To honor the historic occasion and signing of Treaty 8, the Commemorative Committee planned one of northern Alberta’s biggest summer events at Kapawe’no First Nation reserve near Grouard. The organizers main goal was to enhance public knowledge of First Nations’ perspective and interpretation of treaty processes. The commemoration began on June 17, 1999 with the release of a bald eagle. The commemoration took place at three sites, starting at Willow Point – the site of the original signing of Treaty 8.
In his grand entrance speech, Chief Eddie Tallman explained the relationship between the Federal Crown and Treaty 8 signatories. He explained that the signatories of Treaty No. 8 strongly upheld the importance of a ‘nation to nation relationship’ between the newcomers and the First Nations people in Treaty 8 territory.
Phil Mercredi, Marketing and Promotions Coordinator for the Treaty No. 8 Centennial noted that the Centennial not only marked a major historical occasion at the end of this century, but it presents an opportunity for Canadians to learn about First Nations culture, history and contemporary treaties. Furthermore, it also provided a platform for First Nations to assess where the treaty would lead them in the future.
The Commemoration included the unveiling of a monument of Chief Kinoosayoo, selected to speak on behalf of Treaty 8 First Nations signators during negotiations. Also, the original Treaty 8 document was transported cross-country in a macro-environment in a special vehicle for viewing at the commemoration.
Treaty 8 Quick Facts
Included 39 First Nations:
Alberta – 22 Nations; Saskatchewan – 3 Nations: British Columbia – 7 Nations; Northwest Territories – 7 Nations.
Two major language groups: Cree and Athapaskan
Promises made in Treaty 8 text:
- Tools, farm equipment, farm stock.
- Ammunition and fishing line.
- $5 annual payment to each band member.
- Salary paid for school teachers.
- Land – 160 acres per member; or one square miles for family of five.
- the “right to pursue their usual vocations of hunting, trapping and fishing….excepting such tracts as may be required…for settlement, mining, lumbering, trading or other purposes”.
Original Signatories of Treaty 8 At Lesser Slave Lake
|Chief Kee Noo Shay Oo||Driftpile First Nation|
|Headman Moostoos||Sucker Creek First Nation|
|Headman Felix Giroux||Swan River First Nation|
|Headman Wee Chee Way Sis||Driftpile First Nation|
|Headman Charles Nee Sue Ta Sis||Sawridge First Nation|
|Headman Captain||Sturgeon Lake First Nation|
Treaty No.8 Promises as Remembered and Understood by the Elders:
|1. Schools/Education||12. Policing|
|2. Doctors||13. Legal Representation|
|3. Hospitals/Medicines||14. Exempt from War Participation|
|4. Hunting, Fishing Trapping and Gathering Rights Retained||15. No Indian Shall Hang by Rope|
|5. Indians retain Mineral and Water Rights||16. Bullets were supplied|
|6. Sub Surface Rights retained||17. Right to Barter|
|7. Land acquired by Queen was only 6″ Surface Rights||18. Canvas for Tents|
|8. Exempt from Taxation||19. Cattle/Horses provided|
|9. Land Purchased for Farm did not include forests||20. Farm and Haying Equipment|
|10. Rations Provided||21. Gardening Tools/Seed|
|11. In case of Hunger, All Gates shall be opened|