“They Think They Own the Land”(1) : A Media Account of the Government’s Acquisition of Treaty 8 Lands

By Cora Voyageur


The signing of Treaty 8 was an important event in the development of Canada. We are now commemorating its centenary. By signing Treaty 8, the Indians and Half-breeds(2) of this region gave up 324,000 square miles of land(3)

— an area about 3/4 the size of the Province of Ontario (Oberle, 1986:1). The last numbered treaty in Alberta prior to 1899 was Treaty 7 which was signed in 1877 in southern Alberta. According to researcher, Dennis Madill, Treaty 8 was a long time in the making:

Since the 1870s there had been pleas from missionaries, fur traders and Indians for a treaty in the Athabasca-Mackenzie region, but the federal government disclaimed any responsibility for these Indians, despite the hardships they suffered, and remained committed to that policy of not proceeding for settlement (1986:2).

However, as historian David Leonard noted, “the perceived need for a settlement, had been mounting for some time. Mineral resources along the lower Athabasca River seemed ripe for tapping, while the Peace River Country appeared to be on the verge of large-scale agricultural settlement” (1999:17). The Klondike Goldrush brought as many as 40,000 individuals through the Treaty 8 area on their way to the Yukon (Kesterton and Bird, 1995:35). On June 21, 1899 on the western shore of Lesser Slave Lake, the Treaty 8 Commission entered into a treaty with the First Nations of that area. The Treaty and Scrip Commissions visited many areas in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories during the summers of 1899 and 1900.

This paper deals with how this historic event and its participants were depicted in a sampling of 6 Alberta newspapers from 1899.(4) I examine the Treaty Number 8 signing through the eyes of the 1899 Alberta print media by drawing a sample of 39 newspaper articles from various Alberta libraries and archives. My sample is by no means exhaustive. Essentially, this study is about expansionism, the media, the government, the Indians and the Half-breeds. Before I report my research findings, I will briefly overview the role of the media in society and follow that by the role of the press in the settlement of western Canada.


Role Of The Media In Society

Paul Rutherford, renowned authority on the role of media in society says, “Ideally, mass communications requires the regular and frequent transmission of a uniform message about life and affairs by a small group of experts to a large, anonymous and heterogeneous public” (1982:4). However, this is not to say that these messages cannot and do not often have particular leanings as they do during the time period covered by this study. The public forms its opinions based on both the information provided and the context in which the information is set. By selecting, interpreting, and setting events in context, the media filters our news. They do this in a number of ways: the location of a story in the newspaper (front page coverage generally confers more importance than articles located further back); the size of headline; the length of the article; and whether an event is covered at all. What is determined as newsworthy is debated and ultimately the reporter or the editor has the final say in whether a story makes it to print.

Many things have changed in the 100 years since Treaty 8 was signed. However, one thing remains the same — we live busy lives and therefore rely on the media to inform us of current happenings.


The Role The Press In 1899

The year 1899 was part of what has been referred to as the “Third Press Period: The Western Transplant and Spreading Growth” journalism period in Canada (Kesterton and Bird, 1995:33). Essentially, the press was on a mission to try to “sell” Canada to potential immigrants. The agenda was not only to convince people to move into Canada but to also entice people to move from well-populated eastern Canada to the largely unpopulated west. Journalists were relied upon to assure potential immigrants that Canada, and specifically western Canada, was a hospitable and viable place to settle.

The “Third Press Period” is closely linked to an immigration propaganda phenomenon called “Boosterism” that was particularly prevalent in the undeveloped prairies of western Canada. According to R. Douglas Francis, boosterism is a deliberate attempt by local leaders to present an inflated image and exaggerate amenities of their home community in the hopes of an eventual self-fulfilling prophecy (1997:427). David Knight defines boosterism as the exaggerated proclamations of worth of a particular place over all others (1973:10).

