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After 100 Years Thunderchild Remembers

Archie King

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1979      v09 n06 p10  
SOUNDING LAKE, ALTA. - History repeated itself when the Thunderchild Indian band journeyed to its original site of the signing of the adhesion to Treaty No.6 by its first leader, Chief Thunderchild (Peeyasiu-Awasis).

The great Indian Chief made the historic signing at Sounding Lake (Nipi-Kapitikwek), situated about 20 miles of Provost, Alberta, which is just on the other side of the Saskatchewan border.

According to Indian history, during the signing of the Treaty No. 6 at Forts Carleton and Pitt, the Thunderchild people were amongst the Crees under Big Bear who resisted the treaty held out for better terms. Later hardships befell them in the following years and finally in 1879 Chief Thunderchild and his people were subdued by circumstances at the time and were forced to accept the treaty terms of 1879.

Chief Andrew Paddy and band members of the Thunderchild Indian band not only returned to visit the original site but signified its importance by accepting its annuity payments, better known as treaty money to the Indian people.

It was a memorable day for government dignitaries which included Lt. Governor Ralph Steinhaur of Alberta and Alex Pinter, district manager of Indian Affairs in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Pinter was dressed in attire related to the historic signing 100 years ago.

The opening ceremonies commemorating the historical signing was the delivery of the sacred stem by Gordon Thunderchild grandson of the great Indian leader. This sacred stem originally used at the treaty signing was touched by Lieutenant-Governor Ralph Steinhauer.

During the opening ceremonies Lt. Governor Steinhauer, who is Alberta's first Indian Lt. Governor, told the pressing crowd, "This is, I think one of the most nostalgic moments of my term in office in Alberta, commemorating the last signing of Treaty Six by one of our great Chiefs, Chief Thunderchild."

Speaking to the many non-Indian who came in droves to witness the historical occasion, Lt. Governor Steinhauer told them of the deep feeling the many Indian people felt that day as they stood on sacred ground.

"When you think of the sacrifice that the great people of these plains made by signing the treaty and I think it is only fitting that you as descendants of the first non-Indian settlers who came in here should feel as any of the rest of us. What a wonderful country! What a great place!," said Lt. Governor Steinhauer.

Gordon Thunderchild holds the sacred stem
Gordon Thunderchild, grandson of Chief Thunderchild, holds the sacred stem which was used at the signing of the adhesion to Treaty six which was touched by Lt. Governor Steinhauer as he relates about the Treaties and what they meant to the Indian people.
Chief Andrew Paddy wears traditional leather beaded regalia
Chief Andrew Paddy wears traditional leather beaded regalia worn by other great Indian leaders.

After 100 Years Thunderchild Remembers

Archie King

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1979      v09 n06 p11  
"It was given to you through treaty with a honest deep feeling in the hearts of those great Chiefs and great Indian people, who signed the documents 100 years ago," he added.

Noting the changes which have been made by this country some people can probably say "I saw this country being settled" and "My father told me all about the signing of the treaties and the negotiations that went on."

For the Indian leaders who signed the treaties, "'When the treaty was signed the Indian people promised to keep the peace and they have done that ever since... the word of the Indian was his bound, if I promise to do it, I'll do it if it takes my life to do it," said Lt. Governor Steinhauer.

The Indian people gave up great wealth in order for the many people to settle. "Those people who came here, the early settlers, came with the determination in making a better home for their families, a new life for their children and do what they could for the country and thank goodness there haven't been many who say, "the country never did anything for me, I'm going to get out," said Steinhauer.

During a brief presentation Alex Pinter told the many people that he was proud to be a part of Thunderchild's commemoration and presented Chief Paddy with a plaque commemorating the signing of the treaty.

According to Gordon Thunderchild, grandson of Chief Thunderchild, the surrender of the many acres of valuable land was something the elders thought about especially when one person can own land and the Indian people had to live on reserves.

"Chief Thunderchild, 100 years ago told the commissioner when he was accepting the treaty on behalf of his people, 'I'm giving up my land, the animals that grow, the fish that are in the lakes, giving it all up to you. I trust that you will be able to provide me with the same thing as God has provided me in giving me this land,' said Thunderchild.

"Now today after 100 years we are still struggling to accept the European way of life, but we still trust in the government with these conditions he set forth when we accept and signed the treaty," concluded Thunderchild.

A fine display of Indian grass dancing was performed by Thunderchild's finest which ended the historical meeting of government officials and Indian people.

Treaty Day - Payment of Treaty Annuities, Indian Affairs Manager Alex Pinter holds cold cash as names of band members are checked out Indian Affairs.
Alex Pinter, district manager of Indian Affairs, dressed in black holds 'cold cash' as names of band members are checked out by Indian Affairs.