Indian Agent Peter J. William's Report on File Hills Agency and Battleford Agency


Indian Agents were required to make a yearly report on the reserves in their respective agencies. In 1886, Agent Williams reported that there had been 11 deaths and 2 births in Standing Buffalo band, 18 deaths and 5 births in Pasquah band, 5 deaths and 4 births in Muscowpetung band, and 26 deaths and 7 births on Piapot.

Agent Williams does not express concern over the disproportionate birth/death rate for the bands in his charge (with the exception of Muscowpetung). Indeed, he seems more concerned about auditing the accounting books, making detailed notes on the construction of buildings for the bands, quantities of flour, bacon and tea, the volume of hay produced, the size of the potato harvest, the upcoming school house, and the quality of the livestock, fields, fences, houses, tools, horses and stables. This lack of concern or surprise over the disproportionate death rate would have been in keeping with national racist sentiment and social Darwinism which dictated that Indigenous peoples, as an inferior ethnicity, would eventually succumb to the pressures of modernization and become extinct. As well, the lack of explanation or diagnosis regarding the cause of death in 70 percent of these cases (42 out of 60) is indicative of a lack of access to medical assistance such as a doctor. Indigenous peoples were desirous of health care, as indicated by the "medicine chest" clause in Treaties 6 and 8. Treaty 4, however, had no such clause. The lack of health care is indicative of discrimination as the government did not perceive such provision as necessary for Indigenous people.
Sub Event
Disproportionate Death Rate