L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia
History of Canadian Indians
[This text was published in 1914. For the full citation, see the end of the document. Evidently, today, few would agree with Duncan Scott that Indians have been treated with "generosity" by the authorities in Canada before 1867. It will also be noted that the author associates the word "problem" to that of "Indians". Today, "Eskimos" are more appropriately known under the name of Inuit.]
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THE DOMINION AND THE INDIANS
A POLICY OF EXPANSION
IN two preceding sections the relations of the colonial governments with the Indians have been set forth. It has been shown that, when under imperial and colonial control, Indian Affairs were administered in the Province of Quebec first, then in Upper and Lower Canada, and lastly in United Canada, in a spirit of generosity and with an increasing desire to deal effectively with the Indian problem. Succeeding what was purely a military rule, a broader policy of advancement had been evolved, and this policy had been accepted by the Canadian authorities when in 1860 they assumed full control of the Indians. The Maritime Provinces had been less attentive to their wards, but had not treated them with indifference. When the British North America Act by the ninety-first section gave the Dominion power to legislate for 'Indians and lands reserved for the Indians,' the transition was easy. The Province of Canada had, in working order, a division of the executive dealing with Indian Affairs, and the business of the small Indian bureaux of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were readily absorbed. The department of the secretary of state dealt with Indian matters ; the acts passed by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick affecting Indians were repealed ; and in 1868 a Dominion act, which consolidated previous acts and summed up the best features of Indian legislation, was placed on the statute book.
The policy thus well established was not changed; it has been only developed and amplified year by year down to the present time. It was found elastic enough to accommodate the problem of handling the native tribes of the Great Lakes , the Prairie Indians and the Indians of British Columbia. Expansion in both the inside and outside services of the department followed upon the extended sphere of action which accompanied the development of the western country, and the changes which necessarily took place in the executive will be dealt with separately.
The two main streams in the record of Indian administration under federal rule are : first, the treaties with the western Indians for their lands and, arising partly from the obligations of those treaties, the consequent attempt to render them self-supporting; secondly, the development of the policy of Indian education, which, from its beginnings amongst the Indians of Ontario and Quebec, has been extended and amplified so as to embrace the majority of the Indians of the Dominion.
The necessity which existed for an adjustment of Indian claims in the West was forced upon the attention of the government by unrest among the Indians of Manitoba during the half-breed disturbance of 1870 and afterwards. The Indians had ceded portions of this province by treaty to the Earl of Selkirk in 1811, but they had begun to doubt the validity of that treaty, and when settlers began to take possession of their lands they resented the fancied encroachment, sometimes by force.
In 1871 Wemyss M. Simpson was appointed a commissioner to negotiate a treaty, and he issued a proclamation to the Indians calling upon them to confer with him in July and August. After overcoming the extravagant demand that two-thirds of the province should be given to the Indians as a reserve, the commissioner found no difficulty in obtaining the acceptance of the terms which he offered, and the treaty was signed on August 3, 1871. The territory ceded by the Indians comprised a large portion of Southern Manitoba . The considerations accepted by the Indians were reserves, annuities, schools and other minor benefits. These will not be detailed here. The obligations imposed upon the government by the ten treaties with the Indians which have been made since Confederation will be dealt with together, as only slight variations occur in their terms. Nearly the whole of the remaining portion of the province was ceded under like terms on August 21, 1871. In relation to these first two treaties difficulties arose. The Indians claimed that certain verbal promises, involving better terms, had been made to them. In 1875, to quiet these claims, the individual annuity was increased from three to five dollars per annum.
The next undertaking that confronted the government was the extinguishment of the Indian title in the Lake of the Woods district to a vast tract which separated the territory of the Robinson Lake Superior Treaty from that lately acquired in Manitoba . Preliminary negotiations had been carried on in 1871 by Simpson and his associate commissioners, S. J. Dawson and R. J.. N. Pither, but, save the acceptance of a money payment if the Indians would permit of the construction of a road between Lake Superior and the Lake of the Woods, known as the Dawson route, no advance was made until the appointment in 1873 of the Hon. Alexander Morris, lieutenant-governor of Manitoba and the North-West Territories, J. A. N. Provencher and S. J. Dawson, as commissioners to negotiate a conclusive agreement. The resulting treaty was an important one; it secured the right of way of the Canadian Pacific Railway and freed a large tract of agricultural and mineral land from the overshadowing Indian title. The mineral wealth of the district was known to the Indians, one of whom said that 'the sound of the rustling of the gold is under my feet where I stand.' There was, therefore, much discussion, and there were not a few difficulties to overcome, but the treaty was signed on October 3, 1873. The words of the chief Indian speaker which concluded the conference were memorable.
"Now you see me stand before you all ; what has been done here to-day has been done openly before the Great Spirit and before the Nation, and I hope I may .never hear any one say that this treaty has been done secretly ; and now in closing this council, I take off my glove, and in giving you my hand I deliver over my birthright and lands ; and in taking your hand I hold fast all the promises you have made, and I hope they will last as long as the sun rises and the water flows, as you have said."
At this time the western boundary of Ontario was in dispute, but in granting the reserves the Dominion doubtless thought it was conveying its own domain. However, when the boundary dispute had been settled, the Province of Ontario was found to possess, with a paltry exception, the whole territory ceded by the treaty. The Dominion thereupon made claim from the province for the expenditure under the treaty and for the cost of its future administration, as the province had benefited chiefly by the conclusion of the treaty, receiving the lands free of the Indian title. After weary delays the case was decided in 1910 by the Privy Council in favour of the province. The question was decided on points of law, and the Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council found that there was not sufficient ground for saying that the Dominion government in advising the treaty did so as agent for the province; that 'they acted with a view to great national interests, in pursuance of powers derived from the Act of 1867, without the consent of the Province and in the belief that the lands were not. within that Province: They neither had, nor thought they required, nor purported to act upon, any authority from the Provincial Government.' The reserves allotted by the Dominion under this treaty have not yet been confirmed by the province, but in view of the unforeseen legal complications the words of the Indian chief should, and no doubt will, fix the spirit in which the uncertainties will be cleared away.
