The government encouraged the Natives who settled upon reserves in Western Canada to continue providing for their own subsistence through hunting, fishing, and trapping. The Indian Affairs Department thought that such efforts would reduce dependence upon government rations while the bands were being educated in the pursuit of agricultural enterprises, thereby saving the government money. Traditional hunting, fishing, and trapping rights were enshrined in the treaties, and allowances made for the ammunition, nets, and other supplies needed to continue these activities. The 1894 Unorganized Territories' Game Preservation Act, however, set up laws that provided for limited hunting seasons for certain types of game, including the wood buffalo upon which many northern tribes depended for subsistence. The Indian Act was amended in 1890 to allow such legislation to be applied to Natives. Plains bands saw this encroachment on their treaty rights as a further erosion of their way of life.

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