Last night at ten o'clock, Mr. Chairman, I had just started to tell hon. members that I had received a brief from the Manitoba Indian brotherhood, the northern section, and I was quoting from that brief to bring before the minister and his officers the complaints these Indians had against what was happening in the north country. I had commenced to read from the brief, and had read the first two paragraphs. I want to quote a few remarks from the people who live on the Pukatawagan reserve. They have this to say:
Last summer conference with Laval Fortier and Colonel Jones we were promised that our reserve would be surveyed, also the forest limits which we asked for; none of this was done as yet. Many of our people need homes and if a timber limit was given us our men would get out saw logs and manufacture their building material. As the
Supply-Citizenship and Immigration reserve in which we live is all rock we wish to ask that Brant lake be given to our band as a fishing reserve where we could fish in open seasons commercially and in all seasons of the year for domestic purposes. This place is also suitable for growing vegetables, which we need badly in our reserve.
We were also promised to have an Indian constable in our reserve which we did not get as yet; when we do get the instructions to appoint one we wish that you grant a $40 per month salary to the constable as this is a whole year job and a big responsibility.
I now want to quote the recommendations from the Shoal river reserve. The brief states: Shoal River Reserve
The brief was presented to you last February and another brief to Hon. Laval Fortier and Colonel Jones last summer and none of the briefs were acted on as yet.
The population of the Shoal river reserve is increasing and is requesting again that our reserve be extended. There is a space unoccupied between our two reserves and this is the space we are looking forward to as a grant from the federal government; this will serve well to the band as it is a very good place for fuel wood as our timber is all cleaned up in our present reserve.
We also requested for an extended highway into our reserve and bridges as well, that it may serve the band conveying their produce and emergency cases.
We repeatedly asked for a tractor, plow, disc and seed drill from the department of Indian affairs and none of this was granted us as yet; if granted the members of our reserve would grow their own grain and vegetables.
Our fishing area is very poor and I wish you could contact with the Manitoba game and fisheries branch to grant us fishing grounds at Cedar lake where we could fish commercially in the winter
The superintendent at Dauphin, Manitoba got us to cut wood, which we have done so, and no pay is forthcoming. We wish you could look into this matter and clear off our differences.
Ammunition and nets were not given us as yet. We also request that these articles be given us now instead of them laying in the warehouse at Dauphin.
Loans are also denied us by the superintendent, all of which we are in need, as we cannot go ahead with purchasing power to fish or farm.
The wish of the band is very important. We are requesting that our band be transferred to the supervision of The Pas agency instead of the one at Dauphin as The Pas is more nearer and suitable for us.
Councillor Noah Stevens is adopting a child and is paying taxes, also delivers U cords of wood to defray the expense of this child that is attending school outside of the reserve, which we are certain is a miscarriage of justice to a treaty Indian.
The constable of our reserve should be paid a salary as he is doing an important and dangerous job and it is an all year responsibility.
There was no help given to Alice Moore when she had her home built; instead she was compelled to pay all her expenses. The chief and councillors feel that Mrs. Moore should get restitution for what she has spent building her home from the department of Indian affairs, and of which we feel sure you will grant her the request.
We also wish to have our sawmill repaired as it is out of order and cannot operate our mill; therefore no building material is manufactured.
Before I go on any further may I say this.
I am sure everybody in this country expects
Supply-Citizenship and Immigration that education up to grade 8 is free. This man is hauling wood in order to defray the expense in connection with his child going to school. I should like the minister to look into this matter. I should like him to look into all these things that are mentioned, but that is one that is a glaring injustice. I now come to the Cross lake reserve and their recommendations:
Fur bearing animals are getting scarce and we do not know what steps could be taken to better the living conditions in our reserve; we see no other alternative but call for your help to find other employment for the Indians of Cross lake, as we have no other means to meet the requirements for my people outside of trapping.
This is the reason why I am asking the department of Indian education to increase the grants for elementary education, to provide high schools and trade courses for advanced students, as common labour is about a thing of the past due to the rapid growth of population and modern equipment now in operation at all projects approached for employment; therefore we request that qualified teachers be given us to teach our children.
Material for bridges and homes are our biggest shortage in our reserve; if our sawmill was repaired and a new tractor given us, our men would get out logs and manufacture all the material needed for bridges, building material and fish box lumber. We beg that you give our band a new tractor for the purpose mentioned above ...
We are requesting that wood now delivered to the schools by my band members be paid $5 per cord instead of the present rate of $3 now paid to them, for no one could live on $3 per cord in my reserve due to the high cost of living.. .
The wardens are doing their best to abrogate our treaty rights; they are now trying to impose a fee on the' treaty Indians on big game such as moose and reindeer, etc. Our treaty rights state that we could take and kill big game at all times for our domestic use. We do not want anyone to take away from us our God given rights.
The Indians are also fishermen whenever the opportunity is given him to do so; for this purpose we request that it be promoted to co-operatives to market fish, furs and other products that is produced by the Indians of Cross lake.
As stated before we are in need of a good timber berth and we are looking forward to you to give this your serious consideration.
We need more homes for our old folks (the aged). Their homes need repair material, also money to buy wood for them as the present $40 per month given them is inadequate due to the high cost of living.
Norway House. A year ago you made a good speech.
I do not know to whom this refers, but speaking for myself I would say the reference is to the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate:
You said that the Indian some day would become a teacher, a clergyman, a lawyer, mayor or even become the Prime Minister of Canada, and that you hoped to live to see that day, and that you promised to fulfil our requests at that interview. . .