The determination of the government to continue negotiations with the Indians until all the western territory should be free of Indian claims led to the signing of four other successive treaties in the years 1874, 1875, 1876 and 1877. In the first-mentioned year the Hon. Alexander Morris, associated with the Hon. David Laird, then minister of the Interior, and the Hon. W. J. Christie, met the Crees and Saulteaux of the plains at Fort Qu'Appelle. The dealings were rendered difficult and almost dangerous owing to the old feuds between these nations, but the firmness and fairness of the negotiators triumphed over all opposition, and the treaty which conveyed to the crown a large part of the present Province of Saskatchewan was signed on September 15, 1874.
In September of the next year Morris, whose fellow-commissioner was the Hon. James McKay, met the Indians of Lake Winnipeg and obtained from them a cession of a vast tract of country surrounding the lake. In the years 1908, 1909 and 1910 the limits of this treaty were extended northward as far as the 60th parallel of latitude, to comprise all the territory between the Province of Saskatchewan and the shores of Hudson Bay. The concession by the Indians included the right of way of the proposed Hudson Bay Railway and its terminal. In the late summer and autumn of 1876 Morris, McKay and Christie concluded a treaty with the Indians whose territory lay in what is now the northerly parts of the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan . This treaty was signed at Fort Pitt on August 23, and at Fort Carlton in the month of September, 1876, and an important adhesion to it was made in 1888.
In 1877, on September 22, the Hon. David Laird, lieutenant-governor and Indian superintendent of the North-West Territories , and James F. McLeod, commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police, entered into a treaty with the Stoneys, Bloods, Peigans and Blackfeet at the Blackfoot crossing of the Bow River. After this, treaty-making activities ceased for some years. An enormous stretch of country from Lake Superior to the Rocky Mountains had been freed of the Indian title, to the content of both parties to the agreements. Much of the success of these negotiations was due to the personality of the Hon. Alexander Morris, whose sympathy for the Indians won their respect and confidence. The Hon. David Laird was also a power in council, and the high integrity and absolute justice of these men has placed their names high in the roll of pioneer western administrators.
In 1899 the attention which had been directed to the valley of the Peace River led to the extinguishment of the Indian title over a tract of 342,700 square miles. A joint commission to consider the Indian and half-breed claims left Edmonton in the summer of 1899 and returned successful in the following year. The Indian commissioners were the Hon. David Laird, J. H. Ross and J. A. J. McKenna.
In 1905 and 1906 an important treaty, to which the Province of Ontario was a party by consent, was concluded with the Indians of the Albany River and James Bay and the interior posts north of the watershed of Lakes Superior and Huron. The writer was one of two commissioners representing the Dominion, his associate being Samuel Stewart of the department of Indian Affairs. D. G. McMartin was the commissioner representing the Province of Ontario. In 1906 the last of the ten treaties negotiated since 1871 was made by J. A. J. McKenna with the Crees and Chipewyans of the northern part of the Province of Saskatchewan.
The only land to which the Indians have not ceded their title to the crown is situated in the far northern parts of Canada, and it is doubtful whether it will at any time in the future be necessary to extinguish the Indian title over these territories. The land conditions in the Province of British Columbia and in the Yukon will be referred to later.
The texts of the treaties dealt with are alike in all essential particulars. The Indians, on their part, promise to obey and abide by the laws of the country, and to maintain peace and good order between themselves and the king's subjects and all other tribes of Indians, and to observe the conditions of the treaties. The promises on the part of the crown are more definite : special reserves are to be set apart of the area of one square mile to each family of five. This provision appears in each of the treaties, and in only one of these (Treaty No. 8) is there a stipulation that land may be taken in severalty. The next condition of importance is the payment of annuities: an annual payment of $5 is to be made to each Indian, man, woman and child, with an additional. payment of $20 to each chief and $10 to each councillor or headman. Schools are to be established, annual grants are to be made to provide for the purchase of ammunition, twine and nets. Agricultural implements and tools are to be furnished at a certain ratio to the population once for all. These payments and obligations devolve upon the Dominion government, with the exception of the payment of annuities under Treaty No. 9, for which the Province of Ontario is responsible.
There has been only one breach in the mutual regard with which the treaties have been observed ; that occurred in the half-breed Rebellion of 1885, in which several of the Indian bands of Treaty No. 6 in the northern portions of Alberta and Saskatchewan were involved. Influenced by the half-breeds, with whom they were closely connected by ties of blood and association, they took to the war-path. The first message they had received from the rebels had failed to induce them to forget their allegiance to the crown, but, after the engagement at Duck Lake, which was exaggerated in all the reports until it seemed a signal victory for the half-breeds, certain of the bands were allured, by the promise of plunder, to join the factious party. These Indians for the most part belonged to bands that had not settled on their reserves, but had continued to wander about the country, hunting and trapping and leading the aboriginal life. The most revolting of the atrocities which followed the first overt acts were perpetrated by such Indians - by Big Bear's band, for example. This band ruthlessly massacred two Roman Catholic priests, the Indian agent, the farming instructor and several other white people at Frog Lake. The change from apparent friendliness to deadly enmity was sudden. The last reports which had been received from all points before the outbreak spoke of the contented state of the Indians. They had small cause for rebellion ; owing to the failure of their crops a large supply of provisions had been sent to the districts which afterwards became disaffected, and the Indians had before them no fear of starvation.
