual Band composition and organization were discouraged or ignored. People who had no wish to relocate were instructed to do so. Accommodation of people at Norway House, The Pas, and Cumberland remained “confusing” and problematic into the late 1880s.[47] Band membership was not clear. For instance, in 1881, missionary, school teacher, and rancher Matonekesekuawekemow/ John Colfield Sinclair of Norway House objected that the Canadian government had assigned him to treaty without his consent.[48] Writing to the Department of the Interior, Sinclair self-identified as “educated and brought up as a white man,” and, given that there was no officially recognized “Half-breed” category into which he could transfer and have his land holdings protected, he added, “I consider myself as such.”[49] The Department was reluctant to permit Sinclair to change his government-assigned status however. Aside from seeking assurances that he agreed to being treated as a homesteader, the Department wanted a refund of $35. An argument, over whether or not Sinclair had repaid the department in full as of 1881, continued to 1884.[50]

In addition to people seeking to leave Treaty 5, there were individuals transferring among Bands. Populations continued to shift as people continued to migrate.

Treaty 6 covered an area — in present day central Saskatchewan and central Alberta — into which migrants, such as those dissatisfied with Treaty 5, were heading.[51] The initial signings for the treaty were concluded at Fort Carlton, Fort Pitt, and Battle River in 1876.[52] The people there were directly affected by the visible and rapid decline of game animals, particularly buffalo — the staple resource in the region.[53] They were also concerned about “intrusions upon their land,” made by families who had migrated into the Saskatchewan Valley with the intent of establishing settlements — some of whom were regarded as ‘white.’ The influx of people was creating an even greater pressure on game preserves. There were also concerns that no “visible government” existed in the territory, which had resulted in intra-community conflicts.[54]

The people to whom Treaty 6 was addressed were classified by the treaty commissioners as “Plain and Wood Cree and the other Tribes of Indians.”[55] As in the region covered by Treaty 5, however, many of the families affected were Métis.[56] Incorporation under the rubric of ‘Indian’ was necessary to reach any sort of agreement with representatives of the Canadian government.[57] There was no other mechanism to protect the land bases utilized by families who lived off the land or followed a harvesting lifestyle, just as there was no mechanism by which farm lands cultivated by Aboriginal people could be protected as distinctly Aboriginal holdings.

The “transitional people” [58] who were involved in the treaty meetings — those who could have been acknowledged as Métis as readily as they were classified as ‘Indians’ — were not necessarily people who had married into First Nations. In some cases, they formed Bands of their own.[59] In some cases as well, they were related to representatives acting for the Canadian government. Two of the treaty commissioners, William Joseph Christie (HBC officer in charge of the Saskatchewan District),[60] and James McKay (of the Government of Manitoba and the North-West Council)[61] were also Métis and had family connections that extended throughout the North-West, Manitoba, Ontario, Labrador, and the British Isles. The same can be said of the government interpreters Peter Ballendine (Hon. James McKay’s nephew-in-law),[62] and Rev. John McKay, (Hon. James McKay’s brother).[63] Peter Erasmus, “who acted as chief interpreter” on the ‘Indian’ side, was likewise of mixed descent (being the son of Peter Erasmus Sr., who was Danish, and Catherine Budd, the sister of Henry Budd).[64]

At the treaty talks, Commissioner Morris assured those assembled that “You are, like me and my friends who are with me, children of the Queen. We are of the same blood, the same God made us and the same Queen rules over us.”[65] Nevertheless, on paper, Morris upheld distinctions that imposed divisions between the people of Aboriginal descent who were present. He did not record the mixed descent of people in the government party (the wording of the documents implies they were ‘white’). He only referred to interpreters and intermediaries as “Half-breed.” He described everyone who took treaty as ‘Indian.’

Thus, Morris reinforced a characterization popular in government, anthropological, and missionary circles world-wide:  “Half-breed” individuals were ‘in-between’ people. They were positioned part way up an imagined socio-evolutionary ladder that had “savagery” at the bottom (which at that time was equated with ‘primitive man’) and that had “civilization” at the top (which was still equated with ‘Anglo Saxons’).[66] Métis people were supposed to be useful only insofar as their ‘mixed blood’ antecedents allowed them to bridge a supposed gap between ‘white’ and ‘Indian’ ‘races.’[67] Yet, in reality, at the Treaty 6 talks Métis individuals were positioned on all sides. They operated among and within varied factions of multiple cultural permutations, rather than between the imaginary absolutes.

Treaty 6 Adhesions made in 1877 and 1878 make that last point clearly evident. People who had at first rejected the treaty, but whose children were soon threatened by starvation due to the virtual disappearance of buffalo in the North-West, gathered at Fort Pitt, Edmonton, Blackfoot Crossing of the Bow River, and Battleford to seek whatever relief taking treaty might bring. (Concurrently, people in similar circumstances were also signing the Treaty 4 Adhesion at Qu’Appelle lakes.) Métis and mixed heritage people were among them.

For example, Michel Calistrois/ Callioux/ Calihoo and his brother Jean Baptiste, both of St. Albert, were among the Cree-speaking people who agreed to sign on to Treaty 6 at Battleford. The designation ‘Cree,’ assigned to them in the treaty document, does not adequately convey their heritage.

Michel and Jean Baptiste Calistrois/ Callioux/ Calihoo were among some nine to eighteen children fathered by Louis Kwarakwante/ Karhiio/ Kalliou/ Callihoo/ Calehue/ ‘Beautiful Forest’/ ‘Walking Sun’/ ‘Traveling Sun.’ Depending on the source consulted the latter had either two or three wives — described as Marie Katis/ ‘La Sekanaise’ (a Sekani woman), Marie Patenaude (a daughter of an HBC employee at Smoky River),[68] and Josephte Patenaude (Marie’s sister).[69] In turn, Louis Kwarakwante/ Karhiio/ ‘Travelling Sun’ was the son of Thomas Anatoha/ Kanakonme (reputed to be a descendant of Daniel Karakwentha/ Karakontie/ Garakonthie, an Onadaga man)[70] and Marie Anne Tekonwakwehinni, who were among the “praying Iroquois” also known as “French Mohawk” settled at the Catholic Mission on the Caughnawaga/ Kahnewake/ Sault-Saint-Louis Reserve near Montreal.[71]

Louis Kwarakwante/ Karhiio/ ‘Travelling Sun’ had worked in the fur trade for the NWC from 1801 to approximately 1819, and then retired as a freeman in the North-West. He was employed occasionally by the HBC, and lived in community with other, similarly free people to his death in about 1854.[72] Although some of the first generation of men in his community formed marriage ties with Sekani women, reputedly “they continued to remain aloof from the local Indians, preferring eventually the company of the mixed bloods of French and Indian descent.” Thus, the community has been described as including “Metis of the area of both French and Scottish descent.” The members of Kwarankwante’s community were integrated with such families as the Delormes, Beaudrys, Brelands, Belcourts, Grays, and Loyers. Additional ties were later established with L’Hirondelles, Chalifouxs, Laderoutes, Savards, Bruneaus, Courtepattes, Cunninghams, Belleroses, Rowlands, Plantes, Dumonts, and Hodgsons. Some offspring stayed with the home community, some joined other communities, “traveling the prairies on well-structure buffalo hunts, visiting the missionary priests at their missions and working for the Hudson Bay Company.”[73]

Michel Callioux/ Calihoo/ Calistrois, born in 1824, was one of those who worked for the HBC, serving as boatman along the route that connected the Athabasca to Fort Garry via Edmonton.[74] He married Marie Savard in 1846 (they had 10 children), and after her death in 1869, Michel married Philomine Collin (they 12 children). On retiring from the HBC “at the end of the fur trade era,” he settled his family in community with other relatives “around the mission at St. Albert.” The priest at the mission, Father Albert Lacombe, was instrumental in convincing the community to agree to the terms of Treaty 6. Michel and his brother were appointed Chief and Councillor respectively. They were awarded a reserve of land, west of St. Albert on Big Lake, known as the Michel Reserve.[75]

In this instance it was Lacombe, as interpreter and intermediary, who was the ‘in-between’ individual, helping to bring Métis into the Canadian government’s process — though according to official parlance, the people involved were ‘Indians.’ The ‘Indian’ designation did not protect them from political, socio-economic, and cultural battering over time. The Canadian government appropriated reserve lands for sale in a series of dubious transactions during the early twentieth century. Some Band members enfranchised in 1928 “pursuant to the recommendation of an Enfranchisement Board,” and to access post-secondary education.[76] By 1932 one of Michel Callioux/ Calihoo/ Calistrois’s descendants, Felix Callihoo (of St. Paul, Alberta) had responded to needs of  ‘non-treaty’ community members by helping to found the L’Association des Métis d’Alberta et les Territoires du Nord-Ouest.[77] The association’s priority “was to petition the government and raise awareness about Métis issues.”[78] One of the first actions of the organization was to secure “appropriate recognition to our people … [with] the abolishment of the term ‘half-breed’ which was replaced by the more appropriately descriptive term, ‘Métis.’”[79] The association has been described as instrumental in the Alberta Government’s passing of the Métis Betterment Act of 1938.[80] The following year another of Michel Callioux/ Calihoo/ Calistrois’s descendants, John ‘Johnny’ Callihoo, along with Métis leader Malcolm Norris, founded the Indian Association of Alberta.[81] However, political moves on the part of Callihoo descendants and Aboriginal organizations did not prevent the forced enfranchisement of the Michel Band in 1958; the subsequent alienation of the land base; and the imposition of ‘white’ or ‘non-status’ designations with resulting negations of heritage.[82] Throughout the remaining treaty process, similar examples of Métis who were ascribed ‘Indian’ identities can be recited.[83]

Treaty 7 of 1877, was concluded with the dominant First Nations confederacy of “Blackfeet, Blood, Peigan, Sarcee, Stony.”[84] The presence of Métis individuals can, nevertheless, be inferred — and not only among the “other Indians,” (which included Cree).[85] The First Nations of the time were not insular.

Take, for example, Issapóómahksika/ Crowfoot and family. Originally of a Kainai/ Blood clan, Issapóómahksika/ Crowfoot, was raised as a Siksika/ Blackfoot. He ceremonially adopted Pītikwahanapiwīyin/ Poundmaker, a Plains Cree, whose father was Assiniboine and whose mother was Métis.[86] Through his mother, Poundmaker was related to Mistawasis/ Pierre Belanger, who signed Treaty 6.[87] Consider as well, Nio’kskatapi/ Jean L’Heureux, “a French-Canadian who lived among [the Blackfoot]” and assisted in the signing at Fort McLeod.[88]

The Treaty 6 Adhesion of 1889 at Montreal Lake, had a more visible Métis presence. By that date, in response to the events of 1885, a Scrip Commission had been established to accompany the Treaty Commission and “settle Métis land claims.”[89]

Treaty 8, ten years later, used the same procedure to address land claims of an estimated 2,700 ‘Indians’ and 1,700 Métis. Because government officials had no real means of distinguishing the one category of people from the other living in the area, applicants were to choose either scrip or treaty by avowing one or the other identity. Although the option of having a choice on the basis of self-identification might seem to be somewhat of an improvement, the choice was offered primarily to benefit the government.[90] Ultimately the result was the imposition of artificial divisions among Aboriginal peoples.

