The Story of Treaty Six
|Assiniboine camp in the Cypress Hills|
Canada became a country on July 1, 1867
By 1870 Canada was made up of four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald wanted to expand the new Dominion west to the Pacific Ocean (Dodson 17). In the west, Rupert’s land was owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Territories was owned by the British Crown. The Dominion of Canada bought Rupert’s Land for the sum of 300,000 pounds from the Hudson’s Bay Company on March 8, 1869 and at the same time the Crown transferred North West territories to Canada. John A. Macdonald had to protect the west from American expansion after they bought Alaska in 1867 (Natural Resources Canada). John A. Macdonald did not want to go to war with the First Nations as the Americans were in the south to attain lands. British Columbia joined confederation in 1871 and was promised a railway to connect them to eastern Canada. John A. Macdonald envisioned the west as a grain producing region full of European immigrants (Dodson 17). In achieving this, the government had to get permission from the First Nations in the area to surrender their lands and in doing so had to negotiate a Treaty with them. Treaties were signed with First Nations in Canada between 1871 and 1921.