In the Battleford district, to the desire for immediate plunder was added the fear caused by half-breed reports that troops were on the way north who would massacre the Indians or enlist them as soldiers. This led to the sacking of the town of Battleford, the murder of the Indian farming instructor at Eagle Hills and the looting of settlers' homes at other points near Edmonton. When Battleford became the refuge of the settlers of the district, it was invested by the Indians for weeks, and was only relieved by the arrival of the Canadian troops. At the battle of Cut Knife Creek, Poundmaker, who was one of the signatories of Treaty No. 6, mustered three hundred and fifty warriors. But even in the disaffected districts many of the chiefs were able to control their followers and maintain their loyalty. A roll of honour might be written with such names as Pakan, Mistawasis, Ahtahkakoop, Moosomin, John and James Smith, Blue Quill and Sharphead. The Indians of Southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, although they were approached by runners, maintained a strict neutrality. When the disturbances were over the rebellious Indians were for a time deprived of all treaty rights ; payment of annuities ceased, and while they were not allowed to suffer, and continued to enjoy their reserve lands, they were treated with marks of disfavour. The moving spirits in the foul murders were tried and executed, and portions of the loot were recovered. Gradually the treaty obligations were resumed, until at the present time the obligations on both sides are in full force in the districts that were the scene of the rebellion.
As may be surmised from the record of past Indian administration, the government was always anxious to fulfil the obligations which were laid upon it by these treaties. In every point, and adhering closely to the letter of the compact, the government has discharged to the present every promise which was made to the Indians. It has discharged them in a spirit of generosity, rather with reference to the policy of advancement which was long ago inaugurated in Upper Canada than in a niggardly spirit as if the treaty stipulations were to be weighed with exactitude.
The quiet fulfilment of these manifold promises might have gone on undisturbed had it not been for the calamity which overtook the Indians of the plains in the disappearance of the buffalo. For years these animals had been carelessly butchered by Indians and whites alike for the sake of their hides, and the plains were covered with the bleached bones lying where the carcasses had rotted in the sun. In 1878 and 1879 the remainder of the herds, once fabulous in numbers, failed to drift into Canadian territory. The Blackfeet blamed the American Sioux for preventing them from crossing the line, but extensive prairie fires which ran from Wood Mountain to the Rockies effectively accomplished what hostile Indians could hardly have designed and carried out. Some of the Canadian Indians crossed the line and followed the decreasing herds, but in 1879 the majority of the Indians in the North-West Territories were thrown upon the government for support. The sudden emergency was vigorously met; supplies of flour and beef were made available at the different posts, and comparatively few lives were lost by actual starvation. But there was much suffering. Edgar Dewdney, who had been appointed Indian commissioner for Manitoba and the North-West Territories in May 1879, reported conditions at the Blackfoot Crossing in July 1879 as follows:
"On arriving there I found about 1300 Indians in a very destitute condition, and many on the verge of starvation. Young men who were known to be stout and hearty fellows some months ago were quite emaciated and so weak they could hardly work ; the old people and widows, who with their children live on the charity of the younger and more prosperous, had nothing, and many a pitiable tale was told of the misery they had endured."
The system of rationing which thus began in a time of dire necessity, and which embraced the whole native population dependent upon the buffalo, has been continued to the present day. Each year has seen a diminution of the number of Indians rationed, until now some bands are independent of the government food supply. In no band are the whole of the members still fed gratuitously.
This is the result-and, upon the whole, the remarkable result-of instructing the Indians in farming and stock-raising. The policy was adopted when it became evident that the Indians must depend upon some food supply more certain than the buffalo. In the autumn of 1879 seventeen instructors were established at different reserves in the territories; implements, tools and seed were supplied, and the business was begun of teaching agriculture to the Indians, whose hatred of work is proverbial. The most sanguine forecasts were made as to the results. The Indian commissioner reported in 1880 : 'In another year I think a few instructors might be dispensed with in some districts where the Indian reserves are in good working order, and they can be placed in a new reserve where the Indians are not so far advanced.'
It is quite within the mark to say that no instructors have been dispensed with. The task undertaken by the government was heavy, and even now the staff must be maintained. The expense, too, has been great, but not so great as the cost of food would have been; and the outcome of the farming policy, plus the result of education, has been to place the Indians of the West within measurable distance of the desired goal-self-support. Upon this question it will be illuminating to contrast the crops of the Indians harvested on a group of reserves in 1885, and also their cattle and buildings, with their present harvests, herds and houses.
SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN INSPECTORATE
From the sale of lands these Indians had, in 1911, funds standing to their credit to the amount of $262,074.86. To this must be added what is still unpaid for the lands which they surrendered. In 1885, on the other hand, they possessed no financial resources whatever. The many activities which brought about this result undoubtedly flowed from the treaties with the Indians of the West, but the policy in its entirety is not made necessary by the treaties. As has been shown, it arose from the spirit which had long animated the government.
Indian agencies have always been among the pioneer posts of civilization in the undeveloped territories. They appeared before all other incoming agencies except the early traders and the missionaries. Agents of the Indian department were frequently the sole representatives of the law in unorganized districts. This pioneer function of the department has lately been once more made evident by the establishment of agencies in the Far North - at Fort Simpson on the Mackenzie River and at Fort Smith on the Slave River . The agents are justices of the peace, mining recorders, forestry officers, issuers of marriage licences, as well as Indian agents. Portable saw-mills form part of their outfits. Cattle, seed and implements have been transported at large cost to these remote points, and millwrights and farmers are employed for their special duty. The experiments in the Far North (1) will be of general interest and utility, apart from their special bearing on the Indian problem in those districts.
