The Numbered Treaties: Similar Means to Dichotomous Ends

Derek Whitehouse


This essay reflects the recent trend among historians to assign an active role to both the Indians of the North-West Territories and the government during the Numbered Treaty process. The aboriginal peoples and the Canadian government entered the Treaty negotiations hoping to achieve dichotomous ends. Concerned over white settlement and diminishing buffalo herds, the Indians sought to use the concessions granted them under the Treaties to ensure their cultural survival. The government, on the other hand, considered the Numbered Treaties a means of achieving the goal of their Indian policy, namely bringing about the assimilation of the Indian into Euro-Canadian society.

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