BC Sessional Papers

ORDER IN COUNCIL. SONGHEES INDIAN RESERVE. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1896

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 59 Vict. Songhees Indian Reserve. 583
Certified Copy of a Report of a Committee of the Honourable the Executive Council, approved
by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the 9th March, 1895.
On a memorandum dated 4th February, 1895, frorn the Honourable the Provincial Secretary, reporting on the advisability of coming to some understanding with the tribe of Songhees
Indians, who are settled on a reserve in the heart of the City of Victoria, with a view to
removing them from the temptations and demoralizing influences of a large city to a more
appropriate location, and at the same time to place the land upon which they now reside at
the disposal of the Provincial Government, in order that it may be more suitably occupied,
states as follows : —
The said tribe of Indians were settled upon the land in question at the time of the occupation of the country by the Hudson's Bay Company. The only agreement they have to
show, which entitled them to the use of the land, is one made between the Kosampson tribe
and the Hudson's Bay Company, as follows :—
" Know all men, we, the chiefs and people of the Kosampson Tribe, who have signed our
names and made our marks to this deed, on the thirtieth day of April, one thousand eight
hundred and fifty, do consent to surrender entirely and forever, to James Douglas, the agent
of the Hudson's Bay Company in Vancouver Island, that is to say, for the Governor, Deputy
Governor, and Committee of the same, the whole of the lands situate and lying between the
Island of the Dead in the Arm or Inlet of Camosan, and the head of the said inlet, embracing
the lands on the west side and north of that line to Esquimalt, beyond the Inlet three miles
of the Colquitz Valley, and the land on the east side of the Arm, enclosing Christmas Hill
and Lake, and the lands west of those objects.
" The condition of or understanding of this sale is this, that our village sites and enclosed
fields are to be kept for our own use, for the use of our children, and for those who may follow
after us ; and the land shall be properly surveyed hereafter. It is understood, however, that
the land itself, with these small exceptions, becomes the entire property of the white people
forever ; it is also understood that we are at liberty to hunt over the unoccupied lands, and to
carry on our fisheries as formerly.
" We have received as payment fifty-two pounds ten shillings sterling.
" In token whereof, we have signed our names and made our marks, at Fort Victoria, on
the thirtieth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and fifty."
It will be observed that this agreement surrenders " entirely and forever
* * * * the whole of the lands," &c, and it afterwards recites  the  condi
tion that certain portions, including the present Songhees Reserve in the City of Victoria,
shall " be kept for our own use, for the use of our children, and for those who may follow
after us."
No fee simple of the land is given; it is merely reserved for the use of the said Indians.
By the 13th article of the Terms of Union between the Province of British Columbia and
the Dominion of Canada, it states, " the trusteeship and management of the lands reserved
for their (the Indians) use and benefit shall be assumed by the Dominion Government."
Sub-section (5) of section 29 of the " British North America Act," gives to the Province of
British Columbia the management and sale of public lands belonging to the Province. 584 Songhees Indian Reserve. 1896
Therefore, as the fee simple of the present Songhees Reserve is vested in the Province of
British Columbia, through the Crown, and the said reserve of land is conveyed to the
Dominion of Canada in trust for the use of the said Indians, it follows that if the Province
can come to an agreement with the said Indians, that they shall remove to another tract of
land which would be conveyed by the Province to the Dominion in trust for the said Indians,
and that if the Dominion shall then release the present Songhees Reserve to the Province of
British Columbia, the whole of the disadvantages and inconvenience of the present location of
the Songhees Reserve in the heart of the City of Victoria will be removed, to the satisfaction
of all parties. From information received by the Provincial Government, it is anticipated that
the Songhees Indians would be willing to treat for terms of their removal to another location
on the following basis :
(1.) The obtaining of 949 acres, more or less, in Metchosin District, Sections 52, 53, 60,
61, 62, 66, and part of 59 and 63, two hundred (200) acres of which is or has been under cultivation, together with buildings, barns, &c, also about 80 acres of section 63, giving an excellent frontage on Beecher Bay, well sheltered, and which abuts on a favourite fishing ground
of Indians between Victoria and the West Coast, and is distant by road from Victoria
eighteen or twenty miles, and by water ten miles.
(2.) That all improvements of each Indian of full age, or widow of Indian, on the
Songhees Reserve be valued on a fixed date by three persons, representing the Federal Government, the Local Government, and the Indians.
(3.) That three-fifths of the value of the improvements be paid on a fixed date, after
valuation and removal, in cash ; the remaining two-fifths to be laid out in purchasing lumber
and delivering on new Reserve free of cost.
(4.) That after improvements have been valued and certified to by the Indians in writing,
or, in the event of an absentee, by his two "tilicums," he, she, or they be allowed to remove
from off said reserve that portion of said improvements they may require, but said removal
must be within ninety days from the date of the payment of said three-fifths.
(5.) That the funds receivable as rents and now to the credit of said Reserve Indians
(approximating to $11,000) bearing interest, be utilized in purchasing live-stock, implements,
erection of school for new Reserve, etc.
(6.) That in two or three known cases of Songhees Indians who have shown thrift by
steady labour at a trade in the City, a suitable lot or more should be obtained for each of
them in the neighbourhood of Rock Bay on which they could build, the Dominion Government undertaking to pay the taxes.
(7.) That provision shall be made for the removal of the Indian dead from the present
It is proposed that a formal meeting of the Executive Council, together with the Chief
and Headmen of the Songhees Indians, and the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, on the part
of the Dominion Government, be held at an early date for the purpose of discussing the terms
of removal on the aforesaid basis, or for any other suitable location which may be thought
advisable, and coming to a decision thereon.
The Provincial Government to bear the whole expense attendant on the removal of the
said Indians with the exception of the taxes named in section 6 of the proposed agreement.
The Committee of Council concur with the statements contained in this memorandum
and advise that it be adopted as the expression of the views of this Government as to the best
method of effecting a settlement of this important question, which so materially affects the interests of the City of Victoria.
The Committee further advise that a copy of this minute, if approved, be forwarded to
the Honourable the Secretary of State, and to the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs.
A. Campbell Reddie,
Deputy Clerk Executive Council.
Printed by Richard Wtoi.kenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.


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