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 S9 Vic. Report on Indian Reserves. 57
rrsTDrAisr reserves.
Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honorable the Executive Council, approved
by Mis Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the 18th day of August, 1875.
The Committee of Council concur with, the statements and recommendations
contained in the Memorandum of the Honorable the Attorney-General, on the
subject of Indian Affairs, dated 17th August, 1875, and advise that it be adopted
as the expression of the views of this Government as to the best method of bringing
about a settlement of the Indian Land Question.
(Signed)       W. J. Armstrong,
Clerk of the Executive Council.
The undersigned begs leave to submit, for the consideration of His Honour the
Lieutenant-Governor in Council, the following Memorandum on Indian Affairs:—
For some time past the Government of the Province have endeavoured, but without
success, to arrive at some practical solution of what is termed the Indian Land question.
The negotiations with the Dominion on the subject have been based on the 13th Article
of our Terms of Unicn agreed to in 1871, which reads as follows :—
" The charge of the Indians, and the trusteeship and management of the lands
"reserved for their use and benefit, shall be assumed by the Dominion Government, and
"■ a policy as liberal as that hitherto pursued by the British Columbia Government shall
" be continued by the Dominion Government after the Union.
" To carry out such policy, tracts of land of such extent as it has hitherto been the
" practice of the British Columbia Government to appropriate for that purpose, shall
" from time to time be conveyed by the local Government to the Dominion Government
"in trust for the use and benefit of the Indians on application of the Dominion Govern-
"ment; and in case of disagreement between the two Governments respecting the
" quantity of such tracts of land to be so granted, the matter shall be referred for the
"decision of the Secretary of State for the Colonies."
It will thus appear—
1st.—That Canada assumed the charge of the Indians and the trusteeship and
management of their lands ;
2nd.—That a policy towards our Natives as liberal as that of the Colonial Government of British Columbia (prior to Confederation) should be continued by
the Dominion Government.
3rd.—That this Province should, after Confederation, convey to the Dominion, in
trust for the use of the Indians, tracts of land similar in extent to those which
had been set apart for their use by British Columbia when governed directly
by the Imperial Authorities.
4th.—That any disagreement with respect to the extent of such lands should be
referred to the Secretary of State for the Colonies for his decision.
5 68 Report on Indian Reserves. 1875
Upon these four distinct terms the 13th Article is based. It need scarcely be
stated that there is a marked difference between a stipulation to establish a general
policy and an agreement to supply certain detailed assistance " to carry out such policy."
Referring to the Report of the Hon. the Minister of the Interior, adopted by Minute of
the Privy Council of the 4th of November, 1874, it will be observed that the Minister
fails to draw such a distinction, and harshly condemns the Indian.policy of the Crown
Colony "as little short of a mockery of the claims" of the Indians, because the aid
given to it in the shape of land and for education fell short of that given in old Canada.
The value of the above distinction will presently appear in discussing the several
points in the order laid down. Although the question of What assistance in land shall
British Columbia now give to enable the Dominion to carry out her Indian policy? is the real
issue betAveen the two Governments, it appears to be absolutely necessary to give a
short sketch of the Indian policy of the Crown Colony, with a vieAV of removing the very
unjust impressions respecting it which have been created in the public mind by the
publication of the Report of the Minister of the Interior. Superior to this reason is the
undoubted right of the Imperial Government (to whom the Indian correspondence has
been referred) to a full explanation respecting the charges preferred in the Report, of
mal-administration of a policy established under their directing influence. In justice
also to the past and present Governments of British Columbia, as well as to its people
at large, a thorough consideration of the Minister's Report is demanded. With these
remarks the undersigned now proposes to deal with the three last propositions above
set forth, as the first condition may be considered as disposed of.
With respect to the second proposition, that the Indian policy of Canada shall not
be less liberal than that of the Crown Colony of British Columbia it is not intended
to give more than a brief statement of the Colonial Policy as it was pursued prior
to 1871 ; nor would such a statement have been necessary had the Colonial Indian
System been better understood by the Dominion Government.
The policy of the Dominion aims at a concentration of the Indians upon Reserves, while
that of the Crown Colony, besides granLing Reserves in. cases Avhere the Indians
preferred them, courted rather an opposite result. The Colonial Policy was first
inaugurated under the auspices of the Imperial Government in 1858, the date of the
foundation of the Crown Colony. Under this policy the Natives were invited and
encouraged to mingle with and live amongst the white population with a view of weaning
them by degrees from savage life, and of gradually leading them by example and precept to adopt habits of peace, honesty, and industry. It is true that this step was not
unattended with some of the well-known evils which are unfortunately inseparable from
the attempted fusion of savage and civilized races, but these defects it was believed
would in time have been largely removed by the application of proper remedies.
The Dominion Commissioner for Indian Affairs, resident here, has asserted (vide
Report) that—
"Money payments by the Government, on account of the native race, have been
" restricted to expenditure incurred by Indian outrages, and no efforts have
" been put forth with a view to civilize them, it having been considered that
" the best mode of treating them was to let them alone."
This is certainly a very strong and positive statement, and one which undoubtedly
leads the reader to infer that the Crown Colony (which is meant by the word " Government") had cruelly neglected the Indians and left or " let them alone " in their savage
condition, to struggle for life against the inroads of aggressive white settlers, who,
as the complaint in the report states, "in many instances took from them the lands
"which they had settled upon and cultivated, and in some cases, their burial grounds."
(vide Report.)
Upon referring to the books and vouchers of the Treasury Department, it appears
that between 1858 and 1871, money payments by the Colonial Governments on
account of the Native race were, apart from expenditure fcaused by " Indian
outrages," extensively made for various purposes. Considerable sums were, from time
to time, paid for laying off and Surveying Reserves in the lower country and in the
interior; for settling boundary and other disputes, whether amongst themselves or with
white settlers; and for specific expenses incurred in protecting and upholding their civil
rights of property in our Courts of Law.    Under a local Ordinance very large amounts 89 Vie, Report on Indian Reserves. 59
were, from the earliest days, spent solely in the interest of the Indians, in the
effort to suppress the "liquor traffic " amongst them. The expenditure on this account
is composed of payments for the fuel consumed by Ships of War, for Steamers, for the
salaries, travelling expenses, and alloAvances of Magistrates, Pilots, Police, and Witnesses
engaged in this service. By instructions from the Government, the Natives were exempted from paying tolls and direct taxes levied on the community at large for
the construction of public highways and bridges ; nor were Customs Duties exacted upon
the animals and merchandize—sometimes of no inconsiderable value—which the members
of a tribe from time to time imported across the boundary line from American soil.
These abatements—large in the aggregate—are virtually "money payments " on Indian
account. Pecuniary aid was given to the sick and destitute, and to a large extent in
cases of epidemics such as small pox. Treating the life of the Indian with as much
respect and consideration as that of his civilized neighbour, Inquests Avere held, when
necessary, in cases of untimely death. These proceedings were often, and almost always
in the interior, attended with considerable outlay. In the administration of justice
gratuities were sometimes given at the instance of a Judge on circuit, or of a District
Magistrate, to deserving Indians. With a view of encouraging their feelings of loyalty
and strengthening their fidelity and attachment to the Crown, a general invitation was
annually extended to the various tribes within reach to meet at some central point in
the lower country for the purpose of celebrating the birthday of Her Majesty. Nearly
4,000 Indians respionded to the call in 1865, and large numbers attended at each subsequent meeting. On such occasions the Governor met them in person, and distributed
the liberal money and other prizes amongst the successful competitors in games and in
water sports. Presents of food and clothing to the Indians assembled were added ; and
the opportunity thus afforded was impro\red by giving them good counsel and advice for
their future well-being. On other occasions, badges of value were given to meritorious
chiefs, who with their followers received blankets, food, and articles of dress.
