Map of Treaty 8 in 1899
Date: 1899. Source: Terry Garvin Collection, Fort McMurray Heritage Society
Map of Cree and Chipewyan groups during the signing of Treaty 8 in 1899. Fort McMurray and much of northern Alberta fall under the jurisdiction of Treaty 8.
On August 4, the delegation arrived in Fort McMurray to settle claims with the Cree and Chipewyan people. Treaty 8 was read to the ‘headmen’ by Rev. Father Lacombe and T.M. Clarke. Representing the Crown were: A. Lacombe, Arthur Warwick, T.M. Clarke, F.J. Fitzgerald, W.G.H. Vernon and Treaty Commissioner J.A.J McKenna.
Seapotakinum Cree, a Cree and Adam Boucher, a Chipewyan signed on behalf of the Aboriginals in Fort McMurray. Today, there is a dispute regarding the oral parts of the contract.
Raphael Cree, who was six at the time of the signing, recalls Treaty 8 being signed on a nice day by the Snye. The delegates pulled their canoes onto the beach, and Father Lacombe did much of the interpreting. After the Treaty was signed, there were many changes to the traditional lifestyle but according to Cree: “You had to live with it.”
Indigenous tradition holds that Treaty 8 will last: “As long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the water flows.”