Fort Hope

Diary Excerpt

Tuesday 18th
…after dinner at 12:50 pm pulled out passing down a chain of small lakes and running up a small but rapid river entered Lake Eabamet, a beautiful sheet of water that might be styled an inland seas, passing in a westerly direction, with canoes lined up and flags flying, expecting any moment to be driven ashore by the heavy wind that had sprung up and was lashing the water of the bay into foam, causing the canoes to ship water, touched the waters of a small creek winding its tortuous course to the dock where we were welcomed by Mr. Gordon the Manager of the H.B.C. Post – a number of the Indians having assembled on our arrival after the usual hand shaking had been gone thro with we retired to the Agents House. Camps pitched in the yard in front of the House at 6 pm. This Post in addition to H.B. Co. buildings has two churches, R.C. and English, Father Forfard – the missionary who resides at Albany arrived this p.m. The English Missionary is at present absent at Marten’s Falls.

I visited both churches in the Episcopal church maps with the Indian alphabet being upon the walls – the edifice being used at times as a mission school. The missionary assisted by a boy has built a substantial Bridge to the Church, situated on a peninsula across the creek from the Fort – morning and ev’g service is held by the resident Indians.

Wednesday 19th
This morning the representative Indians who were not absent from the Fort assembled and a conference was held. Mr. Scott thro’ an Interpreter (Sinclair Ritch) stated to them that the King had sent the Commission to see how his people were and to enter into a Treaty with them, and that the King wished to help his subjects and see that they were happy and comfortable, giving them as a present this year $8 per capita and an annuity for ever of $4 per annum, also setting aside for their sole use and benefit a tract of land 1 square mile to each family of 5 that no white man should put his foot on without their permission – the Indians were then asked if they had anything to say. “Yesno” replied that he was willing to enter into Treaty and advised the others to act likewise.

Monias said I should like to consult with my Aunts and cousins, if I buy as small an article as a needle I have to pay for same. You come here offering money we have not asked for I do not understand, and should like to have it explained, after an explanation, he along with the others signified his assent and the Treaty was signed. After handshaking they departed to prepare for their Feast and to talk over the Election of Chief and Councillors.

In the afternoon the pay lists having been completed – Mr. Scott commenced paying the Indians who were called up in families and carefully counted the Indians received their present of money with that stolid indifference [sic] characteristic of their race, sometimes smiling as they looked at the bills and received their ticket numbered for future use and identification, some of them one or two returned the money thinking that they had not received their just due, not being able to distinguish between one and two dollar bills, but in every instance it was found to be correct and they turned away perfectly satisfied, lists were closed for the day at 6:10 pm.

Thursday 20th
Resumed paying at 9 am and continued until 12n when the feast was announced and the Band encircling the provisions which were piled up in the centre of the plot facing the H.B. Store – when the feast was nearly over Katchang who was absent when the Treaty was signed and refused to accept the present of $8 offered, came with his family and said he was willing to accept the money as his brothers had done after securing same, he thanked the commissioners saying that he would put the money to good use, his wife also said she would use her influence with the women of the Band to make them good, the feast being over, word was brought from the Indians by Mr. Gordon Mg’r H.B.C. that they had elected

Katchang – Chief 
Joe Goodman
Ooskineegisk Benjamin 
Quiscis George

Returning to the feast ground and explaining that the chief was to rule over the Band for three years and that the flag a twelve foot Union Jack wh. was presented to him was to be turned over to his successor provided he and the Councillors were not reelected at the end of that term, then shaking hands with them retired.

Shortly after the Chief and his councillors came to our camp and informed us they had after consultation decided upon the land they desired to have as a reservation asking for a water frontage of 100 miles, on being told that it was impossible to grant a tract of land of the dimensions asked for and having again explained that a reserve was simply a home for them on wh. no white man could hunt or cut timber, or build without their permission and that 1 sq mile for each family of five was the basis on wh. the size of the land would be alotted, the chief then said he was satisfied and after some discussion we proposed that the following land be granted as their Reservation.

Fort Hope in the N.W. Ty beginning at Kitchesagi on the North Shore of Lake Eabamet, extending eastward along the shore of the Lake 10 miles; lines to be run at right angles from these two points to contain sufficient land to provide one square mile for each family of five upon the ascertained population of the Band – the Indians all assented, the chief who was absent when the Treaty was signed when asked to endorse same, replied that as long as he was Chief he was to be paid the same amount as received at this payment but when it was maid [sic] plain to him that the amt paid this year was a present from the King and that in future he would receive as long as he lived an annuity of $4 per annum, he assented & also said what use is my name on the Treaty I was not present when the terms were explained, when he understood that he as chief elect should show his appreciation of terms in Treaty and also sanction said terms as the head of the Band, he immediately touched the pen, saying I will do all in my power to have the Band obey the laws and be good Indians; at 7:30 p.m. Mr Richards English Church Missionary arrived from Marten’s Falls and was given a hearty welcome by the Indians who seem to have the highest esteem and regard for him, he had been called to Marten’s Falls by the Bishop.