The system of " gifts " to the Native tribes was not, however, a prominent feature
in the Colonial Policy. It was followed more in obedience to Indian tradition than from
convictions of ultimate good, The practice was therefore countenanced rather than encouraged, as it was opposed to the main principles of assimilation in the higher degree
of the native and civilized races and of the consequent treatment of the Indian as a
fellow subject. Instead of this mode of assisting them, habits of self reliance were inculcated, and the advantages of well directed labour were impressed upon them. The
time too was opportune for putting these lessons into practice, as labour was scarce and
in great demand. Every Indian therefore who could and would work—and they were
numerous—was employed in almost every branch of industrial and of domestic life, at
wages which would appear excessi\Tely high in England or in Canada. From becoming
labourers, some of the Natives after a time, stimulated by examjjle and by profit,
engaged on their own account in stock-breeding, in river boating, and in " packing," as
it is termed, as carriers of merchandize by land and by water; while others followed
fishing and hunting with more vigour than formerly to supply the wants of an incoming
population. The Government frequently employed those living in the interior
as police, labourers, servants, and as messengers entrusted with errands of
importance. It may here be mentioned that in the payment or distribution
of public rewards ,(however large) for the apprehension of criminals, the claims
of the Indian and of the white man were treated alike. It is not of course
suggested that any payments for services rendered are payments " on account of the
Indians." The facts are merely stated' to illustrate some of the [features of the
general policy pursued tOAvards them. They were taught by association with the
civilized races and by the course pursued in our Courts, where justice was meted out
with even hand to all classes and races, to appreciate and respect the laws of the country.
A special enactment provided that when " any Aboriginal Native " was " destitute of the
knowledge of God," or was an unbeliever " in religion or in a future state of rewards
and punishments," the evidence of -such Native might be received in any civil or
criminal cause upon his making a " solemn affirmation," or a simple " declaration to tell
the truth " [Revised Statutes, No. 74]. Their lives and their property were jealously
guarded. From humane motives, two penal statutes With stringent provisions were in
early days passed—one, to prevent the spoliation of their graves ana burial grounds—
the other, as its caption reads, " To prohibit the sale or gift of intoxicating liquors to
Indians." [Revised Statutes, Nos. 69 and 85].
Thus far it will be seen that no discriminating lines were drawn between the Natives 60 Report on Indian Reserves. 1875
and other races, save in the interest of the former. In disposing however of the Crown
Lands, the Colony, for obvious reasons, made a distinction between the Indians and other
resident British subjects. This may best be shown by quoting Section 3 of the " Land
Ordinance, 1870."—
Sec. 3.    "Any male   * *    British subject of the age of 18 years or  over,
"may acquire the right to pre-empt any tract of unoccupied, unsurveyed, and unreserved
" Crown Lands (not being an Indian Settlement) not exceeding 320 acres * * East
"of the * * Cascade Mountains, and 160 acres * * in the rest of the Colony.
" Provided that such right * * shall not * * extend to any of the Aborigines
" of this Continent, except to such as shall have obtained the Governor's special per-
" mission in writing to that effect."
This Section needs little comment. It is a transcript of the law of 1860 [Proclamation No. 17] as afterwards amended. The Indians, although denied the right of
pre-emption which the Act gave to other British subjects, were permitted to pre-empt
Crown Lands provided the GoA7ernor was satisfied that they could fulfil the usual conditions upon which the land was sold. As late as 1872, a Fort Langley Indian received
permission to pre-empt 100 acres of land upon his practically proAdng that he could
intelligently cultivate it, [Appendix A.] The above Section is now in force, but the
practice of giving those permissions has been discontinued, lest it should interfere with
the Dominion policy of concentrating the Indians upon Reserves.
Tracts of land or Reserves Avere also set apart by the Crown for the use of some of
the tribes. As an invariable rule they embraced the village sites, settlements, and
cultivated lands- of the Indians. Several of the Reserves though rich in soil and situated
in the centre of white settlements, are, hoAvever, unfortunately unproductive to the
country, owing partly to Indian indolence and partly to the attractions of good wages
offered by the white population.
To secure the Indians in peaceable possession of their property generally, the
Colonial Legislature conferred upon the District Magistrates extensive powers (not even
possessed by the Supreme Court) to remove and punish by fine, imprisonment, or heavy
^damages and costs any person unlawfully " entering or occupying " their Reserves or
Settlements, or damaging their "improvements, crops, or cattle." [Revised Statutes,
No. 125.]
To effectually cany out their general Indian Policy, the Colonial Government
appointed the Magistrates resident in the several Districts to act as Indian Agents.
As such their manifold duties may be summed up in the statement that they advised
and protected the Indians in all matters relating to their welfare.
It has been said that no system of Education, in its restricted sense, was established on
behalf of the Indians. While this is admitted, it may also be stated that the Government
merely deferred the subject, believing that it was far more important in the interests of
the community at large to first reclaim the NatiA^es from their savage state and teach
them the practical and rudimentary lessons of civilized life. How this was done has
been already explained.
Since writing the above, the undersigned has fortunately obtained a copy of a
despatch, addressed in 1870, by the Governor of British Columbia to the Secretary of
State for the Colonies, respecting the Colonial Indian Policy. [Appendix B.] This
document strongly and ably bears out many of the vieAvs and opinions above expressed.
Such is but an imperfect sketch of the Colonial Indian Policy which was founded
in 1858 and determined in 1871. It was based on the broad and experimental principle
of treating the Indian as a fellow subject. The principle was, at least, a lofty one, and
worthy of an enlightened humanity. Like others of its kind, it had its trials ; but it
also had its rewards, for, through its influence, the Colony was enabled on the day of
Confederation to hand over to the trusteeship of the Dominion, a community of 40,000
Indians—loyal, peaceable, contented, and in many cases honest and industrious. This
fact is in itself the best commentary that can be offered upon the policy pursued towards
the Indians during the 13 years preceding Confederation.
All policies or systems are open to more or less abuse ; and the Colonial Indian
Policy laid no claim to exclusive immunity in this respect. It has been shown that
laws, unquestionably Avise and humane, Avere enacted in the interest of the Indians. If,
«in many instances," their cultivated patches or, " in some cases," their " burial grounds"
have, as they complain, been unjustly taken from them, the law provided a sure and speedy remedy. The undersigned, however, takes the liberty of thinking that their
statements in this respect are exaggerated. If such instances do exist they are exceedingly few in number—three or four at most— and are probably capable of satisfactory
explanation. The Indians of this country Dumber about 40,000, and are settled over an
area of 220,000 square miles. It is doubtful whether any parallel exists of so large a
number of savage tribes, a vast majority of whom never saw a white face until 1858,
being successfully controlled and governed by, comparatively speaking, a mere handful
of people of a European race. The country has been singularly free from the
graver classes of crime among the Natives. Excepting an outbreak of a serious character in 1864 and a'few acts of violence committed by Indian marauders on the North-
West Coast, breaches of the laAv have generally been confined to cases of theft, to
common and aggravated assaults, and to inter-tribal feuds. In nearly every instance
the origin of Indian crime may be traced to the evasion of the Indian liquor laws.
