Douglas Treaties

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Douglas Treaties: 1850-1854
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Drafted 1850-1854
Location Colony of Vancouver Island
Parties First Nations of Vancouver Island and the Colony of Vancouver Island
Language English

The Douglas Treaties, also known as the Vancouver Island Treaties or the Fort Victoria Treaties, were a series of treaties signed between certain indigenous groups on Vancouver Island and the Colony of Vancouver Island.

Background[edit]

With the signing of the Oregon Treaty in 1846, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) determined that its trapping rights in the Oregon Territory were tenuous. Thus in 1849, it moved its western headquarters from Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River (present day Vancouver, Washington) to Fort Victoria. Fort Vancouver's Chief Factor, James Douglas, was relocated to the young trading post to oversee the Company's operations west of the Rockies.

This development prompted the British colonial office to designate the territory a crown colony on January 13, 1849. The new colony, Colony of Vancouver Island, was immediately leased to the HBC for a ten-year period, and Douglas was charged with encouraging British settlement. Richard Blanshard was named the colony's governor. Blanshard discovered that the hold of the HBC over the affairs of the new colony was all but absolute, and that it was Douglas who held all practical authority in the territory. There was no civil service, no police, no militia, and virtually every British colonist was an employee of the HBC.

Treaties[edit]

As the colony expanded the HBC started buying up lands for colonial settlement and industry from aboriginal peoples on Vancouver Island.[1] For four years the governor, James Douglas, made a series of fourteen land purchases from aboriginal peoples.

To negotiate the terms, Douglas met first in April 1850 with leaders of the Songhees nation, and made verbal agreements. Each leader made an X at the bottom of a blank ledger.[2] The actual terms of the treaty were only incorporated in August, and modelled on the New Zealand Company's deeds of purchase for Maori land, used after the signing of Treaty of Waitangi.[3]

The Douglas Treaties cover approximately 930 square kilometres (360 sq mi) of land around Victoria, Saanich, Sooke, Nanaimo and Port Hardy, all on Vancouver Island that were exchanged for cash, clothing and blankets. They were able to retain existing village lands and fields for their use, and also were allowed to hunt and fish on the surrendered lands.[4]

These fourteen land purchases became the fourteen Treaties that make up the Douglas Treaties. Douglas didn't continue buying land due to lack of money and the slow growth of the Vancouver Island colony.[1]

Treaty Members[edit]

Treaty Group Name Modern First Nation (band government) Land covered by Treaty Money exchanged for land Ref
Teechamitsa Esquimalt First Nation Country lying between Esquimalt and Point Albert £27 10 shillings (UK £2,490 in 2014) [5]
Kosampson Esquimalt First Nation Esquimalt Peninsula and Colquitz Valley £52 10 shillings (UK £4,753 in 2014) [5]
Whyomilth Esquimalt First Nation Northwest of Esquimalt Harbour £30 (UK £2,716 in 2014) [5]
Chewhaytsum Becher Bay Band Sooke £45 ten shillings (UK £4,120 in 2014) [5]
Chilcowitch Songhees First Nation Point Gonzales £45 (UK £4,074 in 2014) [5]
Che-ko-nein Songhees First Nation Point Gonzales to Cedar Hill £79 10 shillings (UK £7,198 in 2014) [5]
Sooke T'sou-ke Nation North-west of Sooke Inlet £48 6 shillings 8 pence (UK £4,382 in 2014) [5]
Ka-ky-aakan Becher Bay Band Metchosin £43 6 shillings 8 pence (UK £3,930 in 2014) [5]
Saanich Tribe (South) Tsawout First Nation and Tsartlip First Nation First Nations South Saanich £41 13 shillings 4 pence (UK £3,767 in 2014) [5]
Saanich Tribe (North) Pauquachin First Nation and Tseycum First Nations North Saanich [amount not stated] [5]
Saalequun Snuneymuxw First Nation (Former Nanaimo Band) [area not stated] [amount not stated] [5]
Swengwhung Songhees First Nation [area not stated] [amount not stated] [5]
Queackar Kwakiutl (Kwawkelth) Band Fort Rupert. £64 (UK £5,795 in 2014) [5]
Quakiolth Kwakiutl (Kwawkelth) Band Fort Rupert. £86 (UK £7,787 in 2014) [5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Douglas Treaties: 1850-1854". Executive Council of British Columbia. 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 
  2. ^ B.C. Archives seeks world heritage status for Douglas treaties, Victoria News, August 08, 2013 8:21 AM
  3. ^ Robin Fisher , 'With or Without Treaty : Indian Land Claims in Western Canada' , in Renwick , ed. . Sovereignty & Indigenous Rights, pp.53
  4. ^ "1811 - 1867: Pre-Confederation Treaties II". canadiana.org. 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Douglas Treaty Payments" (PDF). Executive Council of British Columbia. llbc.leg.bc.ca. 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]