CCF Actively Discourages Métis Identification

Summary

In 1949, CCF attempts to undermine Métis sovereignty and leadership ultimately disintegrated Métis political organization within Saskatchewan with few funds or attention being allocated to the SMS (Saskatchewan Métis Society); along with Douglas’ focus on the newly formed Union of Saskatchewan Indians, Métis leadership and concerns were often overshadowed or ignored altogether. In this way, the CCF were able to proceed implementing their Aboriginal policy reform in Saskatchewan without having to recognize Métis perspectives.

 

Result

This was clearly illustrated in 1952 when the Green Lake Co-operative Association was advised by the resident director of the Saskatchewan Marketing Services not to include the word 'Métis' in the name of their organization. As he explained, T strongly urged them not to use the word ... since we are looking forward to the day when all citizens of Saskatchewan are of equal status, regardless of race, colour and creed. I therefore urged them not to brand themselves with any name indicating special race or colour.” Barron, F.L., Walking in Indian Moccasins: the native policies of Tommy Douglas and the CCF, 39-40.  

Implications
Efforts to curb Métis identification in the 1950s both individually and organizationally were intended to integrate Métis provincially into the CCF’s new vision of Saskatchewan society. By discouraging self-determination and denying unique Métis status, CCF officials actively prevented access to resources, programs, and most importantly land for Métis who have traditionally been dispossessed from their homelands due to westward expansion/colonization. The CCF also opposed to Métis political organization as they feared a provincially united Métis would prevent CCF reforms.

Sources
  • Barron, F.L., Walking in Indian Moccasins: The Native policies of Tommy Douglas and the CCF, 39-40.  

 

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Date
1949
Region

Blakeney Government Implements the Saskatchewan Formula

Summary

The Blakeney government implemented the Saskatchewan formula, which proposed that land entitlements would be based on First Nation band populations from December 31, 1976 rather than the time that treaties were signed. Action was delayed as Ottawa and Regina fought about the land and money required. A handful of Treaty Land Entitlement claims eventually went forward, including that of the Lucky Man band which received a reserve in the Battleford area 110 years after it had entered treaty (1879). (Waiser, Saskatchewan: A New History, 444).

There are three major types of claims in Saskatchewan: specific, surrender, and land entitlement. A specific claim arises when a First Nation alleges that the federal government has not lived up to its obligations under treaty or other agreement or legal responsibility (see Table FNLC-1). According to Canada’s land claim policy, a valid specific claim exists when a First Nation can demonstrate that Canada has an outstanding lawful obligation as follows: the non-fulfillment of a treaty or agreement; a breach of an Indian Act or other statutory obligation; the mishandling of Indian funds or assets; or an illegal sale or disposition of Indian land. Canada will also consider claims that go beyond what is considered to be a lawful obligation, usually including failure to compensate a band for reserve land taken or damaged under government authority; or fraud by federal employees in connection with the purchase or sale of Indian land.

A Treaty Land Entitlement claim occurs when a First Nation alleges that the Canadian government did not provide the reserve land promised under treaty. For some, this means that no reserve land was received; for others, that the correct amount was not received…

In September 1992, twenty-five First Nations, the province of Saskatchewan and the Canadian government signed the Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement... Under the terms of the agreement, the First Nations with outstanding entitlements will receive approximately $539 million over twelve years to purchase just over two million acres of land. As of February 2004, 596,010 acres had attained reserve status. When the TLE process is completed, reserve land will account for just over 2% of the provincial land base. Presently about 1% of the land base is reserve land, but the status Indian population constitutes about 10% of the province’s population.”

Nestor, Rob. “Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.” University of Regina. Accessed July 2020. https://esask.uregina.ca/entry/first_nations_land_claims.jsp


 

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Date
1976-00-00
Region

Freezing Deaths: The Starlight Tours

Summary

In the 90s and early 2000s, the Saskatoon Police Service faced public and legal scrutiny for practicing what became colloquially known as the "Starlight Tours." In summary, a Starlight Tour happens when an Indigenous person, in this specific case Indigenous men, is picked up by the police at night and abandoned outside of the city limits in inclement weather. An egregious abuse of power, tours were carried out in winter, and the men were left to freeze. This practice came to public eye after one man, Darryl Night, survived an attempted tour and filed a complaint against the SPS officers.

