Indian Commissioner David Laird outlined that the government was delaying bringing First Nations people at Ile à la Crosse under treaty because there was no imminent prospect of the region being settled or developed by Euro-Canadians.
This approach was an extension of the Department of Indian Affairs policy that had been established during the Macdonald era of leaving First Nations and Metis people alone unless an influx of settlers took occupation or the political status of a region changed. The government did this to reduce their financial and legal obligations to Indigenous peoples, and it demonstrates that the government did not consider the well-being of Indigenous people a priority - many were requesting treaty because they were in need of food and medical care, and also desired resources for education. Environmental and social changes due to the presence of colonizers dramatically changed the access to food and resources. Bison populations plummeted, being influenced by the Fur Trade and settlement in the Mid-West which not only interrupted migration patterns, but resulted in over-hunting and culls. Despite the need for assistance, treaty negotiations did not start until 1906.
David Laird’s Rationale for Treaty being Delayed at Île-à-la-Crosse and Surrounding Area