Increased pressures on the natural resources of what would become northern Ontario led to tension and even warfare between Native groups and between Native tribes and mining corporations during the mid-nineteenth century. In 1850, the government empowered William Benjamin Robinson to negotiate with the Ojibwa bands of the area in order to establish reserves. In so doing, the government hoped to ease the competition for the limited resources available and open up the land for exploration and settlement. Chief Peau de Chat and Chief Shinguaconse, as well as other leaders from their respective Lake Superior and Lake Huron regions, agreed to a payment of £2,000  in cash and further annuity payments of £500 for the Lake Superior band and £600 for the Lake Huron group. The Robinson Treaties set the example for later negotiations between the Canadian government and Native tribes, establishing standards such as public negotiation processes, Crown takeover of surrendered lands, payment of annuities, and guarantees of full hunting and fishing privileges for Natives on Crown lands. The Robinson Treaties also broke with prior practice in treating for extensive tracts of land not needed for immediate settlement.

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