Martens Falls

Diary Excerpt

Called at 4 am resuming our journey at 6:20 am, running thro’ rapid water and arriving at Martens Falls the H.B.Co. Post at 7:35 am. This Post is situated on a high clay Bank about 25 [feet] above the foot of the rapids, styled falls. The soil at this Post is the most fertile I have seen on the whole route, being a mixture of dark soil and white clay, the garden at the post is cultivated well and shows potatoes and onions well advanced. In part of Mr. Iseroff’s house there is set up an old ship carronade which as far as usefullness is a thing of the past. There is also an English Ch. Store – After lunch, Chief Wm Whitehead and a number of the leading Indians having assembled a conference was held Mr Iseroff acting as Interpreter, explaining that the King had sent his representatives to negotiate a Treaty with them and advance their interests as he wished all his subjects to be happy and prosperous, also, after they had entered into treaty a present of $8. per capita would be granted this year and an annuity for life of $4 per annum, and that a tract of land as a reserve would be set aside for their sole use and benefit, giving to each family of five 1 sq. mile on which no white man would be permitted to hunt on, cut wood, erect building or even set his foot on without having first received their sanction, that they were to elect a chief and two puny chiefs or councillors who were to hold office for 3 years unless reelected at the end of that time, that they must in return obey the laws and be subject to same, as the white man, and would be ameniable to punishment if they were not good Indians and obedient, that a copy of the Treaty would be furnished them so as to enable them to see and read just what they had subscribed to.

On being asked if they had any reply to make, the chief said he was ready to accept the terms as offered and that his people were also willing. The Treaty was then signed without any further discussion at 2 p.m.

The pay lists being completed the Indians were called up in families, and carefully counted and paid each head of the family receiving a card numbered for future use Some being absent the money was held over (returned to Dept of Indian Affairs)

Dom Indians No 71 – $568.00
Ont ” ” 24 192.00

As promised them a feast was prepared and when all was in readiness at 7 p.m. and every member of the Band armed with currant bannocks, tea, pipes and tobacco, they announced that they had chosen –

Wm Whitehead as chief
Wm Coaster
and Long Tom Ostesama as Councillors

Chief Whitehead then delivered an oration, in which he said, pointing up and down the river that they were being cornered by not being allowed both banks of the River for miles to fish and hunt on but that they must accept what was offered from those who had given them presents and provided a feast for them.

When it was explained to them that they could hunt and fish as of old and they were not restricted as to territory, the Reserve merely being a home for them where no white man could interfere or trespass upon, that the land was theirs for ever, they gladly accepted the situation, and said they would settle the reserve question later on, the flag was then presented to the chief with the admonitions as usual. The Feast over, about 9.30 p.m. the chief and his councillors came to our quarters saying that they wanted both banks for 50 miles down river as a hunting reserve, again it was put forcibly before them, that it was a home for them that was being provided & not a hunting preserve, and that they could hunt wherever they pleased, they signified their assent and the following land was allotted.

On the Albany River in the N.W. Ty beginning at a point one quarter of a mile below the foot of the Rapids known as Marten’s Falls, down stream a distance of six miles and of sufficient depth to give an area of 30 square miles.

At 10 pm after the usual handshaking they took their departure perfectly satisfied, the river below Martens falls and past the allotted reserve has no falls upon it merely a strong current before leaving Dr Meindl besides attending to the various ills of the Indians many of whom were suffering from consumption vaccinated 47 of the Band principally children.