The BLACKFEET INDIAN TREATY
An eyewitness's description of the signing of the historic document by which Canada secured title to the wealth of southern Alberta
HON. FRANK OLIVER
IT WAS my privilege to be among those present at the signing of the Blackfeet treaty of 1877. It was a pageant and an occasion to be remembered. Hundreds of the conical brown leather tepees of the Blackfeet occupied the greater part of the beautiful valley on both sides of the Bow River; most of them decorated with striking and highly-colored examples of Indian art.
The place was at the historic Blackfeet Crossing (ford) of the Bow, about sixty miles east of the “The Elbow,” now Calgary, and some six miles southwesterly from the alte of the present town of Gleichen on the main line of the C. P. R.
On the south side of the river were the imposing group of white tents of the Treaty Commission; the trim camp of the Mounted Police, and the less orderly tents and freight wagons of the traders from Macleod, ready to gather in the flood of Canadian dollars that would be let loose by the signing of the treaty. On the north side were camped the Mountain Stoneys from the Upper Bow, and Chief Bob-Tail’s band of Crees from Battle River. Their tents were of buffalo leather, like those of the Blackfeet, and were of the style and pattern universal among the Indians of the plains.
Chief Factor Hardisty, of the Hudson’s Bay Company at Edmonton, was encamped on the north side with a numerous and wellequipped party, and the Methodist Mission at Morley, west of Calgary, under the superintendence of Rev. John Mcdougall, was also well represented. There was, besides, a numerous and miscellaneous assortment of unattached Indians, half-breeds and whites from the more Northerly plains and the Edmonton settlements on the North Saskatchewan and other Northern points, who were without any special reason for their presence except a desire to see what was to be seen and to tread hitherto forbidden ground. Of these I was one.
A Dramatic Scene
"OASTWARD from the camps, the valley for miles was ^ full of horses which seemed to be unguarded. But if the herd were approached, a Blackfeet head promptly popped up from among them. This was accepted as notice to move in another direction. Horses were w ealth, power, prestige, quick transport that made Indian life on the buffalo plains most pleasant and desirable. They were the most valued possession of both Indians and whites, and were guarded accordingly.
The time was mid-September. The weat her was ideal. Buffalo robes the chief article of trade of the country— still commanded a good price, and plenty of buffalo to
feed the assembled camps were being killed within easy riding distance of the meeting place. All the processes of drying the meat for future use and tanning the hides for leather were going forward in the camps while the treaty discussions were in progress. Indian prosperity was at its peak. There was peace between the usually and recently w’arring tribes.
But there was ample evidence that peace had not always prevailed. As I remember, every man of the Blackfeet carried in his right hand, wherever he went, a repeating rifle. He always had one belt full of cartridges around his waist, and generally another over his shoulder. Almost everyone had one, and many of them two, revolvers. Each had a big knife in his belt. The knife was made specially impressive by a black leather sheath studded with brass nails. All the women carried a similar knife and many of them a revolver as well. The phrase “armed to the teeth” seemed entirely applicable on that occasion to the Blackfeet. This condition struck me all the more forcibly because in the traditionally peaceful North it was not usual to carry weapons except when hunting.
Of the white men employed by the Macleod traders in one or another capacity, some were a hold-over from the hectic days before the arrival of the Police, while others were more recently from Montana. I noted that, when mounted, the Police carried their carbines in a holster attached to the saddle; but these Montana men seemed always to carry theirs on the saddle across their knees, with the right hand on the stock—ready for instant action. Perhaps it was merely force of habit. But possibly it indicated a doubt as to peace conditions having become entirely stabilized.
It was only three years since mutual murder had been the standard amusement of Indians and whites throughout the Blackfeet country. Less than two years before, the Sioux neighbors of the Blackfeet had utterly destroyed Custer’s command of United States cavalry, and more recently had proposed a warlike alliance with the Blackfeet, who were traditionally as warlike, and as well prepared for war, as the Sioux. The hope was that the treaty to be negotiated would found a permanent peace. But the negotiations were only under way. All formerly warring elements of a great region were present, and no one could tell just what turn events might take. There was no doubt that the Blackfeet were in a position to command the situation. The question of just what they would do under such circumstances was fairly a subject for serious consideration.