Incidentally, an indication of the degree of government indifference to Métis sentiment in the Treaty 8 territory can be seen in the appointment of Charles Mair to the position of “English secretary of the commission established to deal with the land claims of the mixed-blood population.”[91] He professed a desire “to gain the confidence of the Indians at the outset and to lay the foundation for permanent, friendly and profitable relationship between the races.” At Lesser Slave Lake, Mair even stated,

“It was plain that these people had achieved, without any treaty at all, a stage of civilization distinctly in advance of many of our treaty Indians to the south after twenty-five years of education. … like … average pioneers”[92]

Yet, Mair was also certain that the “primitive people,” of the region were “not without faults or depravities,” and that along with their “incompetent … tribunals,” they would soon “pass away for ever.” [93] Not only did he view “the white man” as superior, Mair was a fervent Canadian nationalist and land speculator who held an abiding antipathy for French Catholics. He was opposed to “inter-racial procreation”[94] and had a relatively long and troubled history with Métis communities in the West. In 1869 to 1870, he had alienated the people of Red River Settlement by publishing offensive comments in the Ontario press and by interfering with the process of establishing representative and responsible government in Rupert’s Land. In 1885, he enlisted and served as quartermaster in the Governor General’s Body Guard, and campaigned for the execution of Louis Riel.[95]

During the 1880s and through the turn of the century, Canadian policy regarding Aboriginal people was well on its way to solidifying into a knot of contradictions. To begin with, the terms of signed treaties proved to be fluid in the hands of the Canadian government. By 1883, changes were being made to Treaty 7. Along with re-writing provisions for reserve land locations, the government disallowed some people from the treaty on the grounds that they were American, not Canadian, and argued as well that the number of children claimed by families was “inflated.”[96]  Treaty 8 was open for adhesions as of 1900, and these continued to be signed to 1914.[97] During the same period, “half-breed claims” in the area were “investigated.” Of 381 claims submitted in 1900 to Clifford Sifton of the Department of Immigration and Indian Affairs for approval, 152 were disallowed — the preferred policy being to admit people to treaty. Of the 1,106 people who were admitted as ‘Indians’ to Treaty 8 in 1900, an unknown number were Métis.[98]

When the Canadian government embarked on additional Northern treaties in the early 1900s (Treaties 9 to 11 and a significant adhesion to Treaty 5), inconsistency in policy was carried forward.[99]

Beginning in 1905 and continuing into 1906, talks on expanding the area covered by Treaty 5 began (although the actual adhesion process would not begin for several years).[100] The impetus on the government side was agreement between Manitoba and the federal government for building a railway extending beyond the northern boundary of Manitoba to a port on Hudson Bay.[101] Concurrently, obtaining signings to Treaty 9 (the James Bay Treaty) and Treaty 10 were begun, though with different approaches to the process.

Treaty 9 was undertaken in 1905 and 1906 for reasons similar to those for the proposed Treaty 5 Adhesion — the Government of Ontario wanted to push its provincial boundary north to James Bay and build a rail terminus there.[102] Although the presence of “Half-breeds” was an obvious historical fact along the shores of James Bay, Ontario did not enter into any process of recognition, perhaps because a good proportion of the territory in question remained to be added to the province.[103] Arguments with Manitoba over the placement of a proposed joint border continued until 1912. In the interim, the federal government’s solution was to take all Aboriginal inhabitants into treaty — in part because people whose territories were projected to fall on the Quebec side of a northern Ontario border were not going to be eligible for Métis status.[104] No scrip was offered, therefore, alongside Treaty 9.[105]

Treaty 10, in contrast, had scrip available for 1906. It was concluded in Northern Saskatchewan (the Peace River region) and Alberta, one year after the provinces had been created.[106] Certificates to be redeemed for cash or land were offered, apparently in response to petitions from Métis people at Île-à-la-Crosse, who demanded “compensation for loss of aboriginal rights.”[107] Although the petitions had been sent to Ottawa as early as 1902, the government had stalled, partly for reasons of economy: First Nations title in the area had not been extinguished, treaty commissions were expensive undertakings, and there was no likelihood that sales to new settlers would cover the cost. When the scrip and treaty processes finally got underway, commissioners devoted “easily as much time taking applications for scrip” as they did to negotiating the treaty.[108] People were allowed to choose either process according to self-identification. The joint commissioner of treaty and scrip commented:

“The Indians dealt with are in character, habit, manner or dress and mode of living similar to the Chipewyans and Crees of the Athabasca country. It is difficult to draw a line of demarcation between those who classed themselves as Indians and those who elected to be treated with as half-breeds. Both dress alike and follow the same mode of life. It struck me that the one group was, on the whole, as well able to provide for self-support as the other.”[109]

The implications of declaring one or the other Aboriginal identity might not have been clear at the time, but there were long-term consequences for communities, families, and children. This was particularly so as the government was insisting

“that all those persons who may have claims to half-breed scrip but who elect to be paid as Indians [are] to understand that they make the choice once [and] for all and that in the future the Department will not be inclined to reconsider their cases.”[110]

Treaty 5 Adhesions got underway in 1908. [111] There were people of Split Lake who “lived in the area formally covered by Treaty Five, but had never signed the treaty and hunted and trapped outside the treaty limits.”[112] There were ‘Non-treaty Indians’ as well at Norway House, Cross Lake and Fisher River who had migrated there from Oxford House, York Factory, Island Lake, and Gods Lake. In 1908 and 1909, Treaty 5 adhesions were signed with people at Split Lake, Nelson House, Oxford House, God’s Lake, and Island Lake along with “non-treaty Indians” at Norway House, Cross Lake, and Fisher River.[113] The option of taking scrip had also been made available, though it appears that for the most part, the Treaty Commissioners encouraged people to choose the treaty adhesion option and that the overwhelming majority did so.[114] By 1909, however, scrip buyers were canvassing communities in search of purchases and spreading the rumour that anyone who might later be classed as having “white blood” would be summarily expelled from treaty.[115] Thus, by 1910, when people at Deer’s Lake/ East Reindeer Lake, York Factory, and Churchill were signing Treaty 5 adhesions, people who had previously signed elsewhere were seeking to withdraw in favour of scrip.[116] Further, people who received scrip at York Factory and Churchill found their certificates only applied to “land located in Saskatchewan and Alberta.” Choosing to opt into either the ‘Indian’ or a ‘Half-breed’ process was proving to hold economic and logistical consequences.[117]

Inconsistencies continued to accumulate as well. For example, with respect to the Treaty 8 Adhesion process: people of Whitefish Lake who were “living the Indian mode of life” but who had repeatedly rejected the terms of the treaty were given an option of applying for scrip in 1910. At the same time, no such option was available for people in locations such as Fort Nelson and Hudson Hope, though they likewise had resisted signing an adhesion up until 1910 and 1911. And, there were others who were never formally offered an adhesion to sign (let alone a scrip application), rather, they were “merely admitted” by itinerant Indian agents.[118]

By 1912 irregularities in the Treaty 5 Adhesion scrip process were being investigated — particularly with respect to HBC activity.[119]  In the Treaty 8 area, the option of applying for scrip had ceased entirely. From that date, in northern Alberta, all Métis claims “were dealt with by admission to treaty.” This applied to individuals from Fort St. John and Moberly Lake who signed adhesions in 1914.[120]

Treaty 11, the last Numbered Treaty, was signed in 1921 and 1922, primarily with “Dene and Métis” in the western part of the Mackenzie Region, Northwest Territories — although people were “accepted into the treaty” in succeeding years.[121] Oil exploration after the Great War had raised concerns. Aboriginal title had not been extinguished and could interfere with projected drilling (a point brought home by the Northwest Company’s Discovery Well strike along the shore of the Mackenzie River at Norman Wells in 1920).[122] No land scrip was made available. Those who opted for scrip received cash certificates only, at $240 per claimant.[123] The Scrip Commissioners did not expect more than “fifteen … old and respected families in that country” to take scrip: among them the “Camsells, Gaudet, Beauvieu, Lafferty, McDonald, Smith and Firth” families. The Commissioners noted that “There were other mixed-blood families, but those, numbering about seventy-five, were expected to take treaty, as they were living the ‘Indian mode of life.”[124] In fact there were more “distinctive mixed-blood” communities than the Commissioners acknowledged, but those people whom Commissioners deemed ‘poor’ were named ‘Indians,’ while those who were ‘self-sufficient’ were not.[125] Consequently, “One important effect of Treaty Eleven on the  mixed-blood people [who were not named ‘Indians’] was to create and emphasize divisions between them and the Indian population, a division which until then had been blurred.”[126]

Parents were not permitted to self-identify as Métis without meeting requirements set by the Scrip Commission:

“The claimant had to submit evidence that he was a bona fide half-breed, and had to be permanently residing within the territory covered by Treaty Eleven on the date of the signing of the Treaty at Fort Providence (27 June 1921 — later extended to include the triangle in the Mackenzie District covered by Treaty Eight). Applications were disallowed for six reasons:

1. If the applicant was not a bona fide half-breed — for instance, if both parents were Indians.

2. If he was not resident within the treaty area on the date it was signed.

3. If he had at any time joined a band of Indians under treaty, even if he had later been discharged from the treaty.

4. If scrip or similar form of grant had been given elsewhere to him, his parents, or his guardian in settlement of his aboriginal rights.

5. If he had been born after 27 June 1921.

6. If he had been born after the date which fixed the rights of his parents and if both parents had received scrip. If the rights of one parent had not been extinguished, the claimant was eligible, unless the parent was not a half-breed.”[127]

At the time of the treaty signing, if there were any differences “between racial and ethnic groups,”[128] then subsequent government policies and legislation ensured difference would become divisive:

“In the schools, under the game regulations, and later in the provision of government-subsidized housing, it mattered very much whether a person was officially a treaty Indian or a mixed-blood. Thus the treaty process had created and exacerbated barriers that would subsequently prove very difficult to breach.”[129]

Adhesions to treaties continued that process while the scrip process was terminated. People who sought to affirm Aboriginal entitlement — to have respected their prior occupation and use of territory, in order to secure a legacy for their children — were compelled to accept the Canadian designation, ‘Indian,’ along with the restrictions such a designation entailed. Thus, via the treaty process, unknown numbers of Métis children continued to become ‘Indian’ from the late 1920s to the 1960s.[130]

Trety 1930s

Photograph, “75 Indians were taken into Treaty for the first time at Fort Severn [Ont.],” (1930). Source: Canada. Dept. of Indian Affairs and Northern Development / Library and Archives Canada / C-068941. Restrictions on use: Nil. Copyright: Expired.

Conversely, even as treaties were made, people were opting out of treaty agreements. In addition, the Canadian government was peremptorily discharging people from treaty. Children might have been a consideration in both cases, but they did not have a right to determine what their placement with respect to ‘identity’ would be.

