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Robinson Superior Treaty: A Document Analysis Essay

1997 words - 8 pages

The North American "Treaty System" was established after the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which regulated land purchases of so-called "Indian Territory". The Royal Proclamation had been developed to avoid any future use of the fraud and abuse which had been imposed on Natives during previous land purchases. By the time of the Robinson Superior Treaty, the establishment of reserve land was broadly accepted . Annuities, commonly payable with trade goods, had also been widely used during the negotiation of the surrender of land to the Crown .The British interest in the areas occupied by the Ojibwa Indians was jolted by the recent success of mining operations in Michigan, and by the discovery of copper on the shore of Lake Huron. While the British, inspired with dreams of mineral development and exploitation, constantly surveyed and explored the areas surrounding Lake Huron and Lake Superior, the Ojibwa of that region became increasingly tense with the constant British presence. The uneasiness of the Ojibwa gave way to the Mica Bay attack against the Quebec Mining Company in 1849 . The government felt that in order to further the development of mining in the area, a land cession treaty would be in order.The Robinson Superior and Robinson Huron Treaties were established during September of 1850 at Sault Ste. Marie. Attending parties, William Robinson representing the Crown, Chiefs Joseph Peau de Chat, John Iuinway, Mishe-Muckqua and Totomencie representing the appropriate Ojibwa nations, negotiated the terms and conditions of the Robinson Superior Treaty on September 7, 1850. Formal negotiations lasted two days, in which Robinson and the chiefs established a two thousand pound lump sum payment, a perpetual annuity of five hundred pounds, in exchange for the surrender of certain lands to the Crown. The Ojibwa were also able to establish reserve lands, in which to cultivate and to live, while still maintaining hunting and fishing rights on the ceded land, so long as the territory was not sold or leased to an individual.This essay will prove that the Robinson Treaties were put in place too hastily, leaving too many loose ends untied and without proper evaluation and consideration for the future. These elements of the Robinson Treaties paved the way for many disputes between the two parties throughout its course of application. The two uniquely different views and motives of the Robinson Treaty from the Ojibwa and the Government of the Province of Canada are the first, and most domineering, issues. Secondly, the broad and unspecified terms of the Robinson Treaty left too much open to dispute after its application. Ojibwa exceptions from the Game Act, the open-ended conditions and terms leading to questions, are all reasons for the lack of clarity in the Robinson Treaties. Lastly, the lack of fulfillment of its proper conditions from the government, especially after the Confederation in 1867, and disputes over provincial responsibility for annuity payments...

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