But I heard no suggestion of possible trouble at the time. The whites from the North w'ere practically unarmed, and their half-breed and Indian neighbors were equipped only for hunting, not for war. The white ladies of the Hudson’s Bay and Methodist Mission parties, and the wives of the Mounted Police officers, moved about the valley in their summer dresses, and carrying parasols, as freely and with as little apparent concern as if the occasion were a Sunday School picnic.
The Guardians of the Plains
XJOTHING HAPPENED. There were no “regrettable incidents.” That this was possible was due to the presence of the Mounted Police and the work they had done since their arrival in the country three years before. The force present at the treaty numbered less than one hundred. Besides horses and rifles, their equipment included two small muzzle-loading cannon. No matter what might happen, there was no possibility of their being reinforced. Winnipeg was the nearest Canadian base and it was 800 miles away. There was not a foot of railway in or near the Canadian West at the time. But three years of service had established the reputation of the Police for absolutely square dealing, efficient action, and unflinching courage. They were the friends of all who did right without distinction of race, color, language or other consideration, and equally the uncompromising enemies of all who did wrong. They were strong throughout the Canadian Northwest for the same reason that a city police force is strong. They had well-considered public opinion behind them. The leaders amongst Indians, half-breeds and whites looked to them for maintenance of law and order, and willingly accorded them full moral support.
When the treaty meeting was announced by the
Police, as representing Canadian authority, it was universally accepted as an assurance that an amicable understanding had been arrived at in advance and that the leading spirits of all elements of the population were disposed for peace. This gave the
apparently inadequate Police force effective command of the situation, which remained unchallenged throughout the treaty proceedings, and in that region for all the after years. There was dynamite— lots of it—in the situation. But even dynamite can be handled with safety if conditions are right and proper care is used.
The Blackfeet nation was the most powerful and most warlike of all the Indians of the Canadian West. The Chippewas or Salteaux, the Crees, and Stonies or Assiniboines, with whom former treaties had been made, were traditionally friendly with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and when Canada took over Rupert’s Land she fell heir to the good will of these tribes. The Blackfeet hunted buffalo throughout the region between the Saskatchewan and the Missouri from the Rocky Mountains eastward to the Cypress Hills. They claimed as their own the region watered by the several branches of the South Saskatchewan and some of the northern tributaries of the Missouri, an area of some 50,000 square miles, roughly 200 by 250 miles.
This area was the finest all-year-round buffalo range in North America—and the Blackfeet knew it. The Indians of the adjacent regions knew it also. This had meant almost continuous warfare from time immemorial between the Blackfeet and one or other of their Indian neighbors. Whites and half-breeds were looked upon as trespassers and received discouraging and frequently drastic treatment. The Hudson’s Bay Company w'as not allowed to establish trading posts in the Blackfeet country, nor were Christian missions permitted. There is no doubt that their
policy of splendid isolation saved their country and its buffalo to the Blackfeet for many years, The Blackfeet nation comprised three tribes speaking the same language. The Piegans who ranged eastward
from the Rocky Mountains; the Bloods, whose range was on the Belly River eastward of the Piegans; and the Blackfeet proper, whose range was on the Bow. Also on the Bow but between the Blackfeet and the Mountains were the Sarcees, a small tribe of different origin and speaking an entirely different language. They were an offshoot from the Beaver Indians of Peace River, but were accepted as members of the Blackfeet confederacy. All four tribes depended solely on the buffalo for their support. The purpose of the treaty from their point of view was to secure to them the freedom of the plains so long as there was buffalo, and when there should be no more buffalo the provision of other means of living by stockraising and farming, coupled with a liberal rationing policy in times of scarcity; together with absolute ownership of reservas of ample area and of their own selection. The objective of the Government was to secure the right of peaceful occupation by settlers of the Blackfeet country, saving only the several tracts reserved; and, as well, a definite and amicable understanding as to the exercise of governmental authority throughout the region.
The Mountain Stoneys, who were also included in the treaty, were the southerly band of a people ranging the foothills and mountains from the Bow to the Athabasca. They spoke the Sioux language but were not associated with the Sioux nation of Dakota and Montana, from whom they were far removed and with whom they had no intercourse. They were looked upon by the Blackfeet as trespassers on the buffalo range, and there was continued hostility and frequently open warfare between them and the Blackfeet. Rev. John McDougall, son of the tounder of the Morley Mission, was present to see that they received favored nation treatment with the Blackfeet.
