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The Treaty 6 Adhesions

The Cree and Ojibwa sign an adhesion to Treaty 6 After the original Treaty 6 signings at Fort Carlton and Fort Pitt in 1876, various other First Nations peoples of the Saskatchewan River region added their signatures to the treaty, in what were termed treaty adhesions.

The promise of the Treaty Commission to create legislation that would protect the bison herds was, in the end, not pursued and the number of bison declined rapidly. By 1879, the newly appointed Indian commissioner Edgar Dewdney reported that thousands of Aboriginal people were so destitute that they had taken to eating dogs, gophers, and mice in order to survive. The First Nations were so desperate, he noted, that they were selling their rifles and horses for a few cups of flour. Having been ravaged by the smallpox epidemics of the 1870s, the First Nations were now faced with starvation. Consequently, many of those who had not already made treaty were faced with very few options and felt compelled to sign adhesions to one of the existing numbered treaties.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Adhesions to Treaty 6 were made for many years, the last one as late as 1956. In addition to the Fort Carlton and Fort Pitt signing locations, treaty signings also took place at Blackfoot Crossing on the Bow River at the Siksika Nation, Battleford, Fort Walsh, Montreal Lake, north-west Manitoba at the Marcel Colomb and Mathias Colomb Nations, Rocky Mountain House, Witchekan Lake, and Cochin.

The adhesion at Montreal Lake in 1889 differed from the others in that it led to the treaty boundaries being extended by 14 720 acres of land. The issue of treaty boundaries and land claims has generated dialogue for many years, and continues to have relevance in the contemporary lives of Canada’s First Peoples (see Implications and Contentions).

McQuillan, D. Aidan. “Creation of Indian Reserves on the Canadian Prairies 1870-1885.” Vol. 70, No. 4 (October 1980), pp. 379-396.
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