The 1905 Treaty

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There was certainly much what was promised in particular to the treaty which says provisions will be provided.
Those were promised to our grandfathers when they signed the treaty in 1905. But I can’t say those promises were
not fulfilled, I can't say that. The reason is, I have a very comfortable place to live in with all the utilities that come
with it. We have houses, animals, hospitals, and schools. The young people seem to have a hard time running their
community and trying to administer their community just like the non-natives that run their communities.
The community incurs deficit and they cannot run the programs.
One of the promises was to provide farm animals to us and I think you’re old enough to know that this didn’t
happen. The French missionaries ended up with those farm animals. When the first missionaries first came into our
territory, they were poor like us and I don’t they could afford farm animals to own. Once they left this community
they destroyed all those animals and didn’t even have the courtesy to give them to the natives. I can say this because
I saw it with my own eyes. I worked in Fort Albany doing manual work and I earned 80 cents per day. I worked as
a farm hand, too, and I started to wonder if those farm animals were the ones our grandfathers were promised in the
Treaty of 1905.
They were told they would be given land. They even surveyed the land where we are now. It took a long time before
we could come and live in our community. Simeon Scott was a councillor who approached the Indian Agent and
said that his people had decided to move to the new reserve. The Indian Agent was apprehensive and discouraged
Scott from moving to the reserve.
Those words have the same meaning, it’s just different words.
When you say an agreement, you agreed to your land and allowed the white man to come and see you.
A promise is what was promised like schools, housing and animals. We lost the farm animals. The missionaries took
them. The animals would have been here. The French missionary was clever. Often, Joseph Sutherland and I talked
about this. The French missionaries had the advantage. They took those animals so that they could feed the children
who were at the residential school in Fort Albany. They bought water fowl (ducks), moose and geese in the fall and
supplemented their food. They had native servants who assisted around the school as kitchen helpers and cleaners.
I know this because I sold them geese, too. A friend and I went hunting one fall. We paddled along the coast and
hunted. There were no outboard motors then and we sold geese to the missionaries. One goose was 25 cents. Later,
I even sold a moose to them.
They were feared and people were very suspicious of them. I think people have that same perception today.
The youth are being neglected, unlike when we were young. They can't even get social assistance because they're
living at home and that's why there’s so many young people that turn to alcohol and drugs because they have so
much time, not only in this community but the other communities do have the same problems. Sometimes, parents
are blamed if one of the young people take their own life but trouble doesn’t start there. In my own opinion, I think
the youth are ignored in our communities. Chief and council don’t pay attention to them, discuss their problems
or involve them in their activities. They’re starving for attention. What I notice about our chief and council is they
only interact with their staff and everybody else is ignored, especially those who are on welfare.
When a chief is elected, it has to be a collective decision by the people. The chief can not agree to anything unless he
consults his people. The same goes with the other chiefs in the other communities. There's a protocol that has to be
followed. I was in the council long time ago and I consulted with our people for guidance. I had arguments with
the people on certain subjects. We had ten elders like Jim Wesley, James Wesley, Willie Wesley, Willie Stevens and
the rest. They were the elders we consulted with whenever a decision had to be made on certain matters.
The council has the most authority. The chief's job is to take his council’s decisions.
That's the way it is supposed to be. Isn’t it the way governments are?
The government has his ministers to do the work for him right?
I don't think our present young chiefs know what democracy is.
The way they do business, they want to do their own thing.
The people come first. The chief and council should get advice and guidance from the elders but they don’t do that.
I listen to an elder named Louis Bird from Peawanuck and everything that he talks about is the truth.
This is all I know about this subject.
I mentioned earlier in my interview there were some good benefits. For instance, we get housing, schools and health
and education. But there are other things that are not going well, such as high cost of electricity. CHMC housing
which we have to pay. Look at our arena, it would make money if it was operational. The nursing station requires
repairs but they are costly. The wages is another problem. Workers want pay increases and the only way they could
do that is by striking, just like what they do in the south. And they do get results. I think this will happen in the
future for the best. Things will change in the future, too, that’s what it says in the good book.
This is a very complicated question and it’s very hard for me to give you a proper response, but I will try my best.
What comes to my mind is reflecting on the terms that were given and how they would gradually change at this day
and age. There will be a lot of conflict between the communities because of jealousy towards mining development
and land claims. That is being anticipated in the future, maybe the next 30 or 40 years. That's happening now with
land claims down south. The government is involved there. Another incident is the Inuit fighting for land rights
and that's the only answer I can give you.


The 1905 Treaty by Sinclair Wynne


treaty 1905 promises community animals farm land Indian Agent French issionaries alcohol young people chief elders council housing

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