As long as the grass grows and the water runs
This article illustrates how the Kaministikominoko-skak Cree Nation (KCN) people were treated by Indian agents and land speculators after the signing of Indian Treaty # 5 at Kaministikominoko-skak (Cumberland).
Research shows that in 1889 many KCN children were stripped of their treaty rights even with protests from First Nations people in the Prince Albert region. Likewise, the petition below demonstrates the contempt Indian agents had for the treaty rights of our ancestors and their children when implementing Treaty 5 at Kaministikominoko-skak.
THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT IS A PETITION SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT IN 1889 PROTESTING THE REMOVAL FROM TREATY OF THE CHILDREN OF PARENTS WHO HAD CHOOSEN TO LEAVE TREATY AND APPLY FOR SCRIP.
James Smith's Reserve
Fort a la Corne
February 20th, 1889
R.S. Mckenzie, Esqre,
This petition of the Indian population of these reserves and also comprising those who have recently come from Cumberland and the Pass, humbly sheweth:
That the treatment accorded to those of the Indian race who have gone out of treaty has not hitherto been in accordance either with the letter or the spirit of the solemn treaty entered by the Canadian Government, on behalf of the Crown, with the aboriginal owners of the land in these Territories, by which, in consideration of the surrender of the land for settlements, it has expressly (been) stipulated that all children, born of Indian parents, should receive an annuity of Five Dollars, as long as grass grow and water run.
That those who have withdrawn from the treaty, thus becoming enfranchised, have been called upon to sign an agreement by which their children were debarred from receiving the annual grant, and thus, to the present time, they have been kept out of that which their parents had no right to sign away, their title to that right being in hereto (inherent) and inalienable from themselves.
That your petitioners therefore would humbly pray that all children who have thus been dealt with, may have the payments, thus kept back from them, payed up, and the annual payments duly made until such time as each child arrives at the age of maturity, when they may be called upon individually to decide whether they will accept of scrip or continue to remain under treaty, and that in future, all children of parents becoming enfranchised, will remain in treaty relations with the government, in accordance with the solemn league entered into with their forefathers, by the Canadian Government on behalf of the British Crown, until such time as they individually arrive at the legal age for deciding, each one for him or herself.
By forwarding this, our humble petition, and placing it before the proper authorities, you will greatly oblige, and your petitioners will ever pray.
Harriet Ann smith
Medlure Dervir (Dorion)
Arthur Daniel Ballendine
John George Ballendine
Samuel Britiar (Brittain)
John Smith (Chief)
Alexander Benjamin Ballendine
Victoria Dervir (Dorion)
Maude Evylen Ballendine
James Smith (Chief)
John Badger, Headman
Rosalie Darin (Dorion)
Bernard Constant, Headman