The 1905 Treaty

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share



It wasn't until one year later, the Royal Commissioners came into our communities to talk to the people like our
grandfathers. The reason why they came into our territories was to talk about the treaty to the natives. This was
the Treaty of 1905. They had conditions that went with the agreement that our grandfathers signed and agreed
to. Their main concern was our land and that's when they implemented parcels of land to be called reserves where
the natives could stay. Our grandfathers didn’t exactly know why those Royal Commissioners came to see them.
The government didn’t say that he came there to take the land away from them but to utilize from it for his own
Our grandfathers were told that in exchange for the land they would get 4 dollars a year for the rest of their lives.
What happened was 8 dollars were given the first time, which further confused people, and was reduced to 4 dollars
the following year. Even today, people are wondering about that. The Commissioners travelled all over where they
figured natives were living and talked to them about the land.
When they went to the eastern part of James Bay, those natives were not very receptive about the government
proposals. They were angry and refused to accept anything. They were given pink tickets which labelled them
as half-breeds. The government didn't take their retaliation lightly. That’s what happened to them but later they
regained their status. The government promised the native people that he will look after their well-being as long the
river flows, the sun shines and the grass grows. This is a very strong and binding promise. Today, the government
doesn't comply to these promises. The other promise was he will give bread and milk and were empty promises.
We have difficulty in our lives now because the government doesn’t want to live up to its promises.
Yes, my father used to tell me about those conditions with the treaty but if you lose your status, you don’t qualify.
They were told if you don’t have health insurance and you get very sick, you will be without medical help and you
will die in your bed. Which is what my father protected because he didn’t want his people to be in that position.
The people strongly believed they would be looked after by the government. They concentrated on that promise
and they didn’t know that the government had other ideas concerning land. They thought since the government
found them, he will look after their well-being for life and share the land together, but the government had other
plans about that. When our grandfathers signed the treaty, they didn’t know they were signing away their land and
the resources and that they would end up in a land assigned by the government called reserves. I heard these stories
passed on by my father.
Of course, I think they could succeed. The reason why I said that is we would have questions how the old treaty
was worded especially on that part which states “as long as the rivers flow, the sun shines and the grass grows”.
When the government came into our territory, it had already implemented the treaty conditions without consulting
the natives. The document was worded in such way so the government would be the only one to benefit
from it.
Yes, it exists yet. When the government came to talk to the natives the second time after the treaty, it asked them
if the provincial government decided to implement new policies would they agree to them. Our grandfathers said


The 1905 Treaty by William Cheechoo


treaty 1905 Royal Commissioners reserves land promises government money resources

Please login to leave a comment.