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Virtual Museum of Canada The Making of Treaty #8 in Canada's Northwest
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Precursor: Focus 1899



Treaty Making: A New Relationship

Between 1871 and 1877, Treaties 1 to 7 were secured, with the First Nations people agreeing to surrender their lands in return for protection and assistance from the government. Both the Canadian government and the First Nations people were suffering from starvation, dealing with trespassers, and they now sought an ongoing relationship with the government. Land surrenders were accomplished in return for compensation in goods and annuities, and later treaties also included reserves for exclusive use by First Nations people.

Treaties 1 and 2 were signed in southern Manitoba, Treaty 3 in western Ontario and east of the Red River and 4 and 5 in central and southern Saskatchewan. The Cree people of Saskatchewan and Alberta signed Treaty 6 in 1876. The Blackfoot, among others, ofBlackfoot Women southern and central Alberta began to actively seek a treaty for themselves. In 1873, the Cabinet had decided to proceed with treaties only as the territory was required for settlement, and while this policy worked well for the government, the First Nations bands that were left without agreements were disturbed about their future. With food sources in short supply, Sioux refugees from the United States streaming into the Blackfoot territory, and a need for agricultural tools and support, the native people wanted a treaty. But the government refused to claim responsibility for any native affairs until their land was required for settlement. Treaty No. 7 was completed by 1877, but it would be more than twenty years before Treaty 8 was negotiated.

Audio Feature:

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Treaties Part Two, The Terms, Treaties 1, 2, 3
Summary: What were the early treaties like? Historian Michael Payne explains.
  mp3 or Windows Media or RealAudio | Read

Treaties Part Three, Treaty 6
Summary: While Treaty 4 was the first to affect an area in what is now Alberta, Treaty 6 had a much greater impact. Listen to find out more!
  mp3 or Windows Media or RealAudio | Read

Treaties Part Four, Treaty 7
Summary: Treaty 7 covers most of southern Alberta and was very controversial at the time. Listen to hear more.
  mp3 or Windows Media or RealAudio | Read

Treaties Part Five, Treaty 7, Crowfoot & Red Crow
Summary: Crowfoot and Red Crow. How did these important leaders affect the Treaty 7 negotiations? Listen to hear their story.
  mp3 or Windows Media or RealAudio | Read

Treaties Part Six, Treaty 7, Crowfoot & Red Crow
Summary: Find out more about the fascinating man who was Red Crow, chief of the Kinai, and his position on the signing of Treaty 7.
  mp3 or Windows Media or RealAudio | Read

Reprinted from Vision Quest: "Oti nekan," Treaty 8 Centennial Commemorative Magazine, with permission from Tanner Young Marketing Ltd.

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