Treaty 8

Treaty 8
David Laird explaining Treaty 8 Fort Vermilion 1899 - NA-949-34.jpg
David Laird explaining terms of Treaty 8, Fort Vermilion, 1899
SignedJune 21, 1899
LocationJust south of present-day Grouard, Alberta[1]
Treaty 8 site in Fort Resolution

Treaty 8 is an agreement concluded on June 21, 1899, between the Crown and various First Nations of the Lesser Slave Lake area. The treaty was negotiated just south of present-day Grouard, Alberta.

Treaty 8 is one of eleven numbered treaties made between the Crown and First Nations. The Crown had between 1871 and 1877 signed Treaties 1 to 7. Treaties 1 to 7 cover the southern portions of what was the North-West Territories. At that time, the Government of Canada had not considered a treaty with the First Nations in what would be the Treaty 8 territory necessary, as conditions in the north were not considered conducive to settlement. Along with the Douglas Treaties, Treaty 8 was the last treaty signed between the Crown and the First Nations in British Columbia until the Nisga'a Final Agreement.

The boundary between Treaty 8 and Treaty 11 is disputed. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation asserts that it is a signatory to Treaty 8. But according to the text of the treaties, the Yellowknife Nation's territory, known as Chief Drygeese Territory, is within Treaty 11.


In the mid-1890s, the Klondike Gold Rush began to draw non-indigenous people northward into territory they had previously not much contacted. The increased contact and conflict between First Nations of the region and non-indigenous people prompted the Government of Canada to enter into Treaty 8. In September 1899, the Treaty and Half Breed Commissioners finally concluded the treaty process, with 2217 accepting the treaty, and another 1234 people opting for scrip.


The land covered by Treaty 8, 840,000 square kilometres (320,000 sq mi),[2] is larger than France and includes northern Alberta, northeastern British Columbia, northwestern Saskatchewan and a southernmost portion of the Northwest Territories.[3] Adhesions to this agreement were signed that same year on July 1, 1899, at Peace River Landing, July 6 at Dunvegan, July 8 at Fort Vermilion, July 13 at Fort Chipewyan, July 17 at Smith's Landing, July 25 and 27 at Fond du Lac, August 4 at Fort McMurray, and August 14 at Wabasca Lake. Further adhesions were in 1900 on May 13 at Fort St. John, June 8 at Lesser Slave Lake, June 23 at Fort Vermilion and July 25 at Fort Resolution.

Chief Keenooshayoo was one of the First Nations signatories to Treaty 8. First Nations that are considered signatories to Treaty 8 include Woodland Cree, Dunneza (or Beaver) and Chipewyan. Other signatories included David Laird, Father Albert Lacombe, Rev. George Homes, Bishop Émile Grouard, J.A.J. McKenna, J.H. Ross, W.G. White, James Walker, A. Arthur Cote, A.E. Snyder, H.B. Round, Harrison S. Young, J.F. Prud'Homme, C. Mair, H.A. Conroy, Pierre Deschambeault, J.H. Picard, Richard Secord, M. McCauley, Headman Moostoos, Headman Felix Giroux, and Headman Wee Chee Way Sis, Headman Charles Neesotasis.

Albert Lacombe, a trusted Catholic missionary, had been asked by Canadian officials to be present to help convince First Nations that it was in their interest to enter into a treaty. He was present on June 21, 1899, and assured the First Nations that their lives would remain, more or less, unchanged. He was also present at some of the meetings at which adhesions were signed. The elements of Treaty 8 included provisions to maintain livelihood for the native populations in this 840,000 km2 (320,000 sq mi) region, such as entitlements to land, ongoing financial support, annual shipments of hunting supplies, and hunting rights on ceded lands, unless those ceded lands were used for forestry, mining, settlement or other purposes.[4]

A large piece of parchment paper with detailed, small text of the treaty.
Presentation copy of the original Treaty 8. Printed on parchment. Text in black and red; blue and red border

See also

  • List of treaties
  • Numbered Treaties
  • Status of First Nations treaties in British Columbia
  • The Canadian Crown and First Nations, Inuit and Métis


  1. ^ "The Making of Treaty 8 in Canada's Northwest". Alberta Online Encyclopedia. 2009. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  2. ^ "Treaty 8". Government of Canada. Library and Archives Canada. 2009. Archived from the original on September 20, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  3. ^ "1899 Treaty 8". Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. 2009. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  4. ^ "Numbered Treaty Eight". 2009. Archived from the original on January 23, 2010. Retrieved August 1, 2009.

External links

Media files used on this page

Vector drawing of Mayan glyph.
Maple Leaf (from roundel).svg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
roundel adopted by Royal Canadian Air Force, from 1946 to 1965.
Flag of Alberta.svg
Flag of Alberta.
Treaty 8 Site in Fort Resolution 01.jpg
Author/Creator: mattcatpurple, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
Treaty 8 site in Fort Resolution
Articles of a treaty made and concluded at the several dates mentioned therein, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine, between Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, by Her Commissioners the Honourable David Laird, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Indian Commissioner for the said Province and the North-West Territories, James Andrew Joseph McKenna, of Ottawa, Ontario, Esquire, and the Honourable James Hamilton Ross, of Regina, in the North-West Territories, of the one part, and the Cree, Beaver, Chipewyan, and other Indians, inhabitants of the territory within the limits hereinafter defined and described, by their Chiefs and Headmen, hereunto subscribed, of the other part.

Signed: At Lesser Slave Lake, on the twenty-first day of June, in the year herein first written above; at the Peace River Landing on the first day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine; at Vermillion on the eighth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine; at the said Fond du Lac on the twenty-fifth and twenty-seventy days of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine; at Dunvegan on this sixth day of July, in the year herein first above written; at Fort Chipewyan on this thirteenth day of July, in the year first above written; at Smith's Landing on this seventeenth day of July, in the year herein first above written; at Fort McMurray on this fourth day of August, in the year herein first above written; at Wapiscow Lake on this fourteenth day of August, in the year herein first above written. -- "Certified a correct copy."

Presentation copy of the original, 1 sheet; 50 x 72 cm

Printed on parchment. Text in black and red; blue and red border

Date: [1899?]

Other versions: University of Alberta Bruce Peel Special Collections call number: KID 13 1899 folio