Since Confederation the Indians haATo undoubtedly become discontented. Hopes of
visionary wealth, to bo acquired without labour, have been excited in the minds
of some of the tribes ; for it is a notorious fact that 80 acres of land were promised,
of course without authority, to each head of an Indian family before the question
of Reserves was even laid before the Provincial Government. When the policy of
the Dominion supplanted that of the Colony, the several Indian Agencies established
by the latter lapsed, and have not been replaced. It is not suprising therefore
that the Indians, left as they have been for the last four years Avithout that counsel
and advice which they formerly received from those in authority, should have become
uneasy and restless as to their future.
Before passing to the 3rd and 4th propositions it seems necessary to first call
attention to that portion of the Report of the Minister of the Interior which inferontially
charges the Local Government Avith a want of proper regard for the rights of the
Indians, and with the grave responsibility of unnecessarily impeding a settlement of the
question of Reserves or, as it is called in the correspondence, the Indian Land Question.
It is to be regretted that this charge should have been made, as it cannot with justice
be sustained. In this matter the Minister has probably acted upon insufficient information, both as to the general views of the Provincial Government upon the subject of
Reserves, and as to the special reasons which dictated the course they have hitherto
It is almost needless to state that the Local Government have been keenly alive, not
only to the advantages, but to the absolute necessity and urgent importance of a speedy
settlement of all questions connected with the Reserves. The favorable influence which
it would exert in the future cannot bo overrated. Peace would be ensured, and
prosperity would not fail to follow the improved condition and social elevation
of the Indian. The fruits of his labour might at first fall short of expectation ; but in
time their value would be gradually increased by Avelljjdirected training. The importance
of the tribes, as large consumers and as labourers, is fully understood and ajipreciated.
The Provincial Government feel that these facts in themselves entitle the Indians to a
, kind and liberal treatment. Their claims to consideration rest moreover on much higher
grounds. The common dictates of humanity, apart from the moral lessons of education,
silently but eloquently appeal to our bettor nature to shun oppression, and to protect
and assist tho ignorant and helpless. Such principles of action are not new. They
have been happily engrafted upon our Constitution which, in the case of the Indian,
views a disregard of his rights as oppression, and that oppression as a synonym for
Strongly holding the "above views and convictions, the Provincial Government have,
with great reluctance, felt compelled to differ in opinion from the Dominion Government
on the subject of Reserves. A request by the Dominion for any reasonable and
discriminating acreage of cultivable land for the use of the Indians is one
which, on grounds above stated, could not but recommend itself to the favourable
consideration of the Government of the Province. But in considering the demands
already made, the Local Government felt constrained to keep in view not
only the present condition and probable future of the Province, but the habits
and pursuits of our Indians. That negotiations on the subject have hitherto failed
is a' matter of extreme regret ; but is also a misfortune for which the Government
here cannot justly bo held responsible. The real causes of this failure are attributable
to the want of proper information on the part of the Dominion Government of the
physical structure of this country and of the habits of the Indians.  At least such i» fhe 62 Report on Indian Reserves. 1875
opinion plainly indicated in the annexed portion of a letter lately addressed to the
Minister of the Interior by Mr. Duncan, an Indian Missionary remarkable not less for
his unselfish devotion to the cause of the Indians than for his marvellous success amongst
the tribes of the North-West Coast.    [Ajrpendix O]
It will be observed that he has advised the Indian Department to defer the question
of Reserves, and to appoint a Resident Indian Agent in each distinct. This Agent, ho
suggests, would, from his local knowledge, give trustworthy advice to the Government
resjoecting "the number, wants, and pursuits of the Indians under his charge, tho nature
" of their country * * * and the most suitable locality and quantity of land required."
"Without such advice," Mr. Duncan adds, "I cannot see Iioav the Government can bo
" expected to act fairly or wisely in dealing with the subject." Though this language
is addressed to the Dominion Government, it applies with equal, and indeed with greater,
force to the Government of the Province, as they are responsible for the manner in
which they dispose of the public lands, from which the Reserves will, of course, bo
The undersigned has also recei\rod a letter [Appendix D] from Mr. Duncan on the
same subject of Reserves, in which he says,—" I am persuaded that the whole difference"
between the two GoA'ernments on the land question, " springs from the fact that no
"definite information is before the Provincial Government" on the subject.
Reading both communications it will be found, that he condemns the old, or Colonial,
Reserves as being misplaced and too limited in area, and suggests that they therefore
be abandoned for more eligible lands. He also disapproves of tho Dominion land
scheme as submitted for adoption by the Province.
The gravity of the interests directly involved in the applications of the Dominion
for Provincial lands for the Indians, will best be understood by reference to the folloAving
figures, and by contrasting them with the extent of land prescribed by the Terms of
Union, as they are interpreted :—
For present purposes the Indian population may be assumed to be 40,000.
1st.—Terms of Union.—10 acres to each Indian family       80,000 acres;
2nd.—21st March, 1873.—Request by Dominion for 80 acres of
average quality for each family of five persons, and old
Reserves to be regulated accordingly, equal to     640,000 acres ;
3rd.—In reply the ProAdnce goffered 20 acres to each head of a
family of five peisons, which the Indian Department was
authorized by the Dominion Authorities to accept, equal to    160,000 acres ;
4th.—15th May, 1874.—In lieu of the above, a further request
was made for 20 acres to each head of a family or, as understood, for each Indian adult (tho adults being about three-
tenths of the Indian population), equal to     240,000 acres ;
This was assented to in tho case of future Reserves ; but the
Provincial Government declined to include past Reserves in
this agreement. They, however, offered to consider any
special claim which might arise in respect of the latter.
[Note.—From each of the above quantities, the acreage of the old Eeserves
must, of course, bo deducted. The amount cannot be stated with
accuracy in the absence of complete surveys. It, however, represents but
a very small fraction of the quantities stated.] .
This statement at once shows tho \rery grave nature of the responsibility which
rested upon the Provincial GoATornment in dealing with such large tracts of agricultural
land. Without definite information they felt it impossible to come to any intelligent
conclusion upon the subject. Under all the circumstances, and bearing in mind what
Mr. Duncan has stated, it would appear that they were fully justified in hesitating to
accede to propositions which might not only retard tho future settlement of the Province
but prove to be, bothilljudged, and illtimed in the interests of the present settlers and of
the Indians themselves.
The enlargement of past Reserves is in many instances practically imjiossible, as
they are surrounded by white settlements. The proposal to implement any deficiency
of their acreage from lands more or less distant from them is open to grave objections.
Every individual of a tribe which is provided with a reservation, regards the land as 39 Vic. Report on Indian Reserves. 63
his home, and as the common property of the community to Avhich he belongs. This
being the case, the Indian Department would have to decide the difficult question of
selecting the individual who should, in their opinion, be compelled to part from his tribe,
his friends, and the home to which he had long been attached by the strongest natural
ties, to settle on land selected for him perhaps at a distance from his reserve.
Tho division of the old Reserves into 20 acre allotments, as contemplated, would
also be attended Avith great difficulty, except some scale of compensation were settled
upon, as any one such allotment might include all-the cultivated land of the tribe. The
settlement of such cases as the above may be said to properly rest with the Indian
Department; but it is equally clear, that the ProAdnce would be responsible for enforcing
this settlement, and suppressing any disturbances which might be caused by attempts to
force unwilling Indiana to accept what they might consider unjust.
