BC Sessional Papers

PETITION. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1878

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 41 Vic. Indian Reserve, Shuswap. 451
PETITION.
To the Provincial Parliament of British Columbia:
Gentlemen,—The undersigned settlers of South Thompson River—South side—in
the vicinity of Little Shuswap Lake, would respectfully represent to your Honourable
Body the most unenviable position in which we are placed by the action of the Indian
Commissioners.  •
The lands your petitioners occupy were located some twelve years ago, previous to
which time, the Indians had ceded to the Government their claims to all lands lying on
the South side of the river from Kamloops upwards, nor did they, to the time of the
Commissioners coming, claim any rights or seemingly desire any on the South side of
the river, and in locating here we naturally supposed, that, as the country around
became settled, any neighbours we should be so fortunate as to have would be of the
civilized races.
We hoped eventually, by the accumulation of settlers, to have a school amongst us
for the benefit of our children, and to be blessed with the association and contact of a
progressive community, and, should our lives be reasonably prolonged, to be hi
possession of all the amenities pertaining to older settlements.
The Commissioners, however, ignoring all these rights and interests, sacredly
guaranteed by Government when these lands were opened for settlement, awarded to
the Indians, in addition to other very7 large grants, a tract of land on the South side of
Thompson Biver, embracing the highway, four miles in length and upwards of a mile in
breadth, thus enclosing us completely7 within a huge Indian reservation, isolating us
entirely from all our neighbours, and effectually closing the highway to uninterrupted
traffic.
Let the programme of the Commissioners be carried out and your Honourable
Body can scarcely imagine a position more calamitous than that of your petitioners.
Four miles of the highway—our only communication—will be virtually closed.
Not a horse can be ridden past, nor an animal moved, to or from our farms, without
danger of being stampeded by the savages and their dogs, scores of which, starved and
ravenous brutes, pertain to each and every lodge.
The position of the reservations, they being on every side of us, will induce the
passing to and fro constantly of trains of lawless savages, who will throw down our
fences leaving them open, allowing animals to stray upon our crops and elsewhere; by
their dogs our poultry7 will be exterminated and our pigs and young stock worried and
destroyed. Our fruit and our gardens will be plundered almost under our eyes, and
every implement and article of value must be under bolts or the eyes of its owner, or be
forever lost.
Virtually we will be ostracized, and our property, on the improvement of which we
have expended upwards of a decade of our most vigorous manhood, will be confiscated,
for property with such surroundings will be utterly valueless in market.
We appeal, therefore, to your Honourable Body, trusting that by annulling this
unrighteous award, justice will by you be done, and your petitioners will,*as in duty
bound, over pray.
Whitfield Chase, Alexander McBryan,
D. G. Macpherson, C. E. Williams.
Shuswap, 24th January, 1878.

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