Eventually concluded with signings in two locations, Fort Carlton and Fort Pitt, the sixth treaty concluded in the West was reached after the most contentious set of negotiations encountered in the Numbered Treaties. Lieutenant-Governor Morris hoped to gain title to an enormous tract of land in what became central Saskatchewan and Alberta, and the Native negotiators sought an alternative to what they knew to be increasingly limited options in the face of the disappearance of the bison. The primary negotiators for the Cree were Mistawasis (Big Child) and Ahtakakoop (Star Blanket) at Fort Carlton and Sweetgrass at Fort Pitt. After extended discussions, during which the assembled Cree expressed concern for the security of their future and the necessity to adopt an agricultural livelihood, Mistawasis and Ahtakakoop accepted what they believed was the best deal they could get from the government. Mistawasis tempered the more irate expressions of dissatisfaction with government aid voiced by Poundmaker and the Badger, although he reiterated for Morris the need for security against starvation in the transformation period. This agitation forced Morris to make concessions in order to get the treaty signed. These included a "famine relief" clause, a "medicine chest" clause, and more agricultural assistance than had been offered to any other treaty people. In council among themselves, Mistawasis also challenged the disgruntled Poundmaker and the Badger to produce an alternative to the treaty, thereby quelling effective opposition to it. On hearing the report of the negotiations at Fort Carlton, and especially the arguments employed by Mistawasis and Ahtakakoop to win favour for it, Sweetgrass accepted the treaty without further question.

Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear) raised a more critical voice. He was one of the more significant chiefs on the Plains, and his reputation had led the negotiators to avoid issuing him a special invitation. By the time he reached Fort Pitt, the treaty had been signed. At Fort Carlton, dissatisfaction with treaty terms had focused on the inadequate assistance offered to smooth the transition to agriculture as a means to address the impending food crisis. Big Bear stood apart from his fellow chiefs in his demands for preservation of the bison as a solution to this problem. He did not take his band into treaty until forced to do so by starvation in 1882.