Skip to content

A few notes about The James Bay Treaty: Treaty 9

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center looks back to the signing of Treaty 9 in recognition of Treaty Week across Canada
Pictured , Chief Buffalo and trader Bernard McLeod at Nighthawk Lake which was one of the very first points of contact between settlers and Indigenous people in the region dating to the 18th Century. Timmins Museum

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center:

Between 1871 and 1921, Canada commenced a series of land surrender treaties throughout its new lands. According to the original treaty documents from 1906, these numbered treaties set aside reserve lands for First Nations and granted them annuities and the continued right to hunt and fish on unoccupied Crown lands in exchange for Aboriginal titles.

The goals of these surrenders were to fulfill the requirements under the transfer, to secure Canadian sovereignty, to open the land for settlements and exploitation, and to reduce possible conflict between First Nations and settlers. The Crown negotiated 11 agreements covering Northern Ontario, the Prairies, and Mackenzie River up to the Arctic.  

Treaty 9 and the Ontario portion of Treaty 5, is made up of 49 nations and includes over 2/3 of Ontario’s land mass. Timmins rests on ceded Territory 9 lands of the Mattagami people. 

Each signed treaty provides different property rights and obligations to both parties. Treaty No. 9, the James Bay Treaty, issued lands for reserve of one square mile of land (640 acres) for each family of five (128 acres per person). It covers 90,000 square miles in the northern region of Ontario.

Treaty 9 was signed in different locations; July 12 it was singed at Onasburg, July 18 at Fort Hope, July 25 at Marten Falls, Moose Factory August 9 and in New Post August 21. It continued in 1906 at Abitibi June 7, 1906, Matachewan June 20,   Mattagami July 7, Flying Post July 16, New Brunswick House July 25, and Long Lake August 9. Treaty 9 is unique because it was signed not only by the Government of Canada but also the Government of Ontario. 

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here.