(Free Press, Sept. 30, 1876) Was the reader caught up in the "information" of this piece? Did they cling to the immediacy of the situation or did they see the reality of it?
What is that reality?
That reality is that the forces of capitalism drove more and more aboriginal people into less and less area with fewer and fewer resources upon which to survive, in the hope that they would fight among themselves thus reducing the per capita cost of a dead Indian.
Then incredibly, as if to say one last farewell to their old homelands, the buffalo come east for one last time: Buffalo Moving Eastward - Herds Entering Manitoba A gentleman in whose integrity we have complete confidence and whose information is based on authentic accounts arrived from Emerson Friday morning and brings intelligence of the actual arrival of the vanguard of migratory buffalo herds on the western boundary of this province which these animals have not approached for years. . . . It is not unreasonable to assume that by this time they have entered Manitoba after ten years of total absence . . . . The party of mounted police who came into the city yesterday from Fort McLeod and the Cypress Hills passed immense herds during their journey. The last being seen about 70 miles west of the mounted police post at Qu'Appelle heading eastward. It may be remembered that Sergeant Major Francis Dary on the route from the Cypress Hills to Winnipeg mentions having killed a buffalo calf three days journey west of Qu'Appelle. . . . The place where the calf was killed is this side Chaplin or Old Woman's Lake. (Free Press, Oct. 7, 1876) The Ottawa Free Press contains a letter from its own correspondent dated Qu'Appelle September 7 in which we have selected the following: The Hudson's Bay Company post at this place is in charge of Sir W.J. McLean, a gentleman of intelligence and excellent business tact. During the summer he has purchased a very large quantity of pemmican and dried meat so that he now has over 6,000 bags of the former and hundreds of bales of the latter in his stores. The rash advance of the buffalo this summer has brought sad havoc into their ranks and consequently enormous quantities of meat have been cured and the most easterly Indian has laid by ample supplies for his present and subsequent requirements. The advance of the buffalo in this direction has, however, left the Plains of the Blackfeet almost deserted and I have been informed that these people have actually been killing their horses for food. Their tribe of redmen are very numerous and hence the prospect is that they will spend the winter on the ragged edge of starvation.
(Free Press, Oct. 21, 1876) But their doom was also written that October in the same paper: The First Shipment of Grain From Manitoba The first shipment of grain from this province took place on Saturday last when 857 1/6 bushels of wheat was consigned to Steele Brothers seedmen of Toronto by Mssrs. Higgins and Young of this city.
(Free Press, Oct. 28, 1876) On October 6, 1876 Laird had left the portfolio of the Department of the Interior to become the Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories to better oversee the Liberal exploitation of the homelands there.
In spite of what he has been able to do Morris discovered that there were among the leaders of the Portage Bands a remnant who had not lost the will to hold fast to the original treaty They are the councillors of the village at the "half-way bank" and Morris must record that on the 9th of October - Morris to Ottawa, Oct. 23, 1876 I arrived here on the 6th and on the 9th Yellow Quill and his Councillors called upon me accompanied by the . . . James Mckay whom they had asked to act as Interpreter. I sent for Mr. Reid who at once came to my office.
I asked why they had acted as they had done, and ascertained that the Councillors still claimed the belt of five miles to be laid off round the Reserve as promised in the Stone Fort Treaty. I explained fully the arrangement that I had made with them and that I had made [Stroked out] after making that demand and having it refused by me, they had agreed to select a Reserve which when laid off, should contain their proportion of the original Reserve. After a protracted interview I succeeded in getting them to comprehend what extent of land they would receive The Chief and Councillors agreed to point out the locality and assist Mr Reid in its survey. I informed the Councillors that they would thereafter receive an annual payment of $10 each in addition to the annuity of $5. They left me satisfied and I hope may remain so, as it is important to have the difficulty finally settled.
(PAM MG 12 B2:192) Today Alexander Morris is long dead and his vain hope that the Ojibwa would forget their rights is lost in time. Even now with the land claims process being run by the government cheats the people again the Ojibwa claim is the same now as it was then. Nothing will change but the dying of the generations. The Anishinabe are forever. The grandchild becomes grandparent to the grandchild, each remembering. Only true justice will settle the matter not compromises laid out between government paid, and government owned lawyers.
That same day Short Bear spoke to Morris concerning the tools each family would require to begin "farming." on Long Plain. On October 18, 1876 Morris ordered the surveyor Reid to find out what our community had already received in the way of implements, tools and cattle in the past (PAM MG 12 B2:151).
