"You Don't Suppose the Dominion Government Wants to Cheat the Indians?": The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the Fort George Reserve, 1908-12


  • David Vogt
  • David Alexander Gamble University of Western Ontario




Indian reserves, Railways, Prince George, Lheidli T'enneh


Between 1908 and 1912, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway appropriated reserve land possessed by the Lheidli T'enneh Band at Fort George (now Prince George), B.C., offering $68 000, and ultimately paying $125 000, for land it later sold for more than $1 million. Band members were pressured by missionary clergy and the Department of Indian Affairs, to surrender the reserve to the railway swiftly and, from the perspective of the company, cheaply. Resistance by the band to the surrender did, however, result in temporarily stalled negotiations and a marked increase in compensation. The surrender or "sale" of Reserve No. 1 is illustrative of the broader phenomenon of the transfer of aboriginal reserve land to national railways, justified by the perceived benefit of the railway to the progress and development of Canada, and by the alleged benefit of relocation and isolation of the Lheidli T'enneh to their ultimate assimilation into Canadian society.

Author Biographies

David Vogt

David Vogt completed his MA at Carleton University in 2008, and his BA Hons at the University of Northern British Columbia in 2006. He will soon be beginning doctoral studies.

David Alexander Gamble, University of Western Ontario

D.A. Gamble is a doctoral candidate in the department of English at the University of Western Ontario. He completed his Interdisciplinary MA at the University of Northern British Columbia (English/history) in 2008. While completing his MA, Mr. Gamble taught English and Women's Studies at Northwest Community College and English at the University of Northern British Columbia.