Treaty Land Entitlement in Saskatchewan: Conflicts in Land Use and Occupancy in the Witchekan Lake Area

by McLeod, Brenda V.

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis examines the creation of the Witchekan Lake Reserve in Saskatchewan, the resulting treaty land entitlement (TLE) for Witchekan Lake First Nation, and the 1992 Framework Agreement for Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement (TLEFA). The history of the Witchekan Lake Reserve between 1913 and 1919 is reconstructed and reveals a unique situation within TLE. The creation of a Reserve some thirty seven years prior to adherence to Treaty Six presents a challenge to the interpretation of TLE. It also points to the importance of the historical context of Reserve creation within TLE

A study of land use and occupancy of Witchekan Lake First Nation and the area occupied by Settlers was facilitated by the use of Department of Indian Affairs files, map biographies, oral interviews, transcripts of earlier interviews with deceased elders, records and correspondence from Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Mangement (SERM) and the Department of the Interior Homestead Files. The analysis employs a non-traditional definition of the ethnicity of Settlers. That definition is based on their birthplace, their land use and their life experiences before arriving at Witchekan Lake. Employing theoretical concepts of colonization and underlying ideologies of racial inferiority, the work proposes that the existence of two opposing types of land use and occupancy and their respective value systems led to a TLE for Witchekan Lake First Nation. It is argued here that these ideologies were present in the homestead period and have persisted into the present due to the late timing of settlement and the pluralistic composition of Settlers.

A review of the events around the acquisition of the Bapaume Community Pasture by Witchekan Lake First Nation demonstrates the continuance of conflict with Settlers. This conflict first arose in the homestead era. A critique of the TLEFA, specific to the case of Witchekan Lake First Nation, proposes that lack of attention to their unique circumstances has left the community with unresolved claims. The community hoped that these unresolved claims would be settled in the TLEFA.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Martin-McGuire, Peggy

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:land entitlement saskatchewan witchekan lake native studies treaties


Date of Publication:01/08/2007

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