It was only after Darryl Night came forward that the deaths of Neil Stonechild, Rodney Naistus, and Lawrence Wegner were deemed suspicious. Because of existing prejudice and racism within the police force, it was assumed that these men had 'gotten drunk' and wandered off into the night. When Darryl Night came forward with his complaint, it triggered a demand for an independent inquiry into the deaths of Stonechild, Naistus, and Wegner. The two officers implicated in the Darryl Night case were found guilty of unlawful confinement and were fired from the police force and sent to jail for a minimum sentence. The Wright Inquiry into the death of Neil Stonechild was damning for the Saskatoon Police Service. It found that their initial investigation was superficial and completely inadequate. Justice Wright also determined that Stonechild was in the care of the police the night of his murder and they were ultimately at fault for his death, though no officers were formally charged. The inquiries into the deaths of Naistus and Wegner were not as revealing, but evidence more than suggests they were victims of Starlight Tours as well. 


 

Result

The freezing deaths of Indigenous men in Saskatoon exacerbated the already strained relationship between the Saskatoon Police Service and the Indigenous community. Many Indigenous people reported to the special investigator appointed by the FSIN that they were fearful of the police and did not feel comfortable reporting concerns out of fear that their claims would not be taken seriously. The inquiry revealed a distinct lack of trust in the police service, respondents fearing that more community members would one day too be victims of a Starlight Tour. Over-policing in city areas with a high representation of Indigenous residents contributes to this unequitable power imbalance, makes Indigenous residents feel like they are constantly under surveillance, and is a function of systemic racism that unjustly categorizes Indigenous people as 'trouble-makers.' Starlight Tours also reveal disturbing colonial ideology which places value on the lives of white settlers over the lives of Indigenous peoples, reflected by the failure to address the suspicious deaths and the initial explanation of accidental death by intoxication.


 

Sources
  • Razack, Sherene. ""It Happened More than Once": Freezings Death in Saskatchewan." Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 26, no. 1 (2014): 51-80. 
  • The Honourable Mr. Justice David H. Wright. Report of the Commission of Inquiry Into Matters Relating to the Death of Neil Stonechild. Government of Saskatchewan. October 2004. 
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Date
1990
Community

Early Legal Recognition Of Metis Rights: The Sayer Trial:

Summary

In the edited collection of essays contained in "Contours of a People" (see "resources" below), historian Gerhard J. Ens writes a chapter in which he articulates the events of the Sayer trial:

"In 1846–47, A. K. Isbister and four other memorialists presented a petition to the secretary of state for the colonies from 'the Natives of Rupert’s Land,' who they described as “the Indians, and HalfBreeds residing in and near the Colony of Red River,” praying for relief from the strictures of the HBC monopoly and its tyrannical rule. The petitioners, who described themselves as “les humbles et loyaux sujets de sa Majesté Victoire,” objected to the harsh administration of the HBC that kept them in a state of dependency, inhibited trade, and ignored the claims of the Indians and Metis as the original owners of the soil.

As natives they wanted the right to trade freely, and as British subjects they wanted representative government and the right to import goods. If they were deprived of these rights, they warned, discontent and violence would follow. J. H. Pelly, responding for the HBC, noted that the fact that the Metis were born in the country entitled them to call themselves native, but it neither conveyed to them any privileges belonging or supposed to belong to the aboriginal inhabitants, nor did it divest them of the character of British subjects. As such, Metis (unlike Indians) were precluded by the HBC’s charter from trafficking in furs. From the HBC’s perspective, the petition and memorial to the colonial office had been inspired by the illegal traders of the Red River Colony who employed the Metis of the settlement, and who were trying to attack the monopoly of the HBC through the instrumentality of Metis rights. In responding to Pelly, Isbister acknowledged that there was a distinction between Metis and Indians, but that this distinction did not divest the Metis of their aboriginal rights.

After some investigation, Earl Grey ruled that the petition and memorial were without foundation and no further action would be taken on the matter. Emboldened by this ruling, the HBC continued to harass the Metis to prevent them from trading in furs. The company regularly searched for and seized furs from Metis, culminating in the 1849 trial of Pierre-Guillaume Sayer and two other Metis for contravening the HBC monopoly in trading furs from Indians and smuggling them to American merchants. It was only after this trial, which found the three guilty, that the HBC realized they had no way of enforcing the court decision given that hundreds of armed Metis had surrounded the courtroom and would accept no punishment for the three. It was only after that point that the company stopped their policy of seizing illegally traded furs and initiating legal actions against Metis traders in the Red River Settlement. Thus, by the 1850s the Metis in the Red River District had developed a view of themselves as holding both the rights of British subjects and aboriginal claims to the soil. They seldom if ever used the term 'Metis Nation' in this period to articulate their rights, but it was a position that might easily be construed as 'national.' This was not a position or a sentiment, however, that was present in 1816 when Cuthbert Grant and the Metis destroyed the Red River Settlement. This sense of nationalism was spurred by the events of 1815–16, but it only emerged in any conscious way in the thirty years afterward" (pp.112-113).

