Proposing a Land Surrender

Indian office, Toronto, Fifth January 1841

The Lieutenant Governor has directed me to inform the deputations of chiefs from the Grand River that he has maturely considered their speech to him and particularly that important part of it which relates to the occupation of their lands by white people without authority.

The Lieutenant Governor is of opinion that very great difficulties will be found in any medium course between the expulsion of all intruders or non-interference, as experience has shown that with all the anxiety to do justice, and with all the care exercised to prevent injury to Indian interest, the interference of the Indians themselves, continually, has created new difficulties, to which there seems to be no end, and yet the Government is expected to compromise its own character by judging what is right and wisely recommended by the Indians, or what, on the other hand, maybe capriciously or corruptly counselled by them.

The Lieutenant Governor is of opinion that there can be no remedy found for the continuance of this unsatisfactory and embarrassing state of affairs while the lands remain general property under circumstances in which it is no reproach to the Indians to say they cannot manage the estate for the general interests of the tribes. 

The Lieutenant Governor, therefore, considers that it would be very much the benefit of the interests of the Indians if they surrendered into the hands of the Government the whole tract with the exception of such part of it as they may choose to occupy as a concentrated body, so that the same may be disposed of by Government; and the Lieutenant Governor therefore strongly recommends that this course be adopted by them, that they immediately select a tract of sufficient extent to give each head of a family or grown-up man a farm of 100 or 200 acres, for cultivation in the most eligible situation on the river, together with a further quantity to be reserved for firewood and other contingencies; that the Indians then remove to this track and live together as a concentrated body upon the farms assigned to them, and that the residue of the track be surrendered to be disposed of for the exclusive benefit of the Indians. 

The Lieutenant Governor is also of opinion that when the Indians are to settle together there will be no difficulty in keeping away intruders or similar punishing them should they persevere in committing trespass on their attractive land.

The Lieutenant Governor feels confident that the proceeds of the sale of the residue of the land and the timber growing upon it will retrieve the affairs of the six nations Indians, as well as confer on the section of the province a lasting benefit, by bringing into cultivation a large tract of the finest description of land, which at present is not only unproductive to the Indians, but absolutely useless to them in every point of view, and which is considered by the public a bar to the improvement and prosperity of the districts in which it is situated, and in fact, a nuisance which the public have the right to call upon Government to abate.

It is a necessary for the Lieutenant Governor again to express the great anxiety felt by the Queen’s Government to promote the interest of the Indians and to carry out such a system in the management of their affairs as may conduce to this end, and the Lieutenant Governor, therefore, trusts that I remember of the community of the Six Nations Indians will believe him when he states that if he were not firmly convinced that the plan proposed in this communication was the most proper for their adoption he would not have recommended it. 

Surrender of Residual Lands, 1841

Samuel P Jarvis to a delegation of Mohawk Chiefs on behalf of acting Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Arthur

Great Britain treaties, Indian treaties and surrenders, one, 119-120

(No correction for Grammer or spelling made)

If you believe this one, Have I got a deal for you!!