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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 23, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta iimy me LEinoniuuc o bts speculators farming operations by the Bloods be concentrated in the central portion of the reserve. opinion was that at some future date these Indians will be disposed to surrender portions of their reserve and that when that time fewer ob- stacles are likely to be in the way of a surrender if improvements to land are made nearer to the centre than near the extreme ends of the Department officials were saying at the time that large Indian reserves were under utilized by their Indian but correspondence secured from the Public Archives of Canada provides some evidence the government was partly responsible for limiting production on reserves. An earlier letter from Mr. Markle suggests a favorable surrender vote would probably be easier to obtain if Indians weren't farming all parts of the reserve. However letters from W. J. who succeed- ed Mr. Hyde as Blood In- dian agent at Fort report a strong demand for farm land among the Bloods. Government help had been available to the Bloods for breaking virgin areas of the but a letter dated May about a month before a sur- render vote was from Mr. Dilworth to the assistant deputy minister of Indian implies that help would not be forthcoming if the Indians fail to accept the surrender terms On June at the agency the Bloods gathered to vote on the proposition that about 000 acres of the reserve be sold an unset price of an Of the 240 Bloods who 124 cast their ballots in favor of the surrender and 116 voted against the proposal. brainy and progressive members of the band voted to surrender in mass and there is not the slightest doubt that the vote represents the opinion of the band Mr. Dilworth said in a letter of June 13 to Duncan deputy superintendent general. But the department didn't accept the results because less than a majori- ty of Bloods of voting age voted at all. what you Mr. Scott am convinced that it would not be proper for the depart- ment to accept this sur- render. To be a sur- render must be assented to by a majority of the members of the band en- titled to Mr. Dilworth claimed that some of the Bloods voting against the sale were unduly influenced by members of the tribe vehemently opposed to any land surrenders Indians the agent called ''backward and un- To back up his claim Agent Dilworth forwarded to Ottawa several af- fadavits from members of the band. Frank Wolf Child says in his declaration that he voted against the sale I was afraid of the curses that would be put upon me by Old Men and the chiefs In his June 13 Mr. Dilworth claims great deal of developed in the last days of the campaign against the surrender proposition. doubt this opposition developed from outside parties giving advice to the One man from the people of Cardston who think that they might work some other scheme by which they could get Indian lands some easier R. N. Blood In- dian agent from 1898 to is. obviously the referred to by Mr. Dilworth. A reading of the depart- ment files indicates Mr. Wilson was a Liberal ap- pointment who was fired after the Conservative par- ty formed the federal government in 1911. In one letter Mr Dilworth says Mr. Wilson is jealous of his position. June handwritten memo from the Blood agency reports that Mr. Wilson was telling members of the band Mr. Dilworth was and had no authority to conduct a surrender vote. Despite the fact that the surrender was not accepted and that several complaints were received in Ottawa about voting the department was unwilling to let the matter rest. Another surrender vote was scheduled for the following year and that one threatened to tear the reserve apart. Voting day This historic preserved by the Glenbow-Alberta In- depicts Blood Indians voting on a 1917 proposal to sur- ranHar nart their npar immense power of the which on an In- dian Reservation is so far reaching and enters into the in- timate affairs of everyday Indian life so much that it practical- ly controls the well being of every was during this period exercised by an unusually resourceful official to make miserable the lives of the 'Nays' and their while the 'Yeas' basked favorably in the sunshine of official N. Betrayed 1921. Blood agent's allegations have stood test of time After the 1917 land surrender vote was re- jected by the Indian affairs Indians on the Blood Reserve were sub- jected to another surrender campaign which one observer said was marked with bribery and The vote was held Feb. 1918 on the proposition to surrender about acres of the reserve in two acres on the northern1 end and acres just north of Card- land that was the Bloods' winter cattle range. The surrender vote was carried with a substantial but such an uproar arose from the reserve the department was forced to disregard the as it had the year previous. That ended all talk of land surrender on the Blood but Mr. Wilson claims the govern- ment then punished the Bloods for refusing to accept a land surrender. Mr. Blood agent from 1898 to wrote a pamphlet in 1921 entitled Betrayed and although his charges against the government at first far they have ap- parently stood the test of time. Hugh history director of the Glenbow Alberta Institute in says most of Mr. Wilson's allegations are Wilson was a very highly regarded individual and I'm quite sure he was not associated with something even for political Mr. Dempsey says. Mr. Wilson claims the only way Indian Agent W. J. Dilworth was able to secure a majority voting in favor of the surrender was through bribery and manipulation. enrolling as voters a number of boys under by boldly purchasing votes with tribal funds and by in- timidating other the officer in charge of the operation managed to show a small majority in favour of the land Wilson says. After the vote the same acres proposed for sale was without consulting band to white farmers and ranchers in the Mr. Wilson says. Continued Page 6 ;