Attempt to Take Chakastapaysin Reserve Through Order-in-Council


Hayter Reed attempted to use an order-in-council to force the Chakastapaysin reserve to revert to the crown, rather than negotiating a surrender. He planned instead to amalgamate the membership of that band with the James Smith and Cumberland House bands. The Justice Department ruled that this move was not legal. Instead, the Department succeeded in negotiating the surrender of the band's entire reserve, and their amalgamation with the other two bands in 1897. The surrender was signed by only 9 band members, though it is not certain how many were present to witness the negotiations.

This event represents the various means through which the Crown repeatedly attempted to reduce the amount of land owned by Indigenous people in the province, despite the legally binding nature of Treaty agreements, which dictated that First Nations people would be accorded reserves. As well, many Indigenous bands were enduring famine, starvation and repeated epidemics in the late 19th and early 20th century, placing them in a position of vulnerability as it related to their survival. While the government frequently neglected to fulfill other treaty agreements, such as providing Indigenous people with sufficient equipment for farming (please see entries on severalty system and peasant farming) and failing to distribute sufficient aid in the form of medical care and food rations. Left with dwindling food and financial resources in an introduced cash economy, Indigenous peoples were forced to negotiate the selling or surrendering of their reserve land.

v. 6663. f . 109A-1. E. L Newcombe to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Indian Affairs, May 14, 1897. v. 1598. chacastapasin surrender, June 25, 1897. copy in in Indian Treaties & surrenders. 1912 (no. 383, v, III. p. 200). v.6663, f.109A-3-1. J,M, McTaggart to the Minister of the Interior, October 12, 1895; Secretary of the Department of the Interior to Reed, December 18. 1895; Reed to Forget. February 8, 1896.

Sub Event
Chakastapaysin Land Surrender