A band of Crees from Battle River, who had not yet signified their acceptance of treaty Six, which covered their hunting grounds, were present and desired to come under the treaty. Rev. Father Seollen, a missionary of the Oblate order, made the interests of this band his special care. Half-breed buffalo hunters from the
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North were present in numbers which warranted their approaching the Lieutenant-Governor after the treaty had been concluded with a request that the law recently passed for the protection of the buffalo be not strictly enforced during the then coming winter. This law was in actual fact a dead letter. It was not capable of enforcement; but the petition of the half-breeds indicated their desire to conform to Canadian authority.
The traders of Fort Macleod were also an important feature in the treaty proceedings. When Macleod was established in 1874 as the headquarters of the Mounted Police it thereby became the commercial as well as the governmental capital of the Blackfeet country. Its immediate base of supply was Fort Benton, 200 miles to the south-eastward in Montana, at the head of steamboat navigation on the Missouri. St. Louis, at the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi, had been the trade base from the earliest days of all Missouri River points up to Fort Benton. When the Northern Pacific reached Bismarck on the Missouri in 1872, steamboat connection from Bismarck to Benton, a distance of some 500 miles, replaced the longer connection from St. Louis; but St. Louis firms continued to hold the trade. The firms operating at Macleod and represented at the treaty were I. G. Baker and Co., T. C. Power and Bros., and Murphy, Neale and Co.
Of the three, the I. G. Baker Co. was recognized as the most important. This firm had opened an outpost at “The Elbow” of the Bow, where a Police post named Calgary had been established in 1875. Calgary was the most northerly point of transport by string teams. Transport farther north was by Red Hiver cart.
Freight transport from Benton was by string teams of mules or by ox teams, comprising from six to twenty pairs of animals hauling one to three big wagons, hitched one behind the other.
The handling of these string teams required special qualifications, mental, vocal and physical. The ox teamster was known as a “bull whacker” and his colleague as a “mule skinner.” The necessary presence of a considerable number of these gentlemen added appreciably to what might be called the colorful character of the occasion. They were ably assisted in that regard by a number of other gentlemen, also from Montana, who had driven in several bands of bronchos to be sold if passible when the treaty money began to circulate. The process of "broncho busting” was a daily entertainment.
■pOR convenience of access between the
camps on opposite sides of the river a small rowboat, supplied and operated by the Police, was used as a ferry. One morning during the negotiations I crossed to the south shore in the ferryboat with Chief Crowfoot and his confidential secretary, John L’Hereux. The chief was a handsome and striking figure, slightly above the average in height. His countenance had the ideal outline of the North American Indian. He was in the prime of life and bore himself with all the dignity of his race and the authority that was his.
L’Hereux was a white man, whether Old Country French or French-Canadian I do not know. Neither do I know his history. For years he had identified himself with the Blackfeet, and had been accepted and was recognized as one of them. He had cut himself off entirely from association with the whites. During the treaty negotiations, and as well both before and after, he stood unswervingly
with the Indians as an Indian. What advice he gave Chief Crowfoot no one else ever knew, nor how much the chief was influenced by him. Missionaries attempting to carry the gospel to the Blackfeet did not speak well of him. They called him a renegade. There can be no doubt that he was absolutely loyal to the Indians and that he enjoyed the fullest confidence of the chief. When I saw him he would be under middle age, unobtrusive in manner and appearance, the ideal private secretary. After the death of Crowfoot he left the Blackfeet,
and for a time before his own death taught a small public school of white children in the foothills.
While the ferry with its distinguished passengers was crossing there broke out a volley of rifle shots from the brow of the plateau on the south side of the valley. Crowfoot and L’Hereux did not jump. The stoicism of the Indian is not a fanciful quality. But I am bound to say that the shots attracted their prompt attention. They were evidently perfectly aware that anything might happen. However, they were soon satisfied that all was well. It was merely a belated band of Blackfeet announcing their arrival. We soon saw the procession of mounted men, and horses with travois, winding down the hillside to a camp ground in the valley.
A Terse Interpreter
ACTIVE preparations for the treaty had been under way for more than a year. The tribes had assembled at much inconvenience, or even loss, and risk as well. The cumbrous and complex machinery of Government had been set in motion, and what in those days was an enormous amount of cash had been carted around the prairies for distribution in pursuance of the purposes of the treaty. Monday, September 17, had been fixed as the date of meeting. Although some important bands had not yet arrived, the two commissioners, Lieutenant-Governor Laird and Col. J. F. Macleod of the Police, decided to open the proceedings on the date appointed.
