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RETURN To an Address presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying him to cause to be laid… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1897

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 60 Vict. Further Papers—Songhees Indian Reserve. 621
RETURN
To an Address presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying him to
cause to be laid before the House copies of all correspondence which has passed
between his Government and the Government of the Dominion of Canada, with
reference to the question of the removal of the Indians from the Songhees Reserve
since the return dated the 11th February, 1897, was presented to the House.
By Command.
JAMES BAKER,
Provincial Secretary.
Provincial Secretary's Office,
17th March, 1897.
Extract of a Report of the Committee of the Honourable the Privy Council, approved by His
Excellency on the 23rd February, 1897.
On a Report dated 15th February, 1897, from the Superintendent-General of Indian
Affairs, stating that he has had under consideration a communication, hereto attached, addressed
on the 10th September, 1896, by the Honourable James Baker, Provincial Secretary of British
Coulumbia, to the Honourable the First Minister, a copy of which was referred to him on the
12th idem. The communication treats, inter alia, oi the question of the removal of the Songhees Indians, and of the advisability of a revision of the Indian Reserves in British Columbia.
The Minister further states that as to the removal of the Songhees Indians, Commissioners
have been appointed both by the Federal and Provincial Governments for the purpose of
arranging for an exchange of land and the removal of these Indians, but up to the present,
owing to a difference of opinion as to scope of the proposed Commission, no instructions have
been sent to the Commissioners to proceed with the work.
The Minister observes that in his communication Mr. Baker suggests, in effect, that the
following should be the basis upon which the Commission should proceed :—
1. The Province to bear the entire expenses of the removal of the Indians to any new
reserve which may be selected.
2. That in consideration of doubt as to the question of ownership of the fee simple of lands
comprising the Songhees Reserve, but without prejudice to any right of ownership of the fee
simple of lands comprised in other Indian Reserves in the Province, the Province, in order to
promote an early settlement of the question of the removal of the Songhees, shall hand over to
the Dominion Government the fee simple of the lands selected as a reserve in lieu of the reserve
at present occupied by the Songhees.
3. That the lands vacated by the Indians in the Songhees Reserve shall become the property of the Provincial Government.
The Minister represents, after careful consideration, that while he considers Mr. Baker's
statement as to the basis upon which the Commissioners should proceed to be correct as far as
it goes, he is of opinion that it is not sufficiently comprehensive to secure a final disposal of the
question as the result of the Commissioners' work. The tract of land comprised in the Songhees Reserve is a very valuable one, and it will, therefore, be necessary to have it stipulated
that the Commission should value the land comprised in the Songhees Reserve, and the land
which the Provincial Government will be prepared to set aside, for the Indians in lieu thereof,
and assess the difference in value with a view to the Province paying the difference in value to
the Dominion Government, to be held in trust for the Indians ; or, in the event of the Provincial Government being adverse to making a money payment, the Provincial Government to
set aside such additional land as will fully compensate the Indians for the loss of the Songhees
Reserve. 622 Further Papers—Songhees Indian Reserve. 1897
The Minister further represents that it will also be necessary to provide that the Commissioners should value the improvements of the individual Indians upon the Songhees Reserve
with the view to the Indians being compensated therefor by the Provincial authorities, either
by a money payment through the Dominion Government, or by the making of improvements
for such individual Indians upon the land which may be selected as a reserve.
The Minister, therefore, recommends that in reply to Mr. Baker's communication, the
Provincial authorities be informed, through the usual channel, that the Dominion Government
will be ready to instruct its Commissioner to proceed at once in the matter of the proposed
removal of the Songhees Indians, upon the Government of British Columbia intimating its
assent to the following statement of the scope of the proposed Commission :—
1. The Commissioners to select a tract of land as a new reserve for the Songhees Indians,
and to value such land and the land comprised in the present reserve, assessing the difference
in valuation, such difference to be made good by the Province, either by a money payment to
the Dominion Government as Trustee for the Indians, or by the allotting of additional land to
the satisfaction of the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, it being understood that such
land as the Province may set apart for the Indians will be conveyed in fee simple to the Dominion Government, and that the land comprised in the Songhees Reserve will revert to the
Province.
