Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


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8 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Geoffrion.

8 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Geoffrion.

8 Nov., 1926.

Lord Warrington.

Lord Sumner.

Mr. Geoffrion.

8 Nov., 1926.

Mr. Geoffrion.






In the Privy Council


COUNCIL CHAMBER, WHITEHALL,
LONDON, S.W.1.
Monday, 8th November, 1926.

PRESENT :

THE RT. HON. THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VISCOUNT CAVE),
THE RT. HON. VISCOUNT HALDANE,
THE RT. HON. VISCOUNT FINLAY,
THE RT. HON. LORD SUMNER, and
THE RT. HON. LORD WARRINGTON.



IN THE MATTER of the BOUNDARY between the DOMINION of CANADA and the COLONY ofNEWFOUNDLAND in the LABRADOR PENINSULA

BETWEEN

THE  DOMINION  OF  CANADA  (of  the  one  part)

AND

THE  COLONY  OF  NEWFOUNDLAND  (of  the  other  part).



[Transcript of the Shorthand Notes of MARTEN, MEREDITH & CO.,
8, New Court, Carey Street, London, W.C. 2, and CHERER & CO.,
2, New Court, Carey Street, London, W.C. 2.]




ELEVENTH DAY.



Counsel for the Colony of Newfoundland :—The Rt. Hon. Sir JOHN SIMON, K.C., Mr. F. T. BARRINGTON–WARD, K.C., The Hon. W. J. HIGGINS, K.C. (of the Newfoundland Bar), Mr. W. T. MONCKTON and Mr. C. H. PEARSON, instructed by Messrs. BURN &BERRIDGE.

Counsel for the Dominion of Canada :—The Rt. Hon. H. P. MACMILLAN, K.C. (of the Scottish Bar), The Rt. Hon. C. J. DOHERTY, K.C. (of the Canadian Bar), Mr. AIMÉ GEOFFRION, K.C. (of the Canadian Bar), Mr. MAURICE ALEXANDER, K.C. (of the Canadian Bar), Mr. H. STUART MOORE and Mr. C. P. PLAXTON (of the Canadian Bar), instructed by Messrs. CHARLES RUSSELL & CO.
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MORNING SESSION.


Mr. GEOFFRION : May it please your Lordships, the point on which I would like to say a few words now is this. Your Lordships had a statement in opening that there were only a few Indians in those parts, and my learned friend, Mr. Macmillan, gave you the Murray Report, which suggests that coming to the St. Lawrence there are only 300 families ; 300 families might seem to your Lordships to be an insignificant number, and I do not know whether your Lordships might be impressed with the idea that that is in Indian terms an insignificant number. I want to point out to your Lordships by a few figures, if it is thought useful, that they were in population fully up to the standard of all Indian tribes. Your Lordships will appreciate that the test of density of population was very different in those days in that country from what we understand to–day. The Indian was a hunter, nothing but that, and a careless hunter, and, naturally, he wanted a tremendous area to live on, an area that depended on the quantity of fur animals living in the given territory, the matter of forests, and so on. General Murray says in his report that something like 300 families came to the King's Post and other posts on the St. Lawrence. The average generally taken for Indian familes would be five per family ; that would be about 1,500. I wish to point out in the first place that there were really more Indians than that. The war obviously had directed Indians in other directions or in no direction at all, probably keeping away ; and in addition to that, I want to point out that if you had 1,500 they would have been fully up to the average of the other tribes.
On the first point, the Hudson Bay Census, at Volume V, page 2287, gives the population at various posts at something like 4,000 for all Labrador.

Lord WARRINGTON : Where is it on page 2287 ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : I can give your Lordships something more easy than this reference. This reference, I am instructed, is taking the various posts in Labrador at about 4,000, but I can save your Lordships trouble by turning to Low's Census in 1895.

Viscount FINLAY : Have you gone away from this ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : My learned Junior will give me the precise reference in a minute ; I will suspend it and if I can conveniently give your Lordships the line I will do so presently. I would ask your Lordships, therefore, to eliminate that reference now, because I cannot

p. 729

put it in a convenient form. I would ask your Lordships to look at page 2608, line 8.

Lord WARRINGTON : What is the date of this ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : This is 1895, but it is common ground and historical fact undoubtedly that the Indians do not progress; the conditions are not such that they can do so. There were 3,500 Indians in the Labrador Peninsula.

Lord WARRINGTON : This is in the whole of the Peninsula, is it ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord. That includes, therefore, Hudson Bay territory also, but your Lordships remember that the Indians there, leaving out the Eskimos, are purely and simply Naskopis and Montagnais.