It is a matter of incredible irony, that finding the account books and records in such disarray as to be useless, the Canadians relied upon Ojibwa honesty and asked the Ojibwa what they had received and the people told them the truth.
On October 24, 1876 that philosopher and personal friend of Frank Ogletree (Schofield 1913:448), David Mills, became the Minister of the Interior . The newspaper contained the following Piece on Mills: Mr. Mills has gone over a very wide field of study but he is particularly well informed on those subjects which are required in the intelligent Canadian politician. In constitutional history, the history of Canada and political economy he has few if any superiors, His library is filled with the best works and his well-stored memory carries the essence of what his books contain. He has already been of great assistance in Parliament, a faithful councillor and an earnest worker and as a member of the government he will bring to the aide of his colleagues an amount of knowledge that will be invaluable in cabinet deliberations. Having been employed by the Ontario government in 1872 to define the northwest boundary of Ontario Mr. Mills entered upon a series of researches among the original records which were embodied in a full report. He has published two political pamphlets and his contributions to the press on various questions has been widely read and highly appreciated.
(Free Press, Nov. 4, 1876) On October 25 Provencher responded to Morris concerning "complaints": With reference to the conversation that we had about the complaints of some other Indians -- specially "Short Bear" and "Yellow Quill", of the Portage Band, I may inform you that I had an interview with them on the 11th instant, and that they received that day the following articles viz "Short Bear" 4 Bags Flour
1 " Pemmican
10 lbs Tea
10 " Tobacco
30 - Hoes
40 - Axes
2 - Plows
25 lbs Powder
50 " Shot
5 prs Boots . . . and on the 7th of the same month, Short Bear had received the following articles viz
5 " Tea Short Bear asked for a yoke of Cattle that I promised to send to the Portage which will be done this week.
This is all they asked for, and it is a puzzle to me how they could complain of unfair treatment, I only Know that in leaving the office they expressed themselves perfectly satisfied.
(PAM MG 10 B1:1325) "Buzz word" is the modern term used for catch phrases used by bureaucrats to raise smoke over an issue. The use of buzz words is as old as the existence of the bureaucrats and can be found in the records of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. It was probably used in Samaria I just have not run into it yet. A favourite buzz word of Indian Affairs was the word "satisfied" applied with appropriate adjective such as "perfectly" or "completely." It meant nothing but it made the bureaucrat look good - as if he had gotten the job done. Further, it made the Indians look bad if we came back later, and they always had to come back to get the rest of it whatever it was. Therefore, Indians always look bad in the record of Indian Affairs and the bureaucrats always appear as long suffering saints. I remind the reader that Provencher and his friends were at that very moment stealing from the Ojibwa by substituting shoddy goods in the supplies.
In a document dated October 26, 1876 I got another clue as to what occurred at the Round Plain as Morris reveals that he had told the leader that the "new" promises would be better than the old ones (PAC RG 10 V 3621, f 4767).
In the schedule of the reserves "surveyed" in the year ending October 31, 1876 we find the following fraudulent entry concerning the survey of Long Plain Reserve: That it was in "Townships 9 and 10, Range 8 West, Treaty 1, Area 10871.00" and "By Whom Surveyed J.L. Reid" (Ses. P. No. 11, 40 Vic A 1877).
This is a blatant falsification of the record and one that would tangle the feet of the bureaucrats for years to come.
There was no "special" survey done by J.L. Reid. All he did was take Bouchette's sheets for Townships 9 and 10 and using a red pen or pencil he marked off the section lines to create Long Plain Reserve. I have seen it.
However, regardless of how it was done, once the land was so designated a reserve its boundary was inviolable according to the lines Bouchette had surveyed on the ground.
Provencher sent a telegram to the Minister of the Interior on November 4, 1876 to report that there was small pox among the people of Lake Winnipeg at the Sandy Bar (PAC RG 10, V 3O38, f 7213).
Meanwhile the Lands Department was proceeding with the matter of the reserves for the Portage Bands.
Codd, the Winnipeg agent, reported that land "within" the areas selected had been either "homesteaded" or "preempted. "
Once more I had to note that when it came to the lands of the Ojibwa the International Hudson Bay Company came first, the Canadian homesteader last and Indians people not at all.
Further, there is the matter of Ojibwa woman’s rights denied them by the Canadians.
The Ojibwa could have only 1/4 section per family of five, be it two adults, a husband and wife, or husband and three wives.
They understood the rights of women as wives and women as grandmothers in a household. Yet the restriction was absolute.
