No. 288.
Mr. West to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

Sir: Referring to your note of the 26th of January last, I have the honor to inclose copy of an approved report of a committee of the privy council of Canada, to which is appended an article from the Benton Record on the subject of the alleged incursions of British Indians into Montana Territory.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosuue l.]

Report of a committee of the privy council for Canada, approved by the Governor-General on the 6th of March, 1883.

The committee of the privy council have had under consideration a dispatch from his excellency Her Majesty’s minister at Washington, of the 30th January ultimo, inclosing a communication from the United States Government concerning certain alleged incursions of British Indians into Montana Territory.

The right honorable Sir John MacDonald, to whom this dispatch was referred, reports that the lieutenant-governor of the Northwest Territories states that the reports of such incursions are not based upon good authority, and that he is informed and believes that very few, if any, Canadian Indians have crossed into the United States territory this winter.

[Page 496]

That in connection with ibis subject he, the lieutenant-governor, has transmitted to the right honorable the first minister an article which appeared in the Benton Record of the 12th January last, copy of which is herewith annexed.

The committee advise that a copy of this minute, when approved, be transmitted to Her Majesty’s minister at Washington, for the information of the United States Government.

Cleric Privy Council, Canada.
[Inclosure 2.—Extract from the Benton Record of January 12, 1883.]

indian depredations.

“The Indian Office has received advices that Canadian Indians are overrunning Northern Montana. They are mostly hostile Sioux; they have obtained arms, ammunition and whisky in unlimited quantities, and a collision between them and the troops is imminent.”

The above from the Washington World of the 30th ultimo will be news for the residents of this section.

We are not aware that Canadian Indians are at present raiding or overrunning Northern Montana, but the cattle-men of this section are suffering continually from American agency Indians, who are slaughtering cattle because they are mostly in a starving condition and unable to obtain from the agencies the food that they have been given to understand properly belongs to them. It looks very much as though The Interior Department had been notified that Canadian Indians were overrunning the northern border in order to counteract the effect of Montana newspaper reports that the agency Indians were causing the trouble.

True, it is not a great while ago that the Sitting Bull Sioux were a standing menace to the whole of Northern Montana, and the Cree Indians and the Canadian half-breeds have, when they saw fit, taken possession of Northern Montana and used it for hunting and trading at will; but when this state of affairs existed there was nothing more difficult in the world than to convince the Washington authorities that there were Canadian subjects taking unlawful privileges on American soil, and now that no one is troubled with either half-breeds or Indians from the other side of the boundary line we find that the Department is receiving repoits to the contrary. The truth probably is that the Montana newspaper reports of Piegan cattle thieves are likely to cause trouble if it cannot be shown that the agency Indians are not to blame; hence the agent with his usual shrewdness has started the report that the Canadian Indians are overrunning Northern Montana.