Expansionists believed that development of the Northwest Territory (the area including what is now Alberta and Saskatchewan) was essential and urgent in time (Owram, 1980:5). However, it seemed that the expansionists did not want just anybody populating the west. Owram states that the Expansionists (largely English-speaking, Protestants) wanted to shape the west in their own cultural and philosophical image (1980:5). Charles Mair, already a western expansionist, wrote “The basic economic strength of the North West lay in the fertility of the land and any social strength the region was to achieve have equally to be based on a class that would work the land” (Owram, 1980:136). Thus, according to Mair and other Expansionists of the time, the preferred class was British.

The government tried somewhat unsuccessfully to lure “British” farmers to settle the west. For example, twelve delegate farmers from England, Scotland and Ireland were brought to Canada (at the government’s expense) to tour the Canadian West in 1890. The 1890 “farmers” tour was modeled after an earlier agriculturalist tour in 1879 that had netted favourable results (Norton, 1994:26). The tour began with the farmers being greeted by the Lieutenant-Governor and Mrs. Schultz “who expressed a desire to see Canada peopled by English-speaking races” (Norton, 1994:27). The entourage was then treated to a series of dinners, luncheons, displays and other events all hosted in their honour by towns across western Canada.

In return for this hospitality, each farmer was required to produce a report that chronicled the experience. Most reports were positive and spoke to the merits of Canadian society and the Canadian countryside. As one of the Irish delegates stated, “[in] two departments at least Ireland would have a rival in British Columbia; those were the beauty of the women and the growth of potatoes” (Norton, 1994:29). However others spoke harshly of the condition of Canadian roads and on the waste of timber in British Columbia (Norton, 1994:30). The reports were then published and used to lure prospective immigrants to Canada but there was no measured increase in British immigration to Canada as a result. When the first choice of the Canadian government, the British, failed to be lured to the new land, the government then looked to eastern Europe for a population to settle the west.

The press in 1899 did more than just “reflect public opinion”; rather it attempted to mold popular attitudes (Rutherford, 1982:288). For example, David C. Jones states that country life, rather than town or city life, was seen as the pure and good. He also says that there was a belief that man, with the aid of science, could tame the land and make it both livable and fertile (1982:96). Many newspapers, such as the Nor’West Farmer, the Farmer’s Advocate, The Grain Growers Guide and the Farm and Ranch Review, were devoted to the notion of the superiority of country living (Jones, 1982:97). Homesteading was an opportunity for landless settlers to leave the past behind and start anew.

The audience is an integral part of the press. In 1899, it was a partisan press that was tied to the business or political interests of particular groups (Rutherford, 1982:288). Regarding the Treaty issue and given the audience, we must ask ourselves the following questions, “who was the audience”; “what did they want?”; and “what did they want to hear?”. The content of newspapers of this time contained issues of relevance to the audience — just as it does today.


Research Findings And Interpretation

Having set the study in context, I will now turn to my research findings. These data were obtained from 39 articles collected from newspaper microfilm. The majority of the newspapers (37 of 39 or 95%) were from the 4-month period from May to September, 1899 with the remaining 2 articles published in 1898. Slightly more than half of the articles (56%) were published in the Edmonton Bulletin (which incidentally was owned by Edmonton businessman and member of parliament Frank Oliver) which had a newspaper reporter(5) accompany the Treaty 8 Commission’s entourage.

The location and size of the article denotes its importance in relation to other articles published that day. Most of the early reports found their way to the front page but were later relegated to subsequent pages. Page 2 was the most frequent location for Treaty 8 newspaper coverage (41% of the coverage) while front page coverage followed with 36%. Article length ranged from 1 column inch to 40 column inches. The longer articles were generally on the second or subsequent pages.

The articles’ titles generally mentioned the terms “treaty”, “Indian”, “scrip”, and “Commission or Commissioner” with very little variation. However, one of the more interesting headlines that made its way to the front page of the Alberta Tribune was “The Beavers Gave Trouble” in which the reporter stated that the Beaver Indians did not give the commissioners an amicable welcome because they were angry about the mounted police who arrested one of their members for killing a settler’s horse (August 19, 1899:1).

