Notes: Reasons Half-Breeds Left Treaty

Edited and Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell
Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research
Louis Riel Institute

Notes for Metis Talking Stick, Spreecast of January 31, 2013, 6:00-8:00 PM, E.S.T.

My research deals with Western Canada Treaties one to eight

Lists of Metis who left:

 An 1886 un-numbered list
 An 1888 list of 674 persons
 An 1892 list of 794 persons – replaces previous lists which Ottawa lost.
 Sandy Bay Mb. April 1886 list of 48 Metis
 An 1879-80 list of Women who commuted their annuities – 225 women
 An 1885-87 Manitoba list of Metis from Duck Bay, Fairford, Eb and Flow and
Lake Manitoba who left: 61 persons
 A Birtle Agency list of Metis who left post - 1886: 35 persons
 A Fort Alexandre List of 21 Metis who wish to withdraw.
 A Peeaysis Band (Lac la Biche) List of 84 Metis who withdrew.
 A Lac la Biche list by Patrick Pruden asking for Commissioners to attend so that
the 57 Metis people signing his petition could withdraw.
 Assorted records of Metis from St. Peters Reserve who withdrew.

Reasons Half Breeds left treaty

 For economic advantage in hard times.

 Many Metis entered treaty long before the land had been selected for the various
reserves. Thus by the time the reserves were selected and surveyed many Metis
found that they had built their houses and/or farms outside of their Band’s reserve.
Thus many decided to withdraw from treaty and take their Metis scrip to apply
against the land they were living on and farming.

 Threats that they would eventually be removed from the reserve.

 Punished for Resistance activities and removed from Band Annuity Lists, eg.
Chakastaypasin Band (who also lost their reserve), Peeyasis Band at Lac la Biche,
Muskeg Lake, One Arrow. Muskeg Lake lost all annuity payments and was
without a chief for over ten years.

 There was a mass exodus to Turtle Mountain and Montana after the 1885
Resistance. There was then a subsequent removal of Metis from the Turtle
Mountain Band lists (Little Shell people), encouraged by the US government.

 There was also a mass exodus of Metis and Plains Cree to Montana after the 1885
Resistance. Some joined the Flathead Reserve, others were itinerant and became
known as the “Landless Cree” and were part of Rocky Boy’s group.. Their joint
Cree/Metis council was led by Little Bear (Imasees) and Gabriel Dumont. There
were a series of deportations back to Canada. Many eventually returned to Canada
and now make up the Montana Reserve.

 The people were starving and no reserve had been surveyed eg. Papaschase Band

 Tricked into leaving treaty. Indian Affairs officials under Hayter Reed were
encouraging Metis to leave to reduce the costs to Indian Affairs, true for Sandy
Bay and Lac la Biche.

 The reserve was not located where they wanted or was on poor land for farming,
eg. Sandy Bay and Gamblers.

 The reserve was moved, eg. St. Peters moved to Peguis, Duck Bay moved to Pine
Creek. St. Peters there was a mass exodus to Prince Albert led by John Smith and
James Smith )six Smith brothers in all) from St. Peter’s The Smith’s then signed
Treaty six and got their own reserves in Saskatchewan. Many of their Metis
followers later withdrew from Treaty.

 Other Metis left because they didn’t like the Indian Affairs rules, eg travel pass
requirement to be off reserve, or wanted to vote, or wanted to buy and sell liquor.
Others were enfranchised under the rules (university graduates, army

 Women who married non-Indians were removed or left Treaty.

 It was often economically advantageous to take scrip.


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