Treaty 2 was entered in to on 21 August 1871 at Manitoba House, Rupertsland, with representatives of the Queen of England and Ireland. The original Anishinaabe (Chippewa and Cree), who were present, constitute Treaty 2 today. It is known that many of the chiefs and leaders within the territory were at the early gathering and after the treaty was agreed to. Those who were not present were represented through Mekis until they indicated where they wished their fertile farming lands and reserves to be established.
Treaty 2 Territory has nine (9) local Nations who made Treaty 2 with fifteen (15) other local Nations who also reside in the Territory set out in the Treaty 2 territory: two (2) of them entered into Treaty 1, three (3) Dakota local Nations, eight(8) Treaty 4 local Nations and two (2) Treaty 5. Additionally, five (5) sit on the border on the Eastside of Lake Winnipeg.
The Treaty 2 Territory extends north from the mouth of the Winnipeg River up the east shore of Lake Winnipeg, west across that Lake to Lake Manitoba and following its north shore across the centre and southwest of Manitoba, at Waterhen Lake further west across Lake Winnipegosis and then south along the Shell River to the Assiniboine, to the Moose Mountains in southeastern Saskatchewan.
From there it goes south to the U.S./Canada border and then back east over to the beginning of Treaty 1 Territory. Treaty 2 Territory lies to the west and north of Treaty 1. Treaty 2 territory includes 8,676,828 hectares of land (more than 22 million acres). Included within are Riding Mountain, Duck Mountain, Turtle Mountain, Hecla/ Grindstone, and Moose Mountain.
Anishinaabe Agowidiiwinan stem well before the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Treaty of Niagara 1764 and most recent 1871 of Treaty 2. A meeting of the Anishinaabe from Treaty 2 territory led to the birth of Anishinaabe Agowidiiwinan, the Ojibway or Chippewa local Nations who were present at Manitoba House in 1871 to meet with Queen Victoria’s Treaty Commissioners.
Treaty 2 itself notes that there were several groups part of the Nation who were not represented at Manitoba House, and in the Treaty, it provides that Mekis, a son of Okanese, would represent those groups in the Treaty 2 process.
Note also that persons who became Chiefs of the local Nations and who after the Manitoba House Treaty Gathering received hay land reserves in Treaty 2 Territory appear on the paylists of what was then “Dauphin Lake/Riding Mountain Band”, and according to those paylists, received their Treaty payment as Treaty 2 persons, three years before Treaty 4 had been entered into.
Note that these same persons and current Local Nations subsequently had land reserved set apart for them in Treaty 2 Territory. However, the adhesion to Treaty they made happened to be with Treaty 4 1874/5.
Peguis’ people entered into Treaty 1 but later after the theft of their lands by Canada officials, were provided with another piece of land in Treaty 2 Territory 1905.
When Treaty 5 was entered into at Norway House, the people who today are at Fisher River stipulated they wanted farm lands. Lt. Gov. Alexander Morris granted their wish by giving them only 100 acres per family of five.
Nations on the shores of Lake Winnipeg were included in Treaty 2 Territory when the Chiefs/Headmen at Manitoba House drew the map of their territory including that section of Lake Winnipeg. Isolated and distant from the other Treaty 2 Local Nations, they eventually began to identify themselves with closer Treaty 5 Nations, even though the portion of the Lake they depend upon for their livelihood is in Treaty 2 Territory.
The boundaries of Treaty 2 had been set when Sandy Bay, part of the Treaty 1 collection of Nations, was forced to move from their prosperous lands in Treaty 1 territory to Township 18 in 1876. That township lies split half and half by the boundary between Treaty 1 and Treaty 2. Likely no one noticed at the time. As well, the Sandy Bay Anishinaabe, who had been in the area since at least 1808, had intermarried many times with the people at Duck Bay, Ebb and Flow and Dauphin Lake/Riding Mountain was a frequent location, as is indicated on their paylists, “Absent at Dauphin Lake/Riding Mountain.”
The Chiefs/Headmen at Manitoba House in 1871 insisted that their exclusive territory was to be determined by a line which went southwestward to the northwestern corner of Moose Mountain. In 1904 when the province of Saskatchewan was established, the line separating it from Manitoba placed three Local Nations in Treaty 2 Territory in Saskatchewan again without the consent of the original people.
When it was noted that the Anishinaabe community at Duck Bay who lived on the northern boundary of the Treaty 2 Territory, had entered Treaty 4 then later sent to another Local Nation in Saskatchewan and Treaty 4 Territory and entered into an adhesion there. They later moved into Pine Creek/River, deeper into Treaty 2 Territory.
No other Treaty area in Canada has had this mixture of complicated historical circumstances which raise questions as to “who is Treaty 2 and who isn’t.”
Related: See the Government of First Nations in Treaty Territory.