The area covered by Treaty 8 amounted to some 324,900 square miles of territory in what would become northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Negotiations for Treaty 8 centred around some very different concerns than had been tabled during the discussions of the Plains treaties, notably the worry of northern Natives that the reserve system was untenable in an area that could not support agricultural enterprises. If the Natives of Treaty 8 were to maintain their long-standing ways of hunting and fishing, as the government assumed they would, they could not be confined to reserves. Although the government provided annuities for ammunition and fishing supplies, the final wording of the treaty held that Native rights were subject to government regulation, while Natives assumed that their rights to use resources were without restriction. Treaty 8 also did not define land ownership in terms of rights to such things as timber, water, minerals, or petrochemicals. These terms would only be hammered out during negotiations to create reserves within this vast area almost 100 years later.

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