British Empire
Living in the British empire - North America
British Empire logo
   
  full transcript - source7  
Report from a British official on meetings with Native Americans in 1875
(Catalogue ref: CO 880/7/10)
Sys-sy-as-cut, Chief of Deadman's Creek Indians, said:-
"Twelve years ago the whites came amongst us. Before that I knew nothing. I have now seen what they can do; I want to be the same. Take pity on my people - give us land - give us help. We do not wish to be poor any longer. A little while ago we owned all the land; now my people have very little, and we are surrounded by the whites, and they are continually driving off our cattle and horses" (referring to the system of pastoral leaseholds granted by the Government to whites). "I have waited a long time to see you; I now tell you this, I want you to give us land for our horses and cattle to feed upon. Some white people claim it all; it is not right. I am glad to see you now, my chief; it is the same as the sun shining on my people. I have always been friendly to the whites, and I told my people to be the same, that when you came I would tell you what has made us have a sick heart, and you would take pity on us. I want you to give us eighty acres of land to each family, so that we may work and till the ground, and be poor no longer. We should feel then that we were treated the same as white people. Now we are not. This is all I have to say."

Speeches were then made by the remaining chiefs, much in the same tenor, and all complaining of the great injustice they suffered from the insufficiency of the lands. All complained of the leasing system, by which one white man, by the payment of a trifling sum, could claim the exclusive right to twenty or thirty thousand acres, and without any fencing whatever drive their horses or cattle therefrom, and in some instances mentioned to me have them fined for trespass. All asked for eighty acres of land for each family; and expressed themselves as dissatisfied with the quantity proposed, i.e. twenty acres to each family. The latter would afford them no grazing-land whatever; and as their stock was increasing, and their small Reserves were gradually being hemmed in by the whites, they would soon be in a much worse condition that that complained of at present.

Neskaulau, Chief of Little Shushwap Lake, in the course of his speech, said, that his people were given a good piece of land by Mr. Cox (then Stipendiary Magistrate), but some white people thought it was too good, and the surveyor came and a smaller piece between whites was given me instead. These whites also took half of my creek, which was given me by the Governor. Their hogs came on our land, and destroyed our crops. We want you to give us some of the adjoining land, or make a reserve in another place, &c., &c.
Top of page | Close