Initiated as a nation-building attempt after Confederation, the Canadian government negotiated a series of treaties with native peoples across Canada that would allow them rights to natural resources and the lands necessary to build a national railway that would link the country together. These treaties covered most of Canadian lands and delineated whom the government recognized as a "Treaty Indian" or later a "Status Indian". Signing of these treaties took place over a span of 50 years from 1871 to 1921. Eleven numbered treaties were signed in total in which the Natives had to agree to accept settlement on reserves. Most also included reserve land based on the number of Native peoples in a settlement, as well as agreements for schooling, agricultural equipment and training, gifts and annuities.
On June 21, 1899, the eighth treaty between
the Indians of North America and the Queen of England was signed.
The signatories of Treaty 8 agreed to its terms for reasons of peace and friendship - ensuring what they thought would be a
Treaty 8 was the most comprehensive treaty, encompassing a land mass of approximately 840,000 kilometers,
and is home to 39 First Nation communities. Treaty territory covers the areas of Northern Alberta, Northwestern Saskatchewan, Northeastern British Columbia, and the Southwest portion of the Northwest Territories.
Here we would like to share with you the text of the treaty, as well as a
brief discussion on the debate that lingers over the terms and meaning of
the treaty itself.