As Long as this Land Shall Last: A History of Treaty 8 and Treaty 11, 1870-1939

Excerpt from Author's Introduction, Page xxvi-xxvii:

"The Treaty Commissioners for both Treaties 8 and 11 acknowledged the assistance which they had received from Albert Lacombe, in 1899, and from Gabriel Breynat, in 1921. Both men belonged to the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), a Catholic missionary society which had worked with the Canadian Indians in the West and Northwest since 1845. This history has drawn extensively on the letters and documents belonging to Bishop Breynat. He was the only-person to be present at the signing of both Treaty 8 and Treaty 11. He wrote more on these treaties than any other witness of either treaty. As a young priest he had come to Fond du Lac, Saskatchewan, in 1892. He was present there in 1899 when the treaty party arrived for the signing of Treaty 8. He was consecrated Bishop of the Mackenzie diocese in 1901.From then until 1943, he travelled the length and breadth of the diocese, which included northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan, extended to the North Pole, and covered the whole Mackenzie District of the Northwest Territories. Few people knew the country as well as he did. Few people knew the Indians as well as he did. He worked with them and for them throughout his life and was rewarded by demonstrations of their trust and gratitude. 

The second part of this history examines the years between 1922 and 1939, a period replete with discontent, broken promises, evasions, and deceptions. Prime Minister St. Laurent passed this judgement on Government performance during that time: "Apparently we have administered the vast Territories of the North in a continuous state of absence of mind." In 1921, the Federal Government created, within its Department of the Interior, a special agency called the N.W.T. and Yukon Branch, to centralize certain administrative functions. Its policies were often contrary to the best interests of the Indian people. Treaty promises made by the Federal Government were ignored by both the territorial administration and by the provincial governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Especially serious was the breach of promises to guarantee the Indian his freedom to trap and hunt, and to provide protection from the encroachment of white trappers. These promises were broken, forgotten, and finally disavowed. The game laws were often in direct violation of Indian rights, and caused hardships unequalled in Indian history. The Indians depended on trapping for 95 per cent of their income and on hunting and fishing for their food. When these activities were threatened and restricted, it meant economic disaster for the native people." (xxvi-xxvii).

Fumoleau, René
Primary Resource
Publication Date
Publication Information

Fumoleau, René. Canadian Electronic Library, Gibson Library Connections, and Arctic Institute of North America. As Long as This Land Shall Last : A History of Treaty 8 and Treaty 11, 1870-1939. Canadian Electronic Library. Books Collection. 2004.

Resource Type