i. Why was a treaty required in this time and place?
Treaty Two was created on August 21, 1871 to discuss matters of interest between the Aboriginals and Her Majesty, Queen Victoria. Her Majesty wished to have British immigrants settle the land that the Aboriginals inhabited and the treaty was created in order to receive the aboriginals’ consent. The treaty was established in order to maintain peace and goodwill between the indigenous peoples and the British Crown. The creation of the treaty also involved holding Aboriginal Chiefs and head men accountable for the actions of their peoples in keeping peace with the terms of the treaty. The treaty defined the lands that the Natives were to possess in the form of reserves, but also indicated which lands they were to surrender to the British Crown. The Natives were to receive an allowance from Her Majesty’s coffers, as well as a yearly allowance in items such as blankets, clothing, twine, or other goods that the Natives might require and the treaty was written to record the details of this agreement. The treaty also established that there were to be reserves created, as well as a school maintained by the British in each reserve. The main objective of the treaty was for the British Empire to expand towards the West without creating violence between the British settlers and the First Nations. This treaty enabled the British Crown to expand its territory while controlling the Aboriginal peoples.
ii. What First Nations were included in this treaty?
The First Nations included in this treaty were smaller tribes of Chippewa Natives located in Manitoba. Tribes included are as follows; the Sou-sonse people of Swan Creek and Lake Manitoba, also known as Little Long Ears; the Ma-sah-kee-yash people of Fairford and the neighbouring localities, also known as he who flies to the bottom; a man by the name of Ke-wee-tah-quun-na-yash whose actual name was Richard Woodhouse, also known as he who flies around the feathers; the Francois people of Waterhen River, Crane River and the neighbouring localities, also known as Broken Fingers; the Mekis (the Eagle) or Giroux people of the Riding Mountains and Dauphine lake. All these tribes had been located in the Manitoba region and had their own way of life. These tribes who were part of the Chippewa Natives were part of a much larger group of the Algonquian native tribe. Chippewa is also known as the Ojibway Natives. These natives had relations with the French but were not involved with Christianity and were more interested in their own practices which for some had involved cannibalism. These tribes lived in wigwams and they also practiced polygamy. In British North America by 1902, there were around 30,000 of these native people.
“Chippewa Indian History.” Access Genealogy: A Free Genealogy Resource. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/chippewa/chippewahist.htm (accessed January 16, 2013).
iii. What did these people want from the treaty process?
The Natives of this treaty mostly wanted peace between the other tribes, peace between each other and an abundance of land to sustain their people. The Natives along with Her Majesty agreed that there would be no consumption or distribution of alcohol on the reserves and it was strictly prohibited. The Natives wanted to be good and loyal subjects to the Queen and they would also be law-abiding citizens to eliminate confrontation. The Natives wanted to help and assist with the justice and punishment system when any of their people broke the agreement that was held within the treaty. From this treaty process, the Natives also agreed to not molest people or property on the tract along with the property of Her Majesty. With having land, the Natives would be able to have a school on each reserve whenever they wanted and they also would have enough land for each family to sustain a household of five.
iv. What did the government want from the treaty process?
The government wanted to gain land for the crown from the aforementioned First Nations who already lived in the desired area and to locate them to reserves. The desired area was tract of land stretching roughly from the mouth of the Winnipeg River up north to the mouth of the Beren River, then north and west to Lake Waterhen, then descending roughly southwest to the Moose Mountains in modern Alberta and reaching is most southerly extent at the U.S. border. The territory is bounded by borders bending sharply to the North and East, crossing Lake Manitoba and finally leading due east to connect to the mouth of the Winnipeg River.
vi. What is the status of the treaty today?