The Commissioners and the process of signing the Treaty with the Indians are the predominate topics of the articles. As one might expect, the articles are “informational” in nature and the tone is generally positive.

The Commissioners are treated very kindly by the press. They were described as giving “clever speeches to the Natives” (Calgary Herald Weekly, August 3, 1899:2). They were the primary actor in approximately 80% of the articles in which they are glorified for “doing their duty to the Queen” and described in generous terms. They were portrayed as enduring hardships such as harsh weather conditions and unfamiliar terrain. An Edmonton Bulletin report stated upon the return of the commission that “the commissioner, although an elderly man and of a far from robust appearance, has stood the trip extra well” (September 11, 1899:4). The commissioners were in unfamiliar territory but they were accompanied by many people (mostly Indians and Metis) who were very familiar with it. In fact, the commissioners had many people with them whose job it was to ensure their comfort and their success such as cooks, camp attendants, tripmen, guides and trackers.

Overall, the Commissioners were seen as heroic in their efforts to obtain land from the Indians for future European settlement. Their success in obtaining the land from the Indians and their progress in the treaty making process was mentioned repeatedly; however, there were comments that there was not enough travel time between sites. Indeed, newspaper accounts show them as patient and having a benevolent tone in dealing with the Indians (Calgary Daily, July 28, 1899:2); as being authoritative, quickly “… getting down to business” (Edmonton Bulletin, July 15, 1899:2); and as ultimately successful in obtaining the land from the Indians and the Half-breeds. The Alberta Plaindealer (Sept. 1, 1899: 1), for example, noted that “At the June 21st signing, treaty was made with the Indians at this point about 275 in number. The Half-breed scrip commission issued about 600 scrip there”. Similarly, The Edmonton Bulletin notes “the treaty is being ‘pulled off’ at Rocky Point” (July 17, 1899:2).

A great deal of attention is given to the Commissioner’s itinerary. Frequent topics of newspaper reports included: where they went; how they got there; and the conditions under which they traveled. The reporter seemed to strike a delicate balance between portraying the commissioners as faithful servants of the government who dutifully fulfilled their task of having the Indians relinquish their claim to the land, thus making it available for settlement. The less than ideal conditions (harsh weather, unfamiliar terrain, and Indians and Half-breeds) that the Commissioners had to endure which, ironically perhaps, made the environment seem so inhospitable as to discourage settlement. Historian, Sarah Carter, states that “tales of adventure and peril in remote lands peopled by strange ‘primitive races’ were enormously popular at that time” (1984:27). This would have made for “good reading” for the newspaper buying public back in “civilization”.

Water and road transportation in the region are frequently mentioned. “They drove a buckboard and wagon from the crossing to within 25 miles of St. John in 4 days” (Edmonton Bulletin, August 31, 1899:2). There are numerous mentions of improvements made to the modes of transportation “McFee’s Northwest government road cutting party had completed the road that far. All creeks were bridged and an excellent road had been made through the Big Muskeg” (Edmonton Bulletin, August 31, 1899:2).

Land is an important topic for the newspapers to report. Approximately half the articles mention the land which is described as beautiful, lush, vast and rich:

The territory is of great area and vast and varied resources. It differs most radically in its different parts, from the high rolling bluff studded prairie of Peace River — the most beautiful piece of prairie land in the world — to the bare rocky shores of Lake Athabasca at Fond du Lac, also on the edge of the Great Grounds of the Arctic. There are hundreds of miles of fine agricultural and grazing land on Peace River. (Edmonton Bulletin, August 31, 1899:3).

Regarding the resources in the region, one correspondent wrote:

…the most wide spread petroleum deposit in the known world [is] on the Athabasca River, splendid salt deposits near Fort Smith, excellent fisheries in the Athabasca and Great Slave and hundreds of smaller lakes, extensive timber lands in may localities and mineral deposits of many kinds of yet unknown value (Edmonton Bulletin, August 31, 1899:3).

