|Treaty No 1, the first post-confederation treaty between Indigenous communities and the Canadian government was signed on 3 August 1871 at Lower Fort Garry, Manitoba. Treaty No 2, a treaty containing the same provisions as Treaty No 1, and covering the same area of land, was signed on 21 August 1871 by leaders of separate groups contained within the treaty area. The aim of the treaties was to open up the area of land to settlement, commerce and immigration.
Both Treaty No 1 and Treaty No 2 cover the area 'beginning at the international boundary line near its junction with the Lake of the Woods, at a point due north from the centre of Roseau Lake; thence to run due north to the centre of Roseau Lake; thence northward to the centre of White Mouth Lake, otherwise called White Mud Lake; thence by the middle of the lake and the middle of the river issuing from there to the mouth thereof in Winnipeg River; thence by the Winnipeg River to its mouth; thence westwardly, including all the islands near the south end of the lake, across the lake to the mouth of Drunken River; thence westwardly to a point on Lake Manitoba half way between Oak Point and the mouth of Swan Creek; thence across Lake Manitoba in a line due west to its western shore; thence in a straight line to the crossing of the rapids on the Assiniboine; thence due south to the international boundary line; and thence eastwardly by the said line to the place of beginning'.
The Tribes within this area, the Chippewa (Obijway) and Cree Indians were represented at the signing of Treaty No 1, by ‘Mis-koo-kenew or Red Eagle (Henry Prince), Ka-ke-ka-penais, or Bird for ever, Na-sha-ke-penais, or Flying down bird, Na-na-wa-nanaw, or Centre of Bird's Tail, Ke-we-tayash, or Flying round, Wa-ko-wush, or Whip-poor-will, Oo-za-we-kwun, or Yellow Quill and on behalf of the government of Canada by Lieutenant Governor Archibald, Commissions Simpson and Major Irvine’.
Treaty No 2 was signed on behalf of these Indian groups by ‘Sou-sonse or Little Long Ears; for the Indians of Fairford and the neighbouring localities, Ma-sah-kee-yash or "He who flies to the bottom," and Richard Woodhouse, whose Indian name is Ke-wee-tah-quun-na-yash or "He who flies round the feathers;" for the Indians of Waterhen River and Crane River and the neighbouring localities, Francois, or Broken Fingers; and for the Indians of Riding Mountains and Dauphin Lake and the remainder of the territory hereby ceded, Mekis (the Eagle), or Giroux’.
Under the terms of the Treaties, these groups, and all Indians residing in the described areas, were required to ‘cede, release, surrender and yield up to her majesty the Queen’ the aforementioned area, and conduct themselves as good and loyal subjects of the Queen, abide by the laws of the colony, maintain peace amongst themselves and in their relations with settlers, and not to interfere with or in anyway molest the property of these settlers.
The terms of the Treaties stipulate that in return for the cession of land and interests, Her Majesty agreed to reserve plots of 160 acres per family for the exclusive use of the tribes, and gave a further 25 square miles of land for the exclusive use of the Yellow Quill tribe. In addition, the Crown pledged:
a gift of three dollars to each man, woman and child belonging to the tribes mentioned;
to maintain a school on each reserve;
to enforce a ban on all liquor;
to perform a census of all Indians in the area; and
to give to each family, on an annual basis, the sum of 15 dollars cash or the same amount in articles such as ‘blankets, clothing twine or traps’.