From the mid- to late 1800s into the twentieth century, restrictions imposed on Aboriginality by legislative means likely supplied impetus to some parents to reject an ‘Indian’ designation and accept a ‘Halfbreed’ designation that allowed them to maintain rights previously understood to be theirs. The choice presented to some Métis parents on behalf of their children — take treaty or take scrip — was not a true choice: all that was available was acceptance of either a ‘rock or a hard place.’ Mothers and fathers, who had no way of knowing what the future might bring, were compelled to decide whether their children would benefit most from having land reserved ‘in perpetuity’ as a base for community or from rights conferred by full citizenship under the Canadian state. Parents were not given an option of having their children’s entitlement to a land base recognized by virtue of prior occupation, utilization, and oversight and enjoying rights conferred to Canadian citizens.

[next page: 5) The Indian Act]

[1] Dealing first with “the Indian claim” to lands was expected by Thomas Bunn, Secretary of State, Provisional Government of Assiniboia, and representative in its Legislative Assembly for the parish of St. Clements. See “2d Session, Day 2,” this site.

[2] See Joseph Eliot Magnet, “Metis Land Rights in Canada,” (accessed 25 August 2013); Mark Stevenson, “Section 91 (24) and Canada’s Legislative Jurisdiction with Respect to the Métis,” 242; and Kenneth S. Coates and William R. Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Five (1875),” (accessed 25 August 2013), who observe,

“Before and during the Red River Resistance of 1869 – 1870, Louis Riel, the Métis and the Provincial Government spoke repeatedly of the need to settle outstanding Métis and Native land entitlements. The military and political power of the Métis made these demands impossible to ignore. It was for this reason that the Manitoba Act contained specific assurances that the mixed bloods of Red River would receive adequate land assignments. The mixed bloods’ claims appeared, at least on paper, to have been settled. The Indians’ request for treaty negotiations, however, had yet to be addressed.”

[3] John Leonard Taylor, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Four (1874),” (accessed 25 August 2013).

[4] John Tobias quoted in Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Five.”

[5] These were not the first treaties in the North-West. In 1817, the Hudson’s Bay Company [HBC] had secured a treaty at Red River between Thomas Douglas, the fifth earl of Selkirk, and leaders of the “Chippeway or Saulteaux Nation and of the Killistine or Cree Nation.” The Company had secured a second set of agreements at points on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, from1850 to 1854 between James Douglas, HBC governor at Fort Victoria (of mixed Scottish and West Indian descent and married to Amelia Connolly a Métis woman), and 14 First Nations. In both cases, the land transfers were not particularly large and were meant to allow ‘company towns’ to be established. See “Douglas Treaties: 1850 – 1854”; Dennis F.K. Madill “British Columbia Indian Treaties In Historical Perspective,” and map, “Vancouver Island Treaties (Douglas),” (accessed 25 August 2013)

[6] Wayne E. Daugherty, “Treaty Research Report Treaty One and Treaty Two (1871),” (accessed 25 August 2013). Among the notable terms that were imposed were the formulas for determining the size of reserves — whether allotted a quarter section (160 acres) or a square mile per family of five, reserve lands were far too small for a family to survive upon if living off the land. Arthur S. Morton,  A History of the Canadian West to 1870 – 71, Being a History of Rupert’s Land (The Hudson’s Bay Company Territory) and of the North-West Territory (Including the Pacific Slope) (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1939), 10- 11, indicates something over 200 square miles per family group might be necessary.

[8] See Dennis F.K. Madill, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Eight (1899),” (accessed 25 August 2013).

[10] Effectively the census the design attenuated, then measured and codified, presumed Métis difference. On the arbitrary nature of nineteenth-century census taking see Bruce Curtis, The Politics of Population: State Formation, Statistics, and the Census of Canada, 1840 – 1875 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), 3 – 11, 24 – 27, 33, 281 – 282, 306 – 311. Principal categories of the Archibald Census of 1870 were ‘White,’ ‘Halfbreed,’ and ‘Indian.’ An indication of who was a ‘British Subject’ and who was a ‘Citizen of U.S.A.’ was given. Determination of the proportion of those who could be classed as ‘English Halfbreeds,’ or as ‘French Halfbreeds,’ and how many could be classed as either ‘Catholic’ or ‘Protestant’ was sought. See Archives of Manitoba [AM], MG 2 83, Document 3, “Instructions To be observed by the Enumerators appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, to take the Enumeration of the Province of Manitoba/ Instructions que devront observer les Enumerators appointes par le lieutenant-Governor de manitoba,” 1870; also “Fort Garry. October 13th, 1870,” Canada Gazette, Sessional Papers 20 (1871), 74.

[12] Gwen Reimer and Jean-Philippe Chartrand, “Documenting Historic Métis in Ontario,” Ethnohistory 51. 3 (Summer 2004), 577, 596 – 597, 599 nn.5, 8, explain that in 1849 at Fort William, “Métis attended pretreaty meetings with Commissioners Vidal and Anderson, who subsequently addressed issues of ‘claims of halfbreeds.’ The Métis land claims were supported by four Ojibwa Chiefs who petitioned the government, stating that ‘the whole of the inhabitants of the Sault are what are termed half breeds’.” They note that John Swanston, Chief Factor of the Michipicoten HBC post, supplied a pretreaty census:

“Following the completion of this census, Swanston, himself Métis, communicated his hopes for recognition of Métis rights and claims to HBC Governor George Simpson. Swanston argued that Halfbreeds born and raised in the area had stronger claims than many of the Indians living in the Lake Superior area, including those of the Sault Chiefs at Batchewana and Garden River, who originated from American territory. Swanston ensured that Métis received the same cash annuity as everyone else, and treaty annuity paylists for 1851-7  — which were then administered by the HBC — listed Metis beneficiaries separately for both Michipicoten and Fort William. … [I]t may be reasonable to assume that Swanston’s hopes were shared by other Métis there, who between the 1850s and 1890s numbered from approximately eighty to one hundred persons (twenty to thirty families).”

Finally, Reimer and Chartrand  observe that “Robinson’s censuses of Lakes Huron and Superior counted ‘Half-breeds’ separately from Indians, and Robinson Treaties annuity paylists separately identified band members who were ‘Half Breeds’ up to at least the 1890s.” See also Stevenson, “Section 91 (24) and Canada’s Legislative Jurisdiction with Respect to the Métis,” 238, 250.

[13] Wymess M. Simpson, quoted in Alexander Morris, The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-west (Toronto: Willings and Williamson, 1880), 41.

[14] Treaties 1 and 2.”

[15] See Wayne E. Daugherty, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Three (1873),” (accessed 13 February 2012), who notes, while referring to  treaties One and Two, that “Despite the provisions of the Manitoba Act, some Métis preferred to regard themselves as Indians and sought to be included in the Indian treaties.”

[16] Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Five.” See also Constance MacIntosh, “B. Mode of Life,” and “C. Assessing “Mode of Life,” in “From Judging Culture to Taxing ‘Indians,’” 407 – 411, for a thorough discussion, explanation, and critique. She points out, for example, that wage labour was more common among ‘Indians’ than stereotyping allowed (or continues to allow).

[21] Métis complaints were put forward most persistently by spokesman The Gambler. He was “a Saulteaux headman and chief,” who was grandson of “a white man, John Tanner, who had been kidnapped by the Shawnee in Kentucky and then brought to Red River his adopted Odawa mother, Netnokwa.” The Gambler’s father was known as Peicheto/ Pecheto/ Petito, “a trader and a sub chief of the Portage Band,” who was also described as “a white man of American birth,” while his mother, Nejotekooe, was described as “Chippewa, quarter blood.” See “The Gambler,” St. Lazare website (accessed 25 August 2013). See also Library and Archives Canada [LAC], “Birtle Agency – Gambler’s Reserve – Alex Tanner was Granted Discharge from Treaty,” (1894), items 1 – 11; LAC, “Birtle Agency – Gambler’s Reserve – Sarah Tanner [Hind/ Hines] was Granted Discharge from Treaty,” (1894), items 1- 10; LAC, “Birtle Agency – Gambler’s Reserve  –  Marie Rose Tanner was Granted Discharge from Treaty,” (1894), items 1 – 11; LAC, “Birtle Agency – Gambler’s Reserve – Virginie Tanner was Granted Discharge from Treaty,” (1894), items 1 – 9; LAC, “Birtle Agency – Gambler’s Reserve – Charles Tanner was Granted Discharge from Treaty,” (1894), items 1 – 12. During the Treaty talks, the Gambler’s reference to the £300,000 awarded to the HBC, and his argument that the sum should have been awarded to the inhabitants of the country were reminiscent of arguments made in 1869 at Red River by William Dease and his party, which included Pascal Breland, Joseph Genthon, and William Hallet. See D.N. Sprague, Canada and the Métis, 18691885 (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1988), 36 and n.14. Daugherty, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Three (1873),” in referring to ‘Genton,’ indicates that Genthon might have attended the Treaty 3 negotiations.

[23] Précis of A.P. Reid, “On the Mixed or Half-Breed Races of North-Western Canada,” paper presented to the Anthropological Institute, 10 March 1874, in The Athenæum Journal of Literature, Science, the Fine Arts, Music, and the Drama (25 July 1874), 397. See Colin D. Howell, “Reid, Alexander Peter,” DCB; Stephen Ellis, “‘Modern science has it well in hand’: Nova Scotia’s ‘experiment’ in eugenics,” Shunpiking 2. 7 (May – June 2005), who notes

“Alexander P. Reid, Dean of the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine from 1868 to 1875 and Superintendent of the Nova Scotia Hospital for the Insane, was typical in many respects of the middle-class professionals of his time. His faith in eugenics was unwavering: [Reid stated] ‘Eugenics steps forward as the guide that can safely pilot it [society] to the safe harbours of health, wealth and desirable possibilities … and points out the means by which the undesirable recession in race propagation can be controlled, nay, eliminated.’”

See also “Notes on Books,” The British Medical Journal (21 June 1890): 1451, which reviews Reid’s book, Stirpiculture, or the Ascent of Man, and observes, “The highest interests of the State are involved in studying the evolution or ascent of man to a higher standard of physical, mental, and moral attainment — conditions absolutely necessary to enable any nation to hold its own in the international competition for existence.”

[24] University of Saskatchewan Archives, “Director, Journal Of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, ‘The Mixed or “Half-Breed” Races of North-Western Canada’, by A. P. Reid, 1875,” (accessed 25 August 2013), has a typed transcript of a description of Reid’s paper presented to the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain by the director of the institute’s journal.

[25] Précis of Reid, “On the Mixed or Half-Breed Races of North-Western Canada,” 397, notes another of Reid’s assertions was that “The French and Anglo-Saxons and their descendants rarely intermarried.”

[26] Ibid.