It is reasonable to expect that these descriptions were meant to entice settlers. The Edmonton Bulletin further stated, “All [resources] are now open to the enterprise of civilization, under the full administration of the government of Canada” (August 31, 1899:3). Klaus Stich states that newspaper articles of this time can be viewed in the same light as the immigration pamphlets, “realistic-cum-romantic interpretations of the new country” (1976:19). One must remember that this entire exercise was designed to promote western settlement.

Many reports stated that the Indians had options. They could accept treaty; accept scrip; or refuse both and remain as they were. However, the Indians were told that their lifestyle was about to change forever. They were told by Commissioner Ross, “White men are bound to come in and open up the land” (Calgary Daily Herald, July 29, 1899: 2). Although they had a choice whether to take treaty or scrip, historian John W. Chalmers states that the Commission brought Father Lacombe along to “persuade unwilling or suspicious Indians to accept the proposed treaty” (1981:218).(6)

The terms of the Treaty were mentioned in approximately 30% of the articles. The treaty making process was depicted as an “exchange of commodities”. In signing the treaty, the Indians surrendered the land, promised to live within the laws of Canada, and not molest the Whites. For surrendering the land, the Indians received a number of treaty promises which included: $5 per year for perpetuity, health care, education, farm implements and other equipment to help insure their lifestyle and livelihood. There was a sense that the Indians were compensated for their relinquishment. The fact that options were given to the Indians and the Half-breeds and that compensation was also given helped to assure Canadians that they had treated their Indians better and more equitably than the Americans had treated theirs’ (Owram, 1980:131). It also assured Canadians that the land issue was settled and that the land surrendered by the Indians was now available to them.

The most extensively covered treaty signing occurred at Willow Point on June 21, 1899. The actual treaty signing is mentioned as ceremonial with gifts being given and speeches made by both the Indians and the commissioners. The atmosphere is described as fair-like and excited: “Everything is in a whirl out here, excitement and fun galore. This is the first and perhaps the biggest blowout this section will see in our time” (Edmonton Bulletin, July 17, 1899:2). Indian and Half-breed money was said to have been easily spent. The Edmonton Bulletin states, “the three eating joints are well patronized” (July 17, 1899:2); and further states, “money flowed like water from a spout … Natives with few exceptions went the limit and spent it like as if they got it from a rich aunt” (Edmonton Bulletin, September 11, 1899:4).

Perhaps one of the most consistent features of the newspaper coverage was that the commissioners were always named by name. This is a courtesy afforded to many Whites (except the traders), to only a few Indians and to even fewer Half-breeds. The Indians and the Half-breeds were generally addressed as collectivities — “the Indians” or “the Half-breeds”. The only exceptions were the naming of Kinoosayo (The Fish), Moostoos (The Bull), Wahpeehayo (White Partridge), Felix Giroux (The Captain), Neesnetasis, and Wehtigo at the Willow Point signing(7) on June 21, 1899; and Kwiskwiskekapoohoo who signed at Vermilion. The only Half- breeds named were three men who served as translators. They were Samuel Cunningham, Deschambault (an interpreter who traveled with the entourage), and a French Half-breed man named “Bourassa” who spoke English, French, Beaver, Cree, and Chipewyan (Edmonton Bulletin, August 17, 1899:3).

The Commissioners are never addressed as simply “the commissioners” and Father Lacombe is never referred to as “a clergyman” or “an accompanying priest”. The use of someone’s name can, of course, be regarded as both a sign of respect to that person and also as a symbol of importance. Thus, generally, the Indians and the Metis are deemed less important by the press.

