Treaty 4


After a week of Treaty negotiations Canadian Government representatives Alexander Morris (Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories), David Laird (Minister of the Interior) and William J. Christie (Indian Commissioner) entered into a treaty agreement with various First Nations. In exchange for this title transfer, the Dominion of Canada (on behalf of the Queen) promised to provide presents, annual annuities, farming implements, to construct schools, and guaranteed Aboriginal hunting, trapping and fishing rights.

Discontentment surrounded the implementation of Treaty 4. In the subsequent years and decades many First Nations signatories complained that the government was not preventing starvation, preserving their livelihoods, or their sovereignty. The government was continually reluctant to uphold their end of the negotiations, in fact, utilizing discriminatory policies that would cause undue harm to the Cree and Salteaux. For example, in the Cypress Hills Region around Fort Walsh, the Canadian Government would implement a Starvation Policy meant to control and subjugate the Cree to the government's whim by denying rations. These issues stemmed from differing interpretations of the treaty and its intentions by First Nations signatories compared to the Canadian Government. The debate over the intentions of the treaties continued throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty first century. However, while the government claimed ignorance to the true intention of treaties, they were assertive and completely aware of the assimilative policies implemented, and aimed to remove Indigenous peoples from Canadian society altogether.

Morris, Alexander. The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North- West Territories Including the Negotiations on which they were based, and other Information relating thereto. Saskatoon: Fifth House, 1991. 77-123.

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Fort Qu'Appelle