[27] See University of Saskatchewan Archives, “Director, Journal Of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain,” 2; and Hall, “Perfect Freedom,” 71 – 72, who notes Henry Youle Hind’s comment in 1857 was that at Red River “the colony was becoming less and less European each decade,” but that his “conviction could not have been based on observations regarding the physiognomy of the inhabitants,” given that other observers

“who left written descriptions … thought the heterogeneity of Métis appearance worthy of remark. The Métis were found to show great ‘diversity of their figures,’ and ‘various hues of their complexion,’ including a full range of eye and hair colour … Anglican parson, Rev. William Cockran…writing in 1845, inferred that of one of his parishioners must have been of African American descent ‘by his father’s side.’ Not only did outside observers have a difficult time when attempting to identify who exactly was First Nations, Métis, or White by physical appearance, the ‘Melange of languages,’ encountered within the settlement, cart brigades, and hunting encampments did not make arriving at distinctions any easier. Along with French, speakers might be apprehended as conversant in Gaelic, English, Cree, and Anishinaabemowin. The spoken word was sometimes enlivened ‘with all the wild accompaniment of mingled accent.’  At other times, what was assumed to be a second language was spoken with notable ‘elegance.’ Because fluency in more than two languages was common, reducing determination to primary and secondary orientations could be difficult. … Where difference might alarm one Europe-oriented observer, another would find the recognizable. The Métis struck the Earl of Southesk as completely acceptable [he stated]:‘They build and farm like other people, they go to church and to courts of law, they recognize no chiefs (except when they elect a leader for their great hunting expeditions), and in all respects they are like civilized men, not more uneducated, immoral, or disorderly, than many communities in the old world.’”

Stevenson, “Section 91 (24) and Canada’s Legislative Jurisdiction with Respect to the Métis,” 257; and Chartrand, “Confronting the ‘Mixed-Blood Majic,’” 10, 16. See also MacIntosh, “From Judging Culture to Taxing ‘Indians,’” 399 – 437.

[28] University of Saskatchewan Archives, “Director, Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain,” 2.

[29] See David T. McNab, “Hearty Co-operation and Efficient Aid, The Metis and Treaty #3,” The Canadian Journal of Native Studies 3. 1 (1983): 136 – 137, for comments on Nicholas Chatelain, who is described as, at the time,  “one of nature’s noblemen of commanding presence, being six feet four inches in height, 98 years of age and totally blind.” See also Gary Still, “Nicholas ‘Old Nick’ Chastellaine (1795 – 1892),” Red River Ancestry.ca (accessed 25 August 2013).

[30] Daugherty, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Three,” notes that

“at the North-West Angle … The Indians retired to reconsider the Commissioner’s proposals and were joined in council by four Métis, the Honourable James McKay, Pierre Leveillée, Charles Nolin and a certain Mr. Genton. There are conflicting statements regarding the presence of these men at the council …. [I]t has been suggested that the Métis had little influence with the Saulteaux … The Saulteaux then asked that some twenty Métis families who lived with them be recognized as Indians and be included in the treaty. Though it cannot be proven, this request was probably instigated by the Métis who joined their council the previous night. Morris told them that the treaty was for Indians only, but that he would make known their wish to the government and recommend it be adopted.”

Auguste and Joseph Nolin apparently were present as well, the latter “employed by the Saulteaux to make a written record on their behalf,” known as the “Paypom Treaty.”

[31] McNab, “Hearty Co-operation and Efficient Aid,” 139. See also “Treaty 3 between Her Majesty the Queen and the Saulteaux.” Daugherty, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Three,” notes the Ministry of the Interior was informed in 1874:

“the half-breeds of Rainy River numbering about one hundred wished to join the treaty and inquired whether they should be treated as an Indian band with respect to the allotment of a reserve. The reply … stated … ‘no objection to allowing few families of Half breeds outside of Manitoba who have married Indian women and adopted Indians habits to elect whether they shall be treated as Half breeds or Indians.’… Deputy Minister of the Interior E.A Meredith had stated: … ‘There can be no objection to allowing these half breeds to elect whether they shall be treated as half breeds or Indians, but it should be explained to them that, in the event of their electing to be considered Indians altho they will not thereby forfeit a claim to an allotment of land like the half breeds of Manitoba, they would render themselves minors and be unable to acquire or alienate property except with the consent of the Band and the Government and would also lose the right of voting at elections.’

The Métis proclaimed themselves satisfied with the terms of the treaty, with the exception of $1,500 allotted annually for the purchase of ammunition and twine for nets. The Métis felt that the money should be exclusively for the Indians, fearing the latter would be dissatisfied if the Métis were given a share of it. The Métis requested instead that they be given a ‘pro rata’ amount for the same purpose. After calculating the amount at only forty dollars per year … the adhesion was signed.

The adhesion stated that the Métis would surrender any and all claim, right, title or interest which they by virtue of their Indian blood have or possess in the land or territories described in the Treaty Three area. In return, the Métis were to receive land, payments, annuities and presents in the same manner as the Indians, with the exception of the money for ammunition and nets, which was to be provided on a pro rata basis. Two reserves, marked as 18A and 18B, were set apart for them on the shore of Rainy Lake adjacent to the reserve of the Little Eagle Band.”

[32] McNab, “Hearty Co-operation and Efficient Aid,” 139, describes the adhesion as a “memorandum” and states, “It is not known whether or not this memorandum of agreement was ever approved by the Federal Government, either by a Federal Order-in-Council or some other document possessing executive authority. Daugherty “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Three,” comments,

“A … point which bears further investigation is the fourth paragraph of the adhesion: ‘It is now hereby agreed upon by and between the said parties hereto (this agreement, however, to be subject in all respects to approval and confirmation by the Government without which the same shall be considered as void [and] of no effect) …’ As indicated elsewhere, it is not known whether the government ever approved of this agreement through an Order-in-Council or some other device.

As for the Métis, they were eventually absorbed by the Little Eagle Band and are now part of the Couchiching reserve.”

Couchiching First Nation,” Couchiching First Nation website, (accessed 25 August 2013), avers

“Treaty #3 is an important document for Couchiching First Nation and all members of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3.  It was the Fort Frances area Chiefs that recommended that their members with French grandfathers be allowed into Treaty #3, it was because these members lived within the Anishinaabe communities as Anishinaabe peoples that allowed them in Treaty #3.  In 1875 an adhesion to Treaty #3 resulted in a ‘half-breed’ reserve being negotiated with families connected to Mikiseesis’s band (Rainy Lake band). The ‘half-breed’ reserve was surveyed as reserve 16A.  In 1967, both the Rainy Lake band and the 16A reserve were amalgamated and the two ‘communities’ were now administered by a single ‘band’.  All members of Couchiching First Nation are ‘Status Indians’ under the Indian Act and Couchiching First Nation does not administer its own citizenship or membership code.”

[33] Daugherty, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Three ,” notes,

“The adhesion of the Métis in Treaty Three was a departure from all previous treaties in that the Métis were admitted as an identifiable group and given reserve lands. Though this action has been cited as an example of government recognition of Métis rights, it is, perhaps, a debatable point. As John Taylor has noted: ‘The Indian policy of the Dominion in the North-West was only being developed during the 1870’s. The Government still knew little about the area and its people. Under such circumstances, anomalies such as this example can be expected.’ An indication of the confusion that existed at the time is provided by the reply … in 1874, [which stated] that the Métis could elect to be treated as Half-breeds or Indians. At that time the only place the Métis could receive recognition as such as was in Manitoba under Section 31 of the Manitoba Act. There was no other legal mechanism by which such recognition could be extended anywhere else in Canada.”

See also MacIntosh, “From Judging Culture to Taxing ‘Indians,’” 415.

[35] See Raymond Morris Shirritt-Beaumont, “The Rossville Scandal, 1846: James Evans, the Cree, and a Mission on Trial,” M.A. thesis (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2001).

[36] LAC, “Norway House Agency – Correspondence Regarding the Removal of Indians from Norway House to Grassy Narrows,” (1875), items 1- 25, particularly items 4, 5 – 8, 9 – 10, 14.

[37] Winnipeg had become the new hub for distributing HBC supplies. There, the company “introduced steam navigation for carrying their goods, instead of open boats.” See LAC, “Norway House Agency – Correspondence Regarding the Removal of Indians,” item 14. Norma Jean Hall, “Northern Arc: The significance of the shipping and seafarers of Hudson Bay, 1508 – 1920,” Ph.D. diss. (St. John’s: Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2009), 185, notes, with respect to maritime shipping, that from 1876 – 1881 HBC ships began sailing directly from Gravesend to the port at Churchill (which “For sixty-two years [1813 – 1875] … did not receive any of the HBC’s transatlantic ships, only coastal vessels”). At minimum, the change halved the amount work to be done by local boatmen, harbour pilots, and coastal sailing crews stationed at Port Nelson, off York Factory, in guiding, servicing, unloading, and reloading transatlantic vessels, and in transporting cargo via coastal vessels to and from Churchill. On the Portage la Loche brigade see LAC, “Norway House Agency – Correspondence Regarding the Removal of Indians,” items 15, 17 – 19; and A.C. Garrioch, “Grand Rapids to Methy Portage,” The Far and Furry North (1925), online transcript (accessed 25 August 2013).

[38]Treaty 5 between Her Majesty the Queen and the Saulteaux and Swampy Cree,” acknowledges there were “gardens, buildings and improvements.”

[41] See Jennifer S.H. Brown, “Berens, Jacob (Nah-wee-kee-sick-quah-yash, Nauwigizigweas, Naawigiizhigweyaash,” DCB; “Joseph Chalifoux, from Quebec to Manitoba,” Metis Culture & Heritage Resource Centre (accessed 25 August 2013); Heather Gervais, “Fw: Joseph Chalifoux and Family,” CAN-HUDSONS-BAY-L Archives, Rootsweb, (accessed 25 August 2013); “Juliat ‘Julia’ Chalifoux McKay” (accessed 25 August 2013); and LAC, Kipling Collection, MG 25 G62, “McKay William,” (accessed 25 August 2013). See John C. Jackson, “Mackay [sic], Donald,” DCB; and Shirlee Anne Smith, “Sutherland, James,” DCB. T.R. McCloy, “McKay, John Richards,” DCB. Serena Willis, “McKay, Donald Bruce Ancestors” (accessed 25 August 2013); Margaret L. Clarke, ed., “More on ‘Mad’ Donald McKay,” Canada Tree 3. 2 (December 1995); HBCA, “McKay, William F.,” (accessed 25 August 2013); Eileen Horan, “Gentleman Joe McKay obit,”METISGEN-L Archives, Rootsweb, (accessed 25 August 2013); “Hon. Pierre Poitras, Baie St. Paul and Prairie du Cheval Blanc”; Jene M. Porter, Perspectives of Saskatchewan (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press), 91 – 92.

[42] See, for example, Shirritt-Beaumont, “The Rossville Scandal, 1846,” 43.

[43] Including people who signed from 1875 to 1876 at Grand Rapids, and points along the east shores of Lake Winnipeg such as Wa-pang/ Dog-head Island (including the Jack-head Point Band), the mouth of the Black River, and at Wahpahpuha/ the Pas and Cumberland territories.

[44] LAC, “Norway House Agency – Correspondence Regarding the Removal of Indians,” items 4, 13, 17 – 19. LAC, “Norway House Agency – Letter Regarding the Payment of Annuities at Norway House Reserve,” (1876) items 1 – 3. “Treaty 5 between Her Majesty the Queen and the Saulteaux and Swampy Cree.”