The Half-breeds were treated unfavourably in most reports. They were seen as uncooperative with the Commissioners for their refusal to accept land scrip and covetous for their desire for cash scrip:

At the Crossing on the way up the Commissioners had some controversy with the natives and only 11 scrip were issued. The Commissioners … will issue the balance of the scrip on their return provided the half breeds have then arrived at a conclusion as to what they want (Alberta Tribune, August, 15, 1899:2).

“The highest price paid for scrip was at the Landing. There the competition was very keen and up to $130 was paid for $240 scrip. The lowest price was at Vermilion and Wolverine point on Peace River. There the price was as low as $70 (Edmonton Bulletin, September 25, 1899:2). They were also seen as being uncaring of the land and more interested in the short-term gain of money than the long-term benefit of being landowners. The Commissioners were said to be frustrated by the Half-breeds who would not allow the government to look out for their best interests, “The intention of the government and commissioners had been to issue the scrip surrounded by as many precautions against transfer as possible, and to make it necessary to execute an assignment before the scrip could be registered” (Calgary Daily Herald, July 13, 1899:3). It seems the Commissioners were trying to protect the Half-breeds from land speculators who traveled in the area and purchased scrip at cut-rate prices.

The treatment of the Indians by the newspapers is consistent with public sentiments at the time. Fraser Pakes speaks of the image of the Indian running the gamut of extreme positivism to extreme negativism (1985:1). Pakes states that many nineteenth-century people, while seeking a link to a more simple past, romanticized and stereotyped Indians as athletic, noble, and pure (1985:8). However, they are also seen as fierce and savage. Stories of attacks by Indians, brutality, scalpings, and mutilations received widespread coverage in eastern magazines and newspapers (Pakes, 1985:10).

The Indian wavered between being “problematic” and being “meek”. On the negative side, the Indians were described as “thinking the land is theirs'(Alberta Plaindealer, May 4, 1899:1); asking a lot of questions and driving a hard bargain, (Edmonton Bulletin, September 11, 1899: 4); difficult to deal with, “In fact the Chipewyans are much more difficult to deal with than the Crees, and in all probability will require much longer to deal with” (Edmonton Bulletin, August 29, 1899: 2); amoral, “Dozens of cases cropped up where grown up people did not know their parents names … Here is an elegant chance for some investigation on the part of any order interested in missionary work” (Edmonton Bulletin, July 17, 1899:2); and as circulating rumors about the Treaty, “Their little acquaintance with the whites had made it possible to circulate silly stories amongst them with some success” (Edmonton Bulletin, September 11, 1899:4).

On the other hand they are described as being patient. After waiting 11 days for the Commissioners, the Indians were reported to have “… waited … with a patience not known to White men” (Alberta Tribune, July 15, 1899:2). They were also described good natured, “It is worth the trip out here to see them lose. They are the best losers on earth — if you get their money, its all right, they will just laugh just as loud and perhaps a trifle heartier than you” (Edmonton Bulletin, July 17, 1899:2). As well, they were civilized and well dressed: “the Commissioners found no Indians wearing blankets or any other relic of savagery but men were all dressed in good suits, wore hats and white shirts, collars and frequently boots. The women wore well-made dresses and hats on their heads instead of shawls” (Alberta Plaindealer, September 1, 1899:1). Finally, they were shown as prosperous: “They [Beavers] number 40-50 families and are said to be very well off (Alberta Tribune, September 9, 1899:1). Prosperity amongst the Indians of the region might suggest to Whites that they could certainly obtain wealth from the region as well. Given the attitude of European/White superiority over the Indians prevalent at the time, it might be thought that if the Indians can get rich so can any White man.



The role of the newspaper reports that came out of Treaty 8 were consistent with the mandate of the “Third Press Period”. The aim was to promote the government’s national policy of promoting immigration and settlement of the west. The newspaper with the most treaty coverage in my sample was the Edmonton Bulletin. The owner of the Edmonton Bulletin was Frank Oliver, who also a member of parliament, representing the Edmonton region (City of Edmonton Website. 1999). As a member of parliament, one can assume that he would push government policy. In addition to his duties as an MP, he was also a trader/merchant in Edmonton. He stood to benefit personally from increased immigration to the area through the sale of goods to both those who remained in Edmonton and those who used Edmonton as a point of departure for points north. Oliver had the motivation (personal gain) and the opportunity (through the press) to promote western settlement. He could be called a booster. The press took an active role in the “boosterism” of the time and constructing reality was part of the job. The press coverage was pro-development, pro-immigration, pro-treaty and anti-dissension.