A new factor entered into the maintenance question when lands specially reserved for Indians under the treaties became valuable as a tribal asset. These lands, it will be remembered, were set apart in the area of one square mile to every family of five - an allotment far in excess of any quantity which could be used by Indians in purely agricultural operations. The surplus land in many of the reserves has been surrendered for sale and sold at public auction to the highest bidder. A late enactment makes it possible to pay to the Indians at the time of the surrender as much as one-half of the total amount realized. The balance forms part of the Indian Trust Fund ; the amount capitalized may be expended for works or services which properly represent capital ; the accrued interest at three per cent is either distributed in cash or used for the current needs of the band. As the distribution of cash is not an unmixed benefit to the Indians, the surrenders which. provide only for this disposal are not of the best type. More provident arrangements are those which stipulate that the funds shall be spent in agricultural operations, the erection of houses, and other material advantages.
The surrender of a portion of the Blackfoot reserve in Alberta may be analysed as a case in point to show how Indians may be advised to make a prudent use of their estate. On June 18, 1910, 115,000 acres of the Blackfoot reserve were surrendered. The total amount of the sale was not to be less than $1,600,000, or an average of nearly $14 per acre. This amount was to be divided into three funds. The sum of $50,000 was to be set aside for the purpose of purchasing work horses, farm wagons, harness, feed, oats, mowers and rakes, for Indians, to permit them to begin farming. The amount expended for .each Indian is to be paid back and credited to the fund within six years, from the proceeds of the sale of his harvest.
The sum of $350,000 was to be expended within five years in the interests of the reserve in general. One hundred and sixty cottages were to be erected and furniture was to be supplied ; one hundred stables and two buildings in which to house machinery were also to be built. Two complete agricultural motors, gang ploughs, grain separators and farm machinery were to be purchased. This fund was to be used to pay the cost of boring wells where they were required, or to purchase a well-boring outfit, and also to defray the expenses of seed grain and grass seed, and general repairs to roads, culverts and fences.
The residue from the sale of the land was to be capitalized. The interest accruing from this capital, together with the interest on any deferred payments on surrendered land, was to be used to defray the expenses of operating the agricultural motors and machinery and grain elevators ; to meet such general expenses as should be in the interest of the band, and to pay the cost of blankets and food for the aged and infirm, as well as a regular weekly ration to all members of the band. This ration was set at seven pounds of meat and five pounds of flour weekly, and one pound of tea monthly, for each member. In this surrender, as will be observed, no cash is to be distributed to the Indians, and the whole expenditure is defined and controlled.
Attention has been drawn away from the Indians of the older provinces because the centre of interest and expenditure has for some years been in the West. The necessities of the case made this inevitable, and, moreover, dealing with a free new country with a people as yet unaware of civilization lent attractiveness to even the driest details of administration. But the progress of the Indians of Ontario and Quebec has been steady since Confederation, and their future is well assured. These provinces present some sharp contrasts in Indian life, and within their boundaries we find both the most highly civilized of Canadian Indians, and also many bands who still subsist by the primitive means of the hunt and the fur trade.
In Ontario one band has fully worked out its problem and become merged in the white population. The Wyandottes of Anderdon, a band of Huron stock, were enfranchised in 1881. By education and intermarriage they had become civilized. One of their members had represented the county of Lambton in the provincial parliament. They were self-supporting, and the experiment of enfranchising the whole band was not in any way hazardous. A few other bands in both provinces are ripe for like treatment, but it is not the present policy of the government to force Indians into full citizenship. Each year sees a larger number engaged as labourers off the reserves, as lumbermen, teamsters, farmhands, and also as clerks in stores, book-keepers, and in employment of a like nature. When by amendment of the Indian Act it has become possible to enfranchise Indians without unnecessary and tedious formality, numbers of those. who now subsist apart from the reserves will embrace full citizenship.
The nomadic tendency of the Indians of the Maritime Provinces has operated to prevent their steady improvement. Many of them leave their reserves in the summer to wander about selling their baskets and other wares, and under these circumstances the cultivation of gardens or farms is impossible. The reserves in these provinces consist of excellent land, and during the past few years an effort has been made to assist the Indians with their small farms and gardens and to give them instruction in the methods of planting and of taking care of their crops. In comparison with the lavish expenditure of money and energy on the Indians of the West this attempt has been feeble, and the government can fairly be charged with some indifference to the Micmac Indians.
The Indians whose territory lies west of the Rocky Mountains between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean, in the Province of British Columbia, are in many respects the most interesting natives in Canada. They belong to six linguistic stocks: Tsimshean, Kwatkinte-Nootka, Haida, Kootenay, Dene and Salish, and these stocks are again divided into many groups.
Space cannot be given to anthropological details ; the pages to be devoted to the whole period now under review might readily be filled with a study of these interesting people. It would be unfair to bring into too great prominence their outstanding merits, as but little attention has been given to similar characteristics of the Algonquin and Iroquois stocks. It may briefly be said, however, that they excel in the domestic arts, and that their canoes, utensils, basketry and weapons have an artistic as well as a utilitarian value. They respond quickly to training and education, and speedily adopt the customs of civilization.
In the Far West there had been no well-defined Indian policy before the creation of the colony of British Columbia. The early traders and the Hudson's Bay Company dealt with the Indians as opportunists. They met from day to day any difficulties that arose, and overcame by immediate methods the menace of war or sudden adverse turns of the trade. The Hudson's Bay Company was nowhere stronger, better organized, or commanded by more virile officers than on the Pacific coast and in the mountain interior, and there, as elsewhere, the company treated the Indians with a measure of fairness nicely calculated to meet its own special interests. It had no motive beyond that of getting the highest profits, and no rule which could not be reversed when the jealousies of the trade demanded such reversal. It is useless, therefore, to search for any broad view of the Indian question during the regime of the Hudson's Bay Company. While the company held Vancouver Island under the charter of 1849, ten reserves were set apart on the island and conveyed to the Indians in 1850-51-52. In 1858, however, when British Columbia was established as a crown colony, we find coming into the Indian question the views of the British government. When James Douglas (afterwards Sir James) received his instructions as governor of this colony; he was advised to, consider the best and most humane means of dealing with the native Indians, and that it should be an invariable condition, in all bargains or treaties with the natives for the cession of land possessed by them, that subsistence should be supplied to them in some other form.
