TREATY NO. 6
John Horse, whose Cree name was Kimowankapo, and who later became a respected and well loved chief of the Frog Lake Reserve, often told the story that his father, Kamistatim, passed on for future generations.
Kamistatim was among those who were at Fort Pitt on September 9, 1876 where Chief Tus-tuk-ee-skaws signed Treaty No. 6 Kamistatim shook hands with the Queen's Representative. He heard many promises that were made to the native people. The Honourable James McKay and Peter Erasmus were the interpreters. He obtained the original flag that was used at the signing. This flag, that was later given to Kimowankapo, was meant to strengthen those promises that Kimistatim heard, and to show that the laws of the Treaty would never be broken. The Queen's Representative promised by the sun and the river that as long the sun passes and the river flows the promises would last. Because the sun and the river were created by God, if one of the promises were broken it would be as a promise broken to God.
There were many promises made by Queen Victoria's Representative. He came to buy land from the Indian people, only a little depth of topsoil, trees and grass. That was all that was bought at that first Treaty. All below six inches was to belong to the Indians. He promised they would be fed, game and fish were to be theirs with nets supplied for fishing; schools and hospitals were to be built on the reserve, medicine was to be free. All produce from the reserve land was for the Indians; tools and some livestock were to be provided by the government. Intoxicants were to be neither sold nor given to the Queen's native people. Kamistatim heard those promises spoken by the Queen's Representative.
George Stanley used to speak of the Sacred Pipe Stem that came into the possession of his father, Onipahwhew. This was the stem from the original Peace Pipe that was smoked by the Chiefs and the Queen's Representatives who signed Treaty No. 6. Then the Representatives shook hands with the Chiefs as a sign of good faith. The Sacred Stem was kept in the George Stanley family for many years. To the Indians of Frog Lake it signified to the truth of the words spoken when the Treaty was signed. It was used at Sun Dances on this reserve for many years.
A Thought to Share
Much has been said regarding the Red and White situation. Those of you who have read Chapter I of this book will recall it was predicted that a hundred years would pass before the natives of western Canada could be expected to accept the change of customs brought about by the Whiteman. The hundred years are almost reached, but the present Native unrest could add much to that predicted time. There have been criticisms, but could peoples of any race have changed more rapidly under similar circumstances?
The time may come in the not too distant future, when mankind will be judged, not by color nor class, but each according to his own merit. No one comes through violent situations completely victorious. Those who die are gone; the past can never be relived. Only the survivors of both sides can be called winners, but this is deception; the loss is too great.
Our early Indians may have had it rough, but smoke signals never got an Indian out of bed at 3 o'clock in the morning to answer a wrong number.