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Green Lake Indians Commemorate Signing of Adhesion to Treaty Six

Gloria Ledoux

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MARCH 1989      p07  
Salute to the signing of the adhesion to Treaty Six
Band members of the Lac La Ronge Band, William Charles and Peter Ballantyne Bands fire into the air as did their forefathers 100 years ago to salute signing of the adhesion to Treaty Six.
Bishop Charles Arthurson
Bishop Charles Arthurson said opening and closing prayers in Cree.

On a peninsula off the shores of Montreal Lake approximately 150 kilometres north of Prince Albert, on the Green Lake Trail, is an early settlement called Molanosa.

100 years ago, on February 11, 1889 the Green Lake Indians from William Charles (sometimes known as Montreal Lake), Lac La Ronge, and Peter Ballantyne Bands signed an adhesion to Treaty six, giving them treaty rights.

To commemorate the event, approximately 300 visitors gathered at the historic site to celebrate the anniversary date. The agenda included learning how to put up a teepee and children's events. Band members also collected their treaty money.

A monument in recognition of the treaty adhesion will be erected during the annual sports day this summer. A full sized replica of the pyramid shaped monument was standing at the celebration. The three chiefs stood each to one side of it as they made their prayers and addresses to the gathering.

Chief Henry Naytowhow of William Charles Band said we have to remember we signed treaty with the federal government. He extended an invitation to attend a banquet on his reserve that evening.

Chief Ron Michel of Peter Ballantyne Band said, "We have to start honoring our treaty rights: traditional hunting, fishing and trapping rights. The government has to do their share in protecting our rights."

Chief Harry Cook of Lac La Ronge acknowledged his band members from Stanley Mission, Grandmother's Bay, Sucker River, Morin Lake, and Little Red River Reserve, who supported the event.

Elder Horace Sewap from Peter Ballantyne Band explained, in Cree, the reason for the celebration. He reminded the people we agreed to share with the whiteman when treaties were signed with the Queen's representatives.

Ray Funk, Member of Parliament for the Prince Albert/Churchill constituency presented the Canadian flag to the Chiefs of the three bands, to symbolize the federal government's obligations.

"We must never forget the promises made to our forefathers. We must strengthen what we have left and revive what was taken away" said George Peace, Treasurer for FSIN.

Other speakers were Bill Cook, Acting Regional Director of Indian Affairs, Keith Goulet, MLA for Cumberland House, Mel Smith, Acting Director of Operations for Indian Affairs, and Bobby Bird third vice chief of the F.S.I.N..

A resolution was passed calling for the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to ensure that the Government of Saskatchewan:

  1. does not proceed with its campground plans in the selected Reserve area;

  2. grants immediate permission to erect a monument on the selected site; and

  3. provides for the transfer of provincial lands to the government of Canada to establish and confirm a reserve at Molanosa, to be held in common by the William Charles Band, Lac La Ronge Band and Peter Ballantyne Band.

A.J. Felix, District Representative for Prince Albert District Chiefs, begged the provincial government to reverse its decision to build a provincial campground near the historic site. The three bands want this land set aside as part of their land claim. Felix explained that the area is traditional sacred land with two burial sites. The bands historically camped there when they were fishing, hunting and trapping. An elder band member, Martha Ross, still returns every summer to live and plant her garden there.

Felix presented the Chiefs with packages of tobacco in lieu of the eighteen foot teepees which each band will receive as gifts from the twelve bands in the Prince Albert District.

He explained the significance of five flags which decorated the celebration site. The North West Territories flag is a reminder that the area was part of the Territories when treaties were signed and until the 1930 land transfer agreement, which made it a part of Saskatchewan.

The Union Jack represents the introduction of the British Crown to Canada.

The Canadian flag signifies the Federal Government which broke away from England and formed a colony.

The provincial flag reminds the Saskatchewan government we are federal responsibility and to honor that. "Don't try to run our affairs, let's work together as partners," said Allan Jo.

The World Assembly of First Nations flag reminds us we have Indian brothers in other countries. The flag represents our past Chiefs, Headmen and leaders who fought hard to keep peace in our country.

Bishop Charles Arthurson of La Ronge said the opening and closing prayers in Cree. The Sturgeon Lake singers sang the honor song, the flag song and the Victory song.

The celebrations concluded with a banquet at the William Charles Band Hall.

Angus Sinclair
Angus Sinclair, a Peter Ballantyne Band Councillor for Sturgeon Landing.
Elder Horace Sewap
Elder Horace Sewap explains reason for celebration in Cree.