Result

This event demonstrates the development of nation-consciousness and rights of economic self-determination amongst Metis people.  Some historians consider it a formative event in Metis ethnogenesis.  

Sources

Ens, Gerhard J., In Contours of a People: Metis Family, Mobility, and History. Eds. St. Onge, Nicole, Macdougall, Brenda, and Podruchny, Carolyn. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2012. 112-113.

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Region

Prospecting School in Northern Saskatchewan and Prospectors' Assistance Plan

Summary

A prospecting school was created in Northern Saskatchewan communities including La Ronge, Beauval, Creighton, Stanley Mission, Cumberland House and Uranium City to provide increased (though not ideal) job opportunity and stability for participants, who later had a greater likelihood of working in the prospecting industry, such as for a mining company. Prospecting classes were also held in Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw and Yorkton. Prior to the implementation of the school, the government had not been providing assistance to the community beyond distributing supplies such as canoes and prospecting equipment. Malcolm Norris was the driving force behind these prospecting classes and intended to provide a means for Metis and Indigenous peoples to obtain a livelihood. He saw it as a natural fit because Indigenous people had a tendency to be highly familiar with the territory. The Prospector's Assistance Plan, mentioned by Sheridan was introduced by the provincial government to accelerate natural resource/mining development in Saskatchewan. Although Sheridan indicates the Prospectors' Assistance Plan as beginning in 1949, the program was first introduced in the 1947-1948 fiscal year. It was not until 1949, however, that the program saw the first two pairs of Aboriginal people enter the prospecting field. Sheridan states that the Assistance Plan was an offshoot of the prospecting school. As such, this extension of programming which derived from the prospecting school can be taken as an indicator that the work of the prospecting school was considered desirable, valuable and successful. 


 

Result

Interviewee Tony Wood (see attached PDF) notes that the school improved job opportunities and the potential for good wages, although available prospecting jobs were seasonal, not permanent.  As well, in "CCF Colonialism", Quiring notes that racist attitudes held by politicians, bureaucrats and mining companies prevented Metis and First Nations from entering mining positions, restricting them to seasonal prospecting jobs.  More specifically, individuals in power believed that the "pre-industrial" cultures of Indigenous peoples hindered their preparedness, skills and ability to engage in the requirements of mining work.  In his interview with Murray Dobbin, Sheridan notes that even the field of prospecting, prior to the creation of this school, was dominated by non-Indigenous people. Quiring states that by 1949, the Prospectors' Assistance Plan sent two pairs of Aboriginal people into the field of prospecting who were paid $100 per month and given supplies.  However, the livelihoods of Indigenous people suffered when Indian Affairs withdrew funding of the program in response to Norris' criticisms of the department's educational policies.  According to Quiring, the program was eventually transferred out of the Department of Natural Resources (Indian Affairs was under the jurisdiction of this department) and into Mineral Resources - allowing funding to be restored.  


 

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Date
1947-00-00
Community
Documents

Metis Society of Saskatchewan - Implementation and Removal of Education and Housing Programs

Summary

Mr. Amyotte struggled to raise the living standards for Metis people in Saskatchewan, focusing specifically on creating access to education and housing. In one section of the interview listed in "Relevant Resources" (on this page), Joe Amyotte notes that housing conditions of the Metis were worse in Northern Saskatchewan. He also describes how past experiences of attempts at Metis political organization (receiving racism/mockery from whites for their past efforts) made it difficult to engage in grassroots mobilization, and in turn advocate for improvements that would allow them to achieve a higher standard of living (several interviews cited below in "relevant resources" include reports of discriminatory experiences received by Metis people and the internalization of shame and self-protection that results). He also describes the low level of educational attainment amongst the Metis, which is corroborated by several testimonies of Metis individuals in Saskatchewan who cite lack of access to a school within their area as the barrier which prevented them from obtaining an education. Some of these individuals also cite that family circumstances of poverty required them to begin working and end their school career early. In another section of the interview (see "Relevant Resources") Amyotte says that because of the intiatives of the Metis Society of Saskatchewan, schools were established in Green Lake, Beauval, La Ronge, La Loche, Qu'Appelle, to name a few. There were 35 schools that he initiated across the province in total. These schools were discontinued in 1969 when the leadership of the Metis Society of Saskatchewan changed. Mr. Amyotte does not disclose the reasons why.

