to Treaty 10
Based on the evidence before the Commission, we make the
following conclusions on the issues.
Issue One: The Geographical Scope of Treaties 8 and 10
The evidence does not support the claimants' submission
that the boundaries of Treaties 8 and 10 extend beyond
the metes and bounds descriptions to include the traditional
lands of the Denes¶øiné.
The traditional territory of the Denes¶øiné
was not delineated at the time of the signing of the treaties
and, for the most part, remains delineated to this day.
traditional lands outside the boundaries described in
Treaties 8 and 10 were not intended to be opened for non-Indian
settlement, mining, lumbering, and other such uses at
that time. The parties did not intend the boundaries of
the treaties to encompass the Denes¶øiné
traditional lands north of 60 degrees latitude.
Evidence that was found in this matter indicates that
the Canadian government knew that the Denes¶øiné
occupied, hunted, trapped, and fished much of the time
north of 60 degrees latitude. It was to this end that
sought guarantees and promises from treaty Commissioners
to the effect that their lifestyle of harvesting on those
said lands would be protected.
Harvesting rights beyond the boundaries of the treaties:
possess treaty rights extending beyond the borders of
the treaties in respect to their traditional lands. These
rights include the land north of the 60th parallel. But
Canada says in response: The treaty right to hunt, fish
and trap extends only within the boundaries and metes
of the treaty description. When dealing with treaty issues
as such this one, one must look back to our history and
the evidence it entails. Such relevant historical evidence
can be divided into two categories.
Conduct of the parties leading up to and during the signing
of the treaties.
2. Conduct of the parties after the signing of the treaties.
More information can be found in large written text of
the treaties in the bibliography provided. Conduct prior
to the treaties. We have reached the following conclusions
based upon the review of the full body of evidence:
Canada's objective was to secure a specific tract of land
for settlement and other purposes. The objective of Denes¶øiné
was to protect their traditional way of life. The Denes¶øiné
were extremely apprehensive about entering the treaties
out of the fear that their traditional way of life would
be jeopardized. To ease the concerns of the Denes¶øiné
people, the Commissioners gave oral assurance that the
would be "as free to hunt, fish, and trap after the
treaty as if they had never entered into it”.