The main issue for the newspapers was the land. The newspapers essentially told the prospective homesteaders that the “coast was clear” for settlement in the region. Not only was the land abundant, vast and resource rich but transportation to the new areas was improving. The region had many inducements for the settler: landownership was practically guaranteed; prosperity was predicted, and resources were “there for the taking”.

The Indians and the Half-breeds who had now settled treaties or taken scrip were no longer a threat to the newcomers. An exchange of commodities had taken place between the Indians and Half-breeds and the Crown through the treaty-making process and the issuance of scrip. The land issue had been settled — it now belonged to the Crown (although government representatives told the Indians and Half-breeds that the land had belonged to the Queen all along). The Indians and Half-breeds reportedly entered the agreements freely. The fact that an exchange of commodities had occurred and that the agreements were entered willingly allowed Canadians to feel they had “done right by the Indians”.

Indians were portrayed as both exotic (to titillate the readers but not so fiercesome as to frighten them) and familiar (to set the newcomers at ease). The Indians were further portrayed as civilized and very much like Whites. The government had assured the Indians an opportunity to become farmers. The newspapers drew many similarities between the Indians and the Whites. Not only were they similar in dress and manner but they would likely share an occupation in the future. The Indians were said to be prospering, which of course, meant that Whites had every opportunity to become wealthy.

The Treaty 8 region was settled through the government’s national policy of promoting immigration and settlement of the west. The newspapers assisted this process by assuring potential settlers that the “coast was clear” for future settlement since the land now belonged to the Queen.



Works Cited

Calliou, Brian. 1999. “Celebrating the Legacy of Treaty 8” Legacy: Alberta’s Heritage Magazine. Edmonton: Legacy Publishing. May-June 1999. Pp. 19-20.

Carter, Sarah. 1984. “The Missionary’s Indian: The Publications of John McDougal, John Maclean and Egerton Ryerson Young”. Prairie Forum. Vol. 9 No. 1. Pp. 27-44.

Chalmers, J.W. 1981. Laird of the West. Calgary: Detselig Enterprise Ltd.

City of Edmonton Website. 1999. Bulletin Building. Edmonton: City of Edmonton. http://www.gov.edmonton.ab.ca/fort/1885/bulletin.html

Francis, R. Douglas. 1997. “Changing Images of the West” A Passion for Identity: An Introduction to Canadian Studies. David Taras and Beverly Rasporich (eds.) Toronto: I T P Nelson International Thomson Publishing. Pp. 419-448.

Jones, David C. 1982. “There is some Power About the Land: The Western Agrarian Press and Country Life Ideology”. Journal of Canadian Studies. Vol. 17(3). Pp. 96-108.

Kesterton, Wilfred and Roger Bird. 1995. “The Press in Canada: A Historical Overview” Communications in Canadian Society (4th ed.). Benjamin Singer (ed.) Toronto: ITP Nelson Canada. Pp. 30-50.

Knight, David. 1973. “‘Boosterism’ and Locational Analysis or One Man’s Swan is Another Man’s Goose”. Urban Historical Review. 1973 (3) Pp. 10-15.

Leonard, David. 1999. “Decision at Lesser Slave Lake” Legacy: Alberta’s Heritage Magazine. Edmonton: Legacy Publishing. May-June 1999. Pp. 17-19.

Madill, Dennis F. K. 1986. Treaty Research Report: Treaty 8. Ottawa: Treaties and Historical Research Centre, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Norton, Wayne. 1995. “Well Pleased with the Country: British Farmers on the ‘Grand Tour'” The Beaver. Vol. 74. Pp. 26-35.