Implications
A lack of political representation and agency resulted in significant economic disparities for the Metis, of which low educational attainment and housing crises were symptomatic. Efforts to organize politically were severely hindered by previous experiences of racism inflicted by non-Indigenous people on the Metis. As well, the inability to obtain education, or a complete education, lessens job prospects in the future, preventing social mobility. In an interview excerpted below in "relevant resources", Judy Badgerly reports the impact of poor quality housing such as the difficulty of keeping heat in the home and of engaging in daily activities like clothes laundering. Living conditions have a large impact on the ability of humans to function psychologically as crowding and disrepair can increase stress and exacerbate mental health conditions. Poor housing conditions such as crowding, mold and lack of ventilation can also cause physical illness.
Sub Event
Education and housing programs were implemented under Joe Amyotte's leadership of the Metis Society of Saskatchewan. These programs were intended to correct crises of poverty and housing widely experienced by the Metis of Saskatchewan as a result of land dispossession and no access to education.
Date
1860-00-00

Distribution of Metis Scrip in Association with Treaty 10

Summary

Metis communities in northern Saskatchewan (formerly North-west Territories) began appealing to the Crown in approximately 1886-87 to have their land claims recognized. Although the North-west Commission of 1885 would have surveyed a large number of Metis claims in the North-west Territories, there would have been a number of factors which would have prevented Metis who lived farther north from attending, such as distance. It was extremely difficult for families to leave their work for a number of days during the busy summer months. As well, many Metis were illiterate and did not speak English, and would have been unfamiliar with the complicated and unorganized bureaucratic process inherent to the policies of the Metis land claims Commissions. The process of applying for one’s claim was time-consuming as it required not only travelling to the Commission’s sitting, but travelling to the Dominion Land Office as well to mark one’s claim on a map. Sometimes scrip coupons were issued immediately, other times individuals had to wait for months for their claim to process. As well, if the land upon which the individual resided had not yet been surveyed, they could not use the land or money scrip to obtain title to their land. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For the government, the purpose of distributing scrip was to extinguish Metis claims to land title, just as treaties did for non-Metis Aboriginal people. A distinct difference between the two, however, is that the Metis claims were dealt with individually, while Aboriginal title to land was collectively extinguished. Similar to the numbered Aboriginal treaties, Commissioners were appointed by orders in council to hold sittings at locations where Metis could come and fill out the requisite government applications. Although scrip had been issued for many decades, perhaps most notably in Manitoba following the Red River resistance in the 1870s, as well as in Saskatchewan in the 1880s and in conjunction with Treaty 8, the existence of prior commissions did not quell the fears of the Metis that their rights to occupation and land title would be recognized by the government. Ottawa’s intent to settle the west was demonstrated by their failure to follow through with their decade-long delay in distributing land in Manitoba following the issuance of land scrip in 1880. The Metis correctly assessed the situation by recognizing that the Crown was more preoccupied with the interests of the Settler population than the rights of the Metis people. In response, the Metis continually petitioned Ottawa regarding their concerns in the 1870s and 1880s, which are clearly documented by government records and correspondence from that time period. These concerns were ignored and resulted in growing political tension and the Riel resistance of 1885. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As well, the decline of the buffalo in the 1880s as a result of enormously wasteful hunting by the Settler population required that the Metis transition to a new way of life. This wasteful consumption is starkly contrasted by the careful stewardship of the buffalo by the Metis, in which judicious hunting was exercised and all parts of the buffalo used. The fur trade was also in decline. Since the sharp dual decline of buffalo and the fur trade 1880s, requests had been made by the Metis for assistance in transitioning to a way of life based on a different economy. Aboriginal peoples of Northern Saskatchewan had also made requests to enter treaty due to destitution and sickness. The government ignored these requests until the time of the gold rush and the invasion of prospectors in Northern Saskatchewan in approximately 1906. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On July 20, 1906, the Commissioner for the first half of Treaty 10 (McKenna) collected a total of 541 testimonies to land claim, of which 498 were allowed by the government. This amounted to $65, 040 in money scrip and 54, 480 acres in land scrip. Under the second Treaty 10 Commissioner (Borthwick), a total of 202 testimonies to land claim were made, of which 178 were allowed. The second half amounted to $14, 160 in money scrip and 28, 560 in land scrip. The scrip commissions were held in conjunction with the Treaty 10 commissions at Snake Plains, Lac la Ronge, Stanley Mission, Southend, Ile-a-la-Crosse, La Loche Mission, La Loche River and Portage la Loche. All successful applicants received either $240 in money scrip or 240 acres in land scrip, regardless of date of birth (this is in contrast to prior scrip commissions which required a particular birth date and where $160 in money scrip or 160 acres of land scrip was given to adults and $240 in money scrip or 240 acres of land scrip given to children). In 1908, a further 17 Metis claims to land title were made during the payment of annuities to Aboriginal residents of Lac la Ronge and Pelican Narrows. