“They’d Lost Everything and Were Not Qualified”: The Legacy of the Unmet Education Promises Made in Treaty 7


  • Tarisa Dawn Little Mount Royal University




This paper provides an analysis of the education promises made in Treaty 7 by the Crown and federal government of Canada. Signed on the banks of the Bow River at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877, the treaty was desired by both government officials and Indigenous Nations in what is now southern Alberta—the Tsuu T’ina, the Stoney Nakoda, and the Blackfoot Confederacy: Siksika, Piikani, Kainai.  As this thesis will demonstrate though, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples viewed the meaning of the treaty in conflicting ways. This paper focuses on the creation and management of the schools in the Treaty 7 territories from 1877, the year Treaty 7 was “signed”, to 1923, the year in which industrial and boarding schools were merged to form the new category of “residential school” and the decade in which government policy for schools for Indigenous peoples began to take a new, less ambitious direction. The implementation of schools by the Department of Indian Affairs and their church partners, the type of education that was being offered to First Nations peoples, as well as First Nations responses will be examined.


Author Biography

Tarisa Dawn Little, Mount Royal University

Honours History, minors in English and Religious Studies