Passing now to the third and fourth propositions, which may be dealt with together,
it remains for the Provincial Government to consider what assistance in the shape of
land they will give to the Dominion Government to carry out their Indian policy. The
13th Article binds the Province to give tho same quantity of land as in practice the
Crown Colony gave. This quantity seems to have been settled at ton acres to each
Indian family, as appears by the following extract from the Speech of Governor Douglas
to the Legislative Council in 1864.    [British Columbia Sessional Papers, 1864.] :—
" The Native Tribes are quiet and well-disposed. Tho plan of forming Reserves
"of land embracing tho village sites, cultivated fields, and favourite places of resort of
" the several tribes, and thus securing thorn against the encroachment of the settlers,
" and forever removing the fertile cause of agrarian disturbance, has been productive of
" the happiest effects on the minds of tho Natives.
" The areas thus partially defined and set apart in no case exceed the proportionTf
" ten acres for each family concerned, and are to be held as the joint and common pro-
" perty of the several tribes, being intended for their exclusive use and benefit, and
" especially as a provision for the aged, the helpless, and tho infirm."
It may bo broadly stated that uniformity of acreage in the Reserves is practically
impossible in this country. A uniform acreage that might appear desirable and just in
Ontario, where there is abundance of good agricultural land, would, if adopted here, be
fraught with mischief to the Province at large. The physical features of British Columbia are not only varied in themselves in the most positive manner, but they widely differ
from those of all other sections of the Dominion. The natural laws of accommodation
have produced equally marked distinctions between the several tribes of the Province ;
nor is there much more analogy between these tribes as a body and the tribes that
inhabit the Plains and the Eastern Provinces.
In order to deal intelligently with the subject of Reserves it appears desirable that
the habits and pursuits of our Natives should bo duly considered, with a view of determining some general principles upon Which in future a fair distribution of our public
lands may bo based. The physical structure of each locality should also be borne in
mind. In the absence of that full and definite information, which Mr. Duncan considers
indispensable, the folloAving general remarks may be offered, especially as they are not
likely to conflict with the Indian policy suggested by that gentleman.
Apart from tribal divisions and differences of dialect, tho Indians may be divided
into three classes :—
1. Fishermen and hunters ;
2. Stock-breeders, and farmers on a small scale ;
3. Labourers.
The first class naturally constitutes a very large proportion of the Indian population. It includes about 30,000 "Coast Indians," Avho live on the seaboard, besides two
or three thousand Indians who live in the Interior and in the Southern parts of the
Province. The request of the Dominion for a uniform acreage of land for all the tribes,
necessarily implies that each male adult of this and of all other classes is to be withdrawn from his present occupation, and taught to cultivate the land allotted to him.
If this course bo carried out, a serious injury will be inflicted upon the Indians and the
Province. Our numerous bays, inlets, and rivers contain inexhaustible supplies of the
finest fish. Otter, seal, and other useful products are .also easily obtained. The long
experience and acquired skill of both fishermen and hunters might, instead of being
diverted to other purposes, be turned to excellent account by qualified Indian Agents
resident amongst them.   No good reason   exists why  "Fisheries,"   such  as those 64 Report on Indian Reserves. 1875
- established by our merchants on Fraser River for curing and exporting salmon, and
other merchantable fish; should not be erected in suitable places for the benefit of the
Indians, and be in time profitably controlled and conducted by themselves. Many of
the Indians are now employed in this industry as fishermen, at one dollar, or four
shillings sterling, a day. The business requires but little mechanical skill, and that
they already possess. Their beautiful canoes and well executed carvings in ivory,
stone, and Avood are good proofs of this. The experiment might be made at a very
small outlay, especially as all the necessary appliances—a feAv tools and some tinware
excepted—are almost Avithin their reach. In the comparative cost of labour they
Avould possess an enormous advantage as long as wages remain at their present high
figures. The Merchant, instead of embarking in such ventures himself, would doubtless find it more profitable to purchase his supplies from the Indian "Fisheries,"
Avhich would thus at the outset be relieved of the responsibility of finding a foreign
market for their goods. The establishment of lumber mills and other industries would
unquestionably follow success in this direction.
The hunter's skill might likeAvise be turned to good use. It is a notorious fact
that valuable fur-bearing animals—large and small—aro wastefully and even wantonly
destroyed at unseasonable periods of the year. The mountain ranges which supply
this class of animals are, generally speaking, wholly unfit for agricultural purposes.
The experience and superior intelligence of the Indian Agent would again be usefully
called into play. The hunter would bo taught to regard these localities as fur-preserves,
to avoid indiscriminate slaughter, to kill only at proper seasons of the year, and to carefully protect a source of wealth which he is now gradually but too surely destroying.
The fur trade of tho Province, with all its present disadvantages, is one of considerable
importance, and might be greatly increased. Under these circumstances, any care
taken to preserve and foster it would be well bestowed. The Indians upon whom,, this
trade almost wholly depends, would largely reap the benefits of its good management.
These views upon this branch of the subject have been communicated by Mr. J. W.
McKay, a gentleman who has had thirty years experience amongst the Indians of the
From the above general remarks it is reasonable to suppose that large tracts of agricultural lands will not be required for the class of Indians referred to. Those Avho cannot
be employed usefully, in the manner indicated, in fishing or hunting, might require and
fairly expect farming lands. The other portion of the community would be provided for in
other ways, by reserving their fishing stations, fur-trading posts and settlements, and by
laying off a liberal quantity of land for a future town-site. In the mountain ranges, tho
most eligible localities for the hunter's purpose might bo selected and reserved as fur-
bearing preserves.
Stock-breeders and Farmers.
With respect to this class of Indians who arc a useful portion of the community, it
must be conceded that their herds of horses -and cattle require as much pastoral land
for their support as equal numbers of stock owned by the white settlers. The pastoral
leases complained of in the Minister's report will, however, soon be determined and a
fruitful source of irritation will thus be removed. As suggested by Mr. Duncan, a
liberal allowance of farming lands should be made, provided that the general outlines of
the Indian Policy which he recommends for adoption in the Province bo followed.
In tho present infancy of British Columbia, the Indians of this class have proved
invaluable in the settled portions of the Province. Little can be added to what has
already been said Avith respect to their employment and kind treatment by the white
population. It may be mentioned, however, that our lumber mills alone pay about 130
Indian employes over $40,000 annually. Each individual receives from $20 to $30 per
month and board. An average of $25 gives the total of $40,000 as a clear annual profit
made by 130 natives. This information has been obtained from one of the principal
mill-owners. Such is one of the results of the Colonial policy. It is needless to say that
it would require an enormous amount of farming produce to yield the same, or even
one-half of this annual profit, to a similar number of Indians. Reserves of agricultural
land for such labourers would be worse than useless, for if they got them they would be
bound to occupy and cultivate them, and this they could not do without loss to themselves and loss of valuable and trained labour to the Province.     Discarding, however, 39  Vic. Report on Indian Reserves. 65
from consideration, the mere matter of pecuniary loss or gain, it clearly appears that
the employment of tho Indians at such centres of labour, possesses other and higher advantages than those described, as it tends to centralize the Natives and their families
in places easy of access to the Missionary and to the School-teacher.
This Memorandum has reached a greater length than was anticipated by the undersigned; but he has felt that the importance of the subject required such information as
the Provincial Government could give respecting their past and present views upon the
Indian land question, in order that erroneous impressions may be removed, unnecessary
complications be avoided, a practical land scheme bo devised, and the Indian question
finally settled to the mutual satisfaction of both Governments.
The following suggestions for the settlement of the subject have been made by Mr.
Duncan.    [Appendix D.]
