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Treaty No 8

Date: 1 June 1899
Sub Category:Treaty (Canada)
Place:Deninu K'ue
State/Country:Northwest Territories, Canada
Subject Matter:Compensation | Land Transaction | Land Settlement
Summary Information:
Treaty No 8 was signed by 6 leaders of Canadian Indian First Nations and the British Crown at Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta in June 1899, taking effect in 1900. It was hoped by the Parties that the Treaty would bring peace and friendship to the relationship between the Indians and the Europeans. The government-prepared Treaty terms covered land areas now known as northern Alberta, northwestern Saskatchewan, northeastern British Columbia, and the southwestern area of the Northwest Territories. It covered 39 First Nation communities and its terms were to have effect '… as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the river flows…'. The Treaty also established reserves across the region while First Nation peoples living on the reserves were to live with all rights under the Treaty.
Detailed Information:
Treaty No 8 encompasses a land mass of approximately 840,000 kilometres, an area which is home to 39 First Nation communities. The Treaty was first negotiated in June 1899 and constituted the first recognition of the co-existence of the aboriginal title of Indians and Metis. The Treaty terms provide the foundation for contemporary relations between the Indigenous peoples of Athabasca and the Canadian Government. The terms of the Treaty refer to:

  • Rights of hunting, trapping and fishing;
  • The establishment of Indian reserves;
  • Rights to 160 acres of land for Indians not wishing to live on such reserves,
  • Gifts of $32 cash and a suit of clothing to each Chief, and $12 to each Indian;
  • Teacher salaries for Indigenous education purposes; and
  • Annual payments to Chiefs, headmen and Indians.

    As a result of the Treaty, the Canadian Government has subsequently claimed that the Cree, Dene, Metis and other First Nation peoples residing within the boundaries of the Treaty had ceded all title to land not set aside as reserves. This view has been disputed by First Nation leaders however, who maintain that the Treaty recognised unfettered rights to traditional lifestyle, and included rights regarding education, health care, tax exemptions, immunity from military participation and natural resources. The content and interpretation of the Treaty terms remain fiercely contested in the contemporary context. The federal government nevertheless recognises that certain basic 'Treaty Rights' may be exercised by 'Treaty Indians' as defined by the government. A commitment to the spirit of the Treaty is also reflected in contemporary agreements negotiated by the NWT Treaty 8 Corporation and the Canadian Government.

  • Related Entries

  • Akaitcho Interim Measures Agreement 2001
  • Akaitcho Treaty 8 Framework Agreement 2000
  • Political Accord between Akaitcho Territory Dene First Nations and Government of the Northwest Territories 2000
  • Organisation
  • Government of Canada - Signatory
  • NWT Treaty 8 Tribal Corporation
  • Yellowknives Dene First Nation
  • Lutsel K'e Dene Band
  • North Peace Tribal Council
  • People
  • Cree Indians - Signatory
  • Akaitcho Territory Dene First Nations
  • Chipewyan Band - Signatory
  • Slave Indians

  • References

    Virtual Museum of Canada The Making of Treaty 8 in Canada's Northwest
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1899) Treaty No 8
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2000) Akaitcho Territory Dene First Nations Framework Agreement Signing Ceremony
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2000) Backgrounder: Smith’s Landing First Nation Chronology
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2000) Smith's Landing becomes Newest First Nation in Alberta
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Beaver First Nation Profile


    Treaty | Treaty (Canada)

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