[45] Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Five.” See also “Treaty Five,” Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Saskatchewan, (accessed 25 August 2013).

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid. The Deputy Minister of the Interior counseled caution:

“It is not desirable of course that the Indians should be encouraged to break up into too many small bands but the extent to which this should be allowed must be determined by the circumstances of each case.” Coates and Morrison note, “The Cumberland band appealed annually for a change, asking for permission to relocate to Fort a la Corne, even though that post lay within the boundaries of Treaty Six. The Department of Indian Affairs resisted the attempt to shift across treaty boundaries, forgetting (as historian S. Raby pointed out) that the lands in the Pas district lay outside the territory originally set aside for Treaty Five. The government finally concurred, and in 1887 a new reserve was surveyed for the band at the requested site.”

[48] See John Sinclair, letter, quoted in John Ryerson, “Chapter III. Letter from a Cree Labourer,” Hudson’s Bay; Or, A Missionary Tour in the Territory of the Hon. Hudson’s Bay Company (Toronto: G. Sanderson, 1855), 167 – 173; Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, “John Sinclair’s Letter to the Christian Fathers and Friends in England,” Wesleyan Juvenile Offering: A Miscellany of Missionary Information for Young Persons 12 (June 1855): 70 – 72. See also Canada, Department of Indian Affairs, “Manitoba Superintendency, Winnipeg, 28 November 1882,” Dominion of Canada Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs for the Year Ended 31st December, 1882 (Ottawa: MacLean, Roger and Company, 1883), 113 – 114.

[50] LAC, “Norway House Agency – Application From John C. Sinclair of Norway House Reserve to Withdraw from Treaty,” (1884), items 7, 12 – 13. Sinclair assured the Department:

“By all means cancel my name from the Annuity Pay Sheet: as I may not come on the Department for a grant of land scrip nor for a Quarter Section, having taken a claim here, cultivated on it, built on it, long before the Treaty was ever made at Norway house: I have got a homestead long before Governor Morris negotiate[d] with the Norway house Indians, and as I have refunded the money back to the Department, I mean to enjoy it to the day of my death, and my posterity after me, and whenever I feel inclined or a desire to remove to another part of this country (which is likely not) I shall know where to apply to for my grant, or a full homestead.

I am not going to fight, but I must have my lands, my house, and my rights too; I have been trifled with, and imposed upon long enough. I have occupied honourable and important positions in life. I never trifle. I have always tried to follow peace and integrity with all men.”

The Department of the Interior had initially claimed it had not received $35. Sinclair argued they were at fault for not picking up the funds that had been forwarded to them via the HBC and pointed out that if they had misplaced the money and persisted in keeping him in Treaty 5, then they owed him $75.

[51] Coates and  Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Five,” note that there were

“Disputes [that] generally concerned incomplete or incorrect band lists, the provision of schools, challenges to the leadership of several chiefs, battles over government promises, complaints involving transferred memberships, and problems encountered when husbands deserted wives and families. The economic turmoil around the turn of the century, especially the rapid rise and subsequent collapse of the commercial fishery and the gradual expansion of the timber industry, disrupted the Native people’s way of life, although the changes also provided new opportunities that many Native people successfully exploited.”

[53]Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 6 (1876),” (accessed 25 August 2013). John Leonard Taylor, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Six (1876),” (accessed 25 August 2013).

[54] Taylor, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Six.” One conflict arose when Gabriel Dumont set up laws at St. Laurent to regulate the buffalo hunt. St. Laurent had been established in the early 1870s by “About fifty heads of families, among whom Isidore and Jean Dumont, Moise Ouellette, Joseph ‘Dode’ Parenteau, Cuthbert Failhant (Fayant), Cuthbert Gervais and Gilbert Breland (Berland dit Boishue).” In 1875, Dumont accused a HBC hunting party out of Fort Carlton of contravening the laws of the hunt. The party included Métis individuals Peter Ballendine, Baptiste Primeau, Alexandre Cadien, Theodore Covenant, and William Whitford, along with First Nations people. Dumont had the interloping hunters’ tents toppled, their carts relieved of provisions and game, and additional fines levied against men with ties to St. Laurent. Ballendine reported the incident to HBC Factor Lawrence Clarke, who had recently been appointed Justice of the Peace for the Territories. The Dumont party was reprimanded and their governing council was dissolved. See Diane Payment, Monsieur Batoche, Manuscript Report Series No. 97 (Ottawa: Environment Canada Parks, 1978), 9; Lawrence Barkwell, “Peter (Ballenden) Ballendine, (1836 – 1885),” (accessed 25 August 2013); George Woodcock, Gabriel Dumont: The Métis chief and his lost world (Broadview Press, 2003), 119 – 120, 122, 125; Paget J. Code, “Les Autres Métis: The English Métis of the Prince Albert Settlement,” M.A. thesis (Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan, 2008) ,79; Colette Janelle Hopkins, “The Forgotten Cemetery of the St. Vital Parish (1879 – 1885): A Documentary and Mortuary Analysis,” M.A. thesis (Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan, 2004), 22 – 26.

[55]Copy of Treaty No. 6,” (accessed 25 August 2013).

[56] Taylor, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Six,” seems to be referring to Métis when he mentions “a few transitional people.” Allyson Stevenson, “The Metis Cultural Brokers and the Western Numbered Treaties, 1869 – 1877,” M.A. thesis (Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan, 2007), 10, states “few studies [of the treaty process] manage to incorporate both Indian and Metis history, perhaps because unlike the Indian people, the Metis did not sign treaties.” This is only true in so far as people defined as ‘Halfbreed’/ Métis by the government of Canada were not to sign treaties under that designation. People who acquired an ‘Indian’ identity in adherences to Treaty 6 at and near Fort Pitt included John Smith, James Smith, and Henry Smith (originally from the parishes of St. Peter’s and St. Andrew’s, Red River Settlement), Pierre Cadien, Bernard Constant, Jacob McLean, Isaac Cardinal, Antoine Xavier, and Charles Cardinal. See Stanley Hulme, “Descendants of John James Smith,” METIS-L Archives, Rootsweb (accessed 25 August 2013). See also Vera Moore, “Peechee’s Band,” GenForum, Genealogy.com (accessed 25 August 2013). Pierre Cadien, along with Baptiste Bruneau, Pierrish Delorme, Jean-Baptiste Dumont, Pierre Dunomais, Francois Lussier, and Joseph Fallois was a founding member of the PeeChee (Louis Piche/ Pesew/ ‘Mountain Lion’) Band, which was “Largely Metis in origin, mixed with Cree, Nakoda, Chippewa/Ojibway, Tsuu T’Ina, & lesser Kutenai, Iroquois & Blackfoot.” LAC “Duck Lake Agency – Fort A La Corne – Application of Bernard Constant for Half-breed Scrip,” (1891). 1 – 7, Mashenehekan-Okimaw/ ‘Chief of the Book’/ ‘The Teacher’/ Bernard Constant applied to be discharged from treaty to take scrip. While it was accepted that he was in fact “a Half-breed,” his application was denied. On McLean see Garron Wells, “McLean, John,” DCB. LAC, “Cardinal, Isaac – Concerning his claim as a head of family – Address, St. Albert P.O. [Post Office] – Born, 1840 at Wolfe Creek – Father, Pierre Cardinal, (Métis) – Mother, Marie, (Métis) – Married, 1860 at St. Paul Des Cris to Catherine Louis and 1871 at St. Paul Des Cris to Cécile, (Indian) – Children living, four (names on declaration) – Children deceased, five – Scrip for $160 – Claim 1026,” (n.d.), items 1 – 11. Isaac Cardinal obtained discharge from Treaty.

[57] See Jean Teillet, “Old and Difficult Grievances: Examining the Relationship Between the Métis and the Crown,” The Supreme Court Law Review 24, 2d ser. (2004): 291- 323.

[59] For example, John Smith, and Louis Piche, see note above.

[60] William Joseph Christie was born in 1824 at Fort Albany to Alexander Christie and Ann Thomas (a daughter of either John Thomas or Thomas Thomas). He married Mary Sinclair, a niece of Catherine Sinclair and Joseph Cook. For photographs and biographical information, see “‘With Utmost Hospitality’: William and Mary Christie,” Royal Alberta Museum online. W.J. Christie was brother-in-law to Judge John Black, who served as Secretary for Lands from 27 October 1859 to 8 March 1860 in Sydney, Australia, where he championed such policies as land system and immigration reforms; securing tenure for ‘squatters’; advancing representative government; and railroad expansion. At Red River settlement in 1870, Black took part in the formation of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia and served as a delegate to Ottawa, negotiating the Manitoba Act in 1870. W.J. Christie was also brother-in-law to Donald C. McTavish, Chief Factor at Norway House (and son of Maria MacTavish Campbell, who was the daughter of HBC Governor Sir George Simpson). W.J. Christie had additional family ties to Alexander Isbister, and to Isaac Cowie, author of The Company of Adventures (1913). By way of kinship and marriage connections, the Christie family can be linked to very nearly all of the members of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia. See chart, “Links to Biographies,” this site. See also Irene M. Spry, “Christie, William Joseph,” DCB; “The Christie Family and H.B.C.: Builder of Two Fort Garrys and His Seven Descendants Gave Total of 238 Years’ Service to the Company,” The Beaver 3. 11 (1923): 417 – 419; and “William Sinclair [II],” doing canadianhistory n.0.

[61] James McKay was born in 1828 at Edmonton House to James McKay and Margaret Gladu. He was educated at the Red River Academy and married Margaret/Marguerite Rowand. She was the daughter HBC Chief Factor John Rowand and Louise/ Lisette Umphreville/ Umfreville (a daughter of Edward Umphreville) — all of whom belonged to families with extensive networks. James McKay had one brother, George McKay, who had settled with his wife and children at Prince Albert. Another brother, Angus McKay, in the capacity of Indian Agent (who spoke seven languages), lived with his wife, Virginie Rolette/ Boulette/ Ouellette (a daughter of Joseph Rolette/ Boulette/ Ouellette  and Angelique Jérome), and their children at Beren’s River. While Angus was identified as “Halfbreed” on his own scrip application, he was recorded as a “white man” when he claimed scrip for his son. See Allan R. Turner, “McKay, James,” DCB. See also “Hon. James McKay, St. James”; and University of Manitoba, Elizabeth Dafoe Archives and Special Collections, Margaret Stobie Tape Collection, tape nos. IH-MS.010a, IH-MS.022b, Transcript Disc 42, interview with Taché McKay, conducted by Margaret Stobie, trans. Joanne Greenwood (n.d.).

[62] Peter Ballendine was born in 1836 at Cumberland House to John Ballenden/ Ballendine of the HBC (there were three men of the name employed by the HBC at the same time) and Mary Humphreville/ Umphreville/ Umfreville. He was educated at St. John’s School at Red River and married Caroline Rowland (a daughter of William Rowland and Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Ballendine). They had an adopted son, Fred, who “was a member of Poundmaker’s Band at the Battle of Cut Knife Hill.” See HBCA, “Ballendine, Peter,” biographical sheet (accessed 21 February 2012); and “Peter Ballendine,” (accessed 25 August 2013). It would appear likely that Peter Ballendine could trace a connection to Hon. James McKay’s wife by way of Umphreville descent. He was definitely related to McKay by way of his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Rowland, who married John Sinclair — a nephew of Catherine Sinclair and Joseph Cook. Peter Ballendine was also related Hon. James McKay by way of another sister-in-law, Maria Rowland, who married William McKay, a nephew of James McKay.