1st. That no basis of acreage for Indian Reserves bo fixed for the Province as a
Avhole; but that each Nation (and not tribe) of Indians of the same language
be dealt with separately:
2nd. That for the proper adjustment of Indian claims the Dominion Government
do appoint an Agent to reside with each Nation:
3rd. That Reserves of land  be set aside for each Nationality of Indians.   Such
Reserves to contain, in   addition to agricultural land, a large proportion of
Avild and of forest land.    Every application for a Reserve shall be accompanied by a Report from tho Agent having charge of the  Nation for whom
the Reserve is intended; and such Report shall contain a census and give a
description of the habits and pursuits, and of tho nature and quantity of land
required for the use of such Nation :
4th. That each Reserve shall be hold in trust for tho use and benefit of the Nation
of Indians to which it has been allotted;   and in the event of any material
increase or decrease  hereafter  of the members of a Nation occupying  a
Reserve, such Reserve shall bo enlarged or diminished as the case may bo,
so that it shall bear a fair proportion to the members of the .Nation occupying
it.    The extra land required for any Reserves shall bo allotted from vacant
Crown lands, and any land taken off a Reserve shall revert to the Province :
5th. That the present local Reserves be surrendered by the Dominion to tho Province as soon as may be convenient;  the Province agreeing to give fair
compensation for any improvements or clearings made upon any Reserve
which may be surrendered by the Dominion and accepted by the Province:
Tho undersigned has the honor to recommend that the above suggestions be adopted,
and that, if* this Memorandum be  approved, His Honor tho Lieutenant-Governor bo
respectfully requested to forward a copy tnoreof, and of the Minute of Council referring
thereto, to the Dominion Government, for their consideration aiid assent; and he further
recommends that another copy bo sent to the Dominion Government, for transmission to
the Right Honorable the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
(Signed)       Geo. A. Walkebi.
Victoria, 11th August, 1875. Attorney-General.
Appendix A.
Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honorable the Executive CoiCiicil, approved
by His Honour the Lieutenant- Governor oh the 3rd day of December, 1872,
On a Memorandum dated 2nd December, from the Honorable the Chief Commissioner
of Lands and Works, reporting that an Indian named Charlie has been living on an Island
opposite Langley for some time, under an assurance from the late Mr. Brew that his
possession of the land Avould be secured to him. Tho Indian has erected a house and
has cleared some of the land. He also has cattle and poultry. Tho Island is overflowed
every year at high water. The Indian raises wheat, turnips, potatoes, Indian corn and
onions. He has planted apple trees also. The Island contains about 100 acres, and the
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works recommends that His Excellency the
Lieutenant-Governor bo respectfully requested to give Charlie permission to pre-empt,
under the proA'isions of the "Land Ordinance, 1870."
The Committee advise that the recommendation bi approved.
(Certified) James Judson. Young.
Clerk Executive Council, 66 Report on Indian Reserves, 1875
Appendix B.
Governor Musgrave to Earl  Granville.
(Copy.) Government House, British Columbia,
29th January,   1870.
My Lord,—I haA^c had the honour to receive your lordship's despatch, No. 104, of
the 15th NoArember, 1869, transmitting copy of a letter from the Secretary of tho Aborigines' Protection Society, relative to the condition of the Indians in Vancouver-Island.
2. If the statements made in Mr. Sebright Green's letter, forwarded to your lordship
by the Society, were statements of facts, they would bo a matter of great reproach to
the Colonial GoA^ernment ; but I have satisfied myself that his representations are in
some cases quite incorrect, and in others greatly exaggerated. As the circumstances
alleged and referred to by Mr. Green Avore antecedent to my acquaintance' Avith the
Colony, I referred his letter to Mr. Trutch, the Commissioner of Lands and Works and
Surveyor-General, for a report ; and I now enclose a memorandum from that officer
upon the subject. From other sources of information I have every reason to believe Mr.
Trutch's statements to be correct.
3. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to place Indian trihes exactly in tho same
position as more civilized races, but they do, substantially, enjoy equal protection from
the Government; and I believe that those of them who are most in contact with the
Avhite population quite understand that this is the case. Complaints are frequently
brought by the Indians in the neighbourhood of Victoria before the Police Magistrate,
against each other. And since my arriATal here, Indians have been the principal Avit-
nesses in trials for murder.
I have, &c,
(Signed) A. Musgrave.
Memorandum on a letter treating of condition of the Indians in  Vancouver Island, addressed
to the Secretary of the Aborigines' Protection Society, by Mr.   William Sebright Green.
Mr. Green's letter contains a series of allegations against the Government, most of
Avhich are so entirely inconsistent with facts, and in the remainder the truth is so
strangely distorted, that his statements in this matter, and the deductions drawn by
him therefrom, urgently require to he met Avith most distinct and positive refutation.
It is not true, as he aArers, that in this Colony we haA*o " no Indian Policy whatever;"
that "there are no Indian Agents;" and that "the only friends the Indians have in the
Colony are the Missionaries." On the contrary, for tho past ten years at least, during
which I have resided in this Colony, the Government appears to me to have striven to
the extent of its power to protect and befriend tho Native race, and its declared policy
has been that the Aborigines should, in all material respects, be on the same footing in
the eye of the law as people of European descent, and that they should be encouraged
to live amongst thewhite settlers in tho country, and so, by their example, be induced
to adopt habits of civilization. In the more settled districts the Indians now reside
mostly in the settlements, working for the Avhite settlers, eating similar food, and
wearing similar clothing, and having, to a great extent, relinquished their former wild,
primitive mode of life. In these respects the native race has undoubtedly derived A'ery
material benefit from their contact with Avhite people, whilst it is undoubtedly equally
certain that it has thence contracted a large share of the vices, and attendant disease
which have ever been inevitably entailed by European races, on the Indians of this
continent amongst whom they have settled.
This policy towards the Indians has been consistently carried out, so far as I am
aAvare, by successive Governors, and under it tho Indians have assuredly, as Mr. Green
states, " boon made amenable to English laws;" but it is somewhat more than exaggerated to Avrito, as ho has done, that the Indians have been " suffered to shoot and kill one
another within rifle-shot of the city, without interference." It may be, and 1 believe is,
a fact, that during the past ten years there have been instances of Indians haAdng shot
and killed one'another m the outskirts of Victoria without having been apprehended;
but they certainly have not been- suffered to do so. On the contrary, had they been
detected in the commission of such crimes, they would most assuredly have boon tried
and punished according to English laAv.     In fact, Indians have been tried for this very 39  Vic. Report on Indian Reserves. 67
crime in Victoria and hanged. At the trial of all such offenders counsel have been
assigned by the judge for their defence, unless, specially provided by themselves or their
friends, precisely as though they had been white men. For it must be pointed out that
Mr. Green is again positively incorrect in stating, as he has done, that the defence of
Indians is a " mere matter of chance." There is no more of the element of chance in
this respect, as regards an Indian on his trial, than Avould affect a white man similarly
circumstanced. Money must, of course, always have its effect m securing the services
of able counsel and in other ways, Avhon a man is under trial for any offence against tho
law; but in this respect a poor Indian is no worse off than a poor Avhite man, indeed, he
is probably not so friendless, as Jthe judges in this colony have always made it their
special care that Indians on trial should be at least at no disadvantage on account of
their being Indians.
The Magistrates, too, throughout the Colony, are the especially constituted protectors of the Indians against injustice. They are, in fact, " Indian Agents " in all but
the name, and I am confident that they have so performed this well-understood branch
of their duty, that as full a measure of protection and general advantage has been
bestowed on the Indians through their agency by Government, out of the pecuniary
means at its disposal for this purpose, as could have been afforded to them through the
medium of a special Indian Department.
