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The Peoples, Their Places

Through the Mackenzie Basin: Scrip

"The adjustment with the half-breeds depended, of course, upon a successful treaty with the Indians, and, this having been concluded, the latter at once, upon receipt of their payments, left for their forests and fisheries, leaving the half-breeds in full possession of the field.

Scrip TentIt was estimated that over a hundred families were encamped around us, some in teepees, some in tents, and some in the open air, the willow copses to the north affording shelter, as well, to a few doubtful members of Slave Lake society, and to at least a thousand dogs. The 'Scrip tent,' as it was called, a large marquee fitted up as an office, had been pitched with the other tents when the camp was made and in this the half-breeds held a crowded meeting to talk over the terms and to collate their own opinions as to the form of scrip issue they most desired. In this they were singularly unanimous, and, in spite of advice to the contrary urged upon them in the strongest manner by Father Lacombe, they agreed upon 'the bird in the hand' - viz., upon cash scrip or nothing. This could be readily turned into money, for in the train of traders, etc., who followed up the treaty payments, there were also buyers from Winnipeg and Edmonton, well supplied with cash, to purchase all the scrip that offered, at a great reduction, of course, from face value. Whether the half-breeds were wise or foolish it is needless to say. One thing was plain; they had made up their minds. Under the circumstances it was impossible to gainsay their assertion that they were the best judges of their own needs.

Scrip NoteAll preliminaries having at last been settled, the taking of declarations and evidence began on the 23rd of June, and, shortly afterwards, the issue of convertible scrip certificates, or scrip certificates for land as required, took place to the parties who had proved their title." [continue]

Reprinted from Through the Mackenzie Basin: An Account of the Signing of Treaty No. 8 and the Scrip Commission, 1899 by Charles Mair.