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Treaty Seven Overview

Treaty 7 with the Government of Canada was signed on 22 September 1877 by five First Nations: the Siksika (Blackfoot), Kainai (Blood), Piikani (Peigan), Stoney-Nakoda, and Tsuut’ina (Sarcee).

In 1870, the newly created nation of Canada acquired Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, an enormous tract of land encompassing the watershed of the Hudson’s Bay stretching south to the American border and west to the Rocky Mountains. One year later, British Columbia entered Confederation, with the promise that a transcontinental railway would connect it to the rest of Canada within 10 years.

In 1874, the North West Mounted Police(NWMP) arrived under Colonel James Macleod and put an end to the trade in whisky and guns by American traders. The First Nations were appreciative and came to trust Macleod. Around that time a Methodist missionary named John McDougall arrived to minister to the natives. The two established enough rapport to begin negotiations.

The negotiations on behalf of the Canadian government began in the fall of 1877. The nations involved in Treaty 7 each had a history of treaty-making to resolve conflicts with other Indigenous groups.

The treaty commissioners were David Laird, who had recently been appointed lieutenant-governor of the North-West Territories, and James Macleod, commissioner of the NWMP. The site for the treaty was originally set to be Fort Macleod, but the Siksika preferred to meet at Blackfoot Crossing, a site on their territory.

The written treaty ceded roughly 130,000 km2 of land from the Rocky Mountains to the west, the Cypress Hills to the east, the Red Deer River to the north, and the US border to the south. All nations retained the right to use the land for hunting and fishing.

First Nation

 

Chiefs

 

Area reserved for them

 

Kainai (“Blood”)|
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Chief Red Crow, Chief Iron Collar, Chief Medicine Calf

 

Along the Crowsnest River, near today’s town of Pincher Creek

 

Siksika (“Blackfoot”)|
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Chief Crowfoot (Chapo-Mexico), Chief Old Sun (Matose-Apiw), Chief Heavy Shield (Sakoye-Aotan)

 

Along the Bow River east of Calgary, at Blackfoot Crossing, near today’s town of Gleichen

 

Tsuut’ina (“Sarcee”)
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Chief Bull Head (Stamiscotocar). Chief Red Crow (Mekasto)

 

Along the Elbow River, west of today’s City of Calgary

 

Piikani (“Peigan”)
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Chief Setting on an Eagle Tail (Zoatze-Tapitapiw). Chief Big Swan, Chief Little Dog, Chief Bull Head

 

Near the Porcupine Hills called Crow’s Creek

 

Stoney-Nakoda
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Chief Bear’s Paw (Mas-Gwa-Ah-Sid), Chief John (Che-Ne-Ka), Chief Jacob (Ki-Chi-Pwot)

 

Near the Methodist mission in Morleyville (near today’s Ghost Lake)

 

Others who signed Treaty Seven: Chief Medicine Calf (Natose-Onistors), Rainy Chief (Sotenah), Weasel Bull, and Heavily Whipped , Bad Head (Pokapiw-Otoian), Fiend Bull (Takoye-Stamix), Many Spotted Horses (Akka-Kitcipimiw-Otas), Running Rabbit. (Attistah-Macan), Eagle Rib (Pitah-Pekis), Many Swans (Akka-Makkoye)

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