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- While the government’s presumed legal authority to assess these claims is questionable, as it is based on the assumption that it supersedes any rights to land claims made by Aboriginal or Metis people, it should also be noted that the claims made during the Treaty 10 era do not represent the totality of Metis people in the region. Some Metis individuals, particularly those in the northern and eastern fringes of the Treaty 10 area which spanned approximately 85,500 square miles, were prohibited by economic circumstances to leave their work during the busy summer months for several days. As well, there were other obstacles to filing claims, such as the language barrier (many Metis spoke Michif or French), the foreign, cumbersome and confusing nature of the Crown’s bureaucratic policies (the Metis would have had little to no experience with written laws, deeds or money), and the length of time that was required for processing (the process of obtaining scrip varied from commission to commission, and the application was frequently approved on-site if the individual qualified. The standard format involved filling out an application and an affidavit or obtaining the testimony of two reliable and disinterested witnesses. Following approval and reception of the land scrip coupon, the claimant needed to go to the Dominion land office and enter the scrip, which initiated the long wait to receive a land patent. This was granted as long as there were no conflicts with other settler claims, reserves, or public projects like railways or schools. The latter part of the process involved formalities, paperwork, and lengthy waits). Collectively, these factors served to discourage Metis people from making claims. Although the government may not have had malicious intent in making the process extremely drawn-out and complex, it served to discriminate against the Metis, not only by insisting that they conform to EuroCanadian government policy regarding recognition of land sovereignty, but because it made the process of obtaining such recognition difficult. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The end result for many Metis was alienation of their land title claims, if not because of the difficulty involved in obtaining them, then because of being preyed upon by land speculators. Land speculators frequently lurked alongside scrip commissions and land offices to purchase land scrip certificates, and speculators also frequently organized to agree upon a pre-set price so that Metis individuals had no bartering leverage to negotiate a better deal. In the struggle to adjust from a buffalo economy to an agrarian economy, many Metis were driven by poverty to sell their land scrip certificates for a fraction of their value. Also, government information about scrip certificates was not readily available and, when it was available, was unclear to applicants. As a result many Metis individuals failed to appreciate its value. There was also notable difficulty in locating the land distributed to them in the claim. Government documents clearly implicate the government in fraudulent dealings, as Commissioners, at least part of the time, worked in conjunction with land speculators to make the transfer of land easier. In government memoranda from 1921, it notes: “It appears that the scrip was handed to the half-breeds by the agent of the Indian Department and it was then purchased, for small sums of course, by speculators. However the half-breed himself was required by the Department of the Interior to appear in person at the office of the land agent and select his land and hand over his scrip. In order to get over this difficulty they speculator would employ the half-breed to impersonate the breed entitled to the scrip. This practice appears to have been very widely indulged in at one time. The practice was winked at evidently at the time and the offences were very numerous.” (Memorandum for Mr. Newcombe, 14 October 1921). ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Evidence of land speculation in relationship to Treaty 10 proceedings demonstrates some of the government’s attitudes towards Metis land rights. In a series of telegrams which were sent in July of 1907, the Minister of the Interior, Frank Oliver, became involved in a dispute whereby a scrip buying representative of Revillon Brothers named Bernard was using intimidation tactics to influence other scrip buyers and sellers. Oliver had received a telegram from an agency named Bradshaw, Richards and Affleck which advised him that “Revillon Brothers through representative Bernard in charge transportation Borthwick commission, is buying all scrip and terrorizing other script buyers submit Revillon Brothers. Government contractors should be prohibited, please wire answer.” Oliver replied to the agency that the government had no authority to prohibit individuals from buying scrip, but that he had also wired the acting Indian Agent for Mistiwasis, Thomas Borthwick, to see that Bernard did not use undue influence or terrorize either the “halfbreeds” (Metis) or other scrip buyers. To Borthwick, Oliver said, “See that he uses no undue influence in any degree with respect to any person You will be held responsible.” Oliver also wired Revillon Brothers and instructed them to notify Bernard that a complaint had been made and that he should “act accordingly.”

