Settlement of northern Alberta did not take place until after the
signing of Treaty 8 in 1899-1900. Prior to 1899 the land belonged to
the Natives. However the discovery of gold in the Yukon brought
great unrest to the region in the mid-1890s, as thousands of gold seekers
from all over north America headed north, via Edmonton and the Peace
region to find their fortunes in the Klondike. Not only did this
massive flow of prospectors disrupt the otherwise tranquil day-to-day
routine of the peoples in the north, perhaps even more bothersome, at
least to the First Nations in the region, was that many never actually
reached their destination. Some Klondikers liked what they saw and
decided to stay.
The influx of prospectors into the area was great cause
for concern for the Canadian government as the Peace region had been
coveted as a prime area for settlement and agricultural development.
Although others had lobbied the government for years on the importance of
establishing treaty relations with the First Nations people of the area,
the need now became more urgent. Not only were the First Nations
people of the region complaining that these prospectors were causing havoc
in the north, stealing horses and depleting the wild game resources in the
region. It was clear that, if peace were to be maintained in the
region and in order to ensure that the area was settled according to the
governments agenda, a treaty had to be concluded in the region, and the land
set aside for settlement.