The Police cannon signalled the hour; a Police guard of honor in uniforms of scarlet and gold gave vivid color to the function; the Union Jack flown from the Commission’s tent was token of Britain's word and Britain’s might to hold it good. The Indian chiefs were there in all their regalia of paint and feathers. Mr. Laird, the chief commissioner, was very tall and very spare. A Prince Edward Islander of Scottish descent, a most careful and con-
scientious man. At the proper moment he, so to speak, uncoiled his long length and began a speech intended to express the good will of the governments of Canada and of Britain toward Indians generally and particularly the Blackfeet. Having delivered himself of the opening sentences of what he meant to be a historic address, he turned to Jerry Potts, Police interpreter, and waited to have his flow of thought translated to the assembled Blackfeet.
That was as far as he got. Jerry stood with his mouth open. He had not understood the words as spoken, and if he bad he would have been utterly unable to convey the ideas they expressed in appropriate Blackfeet language. Jerry was a half-breed Blackfeet and knew that language intimately. But he was shy on English, and had not even a remote idea of the form of that language used by Mr. Laird. He was helpless. The proceedings came to a full stop. Owing to the maintenance of the policy of isolation by the Blackfeet, there were very few white men who understood that language and still fewer Blackfeet who understood English at that time. L’Hereux was in Crowfoot’s service and therefore was debarred from acting for the other parties to the bargain hoped to be made. A search of the camps, however, disclosed that living with the Blackfeet as one of them was a Red River man known as “Jimmy Jock,” who spoke both English and Blackfeet perfectly.
This man had lived with the Indians for over half a century, and now was blind as well as old. His real name was James Bird, member of a numerous family connection of that name in the Red River settlement. His father had been an important Hudson’s Bay Company officer w'ho had sent his brightest son to England to be educated. After his return to the Red River and before he had reached manhood, he had the misfortune, while using a bow and arrow, to cause the death of a companion and relative. Although the tragedy was accidental, it laid a cloud on his life among his own people. When the buffalo hunters next went to the plains he went with them—and did not return. He had been with the Blackfeet ever since. He was of middle height, well featured, with greying wavy hair which he wore long and well kept, falling to his shoulders. He carried a staff which he used to support his hands while standing between the curved lines of Indians and whites who faced each other. The two commissioners were the central point of the line of whites, as Crowfoot and the other head chiefs were the centre of the Indian line. He was a striking, and as it seemed to me 'an almost uncanny, figure. With sightless eyes he faced those who spoke while they were speaking, and then, turning about without a moment’s delay, delivered their message to the line of listeners opposite. His speech was distinct and clear. He never hesitated for a word nor asked the meaning of a phrase. His English was perfect, and no doubt his Indian was quite as good. The fact that, under widely changing and in many cases trying circumstances, no question was ever raised by the Indians as to an interpretation of the terms of the treaty must be credited in great measure to the clear and definite understanding received by them through old and blind, but reliable and efficient, “Jimmy Jock.’
Signers and Witnesses
(COLONEL J. F. MACLEOD was of middle size and under middle age, in the fullest vigor of life; well featured, with a short, curly, jet-black beard and snapping eyes, the very model of one born to command. His inherent qualities of
courage, decision and fairness had enabled him to serve Canada to the extent of achieving the apparently impossible by inspiring the confidence of the Indians in most marked degree. During the negotiations I heard Red Crow, chief of the South Bloods, say (as interpreted), “If Stamixotokon (Macleod) says it will be done I will take his word,” and the sentiment was vocally approved by every chief present. The word of “Stamixotokon” meant more to them than that of the governments of Canada and Britain combined. They knew him, while governments were as yet strange entities to them.
By Monday, September 24, one week after the proceedings opened, the signature of the chiefs had been given and duly witnessed and the treaty money, amounting to approximately $60,000, was being paid out. Four thousand, four hundred Indians had formally surrendered their undisputed rights to 50,000 square miles of country, excepting the several reserved areas, and had as formally acknowledged the authority of the Government of Canada. Under all the circumstances it was a remarkable achievement, and all the more remarkable because an occasion so potentially explosive had passed off without mishap of any kind.
The head chiefs signing the treaty were: Crowfoot, chief of the South Blackfeet and head chief of the Blackfeet Nation; Old Sun of the North Blackfeet, Rainy Chief of the North Bloods, Red Crow of the South Bloods; Eagle Tail of the North Piegans (the South Piegans were south of the International boundary and were treated with by the United States), Bear’s Paw of the Mountain Stoneys, and forty-five minor chiefs and councillors.