Result

The speculation in Métis scrip, the fraud that often accompanied it, and the government’s refusal to protect scrip lands from these illicit activities deemed this land distribution policy a moral failure for the government and a devastating loss for the Metis, whose potential to succeed in an emerging capitalist economy would now be severely hindered. This subject is still debated in the secondary literature, but ultimately, government officials were fully cognizant of the role of speculation and fraud in the scrip process, and in fact, accepted it. Conservative historian Thomas Flanagan states that the Metis were free to participate in the free market by selling their scrip. Flanagan's argument, however, fails to address the creation of conditions of poverty by the government in the decimation of the buffalo economy and encroaching settlement. It also fails to address the issue of consent. If the Metis were not made fully aware of the value of the land scrip certificates and the implications of selling it by the government, they cannot be held to have engaged in a fully consensual process by selling it in the free market. Balanced scholarship acknowledges that the Metis economic institutions had been based on a system of bartering and trade. Metis individuals, therefore, were not familiar with the use of bank notes (cash), land certificates (scrip) and other operations of Euro-Canadian financial institutions. Furthermore, Dominion Land Offices were located a significant distance from Metis settlements, and many Metis could not take a week of vacation to travel to the office to inquire about the significance of scrip certificates. Legally, the fully informed consent of both parties is required to satisfy the ethical requirement of business dealings in Canadian law. As well, another factor affecting consent is the sale of scrip under duress/intimidation, which is also demonstrated to have been present in the selling of Metis scrip as mentioned by Minister Oliver in the aforementioned telegrams.

Implications
Apparently, it did not alarm Minister Oliver that the Metis land base was quickly being alienated through the sale of immensely valuable land scrip certificates due to conditions of poverty and other aforementioned factors such as a lack of awareness of the certificate’s value. The government was fully aware of the presence of land speculators and yet did nothing to hinder the illicit sale of land scrip for a fraction of its value. Nor did it crackdown on the complicity of government officials in fraudulent activity (until legislation was created in 1921, a long time after the bulk of offences had occurred). In the case of representative Bernard from Revillon Brothers, Oliver intervened after a non-Indigenous group of individuals had issued a complaint. But, there were likely several Metis individuals who would have been intimidated into selling their land scrip, indicated by Bradshaw, Richards and Affleck stating that Bernard was buying “all scrip.” Oliver makes no mention of the criminality of this action, nor does he discuss how restitution would be made to the Metis individuals extorted by representative Bernard, who had now been permanently alienated from their land base. As well, Oliver makes no effort to condemn the buying of land scrip at a portion of its value, but absolves himself by saying that the government cannot intervene in that regard. What is more likely is that Oliver was unwilling to propose legislative change which would prohibit the sale of land scrip and/or the role of speculators and fraudulent activity, thereby enabling protection of the Metis from land base alienation.------------------------------ The apathy of government officials towards Metis welfare and long-term interests is further demonstrated by a prioritization of the needs of North-west prospectors and settlers. The government failed to acknowledge that it was their encouragement of Settler encroachment that led to the steep decline of buffalo on the plains, and which forced the Metis to transition to an agrarian economy. After legal arrangements had been made, there was no compulsion to provide further assistance or ensure that a land base remained for the Metis.---------------------------- Additionally, the legal effectiveness of these “extinguishments” to land title are questionable, given that there was nothing in the process which indicated the forfeiture of the Metis individual to extinguish their land rights. The application process was preoccupied with the land’s potential for settlement, demonstrated by questions regarding previous and current land holdings, including whether or not they had a homestead entry, and improvements that have been made to the land. This is in contrast to questions that would indicate an esteem of Metis nationhood and its associated rights, such as self-identification and Metis community affirmation of the individual’s participation in the Metis nation, and, most importantly, an express consent to extinguishment of Aboriginal land title.---------------------------- The policy of land distribution failed because it did not take into account the Metis way of life or cultural disparity, did not guarantee land rights, and did not facilitate any economic or lifestyle transition.
Sources

Working reports and final reports by McKenna and Borthwick are on RG 15, Series D II 1, vol. 991, file 1247280, title: "J.A.J. McKenna, Commissioner to make treaty with Indians [1906-1914]"; McLean's brief report on his scrip taking activities can be found in RG 15, Series D II 1, vol. 1007, file 1457869, title: "W.J. McLean re. taking affidavits for Half-Breed scrip [1908-1914]".