The Indians have, in fact, been held to be the special wards of tho Crown, and in
the exercise of this guardianship Government has, in all cases where it has been
desirable for the interests of the Indians, sot apart such portions of the Crown lands as
were deemed proportionate to, and amply sufficient for, the requirements of each tribe ;
and these Indian Reserves are held by Government, in trust, for the exclusive use and
benefit of the Indians resident thereon.
But the title of the Indians in the fee of the public lands, or of any portion thereof,
has never been acknowledged by Government, but, on the contrary, is distinctly denied.
In no case has any special agreement been made with any of the tribes of the Mainland
for the extinction of their claims of possession; but these claims have been hold to have
been fully satisfied by securing to each tribe, as the progress of the settlement of the
country seemed to require, the use of sufficient tracts of land for their wants for agricultural and pastoral purposes.
In 1850 and 1851, shortly after the first settlement at Victoria by the Hudson Bay
Company—at that time grantees from the Crown of the whole of Vancouver Island,
with full executive powers of Government—their agent, Governor Douglas, made
agreements with tho various families of Indians then occupying the south-eastern portion
of the Island, for the relinquishment of their possessory claims in the district of country
around Fort Victoria, in consideration of certain blankets and other goods presented to
them. But these presents were, as I understand, made for the purpose of securing
friendly relations between those Indians and the settlement of Victoria, then in its
infancy, and certainly not in acknowledgment of any general title of the Indians to
the lands they occupy.
In reference to the Cowiehan settlement, it appears from the records—for I cannot
speak of this matter from personal knowledge, as I had no official connection with
Vancouver Island until the year before last—that portions of the Cowiehan Valley were
surveyed by Government and sold in 1859. The settlement dates, therefore, from that
year, although the unoccupied lands in this district were not thrown open for preemption until 1862. When these lands were surveyed, certain sections, containing in all
4635 acres, were set apart as reserves for the use of tho CoAvichan Indians, and are now
held in trust by Government for that purpose, with the exception of about-500 acres
Avhich have been since withdrawn from this reservation, with the consent, as appears
from the recorded correspondence in this office, of the Indians interested therein.  -
I can find no record of any promise having boon made to those Indians that they
should be paid for the lands in the Cowiehan Valley which they may have laid
claim to, nor can I learn that any such promise has ever been made. But it is
probable that the Cowichans, when the Avdiite people began to settle among them, may
have expected and considered themselves entitled to receive for the lands, which they
held to be theirs, similar donations to those which had been presented to their neighbors,
the Saanich Indians, years previously, as before mentioned, on their relinquishing their
claims on the lands around their villages. It is further very likely that it was Governor
Douglas' intention that such gratuities should bo bestowed on this tribe, although no
direct promise to that effect had been made; and, in fact, presents of agricultural implements and tools were authorised to be made to them through this department last year^ 68 Report on Indian Reserves. 1875
although no demands for payment for their lands had, to my knowledge, been made by
these Indians of Government.
It is unfortunately only too true that the law forbidding the sale of liquor to the
Indians, although efficacious in the country districts, especially on the mainland, is
virtually inoperatiAre in Victoria and its neighbourhood, as its provisions, strict as they
are, are evaded by an organized system between Avhite men who make the vile liquor
for this trade, and the Indian traders who purchase it in quantities, to be retailed to
their Indian customers on tho reserve. Government has endeavored to suppress this
most baneful traffic, but tho profits are so considerable that those engaged in it in a
wholesale way cannot be tempted to become informers; and it is only occasionally that
even the minor agents are apprehended and punished, Avhilst the principal offenders,
some of whom it is hinted are most respectable persons, cannot be traced. It is easy
for Mr. Green to say, "ho could point out at least a dozen men known to be engaged in
this nefarious traffic;" but it would no doubt have been difficult for him to have proved
this, which he asserts as a known fact, otherwise he Avould surely have evidenced his
earnestness in the cause of those on Avhose behalf he Avritcs, by giving such information
to the police as might have led to the punishment of these offenders.
Prostitution is another acknoAvledged evil prevailing to an almost unlimited extent
among the Indian women in the neighborhood of Victoria; but tho prevention of this
vice is at least as difficult to effect here as in more civilized communities, and the only
direct step tOAvards this result that appears open for Government to take would be to
remove the entire Indian population to a distance of some miles from Victoria; a course
against Avhich the Indians themselves, and the majority of the white inhabitants, would
strenuously protest, for a variety of reasons; but this course must certainly be adopted
before any measures for the improArement in this respect of the moral and social condition of the Indian population can be carried into effect Avith any hope of success.
In direct refutation of the charges of utter neglect and inhuman treatment of the
Indians at Victoria during the prevalence of small-pox in 1868, Avhich Mr. Green makes
against Government, it Avill be sufficient for me to recount Avhat came under my own
observation in reference to this subject.
Some time during the autumn of that year, whilst this disease Avas at its height, Mr.
Young, at that time acting Colonial Secretary, called jmy attention to a leading article
in that morning's British Colonist, of which Mr. Green was then editor, which contained
most exaggerated representations of the horrible condition of the Indians on the
reserve at Victoria under this visitation, and charges against Government of having
utterly failed to take any steps to prevent the spread of the fell contagion, or to
alleviate tho sufferings of those attacked by it, or even provide for the burial of its
victims; statements, in fact of a character and tenor identical with tho charges which arc
so broadly made in the letter now under reference. Mr. Young informed me, that
although he knew these statements had no foundation in fact, he was then going to investigate the matter thoroughly, and would be glad if I would accompany him.
Accordingly, Mr. Young, Mr. Pemberton, Police Magistrate of Victoria, and myself, went
at once to the Indian reserve, and spent some hours in inspecting the Indian houses,
hospital, graveyard, &c, and in inquiring into the arrangements that had been made by
the Police Magistrate, with the assistance of the Rev. Mr. Owens, at that time resident on
the reserve in charge of the Church of England Indian Mission thereon, and who also
joined us in our inspection.
We found but few—only three—cases of small-pox then existing on the reserve, and
these cases were in care of an attendant, paid by Government, in a building erected by
Government specially as an Indian Small-pox Hospital, and under medical treatment
also provided by Government. Those who had died on the reserve and in the toAvn of
Victoria had boon decently buried, to the number of about fifty, that being the number of
newly-made graves. Wo could not verify whether these represented all tho deaths up
to that time from small-pox among tho Indians; but we certainly saw no dead bodies of
Indians left unburied on tho reserve, or elsewhere in the neighborhood of the toAvn; nor
did Ave learn that even one such dead body had boon found "on the rocks outside the
harbor," where Mr. Green says '• hundreds of bodies Avere left unburied." ' The shanties
which had been occupied by the small-pox patients, together with their clothes and
bedding, had been carefully burnt; and from all that we saw on the reserve, and from the
information furnished to ats by the Rev. Mr. Owens, Mr. Pemberton, and others, we
were satisfied that all practicable measures were being taken for the proper care of the
Indian sufferers from small-pox, and for the prevention of the spread of the disease. S9 Vic, Report on Indian Reserves, 69
I Avill only add, in confirmation of the correctness of the impressions we then formed
to the above effect, that this subject was brought under discussion during the last Session
of the Legislative Council by the lato Dr. Davie, then Member for Victoria District, who,
speaking of his own knowledge, as he had been unremitting in his professional services
to Indians as well as to white persons afflicted with small-pox, and who, being one of
the medical officers appointed by Government for this purpose, had frequently visited
this reserve on such charitable errands, bore testimony to the zeal and unthinking disregard of the danger of contagion which had been exhibited by those to whom tho duty
of taking care of the Indians during the late visitation had been entrusted.