... At our band meeting we planned to ask from your department a tractor and other equipment needed to till the soil. We are in need of
potatoes and other vegetables and if the request is granted we could go ahead with our proposed project.
We regret to inform you that Mr. Staunton, our local superintendent, does not give us any consideration whenever we approach him for assistance. He denies us at every request we make and is not dealing with us properly. Mr. Sherwood is far worse. We want this man removed from his office and give us an honest and faithful man to deal with us.
We are in need of better homes. If your department will give us the material I am sure if you give us the consideration, this also goes for our aged persons in our reserve; the present $40 per month given them is inadequate to buy fuel and other necessities and we urgently request that fuel wood be supplied to them for they are in need of all this wood and their burden would be greatly relieved.
Our road needs repair and constructed properly. Conveyance is poor due to bad roads and I wish you could look into this matter. There are some families that should get relief due to unemployment and poor trapping season. We plead to you for relief for these poor people.
The nearest to our railway would be south of Wabowden and if a road was to be surveyed we would be only too ready to co-operate and in this way our men would get some employment and a straight road constructed for general purposes.
The game wardens are trying to make treaty Indians pay for fees on moose, etc. Our treaty states that Indians could take and kill big game for their domestic use, and we strictly oppose paying fees.
We request that wives under pensioners' aid, married to old age pensioners, and men likewise, get rations for they cannot earn a living; if other bands in Manitoba are giving rations to persons mentioned above, we wish that our band members be treated alike.
Hospitalization-we have a hard time getting our sick to hospitals and we are requesting that some vehicle be given us for conveying our sick to the hospitals in the winter season and a boat for the summer season.
There is no other employment near my reserve after the summer fishing season is over and I wish you could arrange with the Manitoba game and fisheries branch members to have Montreal point, lake Winnipeg, as a fishing reserve, where they could fish commercially in the fall season. In this way the Indians of my band would have some employment.
Split Lake reserve. The school children of the reserve have a long ways to walk to school. The smallest ones have a hard time to reach the school due to cold weather. Some freeze their feet and faces and for this purpose some line of conveyance to school is requested to avoid further suffering to our children attending school. If not, a residential school should be built in my reserve.
Hospitalization-some of my people were denied admittance to the hospital and sent home to suffer; just lately one of my members was denied admittance and medical care and sent home. A day after, this person passed away. For this most important matter I am requesting a hospital in my reserve where the sick of my reserve could be taken care of. There is very little assistance given to my people in regards to rations and fuel wood, especially to the aged and indigent. A special request is urgent to help those that cannot help themselves.
Homes are very poor in my reserve and those that need them cannot afford to get the building material, and it is for them I am calling for help, that you can give according to your kind consideration.
Supply-Citizenship and Immigration
The merchant whom we deal with is overcharging us for merchandise and paying poor prices for fur and due to the scarcity of fur-bearing animals, my people will soon face starvation if no help is forthcoming because there is no employment nearby. We wish you could arrange that a store be established on my reserve managed by the department of Indian affairs.
Cedar Lake reserve. During the winter fishing season the Indians of this band are over-crowded by white fishermen and cannot get enough fish to cover their accounts with the fish company they are dealing with. They request that special fishing grounds be granted to them in Cedar lake where they alone can fish commercially.
Trapping areas should be enlarged and big game should be open for the use of this band; also waterfowl for them as there is no other way to earn a living in this area.
They have a sawmill and cannot make use of it because a white man is operating the outfit for his own use. They are requesting that this outfit be returned to them, and that they make use of it by manufacturing their own lumber . ..
The delegation is urgently requesting that when a man is in the hospital or is hurt by an accident and laid up from such injuries or sickness that his family be looked after by the department of Indian affairs while recuperating or convalescence at home or in the hospital. We beg that you give all this and other requests your serious consideration and action thereon.
This is signed by Chief Cornelius Bignell, The Pas, Manitoba, and by the secretary, A. E. Thompson, Peguis reserve, Dallas, Manitoba.
I have read the report of the director of Indian affairs, and in it he has spoken of employment conditions during the year in Manitoba, where more than 1,000 Indians were gainfully employed, mostly on seasonal work. Indians found work on railway maintenance, pulpwood operations, defence projects, pipe-line construction, mining and other developments in the north, and took part in sugar beet industries in the south. The report also mentions pulpwood operations which were carried out to provide work and wages in different districts of northern Manitoba, and it is hoped that there will be a big development at Grand Rapids which will employ many more Indians.
I would like to ask the minister what have been the results of the department's endeavours to provide work and wages for Indians near Berens river, where there has been a big project. I would like him to tell me how many cords of pulpwood were cut in 1956, and how many in 1957; also, of the amount of pulpwood cut, how many cords were hauled out of the bush? I would also like to know how much the government paid the Indians for cutting pulpwood and what was the haulage cost when this pulp was taken to Manigotagan and then shipped to Pine Falls. What was the cost per cord from the stump to the pulp mill? I would also like to know if the pulp mill paid any of the
transportation costs, or if the entire cost of the operation was paid for by the department.
There were two barges sunk. Were they a complete loss or were they salvaged afterwards? If they were lost, were they insured?
I would like to know, too, if all this work was let by tender.
Subtopic: REQUEST FOR CONTINUATION OF BRANCH LINE PASSENGER SERVICE