Sub Event
Fraud/Speculation of Metis land scrip
Date
1907-00-00

Northwest Resistance: Memorandum for the Hon. the Indian Commissioner Relative to the Future Management of Indians

Summary

In a May 1885 correspondence to the Indian Commissioner, an official states that it is his impression that Moosomin, Turtle Lake and Thunderchild bands will remain loyal, and that if they are not, that they will be discreet enough to at least appear to hold a position of neutrality. The writer was unsure regarding the loyalty, disloyalty or neutrality of Poundmaker. The writer also states, “It would seem to be matter for regret that we should not endeavour to keep well disposed Indians in hand, but the military authority superseding ours, renders it impossible to make any move in this direction.”

In a correspondence from May 29, 1885, from Indian Agent MacDonald to the Indian Commissioner, the Agent writes,

“If it can be done I would strongly recommend that the File Hill Band of indians be treated with by General Middleton, in the same manner he has done with those north - Invite the Chiefs and Head men to meet him at Fort Qu’Appelle, order the men to surrender their arms, depose the three chiefs and unruly head men and those who killed the cattle we will punish [there had been an oxen found, stripped of meat - assumedly killed by Aboriginal people, who were likely starving]. Actions of this kind will settle all difficulties in the future in this Treaty, an example should or must be made, I see no better one than to treat the File Hill Bands as having been disloyal during the troubles North had they been harshly dealt with previous to the battle of Batoche these four bands would have been on the warpath, reinforced by young bucks from other Reserves within the Treaty and by some halfbreeds what the consequences would have been no one can tell….The Northern Indians have got a lesson which they will never forget.”

In a June 2, 1885 letter from the Indian Commissioner to the Superintendent General, the Commissioner writes, “The guilty Indians should also be severely punished as an example to others in the future and the Chiefs and Head men deposed as suggested by Agent McDonald.

In a June 5, 1885 letter from the same Commissioner to Indian Agent MacDonald, the Commissioner reiterates these plans:

In a letter from the Indian Commissioner to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, the Commissioner recommends numerous ways to punish First Nations and Métis who were involved in the resistance: “I told the young men to consider over well what was going on [up] North. The Government was determined to punish all who took up arms against the Queen’s laws no matter how slight they may be, and no matter whether he was a White or Black man, Halfbreed or Indian, they would be dealt with alike.”

The following is a summary of the Memorandum for the Honorable Indian Commissioner relative to the future management of Indians (the summary is not a direct transcription but aims to use as much original phrasing as possible):

1. All Indians who have not during the late troubles been disloyal or troublesome should be treated as heretofore.

 2. It is suggested that all leading Indian rebels whom is it found possible to convict of particular crimes such as instigating and inciting to treason, felony, arson, larceny, murder, be dealt with in as severe a manner as the law will allow, and that no offence of their most prominent men be overlooked.

 3. Métis involved in the rebellion convicted will be punished in similar manner.

 4. That the tribal system should be abolished in as far as is compatible with the Treaty, ie. in all cases in which the Treaty has been broken by rebel tribes; by doing away with chiefs and councillors, depriving them of medals and other gifts to their offices.

 5. No annuity money to any ‘rebellious’ bands or individuals who joined “insurgents... The annuity money which should have been expended wholly in necessaries has to a great extent been wasted upon articles more or less useless and in purchasing necessaries at exorbitant prices, entailing upon the Department a greater expenditure in providing articles of clothing, food and implements not called for by the terms of the Treaty…”

 6. Disarm all rebels, but to those rebel Indians north of the North Saskatchewan River who have heretofore mainly existed by hunting: return shot guns (retaining the rifles), branding them as Indian Department property and keeping lists of those to whom arms are lent.

 7. No rebel Indians should be allowed off the Reserves without a pass signed by an Indian Department official.

8. The leaders of the Lakota who fought against the troops should be hanged and the rest be sent out of the country as they are certain of the settlers who are greatly inclined to shoot them on sight.

 9. Big Bear’s band should either be broken up and scattered among other bands or be given a Reserve adjacent to that of Onion Lake.

10. One Arrows band (later seen on the ‘not loyal’ list of bands in Carlton Agency) should be joined with that of Beardy and Okemasis (also considered ‘not-loyal’) and their present Reserve surrendered and dealt with by the Department for their benefit. Chekastaypaysin’s band should be broken up and their Reserve surrendered, the band being treated similar to One Arrows. Neither of these bands are large enough to render it desirable to maintain Farming Instructors permanently with them and as they are beyond assistance.