2. The Commission to value the improvements of individual Indians upon the Songhees
Reserve, such Indians to be compensated by the Province therefor by a money payment through
the Dominion Government, or by the making, at the cost of the Province, of improvements of
equal value upon the land selected as a new reserve.
3. The Commission to negotiate with the Indians as to their removal, and to fix the
time, and to make all necessary arrangements for such removal, the expenses of such removal
to be borne by the Province.
4. The expenses incurred by each Commissioner to be paid by his respective Government.
5. Nothing which may be agreed to by the two Governments and the Indians in respect
to this matter, to in any way affect the claims of either Government as to other Indian Reserves
in the Province.
6. The report of the Commissioners to be subject to the approval of their respective Governments, and the Indians of the Songhees Band to be consenting parties to the removal.
The Minister further recommends that as to the revision of Indian Reserves in British
Columbia, as suggested by Mr. Baker, the Provincial authorities be informed that it is not
thought advisable to deal with the question of revision until the reference to the Supreme Court,
respecting the rights of the Province and the Dominion in Indian Reserves in British Columbia has been disposed of.
The Committee, on the recommendation of the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs,
advise that a certified copy of this Minute be transmitted to the Lieutenant-Governor of British
Columbia for the information of his Government. All which is respectfully submitted for
Your Excellency's approval.
(Signed)       John J. McGee,
Clerk of the Privy Council.
His Honour,
The Lieutenant-Governor,
Province of British Columbia.
Copy of a Report of a  Committee   of the Honourable the Executive   Council,   approved   by
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor on the 15th day of March, 1897.
On a memorandum from the Honourable the Provincial Secretary, dated the 10th of
March, 1897, stating that a communication has been received from the Honourable the Secretary of State of Canada covering a report of the Privy Council of the 23rd ultimo, in reference
to the negotiations now pending in relation to the removal of the Songhees Indians from the
Indian Reserve, which is located in the City of Victoria.
The Minister remarks that the Dominion Government sets forth in the said Minute the
details of a letter from the Honourable the Provincial Secretary, dated 10th September, 1896
and bearing on the question as follows : 60 Vict. Further Papers—Songhees Indian Reserve. 623
1. The Province to bear the entire expenses of the removal of the Indians to any new
Reserve which may be selected.
2. That in consideration of doubt as to the question of ownership of the fee simple of
lands comprising the Songhees Reserve, but without prejudice to any right of ownership of the
fee simple of lands comprised in other Indian Reserves in the Province, the Province, in order
to promote an early settlement of the question of the removal of the Songhees, will hand over
to the Dominion Government the fee simple of the lands selected as a Reserve in lieu of the
Reserve at present occupied by the Songhees.
3. That the lands vacated by the Indians in the Songhees Reserve shall become the
property of the Provincial Government.
With regard to these suggestions the Honourable the Superintendent-General of Indian
Affairs, to whom a copy of the said letter of the 10th of September last was referred,
" represents, after careful consideration, that while he considers Mr. Baker's statement as to
" the basis upon which the Commissioners should proceed to be correct as far as it goes, he is
" of opinion that it is not sufficiently comprehensive to secure a final disposal of the question
" as the result of the Commissioners' work. The tract of land comprised in the Songhees
" Reserve is a very valuable one, and it will, therefore, be necessary to have it stipulated that
" the Commission should value the land comprised in the Songhees Reserve, and the land
" which the Provincial Government will be prepared to set aside for the Indians in lieu thereof,
" and assess the difference in value, with a view to the Province paying the difference in value
" to the Dominion Government, to be held in trust for the Indians ; or, in the event of the
" Provincial Government being adverse to making a money payment, the Provincial Govern-
" ment to set aside such additional land as will fully compensate the Indians for the loss of the
" Songhees Reserve.