Witnesses to the Indian signatures were: A. G. Irvine, Assistant Commissioner N. W. M. Police, E. Dalrymple Clark, Adjutant; Inspectors W. Winder, T. N. F. Crozier, A. Shurtleff and C. E. Denny; Sub-inspector W. D. Antrobus; Staff Constable Frank Norman; John Mcdougall, Missionary; Constantine Scollen, Priest; Jean L’Hereux; (Mrs.) Mary J. Macleod, (Mrs.) Julia Winder, (Mrs.) Julia Shurtleff, (Mrs.) E. Hardisty, wife of Hudson’s Bay Chief Factor Hardisty (afterwards Senator) of Edmonton; (Mrs.) J. Mcdougall and (Miss E. A. Barrett, of the Morley Mission, Chas. E. Conrad and Thos. J. Boggs, of Macleod.
After the Blackfeet and Stoneys had been settled with, the adhesion to Treaty Six of Chief Bob-Tail’s band of Crees was taken and the treaty money paid them to the number of 432. Lieutenant-Governor Laird left for Battleford, the Northwest capital, on September 26 and Col. Macleod for Cypress Hills on the 27th to meet Sitting Bull and his Sioux, who had entered Canada from Montana and whose visit might carry serious and far-reaching results. On Tuesday, October 1, the last of the traders had left the crossing, which under the treaty had become part of the Blackfeet Reserve, and from which white men were therefore excluded except with Indian permission. This was tangible evidence to the Indians that the treaty had become an established fact.
Disappearance of the Buffalo
/ALTHOUGH the Blackfeet were enjoying a large measure of prosperity at the time of the treaty, the clouds of disaster were already looming up. The ultimate disappearance of the buffalo and the consequences to the Blackfeet, who entirely depended on them for their living, were discussed as a possibility. The treaty provided for an immediate distribution of cattle and of farm tools and implements to the Indians, in the expec-
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tation that by the time the buffalo had finally disappeared they would have become self-supporting by means of ordinary agriculture. But it was then thought that there would be buffalo for at least the next ten years.
Within two years after the treaty was signed the buffalo had practically disappeared from the Blackfeet country. Throughout the great central plain of the continent, from the Saskatchewan River to the Gulf of Mexico, they had been utterly destroyed. The Blackfeet were a proud, warlike and, as conditions then were, a numerous people. They had been kings in their own right in their own country. Suddenly and without warning they were plunged into the miseries of I utter poverty. It was a testing time both ! for the Government of Canada and the Indians. The Government was in no I way responsible for the disappearance of
the buffalo, and the Indians had only been a minor contributing factor. A condition had arisen for which neither party was responsible and neither could have prevented. The terms of the treaty did not take account of this sudden and overwhelming tragedy. But it could not be expected that, with their age-old traditions behind them, Blackfeet warriors would permit their women and children to die of starvation so long as there was means of satisfying hunger within reach; no matter at what price of blood.
In the interests of peace and good government, provision was made to supply the Indians with necessary food, ■while endeavors were pressed to induce them to take up farming in one form or another. For years the situation was difficult, or, as it frequently appeared,
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impossible. There was much mishandling and many mistakes on both sides. But through it all the mutual good intent of the Blackfeet leaders and of the Government of Canada, as shown at the treaty, preserved peace and maintained order throughout the region covered by Treaty Seven. Incitement by the Sioux under Sitting Bull; the construction of the C. P. R. main line close to their principal reserve in 1883; the rebellion of the halfbreeds and Crees on the Saskatchewan in 1885; the occupation of what had been their country by cattle ranchers did not break the allegiance of the Blackfeet. They stood by the treaty, and the Canadian Government stood by them.
The tradition has common acceptance that Indian treaties were only made to befool the Indians into giving up peaceably what was going to be taken from them anyway and that they did not get value for what they gave, or that the bargains made were not carried out. This idea stands as an accusation against Canada in the minds of many of her citizens. The Blackfeet treaty was made fifty-four years ago. The honor of Canada was involved in its negotiation.
