Treaty 4 Chiefs Thirst Dance


Treaty 4 Chiefs met on the Pasqua reserve for a Thirst Dance. The previous year, Dewdney had stopped such a meeting by threatening the elimination of rations for participants and Piapot's arrest. For this meeting, Irvine wanted Piapot arrested at the first sign of law-breaking. Reed ensured a member of Pasqua would object to the activities so that Piapot could be charged with trespassing.

Piapot was successful in his efforts to hold a thirst dance and council following the surrender of Irvine and police.

John Tobias writes in his article "Canada's Subjugation of the Plaines Cree, 1879-1885": "The first incident which called the policy of compulsion into question was the attempt to prevent Piapot from holding his thirst dance and council in May 1884. Assistant Commissioner Hayter Reed, fearing that the council would result in a concentration of all the Treaty 4 bands, ordered Police Commissioner Irvine to prevent Piapot from attending the council. Irvine was to arrest the chief at the first sign of any violation of even the most minor law. To be certain that Piapot broke a law, Reed promised to have an individual from Pasquah's reserve object to the council being held on that reserve in order that the accusation of trespass could be used to break up the meeting, which all the bands from Treaty 4 were attending.[53] ------------------- With a force of fifty-six men and a seven-pounder gun, Irvine caught up with Piapot shortly before the chief reached Pasquah's reserve. Irvine and the police entered the Indian camp at 2 A.M., hoping to arrest Piapot and remove him from the camp before his band was aware of what happened. However, when they entered the camp, the police found themselves surrounded by armed warriors. Realizing that any attempt to arrest the chief would result in a battle, Irvine decided to hold his own council with Piapot and Reed. This impromptu council agreed that Piapot should receive a new reserve next to Pasquah, in return for which Piapot would return to Indian Head temporarily.[54]" Pg 534-535.