Viscount FINLAY : Who were the whites ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : That was in 1895. They were Hudson Bay traders and there were fishermen along the fringe of the coast. These men are right on the coast ; they do not play any part in the argument I am making. Bell, in 1895, gives 3,000, at page 2653.

Viscount FINLAY : You were on page 2608.

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord, page 2608, line 8.

Viscount FINLAY : You have done with that, have you ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord. I am now at page 2653, 1895 ; that is Bell. The Indians are shown in the last line on the page. They number 3,016.

Lord WARRINGTON : The white population is very much larger than that. It is 13,000 out of 18,000.

Mr. GEOFFRION : I will confess that the censuses are not made very accurately ; perhaps the truth is to be found in the next reference, from the great Labrador authority, Cabot, who says it is from 3,000 to 4,000 ; that is at page 2622, line 1[sic].

Viscount FINLAY : The date of that is 1922.

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord. The only dates for which we can now get figures of these Indians are recent, but I think it is common ground, and it is a historical fact, that Indians do not increase and have not been increasing since the white man came. This is only one branch.
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p. 730

Lord WARRINGTON : He says : “ Of these, the Montagnais, who are all tributary tu Gulf or Saguenay trading stations, make up more than half.”

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord. Then there are the Naskopis to be added.

Lord SUMNER : Just finish the sentence : “ It is difficult to arrive at a census of such a wandering people, for in one year and another some of them appear successively upon coasts remotely apart.” That appears to show that their habits are such that they could not be said to he particularly attached to any one district, because sometimes they visit one coast and sometimes another.

Mr. GEOFFRION : Certainly, My Lord ; that is part of our case : that the watershed plays no part in the hunting ground. These men go to trading posts on either coast, indifferently ; their hunting ground is in the middle, athwart all the plateau ; they can go as easily to one coast as to the other, they go to where the trading posts are. Of course in this period the Hudson's Bay Company has established and developed important trading posts at the head of Esquimaux Bay and Hamilton Inlet and therefore, naturally, at that period and since quite a while, quite a number of these Indians went to the trading posts at Esquimaux Bay, possessed by the Hudson's Bay Company. But we do not say that they are attached to the trading posts on the St. Lawrence, on the contrary, we say that these men had as a hunting ground, all the plateau, from which they could approach either coast easily.
Now, my Lords, coming to the second branch of this argument, we have obtained from the British Museum a book entitled “ The Eleventh Census of the United States ; 1890.” What is useful in it is that it contains the result of the census taken in 1764 by Colonel Bouquet.

Sir JOHN SIMON : A very famous man.

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes. I want to read from the first page of the introduction ; it is not paged, but it would be page 3.

Viscount FINLAY : Is that document in the books ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : No. my Lord.

Lord SUMNER : Is that census all in one volume ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : My Lord, the part I am going to refer to is all in this volume.

Lord SUMNER : But I want to know how to get the volume, in case I should desire to do so.

p. 731

Mr. GEOFFRION : It is the Eleventh Census of the United States, 1890.

Lord SUMNER : It is all included in one volume, is it ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : Yes, my Lord. I will give the title of the book : “ Report on Indians taxed and Indians not taxed in the United States, except Alaska, on the Eleventh Census, 1890.”

Lord WARRINGTON : But that is in the United States.

Mr. GEOFFRION : That is the heading of the book ; but when I come to the list here, I can deal with something that goes back to 1764.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : Let us hear it.

Mr. GEOFFRION : The Algonquins number 300 warriors, which would amount, on the average of five to a family, to 1,500 people. The Nipissings were 400 warriors ; that is also on the same page. The Abenakis were 350 warriors. Then the Shawnees on the St. Lawrence ; they are in New Brunswick and South Quebec ; they do not play any part here, because the St. Lawrence was an effective barrier between the two sorts of Indians. Then the Micmacs were 700 ; they were also south of the St. Lawrence.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : Are those all Algonquins ?

Mr. GEOFFRION : No, my Lord, the Algonquins are about 300.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : Is that all they were ?

Mr. GEOFFRION: Those are the western Algonquins : they are the same as the Montagnais.

Viscount FINLAY : I find some difficulty about this. This has not been printed, as I understand ; it is not in the papers before us.

Mr GEOFFRION : There is nothing very much in it, either way ; it is an endeavour to avoid the possible impression that the Montagnais, whose numbers are given in the record, would be a comparatively insignificant race. I am trying to suggest to your Lordships that if one bears in mind the mode cf living of these Indians, it is the normal population of a tribe. It is extraordinary how thinly populated North America was when the white man came ; people do not appreciate it until they go into the figures. That is really all : it is a very minor point ; it is only in case it might be suggested that these people were so few that they need not be bothered about.

Sir JOHN SIMON : If my friend has finished with it, might I just

[1927lab]




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