The policy adopted in British Columbia was in some respects unfortunate. Many present-day complications would have been avoided if definite cessions of territory had been arranged after the model of the treaties and surrenders which had been established by usage in Canada. But it must be admitted that in British Columbia geographical and ethnological conditions were obstructions to cessions of large districts, and Governor Douglas simply went on making small land grants to the Indians out of their domain without recognizing or otherwise compensating them for their title to that domain. Without a definite bargain between the crown and the Indians, the Indians, as time goes on, become the prey to their own desire for gain. Education and experience show them that in the public lands they have a vast and rich estate which their ancestors never alienated ; often they become the victims of designing persons who heighten these feelings and are quick to seize upon the legal points and press them. We shall see how this failure to obtain cession of territory in British Columbia is now causing administrative difficulties.
Although the Indian title was not recognized as worthy to be the subject of treaty between contracting parties, the motives which governed the setting apart of the reserves were commendable. Permanent village sites, fishing stations and burial grounds, cultivated lands and all the favourite resorts of the tribes (to use the terms of Sir James Douglas) were secured to them, and they were legally authorized to acquire property in land either by direct purchase or by the operation of the pre-emption laws of the colony on the same terms as the colonists.
When British Columbia entered Confederation the documents did not fail to mention the Indians. The imperial order-in-council of May 16, 1871, clause 13, provided that
"the charge of the Indians and the trusteeship and management of the land reserved for their use and benefit shall be assumed by the Dominion Government, and a policy as liberal as that hitherto pursued by the British Columbia Government shall be continued by the Dominion Government after the union. To carry out such policy, tracts of land of such extent as it has hitherto been the practice of the British Columbia Government to appropriate for that purpose, shall from time to time be conveyed by the Local Government to the Dominion Government in trust for the use and benefit of the Indians on application of the Dominion Government; and in the case of disagreement between the two Governments respecting the quantity of such tracts of land to be so granted the matter shall be referred to the decision of the Secretary of State for the Colonies."
By clause 10 of the address embodied in the schedule, section 91 of the British North America Act, 1867, which assigned to the exclusive legislative authority of the parliament of Canada 'Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians,' became applicable as between the Dominion and British Columbia.
Owing to the vagueness of such general terms, before many years had passed the difficulties surrounding administration became apparent. It was hard to measure present by past liberality, and to limit and parcel the obligations upon the Dominion by the previous action of the provincial government. The land allotments were especially difficult, and after much discussion were finally regulated by joint action of both governments in 1875. The insertion of a clause in the joint order-in-council admitting a reversionary interest of the province in lands set apart as Indian reserves has been productive of administrative difficulties, as the consent of the province must be sought and obtained before the Dominion can grant title to any Indian lands. The Indian estate cannot, therefore, be managed freely, and the Indians who are intelligent and well aware of the strength of their claims have a double grievance - the alienation of a large and valuable province without compensation except reserves, and the denial of the full enjoyment of these reserves.
These matters are now engaging the attention of the Dominion and provincial governments, and a solution of the problem may be arrived at before long.
Although the Dominion government had no treaty obligations to fulfil, the scale of Indian support has been a fairly liberal one, and in furnishing free medical attendance, in the establishment of hospitals, in the encouragement of agriculture and, even more largely, in the provision of education, federal appropriations have been employed. The enormous expense for food which has been incurred on the plains owing to the disappearance of the buffalo, and the natural hatred of the plains Indian for labour, were, in British Columbia, entirely absent, and what has there been spent is not, in the main, for subsistence for the Indian, but for management and for Indian advancement.
The excellent physique of the Indians of this province and their willingness to work have made them a valuable asset in the labour market. In the salmon canneries, hop-fields and fruit farms they are constantly engaged in congenial employment, and even in the more arduous toil of the packer, miner, or navvy their labour is in demand. Despite this intermingling with the white people, and despite the efforts of missionaries and educators, many of the degrading native customs still exist. The hold of the `pot latch' and other wasteful feasts is, however, gradually weakening. Any one who desires to understand the social progress of which these Indians are capable, and also the strength of their attachment to an adopted religion, should study the history of the Metlakatla settlement under the Rev. George Duncan.
The relations of the government with the Indians of the Yukon have not been marked by any departure from established policy. No formal treaty has been made with them for the cession of their aboriginal title, but they have not been neglected. The Indian population is estimated at 3,500, and no doubt the small numbers, compared with the vast extent of the territory which they might be said to occupy, would deter the government from acquiring the overshadowing Indian title. The mineral wealth of the territory is its sole asset, and is one peculiarly inaccessible to Indians, and this fact would support the position of the crown. But the protecting arm of the government is extended to the Indians of the Yukon ; Canadian legislation on behalf of the Indians applies to them, and the Dominion Exchequer has provided money for their benefit since the first years of the mining activities.
The commissioner for the Yukon Territory is charged with the superintendency of Indian Affairs and is authorized to expend the funds which parliament appropriates for the Indians. These consist of grants for food and supplies to relieve distress, and for medical attendance and medicines. The Church of. England missionaries have taken an interest in educational and evangelical work amongst the Indians, conducting several schools, towards the maintenance of which parliamentary grants are made. The most important institution is a boarding school near Carcross ; the building lately erected by the government will accommodate thirty pupils.
The Sioux are not indigenous to Canada, but, as refugees from the United States, they forced themselves upon the attention of the Dominion government. The first bands poured in after the notorious massacre in Minnesota in 1862. They settled in Manitoba , and for a time their presence was a source of anxiety to the authorities. But they were treated with fairness, their destitution was relieved, and when settlers came into the country the men were found useful as labourers. They were granted reserves, and, although no treaty obligations existed, they have been assisted with agricultural implements, and their children have been educated in schools provided by the government. A progressive band, part of Sitting Bull's followers, who rushed into the country after the battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, is established in the Qu'Appelle valley. The Sioux, notwithstanding the violent causes of their migration, have been law-abiding and peaceable since coming into Canada , and have received but little aid in comparison with the lavish outlay upon the resident Indians. The Sioux stock is independent and virile, and the representatives of the stock in Canada are self-supporting.