Ballendine and Hon. James McKay were also both related to Lawrence Clarke, the HBC officer in charge of Carlton House. Clarke was from Ireland but married into Métis families. His first marriage in 1859 was to Jane Bell (daughter of John Bell and Nancy Dease — daughter of Peter Warren Dease). Clarke’s second marriage in 1874 was to Catherine/ Katherine McKay a niece of Hon. James McKay and a granddaughter of Catherin Sinclair and Joseph Cook. Histories do not take into account that Ballendine, Clarke, and Hon. James McKay had connections to Gabriel Dumont through Grant, McGillis, and McKay (and possibly Laframboise) family ties. It seems likely, however, that relationships played some role in Ballendine’s collisions over buffalo hunting with Gabriel Dumont in 1875.

[63] See LAC, “Scrip affidavit for McKay, John; born: 1832; father: James McKay; mother: Margaret Gladu (Métis); claim no: 2868; date of issue: Sept. 5, 1878; scrip no: 12299; amount: $160,” (1878), items 1 – 2. John McKay married Christine/ Christina McBeath, who was the daughter of Robert McBeath/ McBeth (first Selkirk Settler appointed to the Council of Assiniboia, 29 March 1853) and Mary McLean and sister to Reverend Roderick G. McBeth. See LAC, “Scrip affidavit for McKay, Christine [Christina]; born: October 12, 1836; wife of John McKay; father: Robert McBeath; mother: Mary McLean, an original white settler from Scotland, settled in Red River Country in 1815,” (1878), items 1 – 2; and LAC, “McKay, Angus; address: Snake Plain, Saskatchewan; born: 3 February, 1874 at Prince Albert; father: John McKay (Métis); mother: Christina McBeath (Scot); scrip cert.: form C, no. 1191 for $240.00; claim no. 779,” (n.d.), items 1 – 2.

[64] Hugh A, Dempsey, “Erasmus, Peter,” Canadian Encyclopedia (accessed 25 August 2013). Raymond M. Beaumont, “Origins and Influences: The Family Ties of the Reverend Henry Budd,” Prairie Forum (Fall 1992), 167, 172 – 173.

[65] Morris quoted in Taylor, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Six.”

[66] Hall, “Perfect Freedom,” 11 – 12 and n.24, notes

“Through selective interpretation, aspects of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, published in 1859, in The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, were incorporated, most notably by British philosopher Herbert Spencer, to bolster the widely held orthogenesis view of human development. Under this conception, the term ‘evolution’ was synonymous with progress and ‘survival of the fittest’ was the operative principle. … Spencer is credited with devising the maxim regarding survival. His theories, developed prior to the publication of Darwin’s text, underlay many core assumptions in nineteenth-century biology, psychology, sociology, and anthropology.”

See Herbert Spencer, Programme of a System of Synthetic Philosophy, 10 vols. (London: Williams and Norgate, 1862 to 1896).  See also Herbert Spencer, “First Principles of a New System of Philosophy,” in Modern Classical Philosophers: Selections Illustrating Modern Philosophy from Bruno to Bergson 2d ed., ed. Benjamin Rand (Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1908; reprint 1952), 714 – 717, 724 – 725, 727, 731 – 732, who argues in favour of  outsider naming as a feature of ‘raciologly.’ See also Harold A. Innis, The Bias of Communication  (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951; reprint, with introduction, 1964), 133, who asserts, “the work of Spencer on progress was the basis for the claim to supremacy of Anglo-Saxons”; and D.N. Sprague, “The Cultural Bias of Métis Studies,” review of The New Peoples: on Being and Becoming Métis in North America, ed. Jennifer Brown and Jacqueline Peterson, Prairie Fire 8 (Summer l987): 67, who argues that  Spencerian-inspired subdivisions brought the historiography about the Métis “Willy-nilly … back to the colonial theme.”

[67] See Patrizia Palumbo, ed., A Place in the Sun: Africa in Italian Colonial Culture from Post-Unification to the Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 240, who explains that in Italy, for example, “it was believed by some that mixed-race people, because of their intermediate position, could serve the colonizer’s interests. First of all, the meticco was thought to belong to the two cultures involved in the colonial encounter, the Italian and the indigenous.” Christopher M. Hutton, Race and the Third Reich (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005), 72, explains that in another international example:

“The application of Mendelian genetics implied that the racial characteristics themselves were transmitted intact; they were not merged into a new racial genotype in each individual. The crucial determinate of the social usefulness of the mixed racial population was the social structures within which the group found itself. The only exception to this was a small minority of cases in which the racial characteristics combined in a particular disharmonious way. While such a group … could not take on a leadership role in colonial society, it could perform useful social roles in an intermediate position between the whites and the indigenous peoples.”

The theory was incorporated into the discipline of sociology. See American Sociological Society, Papers presented at the annual Meeting of the American Sociological Society 28 (1934): 102, which notes, “Further interest in such half-caste peoples attaches to the fact that in their middle position between two racial stocks they naturally and almost inevitably become the intermediaries and interpreters” between the two. The genetic theories derived from anthropology and transferred to sociology were used by Robert Ezra Park in his theoretical construction of ‘marginal man.’ See Kenneth Thompson, ed., The Early Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, vol. 4, Race and Culture ser. ed. Robert Ezra Park (New York: The Free Press, 1950), 136, who explains that Park determined “The marginal man…finds an opportunity to play the rôle for which, if he is a mixed blood, his racial origin has predestined him, namely, the rôle of an intermediary and interpreter between the two races and the two cultures, represented so often in his person.” See also Peter Watson, ed., Psychology and Race (New Jersey: AldineTransaction, 2007), 213 – 215. Stephen Steinberg, “Civilizing the Primitive: From Robert Ezra Park to William Julius Wilson, From Tuskegee to the Harlem Children’s Zone,” draft paper, The Reproduction of Race and Racial Ideologies Workshop (Fall 2010), University of Chicago (accessed 25 August 2013), [1 – 31] 4, argues that the “binary between savagery and civilization provides a conceptual wedge for deconstructing Robert Ezra Park’s famous race relations cycle — its ideological underpinnings and its knowledge claims — some of which turned out to be remarkably prescient, but others suffered from distortions and fatal elisions that led sociology down an epistemological dead end.”

[68] Possibly the father was Michel Patenaude, recorded by the HBC as a “Native” born c. 1773, who originally worked for the NWC in the region of Cumberland House. After the merger with the HBC in 1821 he worked in the Winnipeg district as a carpenter and then became a colonist a Swan River. See HBCA, “Patenaude, Michel,” biographical sheet. It is also possible that their father’s last name was Bottineau. See, for example, HBCA. “Boiteneau, Bazille,” biographical sheet.

[69] See “Re: [METIS-L] Patenaude, Callihoo, Beauregard, Cook, Rowland,” METIS-L Archives, Rootsweb, (accessed 25 August 2013).

[70] See Bruce G. Trigger, “Garakontié,” DCB.

[71] Les Clercs de Saint-Viateur, Histoire du Canada  (Montréal: Les Clercs de Saint-Viateur, 1915), 65; Pierre-Jean de Smet, Missions de l’Orégon et voyages aux montagnes Rocheuses aux sources de la Colombie, de l’Athabasca et du Sascatshawin en 18451846 (Gand, [1848]), 155. “Caughnawaga (Now called Kahnawake),” L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec (accessed 25 August 2013), notes “As the fur traders pushed their way westward from the Great lakes they were accompanied by Caughnawaga hunters. As early as 1820 a considerable number of this tribe was incorporated with the Salish, while others found their way about the same period down to the mouth of Columbia r. in Oregon, and N, as far as Peace r. in Alberta. In the W. they are commonly known as Iroquois.” See also Trudy Nicks, “Callihoo (Calehue, Kalliou), Louis,” DCB. Christi Belcourt, “Ancestry,” (accessed 25 August 2013). “Re: Calihoo/L’Hirondelle Families of Calihoo Reserve,” METISGEN-L Archives, Rootsweb, (accessed 25 August 2013).

[72] Belcourt, “Ancestry,” (accessed 25 August 2013), notes community members included Ignace Kwarakwante (Louis’s brother), Ignace Wanyante, who was likewise Mohawk, and Joseph Belcourt.

[73]Re: Calihoo/L’Hirondelle Families of Calihoo Reserve,” METISGEN-L Archives, Rootsweb (accessed 20 February 2012). See also HBCA. “Calahea, Louis,” biographical sheet; HBCA, “Calehouis, Baptiste,” biographical sheet; and HBCA “Calehouis, Thomas,” biographical sheet.

[74] See HBCA, “Calehouis, Michel,” biographical sheet; and HBCA, “Calihea, Michel,” biographical sheet.

[75] Michel Callihoo died in 1911.

[76]Michel Band History,” Our Story, Michel First Nation (accessed 25 August 2013).

[77] See Saskatchewan Archives, IH-381/381A, Transcript Disc 92, interview with Adrian Hope, conducted by Murray Dobbin, trans. Heather Bouchard and Joanne Greenwood (1976), 3 – 4, 18. See also Denis Wall, ed., The Alberta Métis Letters: 1830 – 1940 Policy Review and Annotations (2008), 87.

[78]Jim Brady: Extraordinary Métis Leader,” Michif Métis Museum (accessed 25 August 2013).

[79]History of the Métis Nation,” The Métis Nation of Alberta (accessed 25 August 2013).

[80] Hugh A. Dempsey, “Callihoo, John,” The Canadian Encyclopedia (accessed 21 February 2012), attributes some of the success to John Callihoo, stating that “During the early 1930s he assisted nonstatus relatives in forming a Métis association and in successfully urging the Alberta government to pass the Métis Betterment Act.” For correspondence between Felix Callihoo (which he spelled Calliouex) and John Callihoo see Archives Society of Alberta, Glenbow Archives, M-9077-3, “Johnny Callihoo’s correspondence,” (1937 – 1939), items 1- 2.

[81] Laurie Meijer Drees, The Indian Association of Alberta: A History of Political Action (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002), xiii.

[82]Michel Band History,” (accessed 25 August 2013), explains that in 1958

“The Department of Indian Affairs wants the Michel band to become a model for group enfranchisement for other Bands in Canada.  The Minister appoints a Committee of Inquiry appointed under Section 112 of the 1952 Indian Act as required by the compulsory enfranchisement provision of the Indian Act, to hold an inquiry into the fitness of the Michel Band members to become citizens.  Further to the recommendations of the committee – the entire Michel Band was enfranchised March 31, 1958 by Order in Council P.C. 375” [emphasis in source]. In 1959, “The compulsory Band enfranchisement provision was repealed by parliament because it conflicted with the Canadian Bill of Rights.” In 1985 “Under amendments to the Indian Act (Bill C-31), over 750 individual Michel Band members have their Indian status restored.  No provision made in Bill C-31 for the restoration of status under the Band enfranchisement provision that was applied to the Michel Band.”

