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  • Writer's pictureOntario Métis Facts

Half-Breed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3

In 1875, the Métis of Rainy River and Rainy Lake (the area around present-day Fort Frances) signed the “Half-Breed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3,” under the leadership of Métis leader Nicolas Chatelaine.

Born in the Upper Great Lakes, Chatelaine had previously acted as an interpreter to Treaty 3 in 1873 and is listed as a witness to its signing. During the initial Treaty 3 negotiations, Chief Mawedopenais of Rainy River requested that “halfbreeds” be included in the treaty. However, Treaty Commissioner Alexander Morris responded that, “all I can do is to refer to the matter to the government at Ottawa, and to recommend what you wish to be granted.”

This wish was granted two years later through the Half-Breed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3. Signed on September 12, 1875, it made promises to this distinct Métis community, including land “to build and live on as a village.”

This marks the only time in Canada's treaty history that the Métis were dealt with as a collective. However, Canada’s promises to the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community within the Half-Breed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3 remain unfulfilled to this day.

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