It is only within the last few years that the government of Canada has acknowledged any responsibility for the Eskimos. These savages, existing in the Far North, and only coming into contact with whalers, or, more infrequently, with explorers, were remote from the centre of interest. Although for many years missionaries have been active among them, they have not advanced the claims of the Eskimos to humane consideration. The extension northward of the influence of the Dominion, and the residence of a commissioner in the country to which the Eskimo regions appertain, have brought these people under the direct purview of the government. From the nature of their environment and their manner of life it will be somewhat difficult to form or carry out a policy tending to the amelioration of their present condition, which is in many ways deplorable. But no aborigines are more worthy of attention than the Eskimos ; they are self-reliant to a high degree, and have pronounced qualities both of heart and intellect. Wherever they have been degraded morally and physically, and these cases are infrequent, the result has arisen not from any inherent depravity; and their destitution most frequently arises from the precarious nature of their food supply and not from laziness or improvidence.
The government gives a small appropriation for relief of distress amongst them, and it has been expended in places where the most southerly representatives of the race come into contact with Canada's northern outposts, at Fort Churchill and Charlton Island. At Blacklead Island and Ashe Inlet, also, assistance has been given through the Church of England missionaries, but as yet nothing has been expended at Herschel Island or along the North-West Passage.
So far only the eleemosynary function of government has been used in behalf of the Eskimos, but there is no reason why in course of time elementary education should not be introduced among them, as they show a desire to acquire knowledge and to profit by it.
SOCIAL LIFE OF THE INDIANS
DURING the period under review a great increase has occurred in the educational facilities afforded the Indians, and the policy of the department has been extended to meet the needs of the western provinces and to carry out the obligations imposed by the various treaties, to which reference has been made. Before Confederation no financial assistance was given by the legislatures to Indian schools. The Province of Canada administered a fund, known as the Indian School Fund, which was formed from contributions made by certain bands in Upper Canada. The federal government first recognized the necessity of assisting the fund in 1875-76, and the first grant for the purpose was $2,000. This enabled the department to establish schools on various reserves in the Maritime Provinces , as well as in Ontario and Quebec, and the trust fund of the Indian bands also began to be used as the interest of the Indians themselves in education increased. In 1874-75 the Dominion spent $2,474 on Indian schools from the general appropriation. The treaties which had been made with the Indians between 1871 and 1879 provided for the establishment of schools, and in 1879, after Sir John A. Macdonald was returned to power, the question almost immediately received the attention of his, government. Nicholas Flood Davin was appointed to report on the system of Indian education adopted by the United States . He was also to visit the North-West Territories and report on the applicability of that system to the conditions in the territories. He found, to quote his own words,
"that there is now barely time to inaugurate a system of education by means of which the native population of the North-West Territories shall be gradually prepared to meet the necessities of the not-distant future ; to welcome and facilitate, it may be hoped, the settlement of the country, and to render its government easy and not expensive. A large statesmanlike policy, with bearings on immediate and remote issues, cannot be entered on too earnestly or too soon."
Following generally the advice given by this report, the first industrial school was established at Battleford in the year 1883, and in the following year two schools were established, one at Qu'Appelle and the other at High River . In the establishment of these new schools the department adopted the principles which had long governed Indian
education in the older provinces. The control of the schools by the churches was recognized, and after an interval, during which the whole of the expenses of the institutions were met by the government, the system of the per capita grant, so long in vogue in the east, was adopted as tending to economy. In the year 1887 the then deputy superintendent-general inaugurated a policy of expansion which resulted in a very large increase in the expenditure. In 1878-79 the whole Indian school appropriation for Canada was $16,000. In 1888-89 the expenditure was $172,980.93. For the year 1903-4 the expenditure was $393,221.48. At the present time (1912) it is almost double the last figure. The expenditure for the last fiscal year, 1910-11, was $539,145.53, and the establishment was as follows:
The following statement shows the religious denominations under whose auspices the various schools are conducted, and the number conducted by each in the several provinces, during the fiscal year 1910-11:
It cannot be gainsaid that in the early days of school administration in the territories, while the problem was still a new one, the system was open to criticism. Insufficient care was exercised in the admission of children to the schools. The well-known predisposition of Indians to tuberculosis resulted in a very large percentage of deaths among the pupils. They were housed in buildings not carefully designed for school purposes, and these buildings became infected and dangerous to the inmates. It is quite within the mark to say that fifty per cent of the children who passed through these schools did not live to benefit from the education which they had received therein.
Again, for a long time no attention was paid to a question of the very first importance : what was to become of the pupils who returned to the reserves? The danger was recognized that they might lapse to the level of reserve life as soon as they came into contact with their parents. Little, however, was done to grapple with the difficulty. In fact, this relapse actually happened in a large percentage of cases, and most promising pupils were found to have retrograded and to have become leaders in the pagan life of the reserves, instead of contributing to the improvement of their surroundings.