11. All Métis, members of rebel bands, although not shown to have taken any active part in the rebellion, should have their names erased from the Paysheets and if this suggestion is not approved of, by forcing anyone belonging to a band to reside on Reserves. It is desirable however that the connection between Métis and the Indians be entirely severed as it is “never productive” (Researcher observed note in margin of this document which was presumably by another official, possibly the Commissioner. The note simply says “yes” to indicate agreement.)

 12. Not applicable

 13. James Teenum, Mistawasis and Ahtahkakoop should receive some gift of government appreciation for their conduct [not participating in the rebellion].

14. Agents should be particularly strict in seeing that each and every Indian now works for every pound of provision given to him.

15. Horses of rebel Indians should be confiscated and sold, and cattle or other necessities be purchased with the profits of such sale as this would encourage an agricultural lifestyle.


 

Result

In the weeks and months following the Northwest Resistance, there was no questioning or introspection on behalf of government officials regarding underlying causes for the Resistance beyond racist stereotypes of Indigenous stubbornness and resistance to Victorian notions of 'civilization' and 'progress.' Rather, following attempts of Métis and First Nations non-violent diplomacy, the government responded with force towards their negotiations.  Indian Affairs officials advocated that non-loyal bands be “harshly dealt with,” that an “example should or must be made,” that “ guilty Indians should also be severely punished as an example to others,” and that they “be dealt with in as severe a manner as the law will allow.”  Several of the recommendations were carried out, including the right to earn a livelihood.  The implementation of the pass system (article 7 of the memorandum - see also separate entry under “pass system” in database) would severely inhibit the ability of Indigenous peoples to organize politically, or be advocates against the settler colonial occupation.  The removal of arms such as guns and knives also meant that ability to hunt was severely undermined.   It should also be noted that the government used tactics including fear and intimidation by hanging eight other leaders and Louis Riel in a public forum.  They also sentenced Poundmaker and Big Bear to prison, inevitably leading to their hastened deaths.  


 

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Date
1885-05-00

Early to Late 20th Century Demographics at Beauval Indian Residential School

Summary

 

The Beauval boarding school continued to educate Indigenous students from surrounding communities until its closure in 1983. In the 1980s, students were attending from areas including Flying Dust, Waterhen, Ministikwan, Makwa Saghaiehcan and Joseph Bighead. In 1963, six classrooms were added. In 1974, the school was extended to include high school education, and the first grade 12 graduates were produced in 1978. In 1979, the Department of Indian Affairs added a gym, library, and science lab. By the time the school closed in 1983, it was considered highly technologically advanced with 28 typewriters, 12 computers, and 2 word processors. The school stated that it had graduated 134 students at the high school level, 100 of them with complete high school diplomas. Past students of the school pursued careers such as mine lab tech, mill operator, security staff, chiefship, band councillor, teacher, municipal policing, clerical staffing, dental assistants, educational counselling. One student was noted to become a lawyer

The school is recorded as having various forms of recreational activities available. Sport programming available at the school included hockey, soccer, cross-country running and other track and field events. The sports teams enjoyed marked success at the provincial level and the school is recorded as being well-known for its hockey players. Student councils and other clubs and activities were also available at both the school and residence.

Religious beliefs formed the basis of the educational curriculum at the school until its closure in 1983. Between 1919 and 1934, 30 young men were trained for the priesthood at this institution

On July 1, 1984, the Meadow Lake bands assumed responsibility for overall administration of the school. The ten chiefs of this group had previously served as Beauval's school board. At the time of the transition, the bands assumed powers similar to a school division. The intent was to turn the school into an educational centre that could be used by the entire district for various purposes.

 

Sub Event
Expansion to Include Secondary Education; Number of High School Graduates; Implementation of Technology
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Date
1919-00-00

Indian Act Amendments

Summary

Building on amendments made to the Indian Act in 1881 which enabled magistrates to have jurisdictional authority on reserves, this 1882 amendment granted the Indian Agent the same power as magistrates, despite lacking formal legal training.

Implications
The intent of this amendment was to increase the amount of surveillance, power and control available to the Department of Indian Affairs to keep Indigenous people in line with the forced governmental agenda of assimilation.By doing this, Indian Agents had a disproportional amount of power over Indigenous peoples despite not being trained on how to implement it, or a legal understanding - most inevitably leading to abuses of power that remained unchecked for lack of concern or care.
Sub Event
Indian Agents Given Power of Magistrate
Date
1882