HPHE number of Indians who were paid -*• in 1877 under the terms of Treaty Number Seven, including Blackfeet, Bloods, Piegans, Sarcees and Mountain Stoneys, was 4,392. The Indian population of the reserves of the five tribes in 1929 was 3,087. While this is a substantial decrease in total numbers, it is to be remembered that the changed conditions following the disappearance of the buffalo which compelled the acceptance of a sedentary in place of a nomadic life, of necessity has lessened the natural increase. There can be no doubt that had it not been for the relief measures of the Canadian Government during the many years from 1880 forward there would have been a much greater diminution of Indian population. The Indian was specially fitted by Nature—physically, mentally and temperamentally—for the environment in which he was the dominating feature for untold generations. He is therefore equally unsuited to the radically different conditions by which he is now surrounded. Assuming that the best is being done for him that can be done, the effort to make the equal of a white farmer out of a red buffalo hunter is at best an uphill fight.
By the treaty the five tribes were guaranteed reserves aggregating 930,438 acres. Of these areas they still hold 773,071 acres. The difference is accounted for by sales with the consent of the majority of the bands concerned. The land of each band is held in common.
The several tribes now have capital funds of $1,551,331, and their annual rentals from land still in their possession is $60,652.
Although the semi-communal social system of the Indians does not tend to stimulate individual activity, there has been substantial agricultural development on the four reserves of the Blackfeet nation. The land of the Stoney Reserve is suitable only for grazing, not for farming. The area under cultivation in 1929 on the five reserves was 55,000 acres, of which only 170 were on the Stoney Reserve. Production in 1929 was: wheat, 254,000 bushels; oats, 53,000; other grains, 5,774; potatoes, 2,064; other roots, 550, and hay, 7,853 tons. It is a somewhat remarkable fact that the Bloods, who were reputed to be the most warlike and intractable of the tribes, led in wheat production with 139,000 bushels.
In 1929 the five tribes had 11,000 horses, nearly 6,000 cattle, 1,066 other livestock and 2,925 poultry.
At the present time all the bands are self-supporting. The relief supplies pro-
vided for many years after the disappearance of the buffalo, although not required by the terms of the treaty, have not been charged against the bands. Besides, large expenditures have been made on education at the national cost. There are seven residential schools and one day school on the five reserves. These are mission schools, three conducted by the Anglican, three by the Roman Catholic, and one by the United Church. The school buildings represent a capital investment by the Government of $867,000 and the annual cost is $87,850. There is also a hospital on each reserve.
It was neither the Government nor the people of Canada who, either by aggression ,or neglect, killed off the buffalo. The great slaughter took place south of the International boundary. Once the buffalo had gone, the Blackfeet faced destruction either by famine or hopeless war. Their country in its natural state utterly lacked other means adequate to provide them with a livelihood. The Government of Canada, while scrupulously observing the terms of the treaty, has gone far beyond it in the endeavor to establish the Indians in the only line of life now available to them.
Cost of the Treaty
nPHE Blackfeet Treaty has already cost Canada enormous sums of money. The question naturally arises, “Was it worth while?” In answering this question it must be taken into consideration that the prospective alternative was war under conditions most disadvantageous to Canada, with possibly disastrous results. The Blackfeet country adjoined Montana, whose white inhabitants at that date were only partially subject to the restraints of constituted authority in their own country. An overflow from Montana had created the condition of governmental and social chaos which had prevailed in the Blackfeet country before the advent of the Police and was in fact the reason for their advent. The treaty was in effect an alliance with the Blackfeet nation which made it possible for the handful of Police to overawe and hold in check the “bad men” from Montana, who for many years afterwards in large measure defied law and authority in that territory notwithstanding the presence there of thousands of United States soldiers.
Ever since the treaty was made there has been progressive conquest of the forces of Nature by civilized man. So far the results have been magnificent and the end is not yet in sight. The riches that now exist in Southern Alberta were not purchased from the Blackfeet. They have been created or developed by the application of Canadian enterprise, and industry and capital for the benefit of Canada and Canadians. Out of the results the Blackfeet were to get, and have got, their specific share.
There has been much change and many forms of activity, but there has been no break in the continuity of respect for individual right and the maintenance of law and order that was the great objective of the Treaty of 1877. This is all the more remarkable because just across the International boundary in the State of Montana, throughout the greater part of the period since the treaty was made, a very different condition has prevailed. Canada’s experience in civilized occupation of the prairie West has had no relationship to the experience of our neighbors in actually adjoining and similar territory having almost identical natural conditions. The difference in result has been because of the difference in policy pursued by the two peoples and their respective governments. Canada’s record in the occupation of her West is one of which Canadians may well be proud, both as to means, method and achievement.