STATEMENT OF MONEYS EXPENDED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PROVINCE OF CANADA (1840-1867) AND BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DOMINION OF CANADA FOR THE RELIEF AND BENEFIT OF THE INDIANS AND ESQUIMAUX OF THE LABRADOR PENINSULA.
PREPARED BY G. M. MATHESON IN CHARGE OF RECORDS OF DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, CANADA.
Since the year 1851 the Province of Canada and the Dominion of Canada, through the office of the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs and the Department of Indian Affairs have continued to furnish relief, annually, to the Montagnais Indians at Lake St John, on the Saguenay River and on the north shore of the Lower St Lawrence.
These Indians, for the most part, make their living by fur hunting in the interior of the Labrador Peninsula, leaving for their annual hunt as early as August and September and returning with their furs in the following spring. All the able bodied Indians go on these trips taking their families with them, only the sick and infirm being left behind. (Dr. McDuff makes mention of this on several occasions).
Since the year 1893 this relief has been extended to the aborigines at the trading posts in the northern and eastern portions of the peninsula where the Esquimaux and the Montagnais and Naskopi Indians forgather.
It was the custom of the Department for years to send annually to Father Arnaud 55 pairs of blankets for distribution to destitute Indians on the north shore of the lower St Lawrence. In 1897 this number was increased to 75 pairs.
After the termination of the lease of the King's Posts (November 15th 1860) the Hudson Bay Coy. discontinued their grant of $500.00 a year to the Roman Catholic Missionaries of the Bersimis and the north shore. The church then appealed to the Government for aid and the sum of $500.00 was
paid to them annually from the “Lower Canada Grant” under authority of his Excellency the Governor General in Council dated September 11th 1861 and of his Excellency the Administrator in Council dated November 22nd. 1861 (Copies herewith—Appendices A and B).
It would appear that the Naskapis as well as the Montagnais received the benefit of this mission work. (Vide excerpt from the letter of January 21st. 1871 from Rev. Edmond Langevin—Vicar General—file L-294 of 1871—copy herewith Appendix “C”).
The Department of Indian Affairs continued to pay this grant until 1911 when Father Arnaud left Bersimis. This money was sent to Rev. C.F. Cazeau Vicar General, Bishop Langevin and Father C. Arnaud. (See files 1294 of 1861, O. 93 & O. 30 of 1862, O. 64 & 113 of 1863, O. 80 of 1864, O. 1 of 1865, O. 43 of 1866, O. 77 of 1867, O. 104 of 1868, O. 162 of 1869, O. 204 of 1870, O. 251 of 1871, 385 of 1872, 1689, 4444, 4489, 7646, 9280 and 141989).
NOTE C.—EDUCATION OF INDIANS.
Since 1874 the Department of Indian Affairs has borne the cost of the education of the Indians at Pointe Blue, Lake St. John, with its increasing annual expenditure for salaries, buildings and repairs, fuel and general maintenance. Last year (1921) this amounted to $1192.00 and the attendance roll numbered 78. The sum of $200.00 was also paid for tuition of one of these Indians at the Convent of Notre Dame de Bellevue, St. Foy, Quebec in 1922. (Files 21-15, 21-1-3 and 103-21.)
A school for Indians has been maintained at Bersimis since 1901. The number of the pupils on the roll for 1921 was 58 and the cost for that year amounted to $1722.13. (File 3-1-3 and 3-1-5.)
At Escoumains tuition fees have been paid for Indians attending a white school since 1911. (File 3-2-3.)
At Lake Mistassini there has been an Indian school since 1911 and in 1921 there were 54 pupils in attendance. (Files 255284-1 and 3.)
NOTE D.—LIQUOR TRAFFIC.
The Department of Indian Affairs has for many years employed constables on the north shore of the Lower St Lawrence for the purpose of supressing the liquor traffic carried on with the Indians by unscrupulous Whites in order to obtain their furs. Each Indian Agent has the powers of two Justices of the Peace and the prosecutions are conducted under the provisions of the Indian Act.
NOTE E.—STATEMENT OF EXPENDITURE.
The following Statement of Expenditure is divided into the calendar years in which the payments were made; the supplies in some cases were
delivered the previous year. In the first column is the given nature of the expenditure and the reference file numbers.
The second column gives the name of the payee. In the earlier years the money was sent to the Roman Catholic Bishop, the Vicar General, the Missionary Priest or some other responsible person, for disbursement but later on orders were given to merchants through agents and vouchers sent to the department for payment. These merchants names appear in this column.
The third column gives the locality of the Indians who were benefited.
The fouth column shows the number of Indians effected, when given. In the case of vaccination, hospital expenses, insane Indians and burials &c. the number denotes individuals but in most cases of relief the numbers here are of families.
The fifth and last column shows the amount of expenditure.
The term "Lower St. Lawrence" as used in this statement refers to the north shore of the St Lawrence River below Bersimis.
As the annual grant to the missionaries and the cost of education of Indians have been dealt with generally in notes "B" and "C" the detail expenditure has been ommitted from the statement.