For many years the industrial schools gave practical instruction in manual trades, in printing, shoemaking and carpentry ; but the results were discouraging, and the teaching of these trades, except elementary carpentry, has been almost wholly abandoned. As the years have gone by the purpose of Indian education has become clearer, and the best means to be employed to reach the desired end are becoming apparent. Speaking in the widest terms, it is now recognized that the provision of education for the Indian means an attempt to develop the great natural intelligence of the race and to fit the Indian for civilized life in his own environment. It includes not only a school education, but also instruction in the means of gaining a livelihood from the soil or as a member of an industrial or mercantile community, and the substitution of Christian ideals of conduct and morals for aboriginal conceptions of both. To this end the curriculum in residential schools has been simplified, and the practical instruction given is such as may be immediately of use to the pupil when he returns to the reserve after leaving school. At that moment he is assisted by a grant of cattle or horses, implements, tools and building material, and he receives special advice and supervision from the agent or farming instructor. Marriages are arranged between former pupils, and the young wives are given domestic articles as a dower. It is sought by this method to bridge over the dangerous period of renewed contact with the reserve. Strict medical supervision checks the evils which resulted from the admission of tuberculous children into the schools. The contract under which the boarding schools are now conducted gives the department control, and a higher standard is established for buildings and for division of the work.
A beginning has been made in the important work of developing and improving the day schools. In many places these schools are quite sufficient to meet the educational needs of the Indians, and all that is required is to bring the children within the circle of their influence. But the Indian day school of the lowest type is a burden to the teacher and an inexplicable punishment to the scholar, almost useless in its result. The problem is to substitute for such a school an institution where brightness and active interest take the place of indifference and a sense of defeat.
Even white children do not find school life more attractive than days of liberty without intellectual effort, and the Indian children are no exception to the rule. In the case of white children school- life is made attractive by a variety of means, and bebind everything else is the authority of the parent. These pleasant features of school life, its rivalry and its rewards, have been heretofore most frequently lacking in the Indian schools. Moreover, the apathy, if not the active hostility, of the parent must be reckoned with. The Indian child has to study in a foreign language; he leaves a home where an Indian language is spoken and comes to a schoolroom where English is spoken. His case can only be compared with that of an English child who pursues his studies in a German or French school. Again, the severe deterrent of poverty is often present ; some children have no proper clothing to wear during the winter, and the provision of any food for a luncheon at the noon hour is neglected of sheer necessity.
The improvements now sought for are to offer such inducements for a full and regular attendance as will overcome these obstacles to success. In the first place, it is necessary to engage and retain the services of teachers qualified for the special work ; then, to give small rewards for regular attendance and progress, to issue footwear and clothing to poor deserving pupils, to supply a plain warm meal in the middle of the day, to vary the exercises by games and simple calisthenics. These are the best means to banish the idle teacher and the empty schoolroom, and they are being gradually introduced wherever they are needed. Not a few of the women teachers have taken up instruction in plain sewing, knitting, mending and cooking, with beneficial result. The teaching of elementary agriculture is also prosecuted in favourable localities. At present the number enrolled in schools of all classes is 11,190, the average attendance is 6,763, and the percentage of attendance is 60.44.
THE PRESENT LEGAL POSITION OF THE INDIANS 
As the relations of the government with the Indians are largely influenced by the laws which have been passed from time to time affecting them or their estate, it is necessary to record the present legal position of the Indians, which is in many respects peculiar.
So far as the general life of the country is concerned, an Indian is almost as free as any other person. He can engage in business, he can own property anywhere, and, subject to certain restrictions which will be mentioned hereafter, he can exercise the franchise. He can also devise his property except the lands reserved for himself and his tribe, and he can rise to any social position in the community to which his efforts and talents may entitle him. When, however, it comes to his life upon the reserve, as a member of an Indian band or community, the case is very different. There he is subject to certain legal disabilities and restrictions under which he has been placed from time to time by act of parliament. In the first and second divisions of this history the early acts of the legislature have been noted. The present Indian Act is an outgrowth from these early statutes. It was revised in 1886, and since that date some additions and amendments have been made. The old provisions as to the alienation of reserved property still exist, as no lands can be surrendered and sold without the consent of the Indians and the approval of the government: In 1911 an important amendment was made which affects this power of alienation. Under this amendment it is possible, by following certain procedure, to alienate a reserve without the consent of the Indians. The country has developed rapidly; and it has been found that certain reserves, formerly distant from incorporated towns and cities, are now contiguous to the municipal limits. The proximity of Indian lands with a tenure so peculiar does not make for the interests either of the public or of the Indians themselves. An amendment to the Indian Act gives the governor in council power to refer to the 'Judge of the Exchequer Court of Canada, for inquiry and report, the question as to whether it is expedient, having regard to the interest of the public and the Indians of the Band, that the Indians should be removed from the reserve or any part of it.' Following the report of the judge, and with certain safeguards, the Indians may be removed and placed elsewhere. It will be perceived that, however necessary it may be to deal with special cases, this is an important departure from the old British usage.
In order to preserve the special lands from encroachment the statute provides strict measures to prevent trespass on either lands or timber. Lands within the reserves cannot be taxed. Although the courts are open to Indians, no person is allowed to take any security, lien, or charge upon real or personal property on the reserve ; and the barter and exchange of presents given to Indians or of property acquired by annuities granted to them is prohibited.
Even the reserve lands cannot lawfully be held by an Indian unless he has been located by the council of the band with the approval of the superintendent-general. The devise of property is carefully regulated by the act. The superintendent-general must approve of each will, and in case of intestacy the property devolves on the next-of-kin. He also has power to appoint guardians of minors and their property, and is the sole judge of the persons entitled to the property of the deceased Indian. All these provisions are necessary to protect the Indian property and prevent its being dissipated by will or gift to persons Indians.
The statutory provisions with reference to the sale of intoxicating liquors have become more strict. The severest penalty for infractions of the law is six months in gaol with or without hard labour, and the highest fine that can be imposed is $300. The irregularities arising from certain aboriginal dances or ceremonies, where human or animal bodies are mutilated, form an indictable offence punishable by an imprisonment of not less than two months or more than six months.
