No. 33
19th February 1867
My Lord,
I beg leave to lay before you a paper which may not be without interest to Your Lordship. It is a genuine Petition written by an Indian boyandManuscript image and signed by seventy Chiefs representing so many villages. The Chinook is an exact translation of each English sentence which precedes it. I think it a very satisfactory state of things when the Aborigines who so vastly outnumber us in this Colony where no troops are stationed, thus adopt the mode of petitioning instead of redressing their real of imaginary grievances by force.
2. TheManuscript image
2. The Indian Chiefs came down from Lytton on the North, Douglas on the west, the whole of the Lower Fraser in our proximity, and even from the Land of the Euclatows on the Coast, to see me and protest against certain action proposed to be taken by some Members of the Legislative Council. The Natives petition, first,
That the Law which prohibits the sale of spirituousliquorsManuscript image liquors in their villages be not repealed. I replied that the Liquor Law of the Mainland should not only be maintained here but extended over Vancouver Island.
Secondly, the Indians pray that their Reserves be not interfered with. A Resolution requesting me to curtail such Reserves having passed the Council. A few of these Reserves are doubtless too large, but they shall notbeManuscript image be reduced without my personal inspection. I replied merely, according to their own mode of expression, that "My heart was as good to the Indian as to the white man."
Thirdly, they beg that the heavy duty on their canoes navigating the Fraser be abolished. I told them I had already proposed to the Gentlemen there (pointing to the Council Room) to relieve them from this paymentgreatManuscript image great as is our financial embarrassment the charging the Natives for the navigation of our great river struck me as manifestly unjust.
3. All the Chiefs who set their Mark to the Petition and many others assembled on the lawn of Government House. I was received with loud cheers which were repeated at the end of my statement.
4. I wish I could reportmattersManuscript image matters, as regards the Indian Population to be as satisfactory on Vancouver Island as on the Mainland. The Council is at present, however, engaged in extending the Laws of British Columbia affecting the Natives over the whole Colony.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
Acke—with satisfaction—the rect of this Petition & of the ansr returned to it by the Governor.
ABd 15 Apl
TFE 15/4
CBA 16/4
B&C 17/4
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Petition regarding the issues as per despatch, written in both English and Chinook, signed with the mark of seventy Indian chiefs.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Buckingham to Seymour, No. 21, 2 May 1867 acknowledging receipt of Seymour’s despatch with satisfaction for the petition of the Indigenous Chiefs and Seymour’s response.