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People of the North in 1899

During the summer of 1899, Treaty #8 was concluded with various native peoples in what is now northern Alberta. Traveling with the Treaty and Scrip Commissions was the writer Charles Mair, whose Through the Mackenzie Basin would provide a detailed description of the people and places of the North.

At the head was placed the Hon. David Laird.... A nature in which fairness and firmness met was, of all dispositions, the most suited to handle such important negotiations.

On the 3rd of June, we took to the water, and a photograph of the scene having been taken, shoved off from Athabasca Landing.

It was horrible to look upon. The chain-gang galley slaves.... Yet onward they went, with teeth set and hands bruised by the rope, surmounting difficulty after difficulty with the pith of lions.

TeepeesTepees were seen in all directions from our camp.

The vast [Peace] River, the [Vermilion] rapids and the falls form a majestic picture, not only of material grandeur, but of power to be utilized some day in the service of man.

The Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council is commemorating the Centennial of the signing of Treaty #8 with various other Native groups. Vision Quest, a celebration of the signing, will take place June 17-21, 1999. Proposed activities include a reaffirmation through a signing reenactment, monument unveiling, medallion presentations, a RCMP Musical Ride, a pow-wow, a tea dance and many Aboriginal artists and per formers. Contact the Treaty 8 Centennial Committee at 780.849.4943 or http://www.treaty8.org/main.htm.

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