Treaty Making

The Royal Proclamation,
The Crown and Treaty Making

By the time Treaty No. 9 was negotiated, the Crown’s focus had moved from making alliances with First Nations to opening up the land for settlement and economic development. This is reflected in the wording of the preamble to Treaty No. 9 which outlines the Crown’s reasons for wanting to make Treaty:

… it is His [Majesty’s] desire to open for settlement, immigration, trade, travel, mining, lumbering, and such other purposes as to His Majesty may seem meet, a tract of country … and to obtain the consent thereto of His Indian subjects inhabiting the said tract … so that there may be peace and good-will between them and His Majesty’s other subjects, and that His Indian people may know and be assured of what allowances they are to count upon and receive from His Majesty’s bounty and benevolence.

You can view the original Treaty document below.

The Role of the Province of Ontario

Even though, by 1904, the Department of Indian Affairs was anxious to make a Treaty with the aboriginal people living north of the Robinson Treaties, the role of the Province in Treaty making was unclear. In 1888, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, then the highest court in the land, had ruled that once a treaty was made the rights to the land and resources were held by the Province, not the Dominion (the Federal Government); however, “Indians and Lands for Indians” were a federal responsibility under the BNA Act.

Author: Janet Armstrong, PhD