University of Saskatchewan and Montreal Lake Cree Nation celebrate an important treaty document returning to Saskatchewan

At a ceremony today in Montreal Lake, representatives from the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and the University Library at the University of Saskatchewan celebrated an acquisition and a permanent loan agreement that brings an important treaty document home to Saskatchewan.

The Montreal Lake Cree Nation and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, once collectively known as the Green Lake Indians, signed an "adhesion" to Treaty 6 in 1889. This agreement with the Crown would ultimately result in the creation of the two Montreal Lake Indian Reserves and the Little Red River Reserve.

The copy of the adhesion now owned by the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, and loaned permanently to the University Library at the University of Saskatchewan, has been authenticated as a true copy made and signed at the time of the original ceremony. As a handwritten document it is an original in its own right.

The only other copy known to have survived is the original, now held at Library and Archives Canada. The original is distinguished by a seal on the first page, and more embellished fonts. The Montreal Lake copy is the one originally kept by Commissioner A.G. Irvine, who negotiated the treaty adhesion on behalf of the Crown. In 1909, Irvine presented the document to Edmund Morris, a painter best known for his pastel portraits of native leaders, especially those who had signed major treaties. His father Alexander Morris was the commissioner who negotiated the original Treaty 6. Over a century later, the document appeared on the rare manuscripts market - a very unusual occurrence for a treaty document - with Spafford Books in Regina facilitating its acquisition by the Montreal Lake band.

Chief Edward Henderson of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation noted that both historic and modern-day treaties will continue to be the key elements in determining the future relationship between Aboriginal people and the Crown.

Vicki Williamson, dean of the University Library said the 125 year-old documents "are an exciting addition to the collections of the University Library, supplementing extensive documentation relating to the history of Aboriginal peoples in Saskatchewan and on the prairies. It also has symbolic importance for our understanding that 'we are all treaty people.' We are honoured to have been asked by the Montreal Lake Cree Nation to house this important document on their behalf."

The document is now housed with other unique and special resources in the University Library, University Archives and Special Collections.


For more information, please contact:

Mark D'Amato

Band Manager

Montreal Lake Cree Nation

306-291-1047 mobile

Tim Hutchinson

University Archivist

University Library

University of Saskatchewan

Share this story