Saturday, February 23, 2013

Treaties And Stuff - Part 4

Government policy in the 1870s was to turn Indians into farmers. Not surprisingly, then, there are three paragraphs in Treaty 6 that relate to agriculture.  Namely:

"It is further agreed between Her Majesty and the said Indians that the following articles shall be supplied to any Band of the said Indians who are now cultivating the soil, or who shall hereafter commence to cultivate the land, that is to say: Four hoes for every family actually cultivating ; also, two spades per family as aforesaid ; one plough for every three families, as aforesaid ; one harrow for every three families, as aforesaid ; two scythes and one whetstone, and two hay forks and two reaping hooks, for every family as aforesaid, and also one crosscut saw,  one handsaw, one pit-saw, the necessary files one grindstone and one grindstone and one auger for each Band ; also for each Chief  for the use of his band, one chest of ordinary carpenter's tools; also, for each Band, enough of wheat, barley, potatoes and oats to plant the land actually broken up for cultivation by such Band; also for each Band four oxen, one bull and six cows ; also one boar and two sows, and one hand mill when any Band shall raise sufficient grain therefor. All the aforesaid articles to be given once for all for the encouragement of the practice of agriculture among the Indians."

(Needless to say, that clause has been turned into something else completely by the Indian Industry.)

And:

"That during the next three years, after two or more of the reserves hereby agreed to be set apart to the Indians shall have been agreed upon and surveyed, there shall be granted to the Indians included under the Chiefs adhering to the Treaty at Carlton, each spring, the sum of one thousand dollars, to be expended for them by Her Majesty's Indian Agents, in the purchase of provisions for the use of such of the Band as are actually settled on the reserves and are engaged in cultivating the soil, to assist them in such cultivation."

And:

"That with regard to the Indians included under the Chiefs adhering to the Treaty at Fort Pitt, and to those under Chiefs within the treaty limits who may hereafter give their adhesion thereto (exclusively, however, of the Indians of the Carlton region), there  shall, during three years , after two or more reserves shall have been agreed upon and surveyed be distributed each spring among the Bands cultivating the soil on such reserves, by Her Majesty's Chief Indian Agent for this treaty, in his discretion, a sum not exceeding one thousand dollars, in the purchase of provisions for the use of such members of the Band as are actually settled on the reserves and engages in the cultivation of the soil, to assist and encourage them in such cultivation."


(What is noteable about these clauses is how specific they are. The last one, immediately above, for example, was to apply only to those Indians who had gathered at Fort Pitt, but not to the ones at Fort Carlton, but, perhaps that's because there was a different group assembled at Fort Pitt and those who had assembled at Fort Carlton had already been promised more or less the same. It's also noteable that there was an altruistic spirit in what was being offered. It is also quite evident that the Treaty Commissioners of the day thought the transition to agriculture would be fairly speedy and without major problems. Naivety, perhaps, but it certainly didn't turn out that way.)

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