On the other hand I found that half-breed children could all make separate land claims.
Beyond that Canadian settlers, men and women, were given the right to homestead one quarter and pre-empt another.
For example, in Codd's letter of November 22, 1876 we find that SE 1/4 - 10 - 5 - 11 was homesteaded by Edward Haldritch and that NE 1/4 - 10 - 5 - 11 was preempted by him and that Grace Haldritch homesteaded the SW 1/4 - 10 - 5 - 11 and that she preempted the NW 1/4 and that all these transactions were dated October 15, 1874.
Now perhaps Grace and Edward were husband and wife, perhaps they were not. But regardless, this family farm consisted of 320 or 640 acres.
It was apparently felt by the Canadian government that a family farm should consist of at least 320 acres and more to be viable or the homestead pre-emption rule would not have existed.
Yet they restricted Indian families to 160 acres more or less. In fact, on an individual basis the figures are even worse, for each Canadian could obtain through the homestead pre-emption system, man or woman, 320 acres of Indian homelands, while an Indian was restricted to 32 acres or exactly ten times less.
Were they supposed to survive on 1/10 less than a Canadian? Of course not they were supposed to become extinct.
So if the Canadians had a viable farm Ojibwa had only one tenth of what we needed to succeed. That contradicts the spirit of the treaty.
Beyond the initial half section, Canadians who were resident in the west before the annexation by Canada, people like Frank Ogletree, were given an additional 1/4 section of land. Thus the land base figures become even more intolerable.
An individual Anishinabe "received" 32 acres of his own homelands upon which to make a living, while Frank Ogletree received 320 acres of homelands free, plus the preemption on an additional 160 acres, or a total of 480 acres.
No wonder the "Portage Plains" farmers had such a chance of success. Some could in fact, through grant, homestead and preemption, obtain 960 acres for the "family farm a substantial land base.
On the other hand, a young Indian couple setting out for the first time under the reserve system would have had a technical right to 64 acres, or less than one quarter of one quarter.
Now beyond this fact, Frank Ogletree, John McLean and the rest already had their parish lots, and Ogletree of course had already stolen his from an Indian reserve.
So what does that mean in real terms for the "Honourable" Francis Ogletree and his descendants? He alone obtained the 717 acres of the Portage Indian Reserve, a grant of 160 acres, a homestead of 160 acres and a cheap preemption of 160 acres; a total of 1,197 acres to an Indian's 32 acres. Now if one adds the potential acreage of the rest of his family under the various acts the total almost doubles.
Upon reading these facts as the record reveals them the reader, we expect, will come to the same conclusion I did that at no time did the Canadian government ever intend that Indians would survive and its policy from the breach of the agreements of 1871 onward reflects that intention. The Ojibwa were to vanish one way or another. Their extinction was, they believed, a natural condition of "the will of Yahweh."
Aside from all the previously mentioned ways of getting land, any Canadian male who participated in the military occupation of the Ojibwa homelands was eligible for an additional military land grant.
On November 15, 1876 Reid submits the following list of tools and implements, as Long Plain had informed him: Reid to Morris, Nov. 15, 1876 Articles received by Short Bears band since
Treaty 40 axes 1875 2 Planes 1875
20 hoes " 2 draw Planes "
2 Harrows " 3 chisel "
2 Ploughs " 6 Scythes "
1 Grindstone " 12 Hand Saw Files "
2 Adze " Powder "
2 Picks " Shot "
6 Hammers " 2 Ploughs 1876
2 Hand saws " 2 Harrows double "
1 Pit saw " 40 axes "
1 Cross Cut Saw " 40 Hoes "
2 Broad axes " 1 Small Keg Powder"
1 2 inch auger " 2 Bags Shot "
1 3/4 inch auger " 12 Scyths "
25 Spades " "Keehewese" got a plough from Mr St. John in the Summer of 1873
J Lestock Reid DLS (PAM MG 12, B1:1336) Because of Provencher's corruption most of these articles were substandard. The Ojibwa put them to the best use they could in their battle to survive.
On the other hand the Ojibwa on Lake Winnipeg were not surviving at all. On November 22, 1876 Dr. Lynch, the government appointed doctor in charge of "containing" the small pox epidemic, reported that only two out of twenty Anishinabe had survived at Sandy Bar (PAC RG 10, V 3638, f 7213) and that two families that fled from there across Lake Winnipeg were only to perish to the last infant.
