Two unsuccessful attempts at making a treaty with the Indians West of Lakehead were made in 1871 and 1872. In 1873 Lieutenant- Governor Alexander Morris of Manitoba was sent to settle the treaty. The area was of strategic importance to Ottawa because of the Dawson Trail which went through Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods joining Lake Winnipeg and Lake of the Woods, and because of the timber and valuable minerals located here.
On September 25th, 1873 the official government delegation arrived at the Hudson Bay Post for a conference at the North West Angle of Lake of the Woods. Representing the government were: Alexander Morris, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, Lt. Colonel Provecnher, representing the military and S.J. Dawson, the explorer and a member of parliament.
Even today the elders disagree that these terms were not the original terms and promises made to the bands that signed Treaty Three.
TREATY THREE October 3rd, 1873
Dealt with the Indians occupying the country from the watershed of Lake Superior to the north west angle of Lake of the Woods and from the American border to the height of land from which streams flow towards Hudson’s Bay. Composed of the Saulteaus and Lac Seul Indians of Ojibway Nation numbering 2500 men, women and children.
In preparation for negotiations the Commission prepared provisions, clothes and buildings. Including: Presents for the Indians, Four Suits of Chiefs’ clothes and flags. A Small house and store for provisions constructed at Rainy River.
Six thousand silver dollars.
Twelve dollars for each family not exceeding five.
(partly in goods and provisions and money) with small sums for additional members.
The Treaty Outlined Provided for:
Reserves of Land not to exceed one square mile for each family of five.
A present of twelve dollars for each man woman and child.
Maintaining Schools for instruction in the reserves.
No intoxicating liquor shall be allowed to be introduced or sold.
Rights to pursue fishing throughout surrendered land.
Payment of five dollars per head yearly.
Ammunition and twine for nets valued at 1500 dollars per annum.
Supplies to Encourage the Practice of Agriculture:
For every family: Two hoes, one spade.
For every ten families: one plough
For every twenty families: five harrows
For each band: one axe, one cross-cut saw, one hand saw, one pit- saw, necessary files, one grind-stone, one auger, enough wheat, barley potatoes and oats to plant the land ready for cultivation.
One yoke of oxen, one bull and four cows.
For each chief of the Band: one set of ordinary carpenters tools.
Each subordinate officer (not to exceed three in each band) to receive fifteen dollars per annum.
Each chief and subordinate officer to receive a suit of clothing once every three years.
Each chief to receive a flag and medal when the treaty was signed.