Papaschase

Sidebar image descriptionPapastayo: Peacemaker, prophet, wiseman and elder to his people and truly the Grandfather of Amisko-Watsi-Waskigan...Beaver Hills House...We call it Edmonton!!!

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History

 

Chief Papaschase, his 6 brothers and their families moved to the Edmonton area in the late 1850's from the Lesser Slave Lake area. It appears they travelled and hunted in the Fort Edmonton, Fort Assiniboia and Lesser Slave Lake areas for some time before making Edmonton their home. Their band settled their and traded with the Hudson Bay Company and was employed with them from time to time.

On August 21, 1877, Chief Papaschase (also known as Passpasschase, Papastew, Pahpastayo, and John Gladieu-Quinn) and his brother Tahkoots, a Headman, signed an adhesion to Treaty 6 on behalf of the Papaschase band at Fort Edmonton.

 In 1877, the Hon. David Laird, Lieutenant Governor and Indian Superintendent for the North-West Territories, recommended to the Department of Indian Affairs that surveyors be sent to lay out Indian reserves for the Edmonton Bands, however, no action was taken by the Federal Government to survey a reserve for the Papaschase Band until 1880.

By 1879, the buffalo had become virtually extinct and the Indians in the Edmonton area were suffering from severe starvation. Although a general famine had descended upon the Indians of the North-West Territories, the Federal Government of Canada did not provide necessary and sufficient relief to the Papaschase band or other bands as promised under the terms of Treaty 6.

On August 2, 1880, George A. Simpson, Dominion Land Surveyor, was instructed to survey the boundaries of Passpasschase Indian Reserve No. 136 for the Papaschase Band. According to Simpson's information, 241 members of the Papaschase Band were paid annuities in 1879 so he promised Chief Papaschase that 48 square miles of land would be set apart as a reserve for the Band. The Federal Government should have known that in fact 249 members of the Papaschase Band were paid annuities in 1879 entitling the Band to at least 49.9 square miles of reserve land. Chief Papaschase selected a reserve approximately four miles south of Fort Edmonton and Simpson began to survey the reserve located within the present boundaries of the City of Edmonton.

When Chief Papaschase realized he was not getting the size of the reserve he wanted, a dispute arose between him and Inspector T.P. Wadsworth (Inspector of Indian Farms and Agencies for the Dept. of Indian Affairs). On August 3, 1880, Inspector Wadsworth maliciously transferred 84 members of the Papaschase Band to a new treaty pay list he created for the "Edmonton Stragglers". Then Inspector Wadsworth instructed Simpson to survey no more than 40 square miles of reserve land fro the Papaschase Band and to not set apart any land for the Edmonton Stragglers. On August 4, 1880, Inspector Wadsworth paid annuities to only 188 members of the Papaschase Band.

Local settlers in the Edmonton area did not want the reserve to be located near Edmonton. Frank Oliver, through his newspaper the Edmonton Bulletin advocated the removal of the band and its surrender. A mass meeting was held in January 13, 1881, to petition Sir John A. Macdonald, the Prime Minister to pressure Canada into moving the Papaschase Band and obtain a surrender of IR 136 for sale to non-Indians.

In the following year or so Frank Oliver, through his newspaper pressed Ottawa to move IR 136 and open the land for settlers. Use the heavy hand of the law to override the interests and treaty rights of the Papaschase Band when they conflict with the public interest. Incited a number of settlers to squat and trespass upon IR 136. And recommended that Canada induce the Papaschase Band to select a reserve at a more distant location in exchange for reasonable consideration.

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