These people were from the mouth of the Red River who had left their village to "avoid" the incursion of the Anglican church and the "Cree" Christians at St. Peter's.
A traditional people, they had left to avoid conflict with their fellow band members who had followed Pegwis into the arms of the Canadians. Now the dark principle of the invaders had found them once more and even worse was to be revealed.
This is how the newspaper in Winnipeg described the situation along Lake Winnipeg: Small Pox Reports have been brought in from Gimli that Dr. Young has contracted small pox and the disease has been carried from the west to the east side of Lake Winnipeg by the Indians and that four have died at Black River. . . . [Lieutenant Colonel W. Osborne Smith sets up a quarantine at the junction of Medicine and Netley Creeks, Posts are laid out to Smith and Monkman's on the Red River. It is probable that posts will also be placed at Broken Head River and Fort Alexander. Young is not down with the disease]. Dr.. Lynch having visited White Mud River found one third of the population, sixteen Icelanders and fourteen Indians dead. From that point to Gimli, a distance of some thirty miles, the disease is in about every house, leaving death all along its trail. At Gimli, the heart of the Icelandic settlement, the state of affairs is very grave. Twenty-two deaths have occurred and 110 cases been visited. Drs. Lynch and Young have fitted up the government store house as a hospital with forty beds and established a quarantine within the settlement. As many as possible of those afflicted are moved to the hospital and the huts from which they were taken burned. The disease broke out at White Mud river and spread southward. The Indians at Big Island are said to be attacked but on account of the state of the ice the doctors have not been able to visit them. Some Indians that fled from Sandy Bar to Dog Head are believed to be dead, as their dogs have returned. The Icelandic adults have been vaccinated more than once in Iceland but are not suffering to the same extent as the children. (Free Press, Dec. 2, 1876) 5-2-41 On December 12, 1876 Morris "recommended" that the bands of Oo-za-we-kwun, Short Bear, the White Mud and Riding Mountain Indians should be placed under a single agent at or near Portage la Prairie (PAC RG 10 V 3639, f 7415). Frank Ogletree was on his way to becoming an Indian Agent.
On December 29, 1876 Meredith, the Deputy Minister of the Interior, "officially" informed Morris that "certain" lands within the townships used to create the Portage Bands' reservation at Long Plain and at Swan Lake had passed "by the operation of law" into the hands of the Hudson Bay Company, homesteads, preemptions and the public schools endowment (PAM MG; 12 B1:1392) and according to Canadian "law" all these had precedence over Indian rights..
One problem for the Ojibwa has been their traditional ideal of generosity. They saw the resources of their homelands as a free-hold gift from Kije-Manito to each band for their survival. They denied no one the right to feed his own stomach and that of his family.
Not so long ago in the living memory of elders alive in my time such as Angus Merrick, the Ojibwa had use of the fishing in the Assiniboine River by means of fish traps. But their traps were open-ended, for as Angus says, you couldn't take everything, and we were told by our elders only to take the big ones, throw the small ones back.
But then the Hutterites came and they were down at the Ojibwa traps every day, although it was "illegal" for them to do so. And they took "everything."
But the people were generous, for the resource was for "everybody." But the Euro-African-Aians always overdo it. The Hutterites took too much. Every one of the invaders has taken too much. Some like Hugh Armstrong became Millionaires taking too much fish. Then they polluted the rivers and what is left is uneatable,
The Ojibwa have learned bitter lessons about the greed of the dark principle of the Invader's culture. As J.E. Foster points out in the followings There can be little doubt that the concept of aboriginal rights, in its narrow and particular sense, is European in origin. From what is known historically of Indian concepts in this area, aboriginal rights were simply the rights of any human collectivity to take all measures necessary to ensure physical and cultural survival in a particular environment. Yet it is equally apparent, when the behaviour of the Saulteaux at the treaties is examined, and when their history in the previous generations is viewed from a particular perspective, that the concept of aboriginal rights had become part of their technique for dealing with the larger dominant community. In this sense, aboriginal rights were as much a part of Saulteaux culture as any other aspect.
(Foster 1987:180) Ojibwa understand that the "necessity" of adopting the concept of aboriginal rights was forced upon them by the dark principle of Invader's culture. It has become a weapon in their war for survival. If we had remained passively generous we would have become extinct; the genocide victims of Canada's greed. Hutterited out of existence
A. 1876 (Manitoba Free Press Weekly)Market prices paid to producers at: Winnipeg (Top and bottom prices given when available) Barley (bu) 40 - 50 Hay (ton) $8.00