Oberle, Frank. 1986. Treaty 8 Renovation: Discussion Paper. Ottawa: Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

Owram, Doug. 1980. Promise of Eden: The Canadian Expansionist Movement and the Idea of the West 1856-1900. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Pakes, Fraser J. 1985. “Seeing with the Stereotypic Eye: The Visual Image of the Plains Indians”. Native Studies Review . Vol. 1(2). Pp. 1-31.

Rutherford, Paul. 1982. A Victorian Authority: the Daily Press in Late Nineteenth Century Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Stich, Klaus Peter. 1981. “‘Canada’s Century’: The Rhetoric of Propaganda” Prairie Forum. Vol. 1(1). Pp. 19-30.

Strathern, Gloria M. 1988. Alberta Newspapers: 1880-1982. Calgary: University of Calgary Press.


Newspapers Cited

Alberta Plaindealer. 1899. “New Indian Treaty”. Strathcona, Alberta. May 4, 1899. P.1.

________________. 1899. “Treaty Commission Returns”. Strathcona, Alberta. September 1, 1899. P.1.

Alberta Tribune. 1899. “Treaty Commission” Calgary, Alberta. July 15, 1899. P.2.

_____________. 1899. “Peace River” Calgary, Alberta. August 15, 1899. P.2.

_____________. 1899. “Treaty Commission” Calgary, Alberta. August 19, 1899. P.1.

_____________. 1899. “Athabasca Treaty” Calgary, Alberta. September 9, 1899. P.1.

Calgary Daily. 1899. “Indian Treaty” Calgary, Alberta. July 28, 1899. P.2.

Calgary Daily Herald. 1899. “Commission at Slave Lake” Calgary, Alberta. July 13, 1899. P. 3.

_________________. 1899. “Indian Treaty” Calgary, Alberta. July 28, 1899. P. 2.

Calgary Weekly Herald. 1899. “Treaty with Indians” August 3, 1899. P.2.

Edmonton Bulletin. 1899. “Treaty Commission” Edmonton, Alberta July 15, 1899. P. 4.

_______________. 1899. “Concerning Scrip” Edmonton, Alberta July 17, 1899. P. 1.

_______________. 1899. “Treaty Commission” Edmonton, Alberta August 17, 1899. P.3.

_______________. 1899. “Athabasca Treaty” Edmonton, Alberta August 29, 1899. P. 2.

_______________. 1899. “Indian Commission” Edmonton, Alberta August 31, 1899. P. 2&3.

_______________. 1899. “Treaty Commission” Edmonton, Alberta September 11, 1899b. P. 4.

_______________. 1899. “Scrip Commission” Edmonton, Alberta September 25, 1899. P. 2.



1. 1This phrase is taken from the May 4, 1899 issue of the Alberta Plaindealer that discusses why the government must make treaty with the Indians and Half-breeds in the Treaty 8 region.

2I use the term “Half-breed” in this paper because it is used in the newspaper articles. Under other circumstances I would address this group as “Metis”.

3This figure is taken from Brian Calliou “Celebrating the Legacy of Treaty 8” in Legacy: Alberta’s Heritage Magazine, May-June, 1999. Page 20.

4The newspapers used in this paper include: The Edmonton Bulletin, The Calgary Daily Herald, The Calgary Weekly Herald, The Alberta Tribune, The Alberta Plaindealer, and Medicine Hat News.

5There is speculation about whom the reporter might be or if there was a reporter at all. Some say the reporter might be Duncan Marshall while others speculate that Charles Mair might have been the correspondent.

6Father Lacombe was paid $10.00 per day by the government to accompany the commissioners. The average man at that time made about $1 per day.

7The Indians did not actually sign the treaty with their signature or with an “X” but touched the pen with their finger to signify their agreement. The “X” and their signatures were written by the commissioner.