I have since ascertained that the deaths from small-pox among the Indians in 1868,
amounted to eighty-eight, and that about two thousand dollars were expended by
Government in the care of, and medical attendance on, these sufferers, and in the burial
of the dead.
Most of the Indians from tho outlying districts along the Coast fled from the City
in their canoes, by the advice of tho authorities, but under no compulsion, at the first
outbreak of the contagion, but, unfortunately, not in time to escape its ravages; for
they carried the infection Avith them, and those attacked by tho dreaded disease on
their way homeward were left by their friends on the shore to perish unattended.
Many Indians died in this way, in addition to those whose deaths were registered;
but I am unable to perceive what measures it was in the power of Government to take,
other than those which were adopted for the protection and succour of the Avhite and
Indian population alike.
I will only remark further, on the general subject of the condition of the Indians in
the Colony*, that it is' unhesitatingly acknowledged to be the peculiar responsibility-of
Government to use every endeavour to promote tho civilization, education, and ultimate
christianization of the native races within our territory*, and that any practical scheme
for advancing this object which it would be within tho scope of the pecuniary ability of
tho Colony to carry into effect Avould be adopted Avith alacrity.
At present this good work is almost exclusiA*ely in the hands of the Missionaries of
various denominations, and much has been effected by their labours in those stations
Avhere tho Indians under their teaching are not subject to those temptations which seem
almost inevitably to overcome them when brought into close contact with the white
population of the towns. But Government, although giving cordially to these missions
every countenance and moral support in its power, has found it impracticable to grant
them any pecuniary aid, from the consideration that, by* so doing, it would be involved
in the invidious position of appearing to give special state aid to particular religious bodies.
(Signed)       Joseph W. Tkutoii.
Appendix C.
Copy of part of a letter on Indian Affairs addressed to the Minister of the Interior,
Ottawa, by Mr. Duncan,  May,  1875.
Thus I have sketched the origin and growth of Metlakahtla, that from the facts and
experience thereby shown, I may have good and safe grounds for recommending the following
simple policy or principles of action to the Government in their future dealings with the
Indians of British Columbia:—
A clear, practical, and satisfactory Indian Policy is now undoubtedly called for and is of
vital importance to the prosperity of the Province. The problem of Indian affairs too, is confessedly difficult and solemn, hence I feel in duty bound to tender my humble aid to the
Government toward its right solution.
Not having any personal or party ends to serve, but simply a desire to promote the spiritual
and temporal interests ol the Indians with whom my lot is cast, I will open my mind freely,
and trust that what I have to say will be received by the Government in a like spirit of candour.
Let me then first assure the Government, that I believe the present organization of the
Indian Department in British Columbia can never work successfully, and that however sincerely
desirous those who now exercise the management of Indian afiuirs may be to do their duty, to
my mind so palpably defective and misdirected are their labours, that I fear when the Government and the public come to look for results, they will be sorely disappointed.
The first anomaly that strikes one, is the isolated existence of the Department from the
influence and control of the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province. 70 Report on Indian Reserves, 18T5
Such an arrangement, however easy it may work in Provinces nearer Canada, will prove, I
am fully persuaded, both perplexing and injurious to the Indians of British Columbia. Its
tendency will be to lower the Lieutenant-Governor in their estimation; retard their loyalty;
and engender toward the white race antagonism of interests.
The Governor of the whites being no longer regarded as the guardian of their welfare, they
will cease to respect him; while the Indian Commissioner, though he may succeed in enlisting
their friendship, yet, from, having no authority among or over the whites, will fail to
inspire them with that salutary reverence so necessary to their good government.
It is to be hoped that this impolitic state of things may soon be remedied, and that, with
an Indian Commissioner by his side, the Lieutenant-Governor, as the representative of the Queen,
may continue to be looked up to by the Indians as the head of all authority and public interests
in the Province; and that though they may feel themselves inferior to the whites in political
and social standing, yet, that at least they have one and the same G overnor, who will administer
their affairs as impartially, and guard their interests as sacredly, as he does those of their otherwise
more favored brethren.
I will now proceed with my suggestions for an Indian Policy which I propose to place
under the heads of Surveillance, Reserves, and Gifts.
First, Surveillance.—This I conceive to be the proper starting point for commencing a
right policy in Indian affairs; for without surveillance no satisfactory relationship can ever exist
between the Government and the Indians.
But in looking at this subject I would ask the Government to lose sight of the tribal
divisions of the Indians, which are so numerous and perplexing, and regard only the natural
division of languages, of which I suppose there are some ten or twelve in the Province; each
language being spoken, judging roughly, by about four, to five thousand persons.
To each of these languages I would recommend the Government to appoint a Superintendent,
or more properly speaking, a Sub-agent, who should also be a Justice of the Peace. This Sub-
Agent should of course reside among his Indians and identify himself with their interests. He
should be a married man of good character and a total abstainer from intoxicating drink. He
must be a man of courage, patience, of orderly and industrious habits, and one who could
command the respect of his people. He should possess some knowledge of medicine and of
building, and be of % practical turn of mind. It should be his aim, as soon as possible, to learn
the language of his Indians, and acquaint himself with their country, their pursuits, wants, and
difficulties; all which he should duly record and report upon to the Chief Commissioner in the
Province. His duties for the Indians would consist in preserving the peace in their midst,
helping any in sickness or distress, teaching and aiding the community to open up the resources
of their country and to build themselves good houses, and thus lead the way to their becoming
an industrious and prosperous people.
I would recommend that at first the Sub-Agent take up his quarters pro tern, with the
principal tribe in his district, but that as soon as he shall have become acquainted with the
country he shall choose out a good central position for his station or head quarters, and erect his
house on a site suitable for a future Native town. Before he moves he should make his plans
fully known to his Indians and then encourage them to settle around him, without regard to
tribal or sub-tribal distinctions.
As soon as possible after moving to the central station, I would recommend that he should
choose out a Native constable or two, and gradually inciease the staff until he has a corps sufficiently strong for all emergencies. Simultaneously I would recommend he should select a Native
Council with whom he should deliberate upon all matters affecting the public weal within his district.
The expense of these two Native forces would be but trivial if the plan as at Metlakahtla
be adopted. There the council have only a badge of office, which consists of a cape trimmed with
scarlet, while the constables have each a simple uniform about every five years, and are remunerated for their services only when sent on special duty.
For the protection and encouragement of the Sub-Agent I would recommend that his station
be visited once annually by the Governor or Chief Commissioner, and that his salary be not less
than fifteen hundred dollars ($1500) a year, with allowances for medicine and canoe hire.
Next as to Reserves :—
Here again I would ask the Government to lose sight of scattered tribes, and rather be prepared when the time comes to grant a large district for the use and benefit of all the Indians of
one language ; that is, I would recommend one large Reserve for each tongue as the principle to
be kept in view, and as opposed to having some ten or fifteen smaller reserves for each language
if tribal divisions were followed.
But in practice this recommendation might require modifying in some cases, as where the
Indians of the same tongue are very much scattered, or are divided by natural barriers which
render their pursuits and means of living so dissimilar that their coming all on one reserve is
impracticable.    In such cases two, or at most three, reserves might be required. 89 Vie. Report on Indian Reserves. 71
In addition to the reserve for each tongue, I would earnestly beg the Government to hold
in trust for the benefit of each tribe its respective fishing station, though it may not come on the
reserve and be only occupied (of course) part of the year. To allow the whites to pre-empt or
occupy such clearings would not only be a great injustice but would, I am sure, be a fruitful
source of trouble to the Province.