Under certain somewhat oppressive regulations an Indian may become enfranchised. He then ceases in all respects to be an Indian. This process of enfranchisement requires a preliminary probationary period of three years before he can receive a patent for his lands within the reserve, and another period of three years before he can receive a share of the capital funds of his band. As the maintenance of the reserve intact is the basic principle of the Indian administration, it is clear that great care must be used in enfranchising Indians and allowing them to hold land in fee-simple.
The Indian franchise for the Dominion elections is established by the Franchise Act of 1898, which places the Indians on the same footing as white persons; that is, they come under the laws established by the provinces in which they reside for the conduct of provincial elections. In the western provinces and in the Province of New Brunswick the Indians are specially deprived of the right to vote. In the remaining provinces they may vote if they have the proper qualifications. The Indian Act provides for a measure of municipal government of the bands by the chiefs and councillors. The section of the act known as the Indian Advancement Act may be applied to any band of Indians declared by the governor in council to be fit subjects for this application. It gives greater power to the council of the band and further extends the municipal system.
THE INDIAN DEPARTMENT
AFTER Confederation Indian Affairs were attached to the department of the secretary of state. The secretaries of state, who were also superintendents-general of Indian Affairs, were H. L. Langevin, July 1, 1867, to December 7, 1869. Joseph Howe, December 8, 1869, to May 6, 1873. T. N. Gibbs, June 14, 1873, to June 30, 1873.
The department of the Interior was created by 36 Vict. cap. 24 ; and from July 1, 1873, the Indian branch was attached to that department, except during the period between October 17, 1878, and August 4, 1885, when Indian Affairs were administered by the Right Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, president of the Privy Council, as superintendent-general. With this exception the successive ministers of the Interior were superintendents-general of Indian Affairs. The department of Indian Affairs was constituted a separate department by 43 Vict. cap. 28, assented to on May 7, 1880. By the fourth clause of the act the minister of the Interior, or the head of any other department appointed for that purpose by the governor-general in council, shall be the superintendent-general of Indian Affairs.
By an order-in-council of March 17, 1862, the office of deputy superintendent-general was revived and William Spragge was appointed to that position. Spragge continued in office until his death on April 16, 1874 . His successor, Lawrence Vankoughnet, remained in office until his superannuation on October 10, 1893. He was an officer whose character specially fitted him for his duties. He applied himself, from the most conscientious motives, to the task of advancing the Indians and protecting and developing their estate. He was allowed a greater degree of freedom than any deputy superintendent-general since Confederation. His ideals were high. He took thought for the Indians, and while he had idiosyncrasies and some failings, he was consistently their friend. His successors in office have been Hayter Reed, October 2, 1893 ; James A. Smart, July 1, 1897 ; Frank Pedley, November 21, 1902.
The growth of Indian business west of Lake Superior, which followed the making of the treaties and increased with the settlement of the country, necessitated an expansion of the staff and the creation of many new offices. The enormous North-West Territories, remote from the federal capital, required a separate bureau near the scene of operations, which could deal more effectively with emergent as well as routine matters. The same was true of British Columbia . The first Indian superintendent of British Columbia , Dr I. W. Powell, was appointed in 1872. The first Indian commissioner for the North-West Territories, the Hon. Edgar Dewdney, was appointed in 1879. As railway and telegraph communication gradually brought the most remote points within reach of Ottawa, the utility of these offices ceased ; a few years ago they were abolished, and local Indian agents and inspectors are now under direct control of the department.
THE FUTURE OF THE INDIAN
IN concluding this general survey of the relation of the government to the Indians a few words should be devoted to the future of the tribes. The paternal policy of protection and encouragement has been pursued from the earliest times ; what is to be the final result ? It is clear that we are possessed of facts which enable us to reply to the question with some degree of confidence. To possess ourselves of the key to the answer, it is only necessary to contrast the present condition of any Indian community in Ontario or Quebec with its past condition, and also to endeavour to realize the vicissitudes through which it has struggled. We find that from very wretched beginnings and amid all the dangers surrounding their position many of these bands have progressed until their civil and social life approximates closely to that of their white neighbours. The poorest and most shiftless Indians are not worse off than the paupers who are dependent upon the charity of villages and cities, and those who are at the top of the Indian social scale live with the same degree of assured comfort which is enjoyed by the white workman and small farmer. Above these two classes there is another division within the Indian population, small as yet, but constantly growing-the class of well-educated, enterprising and ambitious Indians who really belong to the life of the nation in no restricted sense.
The degree of general progress which makes it possible thus to divide and classify the Indian population of the older provinces has been developed within less than a century, and in this relatively short time we have arrived within measurable distance of the end. The happiest future for the Indian race is absorption into the general population, and this is the object of the policy of our government. In the Indian communities now under discussion we see the native's advanced more than half-way towards the goal, and the final result will be this complete absorption. The great forces of intermarriage and education will finally overcome the lingering traces of native custom and tradition. It may be some time before reserves disappear and the Indian and his lands cease to be marked and separated. It would be foolish to make this end in itself the final object of the policy. The system of reserved lands has been of incalculable benefit to the Indians, who require secure foothold on the soil, and great caution should be shown in regard to any plans for separating the Indian from his land or for giving him power to alienate his inheritance. There is nothing repugnant to the policy which is being carried out or to the exercise of useful citizenship in the idea of a highly civilized Indian community living upon lands which its members cannot sell.
There is no reason why the Indians of the West, who have been subject to the policy of the government for less than fifty years, and who have made remarkable advances, should not follow the same line of development as the Indians of the old Province of Canada. They have like difficulties to overcome, and the forces which work towards their preservation are similar; they should have the same destiny.
(1) Fort Simpson is in latitude 61º 50' N. Fort Smith in latitude 60º N.
Source : Duncan C. SCOTT, "Indian Affairs, 1867-1912", in Adam SHORTT and Arthur G. DOUGHTY, eds., Canada and Its Provinces, Vol. VII, Toronto, Glasgow, Brook and Company, 1914, pp. 493-526.
© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College