Between 1871 and 1921, the fledgling government of Canada negotiated a series of treaties with Indigenous Peoples in order to secure land for settlement and resource extraction. In all, eleven treaties were signed covering land in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northern Ontario, parts of Yukon, and the Northwest Territory. The goal of the Government was to enable the assimilation of Indigenous Peoples into white Canadian society by 'encouraging' them to take up sedentary, agrarian lifestyles (Whitehouse, 2008).
These treaties were signed while the Indigenous People were experiencing significant hardship from smallpox, tuberculosis, and hunger due to bison being over-hunted. Indigenous people were desperate for assistance and thought that signing the treaties would be the best way to secure a future for their children and grand children.