Reconsidering Treaty 8 Negotiations: The Canadian Government’s Purposeful Exploitation of a Disadvantaged Population


  • Jacob Kropf University of Ottawa



Treaty 8 was signed on June 21, 1899, between the Government of Canada and Indigenous Peoples living in the northern Alberta, northeastern British Columbia, southwestern Northwest Territories, and northwestern Saskatchewan region. Calls for the treaty began in the 1870s, but negotiations only began one day before the treaty was signed, raising questions about the fairness and professionalism of the negotiation process.1 Issues involving the mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples, both historically and contemporarily, have been on the front pages of media increasingly since the discovery of unmarked graves at a Kamloops former
residential school in 2021. Each case of the Canadian government’s mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples, or enabling of it, is different and needs to be examined individually with consideration of the different sources relevant to each event or case. This research sought to uncover if injustice or mistreatment of Indigenous groups occurred during the Treaty 8 negotiations, and if so, how. The research reveals that the government took advantage of the poor economic conditions affecting Indigenous Peoples in Northern Alberta and created Treaty 8 to unfairly benefit itself on the premise that Indigenous Peoples are less worthy of respect from the government. Negotiations were unfair and Indigenous Peoples were mocked and exploited, calling into question the ethics of Treaty 8 and the need to not only reconcile, but to completely re-examine Treaty 8 and other historical treaties and laws concerning Indigenous groups.






Social Sciences & Humanities