A History of the Rice Lake Indians by Mary Jane Muskratte Simpson

Surrender of property

Surrender of property by the Indians

The Globe and Mail, Toronto, a few years ago notes the surrender of property by the Indians; Fred Williams writes:

"On November 5th, 1818, there was signed one of the most important of the treaties between the Crown and the Indians. Treaty #20, known as "Surrender M", was signed at Smith's Creek in the Township of Hope. In addition to all of Peterborough and Victoria Counties the surrender included two small parts of Northumberland, the north half of Durham, the northern tip of Ontario County, and those parts of Muskoka and Haliburton lying south of parallel 45. The area involved comprised 1,951,000 acres. For this the Crown undertook to pay £740 yearly in goods at the Montreal prices, or for "every man, woman and child the amount of 10 dollars (Spanish) in goods, so long as each child shall live, but such annuity to cease to be paid in right of any individual who may have died."

The Treaty was signed by William Claus, Deputy Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, and by six tribal Chiefs; about 230 Indians were affected by the treaty. In some references to the treaty the Indians are spoken of as Mississaugas; in the treaty itself they are called Chippewas, the Chiefs being named as "the principal men of the Chippewa nation of Indians". Many of them preferred the designation Ojibway, but the official designation is Chippewa. Seemingly the Indians were satisfied, but looking at it from the modern point of view it would appear as if they were given the worst of the bargain."

A columnist of the Lindsay Post, styled the Observer, made these comments concerning the sale of land a few years ago:

"One hundred and twenty-three years ago this week" he writes, "the Chiefs of the six Mississauga tribes in this district gathered at Port Hope and surrendered great blocks of land to the Crown for colonization purposes. This tract comprised the modern counties of Victoria, Peterborough, Hastings, Durham, Northumberland, Ontario, Muskoka and Haliburton. The purchase price was set at £749 in goods to be delivered yearly forever to the tribes of the district. After the signing of the contract the Indians were shamefully deceived by the insertion of a joker that the government proposed to issue ten dollars in goods annually to each man, woman and child alive at the time of the sale, the payment to cease at their death; and individuals born after 1818 would receive nothing. The seven Ontario townships really passed from the hands of the Indians for a beggarly dole of merchandise".

The Treaty referred to is known as Treaty #20, and is taken from Vol.I of Indian Treaties and Surrenders. The Provisional Agreement, and final form of the Treaty signed follow:

Articles of Provisional Agreement entered into on Thursday, the fifth day of November, 1818, between the Hon. William Claus, Deputy Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, in behalf of His Majesty, of the one part; and Buckquaquot, Chief of the Eagle Tribe; Pishikinse, Chief of the Reindeer Tribe, Patosh, Chief of the Crane Tribe, Cahgahkishinse, Chief of the Pike Tribe; Cahgagewin, of the Snake Tribe; and Pininse, of the Whiteoak Tribe, principal men of the Chippewa nation of Indians inhabiting the back parts of the Newcastle district, of the other part, Witnesseth:

That for and in consideration of the yearly sum of seven hundred and forty pounds Province currency in goods at the Montreal price to be well and truly paid yearly, and every year, by his said Majesty to the said Chippewa nation inhabiting and claiming the said tract which may be otherwise known as follows: A tract of land situate between the Western boundary line of the Home District and extending northerly to the entrance of Lake Simcoe, in the Home District, commencing in the Western division line of the Midland District at the northwest angle of the Township of Rawdon; thence north sixteen degrees west thirty-three miles, or until it strikes the line to a bay at the northern entrance of Lake Simcoe; then southerly along the water's edge to the entrance of Talbot River; then up Talbot River to the eastern boundary line of the Home District; then along the said boundary line south sixteen degrees east to the northern boundary line of the townships of Darlington, Hope and Hamilton to the Rice Lake; then along the southern shore of said lake and of the River Trent to the Western Division line of the Midland District; then north sixteen degrees west to the place of beginning, containing about one million, nine hundred and fifty-one thousand acres, and the said Buckquaquot, Pishikinse, Patosh, Cahgahkishinse, Cahgagewin and Pininse as well for themselves as for the Chippewa nation inhabiting and claiming the said tract of land as above described.

Do freely, fully and voluntarily surrender and convey the same to His Majesty without reservation or limitations in perpetuity. And the said William Claus, in behalf of His Majesty, does hereby promise and agree to the said nation of Indians inhabiting as above mentioned, yearly, and every year forever, the said sum of seven hundred and forty pounds currency in goods at the Montreal price, which sum the said Chiefs and Principal people, parties hereunto, acknowledge as a full consideration for the lands hereby sold and conveyed to His Majesty.

In witness whereof, the parties have hereunto set their hands and seals on the day first above mentioned in the township of Hope, Smith's Creek. Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of: J. Givens, S.I.A.

Wm. Hands, Sen. Clerk Snd. Dept. Wm. Gruet, Interpreter Snd. Dept.
E. W. Claus, Supt. Gen. I.A. on behalf of the Crown. (L.S.)
Buckquaquot (totem) (L.S.) Cahgahkishinse (totem) (L.S.)
Pishkinse (totem) (L.S.) Cahgagewin (totem) (L.S.)
Pahtosh (totem) (L.S.) Pininse (totem) (L.S.)

The manner in which the yearly payment was to have been made to you, for the lands which you had ceded to the Crown on the fifth day of November 1818, not having been sufficiently explicit and defined in the Provincial Agreement:

In order to avoid any difficulty or misconstruction which might arise hereafter, I called you together for the purpose of explaining to you the manner in which it is intended that the payment shall be made, and in order that you may subscribe your names on the back of the Provincial Agreement as acquiescing and approving of the same as follows, vis:- Every man, woman and child to receive the amount of ten dollars in goods at the Montreal price, so long as such man, woman or child shall live, but such annuity to cease and be discontinued to be paid in right of any individual who may have died between the intervals of payment, and the several individuals then living, only, shall be considered as entitled to receive the yearly payment of ten dollars in goods as above stated.

WebPage courtesy of Totem Consulting www.totemconsulting.ca