Presently, members of the Michel First Nation are seeking to regain Band status.

[83] For another example within the Treaty 6 area, see LAC, “Transfer of St. Pierre and William Charles, from the Chipewyan Band of Heart Lake in the Saddle Lake Agency, to the Cold Lake (Kinoosayo) Chipewyan Reserve, in the Onion Lake Agency,” (1893), items 1 – 7, which supplies the names of members of the Kinoosayo Band, including: Isadore Baptiste Jaco, Antoine Charles, Alexandre Jibeaux, and Jean Baptiste Narcisse. By 1893 Band members St. Pierre and William Charles had left their original community which had “no reserve allotted to them” and joined another Band. Indian Affairs would not consent to their transfer until a reason was given. They responded that they wanted to farm, they already owned a large number of cattle, and needed hay lands. The transfer was allowed.

[84] Bonita Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native Peoples and Indigenous Nationhood (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004), 93, describes Métis as “entirely extraneous” to the treaty at Blackfoot Crossing. Jerry Potts is characterized as emblematic of ‘in-between’ difficulties ascribed to being Métis — a theme in histories that assume that abstract categories necessarily impinge on human experience (which Lawrence describes as a historic imposition of theory onto the field surveyed).

[85] See “Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 7 (1877),” (accessed 25 August 2013). Hugh A. Dempsey, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Seven (1877),” (accessed 25 August 2013), notes,

“The Blackfoot prepared a memorial to the government in 1875, they did not ask for a treaty to be negotiated, but for a meeting with the commissioner to stop ‘the invasion of our country, till our treaty be made with the Government.’ They were more concerned about Crees and Métis slaughtering buffalo in Blackfoot hunting grounds and white men building in their best wintering grounds than they were about the need for a treaty.”

He adds,

“the Indians considered themselves as having the right of occupancy. Those in possession of the land could defend it, levy fees against those who intruded upon it, and consider the creatures within it to be their private domain. Thus the Blackfoot could, and did, grant or withhold to traders the privilege of settling upon, and sometimes travelling through, their land. For example, it was customary for American traders coming to Blackfoot country to seek the permission of a chief who normally wintered nearby and to pay him for the use of building logs and firewood.”

[86] Hugh A. Dempsey, “IsapoMuxika,” DCB. Hugh A. Dempsey, “Pītikwahanapiwīyin,” DCB. Dave Yanko, “Poundmaker,” Virtual Saskatchewan, (accessed 24 February 2012), notes, “According to oral histories…[Poundmaker’s] father was an Assiniboia shaman named Sikakwayan, his mother a mixed-blood Cree and sister to Chief Mistawasis.” Mistawasis was also known as Pierre Belanger. His father is reputed by some descendants to be Bernard Belanger, his mother ‘Kakakewachin.’” See “Pierre Belanger aka Chief Mistawasis,” Message Board, Ancestry.com (accessed 29 August 2013).

[87] Heather Devine, “Aboriginal Naming Practices,” The People who Own Themselves, University of Calgary Press, (accessed 29 August 2013). “Mistawasis First Nation,” Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Mistawasis was also associated with ‘Gentleman Joe’ McKay. See “Studio Portrait of ‘Gentleman’ Joe McKay and Chief Mistawasis studying a book. Likely taken sometime after the 1885 uprising. Prince Albert Historical Society photograph collection,” in Deborah Lee, “The Importance of Easy Access to Online Resources for Aboriginal Researchers,” (accessed 29 August 2013).

[88] Dempsey, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Seven.” See also “Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 7.”  “Copy of Treaty and Supplementary Treaty No. 7 between Her Majesty the Queen and the Blackfeet and Other Indian Tribes, at the Blackfoot Crossing of Bow River and Fort Macleod” (accessed 26 February 2012). See also Hugh A. Dempsey, “L’Hereux, Jean,” DCB, who notes that earlier historians had described L’Hereux as Acadian, but Dempsey discounts that origin. Hugh A. Dempsey, “Jean-Baptiste L’Hereux,” The Canadian Encyclopedia (accessed 24 February 2012), describes L’Hereux as born “at L’Acadie.” Treaty Commissioner Morris understood L’Hereux to be “a French Canadian, who had spent nearly twenty years of his life among the Blackfeet.” See Alexander Morris, The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of the Manitoba and the North-West Territories (Toronto: Willing and Williamson, 1880), 253.

[90] Madill,Treaty Research Report – Treaty Eight,” notes that in 1898 Clifford Sifton, in charge of the Department of Indian Affairs, admitted,

“it was impossible to instruct the commissioners to ‘draw a hard and fast line’ between the Métis and the Indians, as some of them were closely allied in manner and customs to the latter. Hence, considerable latitude would be given to allow Métis who so desired to be treated as Indians and taken into treaty, which ‘would be more conducive to their own welfare, and more in the public interest… than to give them scrip.’”

Madill explains that the Commissioners agreed to make concessions to the Métis “lest the continuation of the treaty negotiations be affected.” The Department of Indian Affairs was criticised for issuing both cash and land scrip alongside Treaty 8. Sifton argued, however, that the Métis had demanded cash and “the pacification of the half-breeds was critical in his decision:

“It must be remembered that the financial benefit to the half-breeds is not the primary object the Government had in view in making this arrangement. … [T]he main reason for making this arrangement is to pacify and keep pacified the North-West Territories, to settle a claim which must be settled before the people of Canada can make a treaty with the Indians of that district — and the Indians of that district must have a treaty made with them, otherwise we should be in danger of having an Indian trouble on our hands, the very slightest of which would cost us two or three times the amount of scrip we issue.”

Sifton’s argument is a reversal of the historical approach of settling First Nations’ treaties first, before extinguishment of Métis entitlement was possible.

[91]Mair, Charles – Through the Mackenzie Basin…Treaty Expedition (1908),” Northern Waterways, Northern Waterways Reference Collection (accessed 26 February 2012). Mair was perhaps given the position because of his association with Sir John Christian Schultz — infamous to Métis of Red River. Schultz, as a Canadian senator, had lobbied to open the mineral rich (gold) territory to development. See Lovell Clark, “Schultz, Sir John Christian,” DCB.

[92] Charles Mair, quoted in Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others, 90.

[93] Madill, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Eight.” Charles Mair, Through the Mackenzie Basin; a narrative of the Athabasca and Peace River treaty expedition of 1899 (Toronto, William Briggs, 1808), 6 – 7 n.15.

[94] Katia Grubisic, “‘Savage nations roam o’er native wilds’: Charles Mair and the Ecological Indian,” Studies in Canadian Literature 30. 1 (2005): [58 – 82] 59, 74 – 75.

[95] Mair was a founder of the ‘Canada First’ society in Ontario and promoted Canada’s manifest destiny in the North West during 1869 – 1870. He was roundly disliked by people of Red River Settlement on the basis of reports he wrote which disparaged Métis settlers. See “Transcripts: The Red River Letters of Charles Mair,” this site. See also Norman Shrive, “Poet and Politics: Charles Mair at Red River,” (accessed 29 August 2013), 8, who credits Louis Riel with writing:

“Be it said in passing, Mr. Mair, if we had only you as specimen of civilized men, we should not have a very high idea of them. If I wished to amuse myself by wielding the pen as you do for the sole pleasure of uttering follies to the world, I should have some amusing things to say on your account.”

David Latham, “Mair, Charles,” DCB, notes Mair operated as a booster and land speculator at Portage La Prairie (1870 – 1877) and served as the Manitoba agent for the North West Emigration Aid Society. He continued to maintain an “aggressive … Anglo-Saxon ethnic nationalism” advocating “a specifically Protestant immigration that would sweep aside the Roman Catholic Métis as well as the natives.” He had moved his land buying and selling operations to Prince Albert by 1878. His writing at the time was couched as sympathetic to “innocent people” and “picturesque ‘savage types’” whose “primitive customs and traditions” were disappearing. See also Ernest J. Chambers, The governor-general’s body guard: a history of the origin, development and services of the senior cavalry regiment in the militia service of the Dominion of Canada: with some information about the martial ancestry and military spirit of the loyal founders of Canada’s defensive force (Toronto: E.L. Ruddy, 1902), 92. Doug Owram, Promise of Eden: The Canadian Expansionist Movement and the Image of the West, 1856-1900 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980), 171 – 174, suggests Mair eventually became disillusioned with Canadian policy set in the East. However, Mair did not alter his basic opinion of Aboriginality as inferior, undesirable, and doomed to extinction. His writing in the late 1800s and early 1900s perpetuates a stereotype of First Nations people as ‘victims’ and ‘vanquished’ in the history of progress. According to Mair, the Métis were in some degree to blame for the situation, because they were responsible for the near extinction of the North American bison. See Charles Mair, The American Bison: Its Habits, Method of Capture and Economic Use in the North-West, with Reference to Its Threatened Extinction and Possible Preservation (Montreal: Dawson Brothers, 1891), 100 – 101. Mair’s opinion notwithstanding, the depletion of bison herds is attributable to more than one factor. Ranching interests, railroad construction, and the proliferation of brass cartridge ammunition for rifles in the United States played a significant role. The animals competed with cattle for fodder and tore through fences. Domestic cattle also introduced diseases to bison herds. Because bison blocked trains and tore up rail beds, railroad companies encouraged culling and elimination of migratory herds through programs of systematic slaughter. See Ernest Griset, illustration, “The Far West – Shooting Buffalo on Line of the Kansas-Pacific Railroad,”  Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (3 June 1871); Dean Lueck, “The Extermination and Conservation of the American Bison,” paper prepared for a Conference on the Evolution of Property Rights, Northwestern University Law School, 20 – 22 April 2001 (2001), 3, 7, 20 – 21.

[96] Dempsey, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Seven,” explains,

“while the Canadian Pacific Railway was being constructed across the prairies, confusion arose as to the exact location of the original Blackfoot Reserve and fears were expressed that the railway line might trespass upon it. Accordingly, a new treaty was made with the Blackfoot on June 20, 1883, in which the tribe gave up its narrow strip of land and took a new reserve which bordered on the railway right-of-way. A week later, on June 27, 1883, a new treaty was signed with the Sarcees, formally exchanging their land along the Bow River for three townships west of Calgary, and on July 2, 1883, another treaty was made with the Bloods, officially giving them the land between the Belly and St. Mary rivers in exchange for their interests in the 1877 allotment.”

 Dempsey notes, “Accordingly, the [Blood] reserve was resurveyed … and reduced to 547.5 square miles. This became the source of bitter controversy, particularly when Mormons from Utah settled on the disputed land in 1887.”

[98] Madill, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Eight,” notes the number of people in the area was increasing, complicating the sorting of individuals who qualified for treaty and scrip processes. In addition, “a number of persons leading an Indian life,” did not accept “treaty as Indians, or scrip as half-breeds.”

