Treaty 8 Adhesion

After negotiations at Fond du Lac, Aboriginal leaders reluctantly signed onto Treaty 8. Father Breynat (a missionary working at Fond du Lac) indicates that the local Aboriginal population viewed the coming of the Canadian government as unavoidable, and entered into the treaty to attain some benefits before more Euro-Canadians arrived. Chief Maurice Pische (also referred to as Moberly), chief of the Fond du Lac Dene Naiton was present for the negotiations. Similar to earlier numbered treaties, Treaty 8 promised reserves, annuities, funding for school teachers, and a guarantee of hunting, trapping and fishing rights. Treaty 8 negotiations also included verbal promises of medical aid, in that the government would appoint persons to be in charge of free medical service distribution to all who required such service. Throughout the numbered treaty negotiations, First Nations leaders did not speak or write English fluently, thus relying on interpreters and oral agreements during the negotiations. Some of these agreements were not included in the written documents, a pattern replicated in the Treaty 8 negotiations as the government official responsible for recording the treaty did not include verbal promises in the final "legal"/written document. Breynat reported that: "Chief Moberley was the very best hunter of the entire tribe. How many times his gun had saved indigent people who without him would have died of starvation. He was also very conscious of his superiority and his pride would not tolerate any opposition. He feared that the treaty might restrain his freedom. His pride could only despise the yearly five-dollar bait offered to each of his tribes-men in return for the surrender of their rights, until then undisputed,and which, one must admit, rightly so - he held as incontestable. Robillard tried to placate him by explaining this and that -he only made him angrier. Thus the fight!I called for one of the elected councillors, Dzieddin ("The Deaf),known for his good character, his great heart and his good judgement.I explained to him: "If Chief Moberley, a great hunter and a very proud man, can despise and reject the help offered by the government, many old people without any income and many orphans, will appreciate receiving a five dollar annuity along with free powder,bullets, fishnets etc." I added, "Accept and sign the treaty on behalf of all those poor people. Anyway, even all of you together, all the Caribou Eaters, you cannot help it. You may accept the Treaty or not,but in either way the Queen's Government will come, and set up its own organization in your country. The compensation offered by the Government may be quite small, but to refuse it would only deprive the poor people of much-needed help."Dzieddin was convinced by this argument and he signed the treaty. Many Indians had previously always been needy. Now they started to leave the Hudson's Bay store and those of the free traders who had followed the treaty party, looking like wealthy people with supplies of tea, flour, sugar, gunpowder etc. Some families had received as much as $150 or more. The better off people who had sided with Chief Moberley were gradually drawn by the lure of an easy gain and came to receive their allowance One of the Chief's best friends came to me for advice - "So many people have already accepted Treaty. Don't you think it would also be good for me to accept it?"At last Chief Moberley himself came, with two or three of the last objectors. They went back, with happy hearts and a canoe loaded with goods. The first day's quarrel was completely forgotten. Goodold Robillard, the interpreter, was laughing within himself when he shook hands with them in farewell." (Fumoleau, As Long As the Land Shall Last, 81-82.)

POINT (-107.182901 59.328056)
Aboriginal peoples received immediate monetary aid after signing Treaty 8. During the 1910s, Treaty 8 signatories experienced sickness and delays in the distribution of medical care, as well as land surveys and game regulation that would. Historian René Fumoleau illustrates in "As Long as this Land Shall Last," that the years following the treaty signings was characterized by a “gradual but steady” erosion of the treaty promises made (Page 80). This demonstrates a pattern of "bad faith" negotiations on behalf of the government, to first neglect to include the agreed-upon medicine chest clause, and then to further undermine the inter-governmental relationship by failing to live up to the legal terms of the treaty. ---------------------------- In Christine Smillie's thesis "The People Left Out of Treaty 8" she writes, "Most of the First Nations who signed Treaty 8 did not want to be confined to reserves, so it was agreed that the allocation of reserve land could be done at a later date. The bands understood that if and when they wanted reserve land it would be given to them according to the land provisions of Treaty 8. Yet when the Treaty 8 bands in Saskatchewan decided that they needed reserves and began petitioning the government for their land entitlements beginning in the 1930s, they were obliged to wait for decades before they got the reserve lands they were entitled to. One of the reasons for the delay was that the provincial government had given mining companies mineral leases on land claimed by the bands. Negotiations for reserve land were now complicated by the fact that mining companies had legally binding contracts with the provincial government and the federal and provincial governments had to find solutions which would satisfy the bands as well as the mining companies. The other reason for the delay may simply have been that these were people and land in the remote north-western corner of Saskatchewan, and the needs of these people were not seen as a priority by the governments of the day." Pg 82.
Rural or Urban
Start Date
End Date
Sub Event
Fond du Lac