Treaty 4


Speakers and representatives from Aboriginal groups present at Fort Qu’Appelle for the first five days of treaty talks emphasized their displeasure with the way Rupert’s Land was transferred to the Dominion of Canada. The issue revolved around the Hudson’s Bay Company’s pretension that it had the right to dispose of First Nations lands to Canada, and also opposed the surveying of tracts of land for the company, as they had never ceded the land to the HBC.

This case highlights the Aboriginal understanding of land rights compared to the European understandings. The differing European and Aboriginal understanding of land rights would come to a head in the aftermath of treaty negotiations. Aboriginal signatories had agreed to share the land with settlers and the Canadian Government, while Canadian officials argue they had relinquished their land claims. European understandings of land rights revolved around the liberal ideology of private property, and the development of "unused" land. These two world views were highly incompatible in the eyes of the Canadian Government, and the European style of property rights would prevail as the government would implement reserve systems, relocate Indigenous peoples, and create policies that would greatly hinder Indigenous peoples land and treaty rights.

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. 77-115.

Sub Event
Aboriginal Assertion of Land Rights in the Aftermath of the Rupert's Land Transfer