The PLEA: Treaties and the Law

The PLEA: Treaties and the Law

Treaties of the Prairies

Saskatchewan is covered by Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10. Although Treaty 2 covers land in Saskatchewan, there are no First Nations in Saskatchewan that are parties to this Treaty.


Although the courts have not directly decided how the Treaties relate to governance, the federal government has accepted that by virtue of Inherent Rights all Indigenous peoples have the right to self-government.

Treaty Land Entitlement

First Nations and the Crown agreed land would be set aside for the exclusive use of the First Nations, although some First Nations did not receive all the land they were entitled to by Treaty.

  • Treaties 4, 6, 8, and 10 provided for one square mile per family of five or 128 acres per person.
  • Treaties 2 and 5 provided for 160 acres per family of five in most cases.

Health Care

Treaty 6, unlike the other numbered Treaties, includes the promise that a “medicine chest shall be kept at the house of each Indian Agent for the use and benefit of the Indians, at the direction of such agent.” Other Treaty First Nations regard full medical care as part of the Treaty relationship since it was discussed at the time, although not recorded in the written text.

Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping

Hunting, fishing, and trapping rights are found in Treaty, but exclude lands taken up for settlement, mining, lumbering, or other purposes. These rights are subject to regulations made by the Government of Canada.

  • Treaties 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 promise the First Nations the right to pursue hunting and fishing throughout the Treaty territories.
  • Treaties 4, 8, and 10 include rights to trapping throughout the Treaty territories.


Treaty 4 states that the Crown “agrees to maintain a school in the reserve allotted to each band.” Treaty 5 and Treaty 6 contain the promise to maintain schools on reserves as “may seem advisable.”

Treaty 8 includes a promise to “pay the salaries of such teachers to instruct the children of said Indians.”

Treaty 10 simply says that the Crown agrees to “make such provision as may from time to time be deemed advisable for the education of Indian children.”


Treaties 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 promise to annually pay “for ever” $25 for each Chief, $15 for each headman, and $5 for every other man, woman, or child.


The Indian Act exempts First Nations and their members from taxation on any interest in reserve lands or personal property that is on a reserve.