Treaty Number 9

Treaty No. 9, also known as the James Bay Treaty, was made in 1905 and covers most of present-day Ontario north of the height of land dividing the Great Lakes watershed from the Hudson and James Bay drainage basins.

The terms of Treaty 9 were finalized in advance by the Dominion and Ontario governments and then presented to Indigenous leaders as a done deal. Treaty 9 followed the format of the earlier Numbered Treaties; in fact, the provision on hunting and fishing rights was copied verbatim from Treaty 8 (1899). 

Any negotiating power the Indigenous peoples might have had was removed by Ontario’s power of veto over the terms of the treaty. 

Further adhesions to Treaty No. 9 would be taken in 1906, 1929 and 1937.

Numbered Treaties in Canada Treaty 9

Promises made to Treaty 9 Signatories

His Majesty also agrees that next year, and annually afterwards for ever, He will cause to be paid to the said Indians in cash, at suitable places and dates, of which the said Indians shall be duly notified, four dollars, the same, unless there be some exceptional reason, to be paid only to the heads of families for those belonging thereto.

His Majesty the King hereby agrees and undertakes to lay aside reserves for each band, the same not to exceed in all one square mile for each family of five, or in that proportion for larger and smaller families; and the location of the said reserves having been arranged between His Majesty’s commissioners and the Chiefs and headmen, as described in the schedule of reserves hereto attached, the boundaries thereof to be hereafter surveyed and defined, the said reserves when confirmed shall be held and administered by His Majesty for the benefit of the Indians free of all claims, liens, or trusts by Ontario.

Types of Treaty 9 Claims

  • Treaty Land Entitlement
  • Annuities or annuity indexation
  • Failure to pay gratuities
  • Annual amount on ammunition and twine
  • Agricultural implements, tools, seeds and livestock
  • Chiefs’ and Councillors’ salaries and triennial clothing
  • Other treaty rights – badge, flag, copy of treaty
  • Failure to set aside reserve
  • Failure to recognize a First Nation (as separate and distinct)
  • Non-adherence to / non-representation at treaty
  • Other unwritten but First Nation-understood treaty promises (education, annual feast, government assistance, and doctor/medical services and supplies/’medicine chest’)

Claims based on Land or Money Assets

  • Illegal exclusion of lands from reserve
  • Illegal taking or surrenders of reserve land or unpaid/no/inadequate compensation
  • Illegal taking of “special” reserves or game reserves
  • Flooding of reserve land or illegal expropriation, inadequate/no compensation, mismanagement
  • Riparian / water rights adjacent to reserve
  • Timber on reserve – illegal expropriations, inadequate/no compensation, mismanagement
  • Mismanagement or inadequate sales of surrendered lands
  • Mismanagement of Trust Fund Account
  • Leases of reserve lands – illegal expropriations, inadequate/no compensation, mismanagement of revenues
  • Railway ROW – illegal expropriations, inadequate/no compensation, mismanagement
  • Hydro or other public works ROW – illegal expropriations, inadequate/no compensation, mismanagement
  • Other buildings on-reserve (church, store, RCMP, MNR, Hydro, etc.) illegal expropriations, inadequate/no compensation, mismanagement
  • Mining – illegal expropriations, inadequate/no compensation, mismanagement of revenues