Treaty No.2

Known as the “Manitoba Post Treaty” was made on August 21, 1871at Manitoba Post as they were also present and participating in the making of Treaty One. The Manitoba House Fur Trading Post was on the west shore of Lake Manitoba about fifteen miles up from the Narrows. Just adjacent, and strung along the lakeshore with its long and narrow lots was the Manitoba House Settlement, with its little Anglican Mission Church, log tower belfry, and parsonage at the centre. Nearby was the school house and post office named “Kinosoto”. The people of this little community were all descendants of employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company or North West Trading Company, of French, English and Scottish extraction, who had intermarried with the Indians. Treaty two was made by five Chiefs: Mekis, Francois (Broken Fingers), Ma-sah-kee-yash, Keweetahquinnayash and Sou-sonce.

“So, the Treaty was made, the Commissioners meaning one thing, the Indians another.” The ink was hardly dry on the Treaty before disagreements broke out. The Anishinaabe complained that agreements reached during negotiations had not appeared in the written document, and that some agreements which did appear in writing were not being fulfilled by the Crown. There were disagreements as to what had been agreed to not only between the Commissioners and the Anishinaabe, but among the Commissioners themselves. Much to the chagrin of Commissioner Simpson, the Ojibway had demanded economic development resources, including farm animals, horses, wagons, and farm tools and equipment. These demands were agreed to by the Commissioners, but Simpson had not included these items in the written Treaty. Instead he tacked on a list of “Outside Promises.”

The Indians made Treaties with the Queen. They did not consider themselves Canadians, and they had no part in the people or the doings of the distant federation. But the Canadian government had to fulfill obligations agreed to by the Queen’s Chief, and in particular, had to foot the bills. Canada thinks that they had bought the land, and yet she hadn’t. The land was Crown land. The reserves to live on were granted and guaranteed by the Queen out of Crown lands. The Indians were her loyal allies. The infant country of Canada was a stranger and an intruder. So were the new settlers that are flooding onto their lands.  In the 149 years which have passed, the honour of the Crown has become badly tarnished. In the years following Treaty, the self-governing Anishinaabe would become wards of Canada subject to the control of Indian Agents and the Indian Act. When the lands were opened to settlement, exploitation Indigenous resources began without permission or compensation. Racism and discrimination in employment shunted the Indians aside. The Treaty promise of fertile lands set aside for farming was not fulfilled. The Anishinaabe people were denied access to their resources on unsettled lands. Present day interpretation of the Treaties continues to be defined by the courts and more recently, at Treaty tables established between Canada (Crown) and Anishinaabe.