[99] Kenneth S. Coates, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty No. 10 (1906),” (accessed 27 February 2012), observes:

“Designed to open areas of potential development and to forestall the possibility of disruptive aboriginal land claims, this process was determined almost entirely by federal and other non-Native priorities. As the Treaty Ten experience illustrates, the Native people often requested treaty coverage long before it was offered, only to be refused because the federal government could see no immediate need for the land. Once the utility of the land was apparent, either for political reasons, as in the case of Treaty Ten, or on economic grounds, the federal government hastily arranged for a treaty.”

[100]Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 5.” Coates and  Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Five,” note, “That section, added to the original treaty as an adhesion in 1909 – 10, had been deliberately omitted from the first phase of western treaty negotiations. It was not until the turn of the century, when federal priorities changed, that the non-agricultural sections of the region were brought under treaty.”

[101] Frank Tough, “Economic Aspects of Aboriginal Title in Northern Manitoba: Treaty 5 Adhesions and Métis Scrip,” Manitoba History15 (Spring 1988), avers, “The timing of treaty making was based on government expediency and the needs of a railroad company.”  Hall, “Northern Arc,” 186 – 187 and n.44, notes that there was a “Western Canadian demand — well evident by 1875 — for a seaport that allowed ‘escape’ from the ‘monopoly of the Canadian Pacific Railway,’”  and that  as early as 1881, while promoting the Canadian Pacific Railway,

“the central Canadian government invoked the policy of ‘Disallowance,’ refusing to support any of Manitoba Premier John Norquay’s proposed railways in Manitoba, let alone a Northern terminus for shipping Western Canadian grain through Hudson Bay. Subsequent objections and delays on the part of the federal government to 1891 saw the dissolution of the Winnipeg and Hudson’s Bay Railway and Steamship Company, which had considered Churchill as a terminus. A twelve-year collapse of Churchill was assured by 1912, when obstructions set up by the federal government were lifted, but central Canadian experts and politicians had arrived at the controversial decision to bypass developing an international port at Churchill and instead backed construction at Port Nelson – albeit ineffectually. When that decision was overturned, beginning 1929, Churchill harbour’s fortunes revived ‘almost overnight.’ … The ‘last spike’ of the belated rail link to the Port of Churchill was driven 1929. The first ship loaded with grain left the port in 1931.”

[102] Hall, “Northern Arc,” 186 – 187 and n.44, notes “The desire to protect the monopoly of the St. Lawrence suggests competition between ports was regarded as a zero sum game that carried forward to the age of rail – the North denied predominance as a transportation/ communication route.”

[103] See Archives of Ontario, “The Evolution of Ontario’s Boundaries 1774 – 1912,” (accessed 29 August 2013). See, Gwen Reimer and Jean-Philippe Chartrand, “A Historical Profile of the James Bay Area’s Mixed European-Indian or Mixed European-Inuit Community,” paper prepared for the Department of Justice Canada (14 March 2001), passim, on the presence of Métis, see 122 for mention of the railway impetus, see 100 for Ontario’s reluctance to take responsibility for “Half-breed” claims, see 120 for boundary disputes, see also 91, where the authors  note that the Government of Ontario had entered into agreements in the late nineteenth century that implied Ontario would eventually take  responsibility for overseeing the full territory. They note as well that there are significant gaps in documentation that leave unanswered the question of whether or not Ontario developed any policy with respect to Métis claims.

[104] Canada, “The James Bay Treaty, Treaty No. 9 (Made in 1905 and 1906) And Adhesions Made in 1929 and 1930,” (accessed 29 August 2013), 13, notes

“The policy of the province of Ontario has differed very widely from that of Quebec in the matter of the lands occupied by the Indians. … Quebec, formerly Lower Canada, on the other hand, has followed the French policy, which did not admit the claims of the Indians to the lands in the province, but they were held to be the property of the Crown by right of discovery and conquest. Surrenders have not, therefore, been taken from the Indians by the Crown of the lands occupied by them.”

[105]Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 9 (1905 – 1906),” (accessed 29 August 2013). Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others, 94, notes “those labeled as half-breed, in Ontario, were not offered scrip” and explains why.

[106] Coates, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty No. 10,” implies scrip was available for Treaty 9, in observing:

“The government maintained the policy, adopted earlier for mixed bloods covered by Treaties Eight and Nine, of allowing the people to decide for themselves whether they wished to be dealt with as mixed bloods, and hence eligible for a one-time only grant, or treaty Indians, and therefore granted the perpetual coverage of the treaty terms.”

Reimer and Chartrand, “Historical Profile of the James Bay Area’s Mixed European-Indian or Mixed European-Inuit Community,” 96 – 98, 101, 102, explain that although “Half-breeds” at Moose Factory petitioned for scrip, it was denied during the 1905 – 1906 treaty process. Ontario did not formally enter into agreements with Métis of the province until 2008. See “Intergovernmental Relations,” Métis Nation of Ontario (accessed 29 August 2013).

[107] Coates, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty No. 10,” (accessed 27 February 2012),  notes,

“In 1902, the mixed blood people of petitioned the federal government for scrip. The mixed bloods claimed that a poor harvest and resulting loss of income had taken their community to the edge of destitution and that an immediate settlement of half-breed claims was, therefore, essential for their survival.”

Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 10 (1906),” (accessed 27 February 2012), states,

“Unlike the land in southern Saskatchewan, the Treaty 10 lands were deemed unsuitable for agriculture and so the federal government did not respond to demands from the region’s Native people for a treaty until the early 20th century, when the mixed-blood people of northern Saskatchewan began to demand compensation for loss of aboriginal rights and the Provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta had been created.”

[109] James A.J. McKenna quoted in Ibid.

[110] Instructions to Thomas Borthwick [Indian Agent], quoted in Ibid.

[112] Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Five,”

[113] Ibid, explain, “As early as 1876, the band at Oxford House petitioned the federal government, asking for inclusion in Treaty Five. … Since the first extension of Manitoba’s boundaries in 1881, part of the Treaty Five territory had been in the province, while the rest remained as part of the North-west Territories.”

[115] J. Semmens quoted in Ibid. Semmens, an Indian Agent with the Department of Indian Affairs, described scrip vendors as having “employed certain agitators to go through the North and assure these people that they were foolish to have taken Treaty when it can be proved that they have even a drop of white blood in their veins. These men have with very great persistence sowed discontent and expect to reap a rich harvest by these methods. The Indians are quite exercised over the situation and are much unsettled.”

[116] Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Five,” note,

“Although a number of small bands remained outside the treaty, gaining the acceptance of these two groups [York Factory and Churchill] promised to more or less complete the adhesion process in the territories added to Treaty Five,” and add “There was no suggestion that the Inuit who frequently the posts would be offered a treaty.”

[117] Frank Tough, “As Their Natural Resources Fail”: Native Peoples and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba, 1870 – 1930 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1996), 119.

[119] Tough, “Economic Aspects of Aboriginal Title in Northern Manitoba,” states, “Clearly, a variety of forces shaped the legal status of aboriginal identity.” Tough, As Their Natural Resources Fail, 120 – 121, notes, “The Department of the Interior records concerning Treaty Five Adhesion scrip do not provide a comprehensive summary of the number of claims made or the number of claims that were allowed.” While some sources state 117 were allowed, Tough estimates there were perhaps 136.

[121] Kenneth S. Coates, William R. Morrison “Treaty Research Report – Treaty No. 11 (1921),” (accessed 29 August 2013), note there had been requests since 1912 from “Native people” to extend a treaty to the Mackenzie Valley.

“Native people were not unanimous in desiring a treaty, but believed that an agreement was necessary to prevent future disruptions of development activity. … The last of the numbered treaties covers most of the Mackenzie District. The land in the area was deemed unsuitable for agriculture, so the federal government was reluctant to conclude treaties. Immediately following the discovery of oil at Fort Norman in 1920, however, the government moved to begin treaty negotiations.”

[122] Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty No. 11.” Robert M. Bone and Robert J. Mahnic, “Norman Wells: The Oil Center of the Northwest Territories,” Arctic 37, no. 1 (March 1984): 54.

[123]Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 11 (1921),” (accessed 28 February 2012). S. Irlbacher-Fox and Fort Providence Métis Council, Since 1921: the relationship between Dehcho Métis and Canada (Fort Providence: Fort Providence Métis Council, 2007).

[124] Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty No. 11,” note, “Conroy commented that ‘It is a curious thing that the half-breeds in this country are either white or Indians and that there is no medium course such as we find in other provinces.’”

[125] Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty No. 11,” note,

“In the southern parts of Mackenzie Valley the cultural heritage of the mixed-blood people has been drawn from the French-Indian fur trade culture of the southern Prairies. … In the northern part of the valley, however, a distinctive Métis society did not take root even though there were many people of mixed blood in the region.”

See K.S. Coates and W.R. Morrison, “More than a Matter of Blood: The Federal Government, the Churches and the Mixed Blood Populations of the Yukon and the Mackenzie River Valley, 1890 – 1950,” in 1885 and After: Native Society in Transition, ed. F. Laurie Barron and James B. Waldram (Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1986), 257. Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others, 91.

[126] S. Irlbacher-Fox and Fort Providence Métis Council, Since 1921: the relationship between Dehcho Métis and Canada  (Fort Providence: Fort Providence Métis Council, 2007), vi.

[127] The terms of the Order in Council of 12 April 1921 that established the eligibility of mixed-blood applicants for scrip.

[128] As Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others, 93, points out, in many cases “mixed-bloodedness and full-bloodedness were virtually indistinguishable (and entirely irrelevant).”

[129] Coates and Morrison, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty No. 11.” Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others, 90, states, “According to Coates and Morrison (1986), mixed bloods who lived along the northern Mackenzie River in the Yukon had never differentiated themselves from their Native communities of origin prior to the signing of treaties.”

[130] See “Treaty Guide to Treaty No. 9,” on the Adhesion to The James Bay Treaty in 1929 and 1930; Madill, “Treaty Research Report – Treaty Eight,” notes that in 1929, Fort Resolution Agency advised the Indian Affairs Department that there are “too many classes of people in the county” and that many people not in treaty “lived as Indians” and deserved “protection.” Several Métis were admitted to treaty. “When Bishop Breynat learned that some Métis at Fort Resolution were taken into treaty, he suggested that the same ‘privileges’ be extended to those in the Fort Smith and Fort Simpson agencies.” In 1930, forty-two Métis from Fort Resolution joined the Adhesion to Treaty 8. In 1932, 125 people at Loon Lake requested admission to Treaty. In 1938, “Some Métis from Fort McPherson” were admitted to Treaty 11. In combination with Treaty 8, “over 160 individuals, formerly counted as half-breeds, became treaty Indians” according to Coates and Morrison (1986: 259), cited in Lawrence, “Real” Indians and Others, 94.


  1. I believe the wrong Mary McKay is identified as signing treaty 6. Mary McKay (nee Cook) wife of William McKay and mother of James McKay should probably be listed as I have been told my gr gr grandmother had signed it.

    • Very likely both Mary McKay’s signed on to treaty. The Mary I’m referring to — Mary McKay-Berens — would have taken treaty under her husband’s name, with the signing of Treaty 5.

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