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Virtual Museum of Canada The Making of Treaty #8 in Canada's Northwest
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The Peoples, Their Places

Northwind Dreaming: Treaty 8

Chief's treaty suit, Provincial Museum of Alberta H86.49.4 A/B Treaty 8 Medal, Provincial Museum of Alberta, H86.49.1. treaty payment at fort chipewyan
The Klondike gold rush led the Canadian government to decide to settle aboriginal claims to the lands surrounding Lesser Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca, and Great Slave Lake and the connecting rivers. In 1899, a treaty party and a parallel scrip party traveled the Athabasca and Peace Rivers, negotiating land cessions with the Indians and Métis. Indians who signed the treaty at Fort Chipewyan were assigned to either the Chipewyan or  the Cree Band. Status Indians were promised annuities, reserves, and other benefits. Annuities were paid and treaty promises were renewed each year during the annual "Treaty Days." Much later, an Indian Agent was stationed at Fort Chipewyan to administer Indian Affairs locally.

Scrip documentMétis were given a certificate, called "scrip", worth either $240.00 or 160 acres. Most Métis chose money scrip. Because scrip was difficult to redeem, it was often sold for ready cash at a lesser value to scrip buyers who were close in attendance. After this one-time settlement, Métis were considered legally to be ordinary citizens with no special protections.

Reprinted from "Northwind Dreaming: Kiwetin Pawatmowin Tthisi Niltsi Nats ete" with permission of the Provincial Museum of Alberta and Dr. Patricia McCormack.