Historical Facts in the Territory
Welcome to the Unceded territory of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Dakota and Nakota people. There are several historical facts that need to be taken into consideration regarding rights and interests to lands in Treaty 2 Territory.
Treaty 2 itself notes that there were several communities who were not represented at Manitoba House, and in the Treaty, it provides that Mekis, a son of Okanese, would represent those other local Nations in the Treaty 2 process.
Note also that persons who became Chiefs of First Nations and who after the Manitoba House Treaty Gathering received 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.
The Chiefs named were:
- Sousonse (Little Long Ears), “for the Swan Creek and Lake Manitoba Indians”;
- Masahkeeyash (He Who Flies to the Bottom) and “Richard Woodhouse, whose Indian name is Keweetahquinnayash (He Who Flies Around the Feathers), “for the Indians of Fairford and the neighbouring localities”;
- Francois or Broken Fingers “for the Indians of Waterhen River and Crane River and the neighbouring localities”;
- Mekis (The Eagle) or Giroux, “for the Indians of Riding Mountains and Dauphin Lake and the remainder of the Territory”.
Note that these same persons and local Nations subsequently had reserves set apart for them in Treaty 2 Territory. However, the adhesion to Treaty they signed happened to be Treaty 4.
Peguis’ people entered into Treaty 1 but later after the theft of their reserve by government officials, were provided with another reserve in Treaty 2 Territory, without the consent of the First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory.
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 and placing the reserve in Treaty 2 Territory without bothering to obtain the consent of Treaty 2 First Nations.
First Nations on the shores of Lake Winnipeg were included in Treaty 2 Territory when the Chiefs at Manitoba House drew the map of their territory including that section of Lake Winnipeg. Isolated and distant from the other Treaty 2 First Nations, they eventually began to identify themselves with closer Treaty 5 First 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 First Nations, was forced to move from its reserve 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 people, who had been in the area since at least 1808, had intermarried many times with the people at Ebb and Flow and Riding Mountain was a frequent location, as is indicated on their paylists, “Absent at Riding Mountain.”
The Chiefs 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 First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory in Saskatchewan.
When it was noted that the Anishinaabe community at Duck Bay, squarely within the boundaries stated in Treaty 2, had not entered Treaty, they were sent to another First Nation in Saskatchewan and Treaty 4 Territory and entered into an adhesion there. They later moved into Camperville, still 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.”