As the question of Reserves is one of vital importance both to the Indians and the Government, and serious evils may result from precipitancy, I would propose that the subject wherever
possible should lie over until the Government Agent before alluded to has taken up his position
in each district; and after he has learnt the number, Avants, and pursuits of the Indians under
his charge, and the nature of their country, ho should duly advise the Government accordingly,
thus pointing out the most suitable locality and the quantity of land required by his particular
Without such advice I cannot see how the Government can be expected to act fairly or
wisely in dealing with the subject.
Further, I would suggest as matter for caution that whatever system be adopted in granting
reserves, that the Government will not sanction the establishing of an Indian Settlement on or
near the border of a reserve where it might at once or at some future day be in proximity to a
White Settlement, but rather order that all new and permanent Indian towns or villages shall be
built as far from the settlement of the whites, or where such settlements are likely to arise, as
the reserve in each case will allow.
Further, I look to the reserve question if rightly settled greatly to aid in remedying the
present scattered condition of the Indians, and thus rendering them accessible to the Christian
Missionary and Schoolmaster : for unless they become more collected it would seem impossible
that education or civilization should ever reach them as a whole. ■
Next as to Gifts :—
In no matter affecting the Indians can the Government do more good or harm than in the
matter of gifts.
Money may be spent to a large amount upon the Indians and yet tend only to alienate,
dissatisfy, and impoverish them if wrongly applied; whereas a small sum rightly administered
will yield much good both to the Indians and the country at large.
The policy of dealing out gifts to individual Indians I consider cannot be too strongly deprecated, as it is both degrading and demoralizing. To treat the Indians as paupers is to perpetuate
their baby-hood and burdensomeness. To treat them as savages, whom we fear and who must
be tamed and kept in good temper by presents, will perpetuate their barbarism and increase their
insolence.   I would therefore strongly urge the Government to set their faces against such a policy.
The Indians of British Columbia are by no means poor in the usual moaning of the word,
i.e. they are not poor as to resources, but are ignorant, indolent, and improvident, and hence
need a guiding and friendly hand before they can become a prosperous people. Thus may I
recommend the Government in making pecuniary grants for Indian use to lose sight of individuals altogether, even chiefs not excepted, and rather spend the money on Public Works which
shall benefit the community as a whole and be a palpable and lasting evidence of the interest the
Government take in their welfare.
Of course such openings [for thus helping tho whole community would be set before the
Government, from time to time, by the Agent, with the consent and approbation of the Native
Council, and each proposition or call for help would stand or fall on its own merits; but, speaking generally, pecuniary aid might be well applied in opeuing up roads, helping all who built at
the Government Station to erect good houses, by providing, say, windows, nails, &c.; also assisting Indians in companies to open up any new industry: making this, however, a fundamental
rule, only to assist those who are endeavouring to rise higher in social life and are law-abiding
subjects of Her Majesty.
Thus I would have the Government to employ their money grants, and the Agent his
energies principally to build up a good and substantial Native town for each language, and as
central as possible for all the tribes of the same tongue.
These central Government Stations being started, a Government School might be established
in each, and good openings would thus be made for Religious Societies to step in with their aid,
and no doubt a Minister would soon be provided for each such station and thus for each tongue
in the Province.
The three gentlemen—tho Agent, the Minister, and the Schoolmaster—thus severally employed, and aiding and encouraging each other, might reasonably be expected to bring about such
a state of things as would warrant the town at no very distant date being incorporated and have
its oavu Native Magistrate, and thus cease to belong to'the Indian Department or need an Indian
(Signed)       William Duncan. 72 Report on Indian Reserves. 1875
Appendix D.
Mr. Duncan to the Hon. 67. A.  Walkem.
Victoria, 6th July, 1875.
Sir,—Having read over the correspondence between the Provincial Government and the
Indian Department, in reference to the question of Land Reserves for the Indians, I have now
the honor to submit to you, for the consideration of the Government, the following remarks which
contain my views on the subject.
Of the urgency and importance of the Land question, and its vital bearing on the peace and
prosperity of the Province there can be no doubt. The Provincial Government will, I feel sure,
readily endorse all that appears in the correspondence on these points,
The questions to settle appear to be :—■
1. Who among the Indians shall be entitled to land?
2. What number of acres shall be granted to each Indian so entitled?
3. What is to be done with existing Reserves'?
Taking the first question:—
The mode approved by the Government appears to be, that each family of five is to receive
oertain lands, while some of their correspondents urge rather to regard every male adult as
eligible. With the latter idea I fully concur, as it seems to me the only workable course to pursue.
I should pity the officer appointed to carry out the arrangement about families; nothing but
complication and annoyance would ensue, and ultimately (in my opinion) the plan would be
thrown aside as untenable.
As to the 2nd question .—The Dominion Government ask for eighty (80) acres for each family
of five persons, while the Provincial Government offer only twenty (20) acres for such family.
I cannot believe the great difference between the demand in the one case, and the offer
on the other, denotes the comparative respect for the Indians' welfare as held by the two Governments. No, I am persuaded that the whole difference springs from the fact that no definite
information is before the Provincial Government as to the number and pursuits of the Indians in
respective localities or the kind of land to be reserved for their use.
I can fully understand that the Provincial Government are reluctant to impede the progress of the Province by handing over to the Indians what might in some localities prove to be
the whole of the cultivable lands, without their having much prospect or any guarantee that
such lands will be utilized; hence I beg to make the following suggestions:—
1st. That no basis of acreage for Reserves be fixed for the Province as a whole, but rather
that each nation of Indians be dealt with separately on their respective claims.
2nd. That for the proper adjustment of such claims let the Dominion and the Provincial
Governments each provide an agent to visit the Indians and report fully as to the number
and pursuits of each nation and the kind of country they severally occupy.
3rd. That the Provincial Government deal as liberally with the Indians as other Provincial
Governments in the Dominion. My opinion is that a liberal policy will prove the cheapest in
the end; but I hold it will not be necessary in the interests of the Indians to grant them only
cultivable lands; rather I would recommend that a large proportion of their Reserves should be wild
and forest lands, and hence may be very extensive without impoverishing the Province, and at the
same time so satisfactory to the Indians as to allay all irritation and jealousy towards the whites.
4th. I think the Provincial Government might reasonably insist upon this with the
Dominion Government,—that no Indian shall be allowed to alienate any part of a Reserve, and
in case of a Reserve being abandoned, or the Indians on it decreasing, so that its extent is dis-
proportioned to the number of occupants, that such Reserve or part of a Reserve might revert to
the Provincial Government.
As to the 3rd question:—The existing Reserves are shown to be by the correspondence both
irregular in quantity and misplaced as to locality by following tribal divisions, which is no doubt
a mistake and fraught with bad consequences.
My advice would be in the meantime simply to ignore them, as it certainly would not be
wise to regard them as a precedent, and it would be impolitic to have two systems of Reserves in
the Province,—one tribal and the other national.
My opinion is that if the Dominion Government will establish sub-agents for each language
or nation of Indians, and place and employ those agents as I have recommended, that the Indians
will without any outside pressure be drawn and gradually gather round such agency and ultimately be willing to abandon the small and petty Reserves they now occupy, and especially so, if
the Provincial Government offer to compensate them for the improvements or clearing of any
lands they are willing to resign.
I enclose you a copy of part of a letter I have lately had the honor to present to the Indian
Department, at Ottawa, on Indian affairs.   I have, &c,


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