" The Minister further represents that it will also be necessary to provide that the Com-
" missioners should value the improvements of the individual Indians upon the Songhees
" Reserve with a view to the Indians being compensated therefor by the Provincial authorities,
" either by a money payment through the Dominion Government, or by the making of
" improvements for such individual Indians upon the land which may be. selected as a Reserve.
" The Minister, therefore, recommends that in reply to Mr. Baker's communication the
" Provincial authorities be informed, through the usual channel, that the Dominion Government
" will be ready to instruct its Commissioner to proceed at once in the matter of the proposed
" removal of the Songhees Indians upon the Government of British Columbia intimating its
" assent to the following statement of the scope of  the proposed Commission :
" 1. The Commissioners to select a tract of land as a new Reserve for the Songhees
" Indians, and to value such land and the land comprised in the present Reserve, assessing the
" difference in valuation, such difference to be made good by the Province, either by a money
" payment to the Dominion Government as trustee for the Indians, or by the allotting of
" additional land to the satisfaction of the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, it being
" understood that such land as the Province may set apart for the Indians will be conveyed in
" fee simple to the Dominion Government, and that the land comprised in the Songhees
" Reserve will revert to the Province.
" 2. The Commission to value the improvements of individual Indians upon the Songhees
" Reserve, such Indians to be compensated by the Province therefor by a money payment
" through the Dominion Government, or by the making, at the cost of the Province, of im-
" provements of equal value upon the land selected as a new Reserve.
" 3. The Commission to negotiate with the Indians as to their removal, and to fix the
" time, and to make all necessary arrangements for such removal, the expenses of such removal
" to be borne by the Province.
" 4. The expenses incurred by each Commissioner to be paid by his respective Government.
" 5. Nothing which may be agreed to by the two Governments and the Indians in respect
" to this matter to, in any way, affect the claims of either Government as to other Indian
" Reserves in the Province.
" 6. The report of the Commissioners to be subject to the approval of their respective
" Governments, and the Indians of the Songhees Band to be consenting parties to the removal."
The Honourable the Provincial Secretary submits that it would not be equitable nor for
the interest of the Province to introduce into the negotiations the question of any compensation to the Indians for their removal other than that of rehabilitation. 624 Further Papers—Songhees Indian Reserve. 1897
The present value of the Songhees Reserve is not ancillary to the transaction of the relocation of the Indians upon ground which would satisfy their desires.
The value of the present Songhees Reserve has been created by causes entirely independent of the said Indians and in' spite of their customs, habits and avocations, and although the
Songhees Indians claim, by a deed of sale of their lands to the Hudson's Bay Company, dated
30th April, 1850, the use of the lands on the following conditions : "That our villages, 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."
The aforesaid deed does not bar a voluntary surrender by the Songhees Indians of the
aforesaid rights of location, in consideration of another location which would be equally satisfactory to them as a Reserve.
The question resolves itself into a voluntary agreement between the Songhees Indians of
the first part, and the Dominion and Provincial Governments of the second part and, inasmuch
as the Provincial Government has consented to waive, in this particular case, any title in fee
of the proposed new location, and agrees that the fee simple of the land of the new location
shall be vested in the Dominion for the use of the Songhees Indians, but without prejudice to
pending litigation in the Supreme Court respecting the rights of the Province and the
Dominion in the Indian Reserves of British Columbia, it is only equitable that the right and
title to the fee of the land of the present Songhees Reserve should continue to vest in the
Province after the removal of the Songhees Indians to a new location.
If an agreement can be arranged with the Dominion Government in accordance with the
aforesaid views of the Province, the remaining clauses, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, of the proposal made
by the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs as contained in the aforesaid Report of the
Privy Council of the 23rd of February, 1897, may be agreed to by the Province as a basis upon
which the Joint Commission may act.
The Committee of Council concur and advise that a certified copy of this Minute, if approved, be transmitted to the Honourable the Secretary of State of Canada.
(Certified)        A. Campbell Reddie,
Deputy  Clerk Executive   Council.
victoria, b. c. :
Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
1897.

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