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Pasqua First Nation

Chief Joseph Pasqua signed Treaty 4 in September 1874, and selected a reserve bordering Pasqua Lake for his Cree, Saulteaux, Assiniboine and Sioux people. This location was to ensure that his people would have fish and waterfowl when other wild game was scarce. Pasqua had previously attempted to prevent the survey of reserve land and to instigate others to do likewise; as a result of his open defiance, treaty goods were withheld from his people. Pasqua traveled to see the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba to discuss the inadequacies of the treaties, explaining that First Nations people were starving. He died in 1889, and the band remained without a chief until the 1911 election of Ben Pasqua, Joseph’s son. This election followed years of petitioning by the Pasqua band members, and once in office Ben pressed the department for an explanation as to why the band was kept without a chief for twenty-two years. He also requested that the chief’s salary in arrears be paid to the band; the department refused. The early years of farming were difficult ones, and extra money was earned by cutting and selling wood. In June 1906 the band surrendered 16,077 acres for $8 an acre, which returned an average of $13.41 an acre to the government by public auction in Regina. In 1995 a claim was initiated by the Pasqua Band for restitution against the land taken in the 1906 surrender. Of the 1,630 band members, 531 live on the 9,468.5-ha reserve located 16 km west of Fort Qu’Appelle.

Christian Thompson

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