All things being considered, it is thought that the Indians of Manitoba and the Territories have fared better than any others in the Dominion. Their health has been exceptionally good, and the increase of births over deaths is very marked. A great number still meet their wants by hunting and fishing; and in this they can lay claim to a fair amount of success; where such has been the case, the policy of the department has not been to place them on reserves and endeavour to make farmers of them, but to await the time when such means of earning a livelihood become so precarious as to compel the Indians to seek aid at the hands of the Government. Until the arrival of such time, little or no reliance can be placed upon them to make any really sustained effort at farming, and they are liable, if the whim seizes them, to leave at the most critical moment and go hunting or fishing, the result being that a success is made of neither, while they become impressed with the idea that such efforts entitle them to continuous aid at the hands of the Government. In some cases reserves are such as to afford little hay for stock, and the lands only sufficiently good to enable roots and vegetables to be grown as a supplement to the fish and game.
With the farming Indians, fairly good crops, plenty of hay, and owing to a cool summer - few flies, which are sometimes such pests to cattle - have brought about such a condition of affairs as may be regarded as favourable.
Irrigation. - Over and above what has already been said in connection with matters relating to the Territories, that most important work of irrigating the land has to be mentioned. Two years have elapsed since the first attempts in this direction were made upon the Blackfoot Reserve. The results of these attempts have certainly justified the department in extending as much as possible this work in the Territories, more particularly in that section known as Treaty 7, which lies under the mountains, in the south-westerly corner of the Territories.
Apart from the benefits to be derived from grain and root-growing, the raising of stock must in a very great measure be dependent upon the success of the irrigation schemes, for, as sometimes occurs, long continued drought kills the pasture land, while, at other times, the fall of snow is such as to prevent cattle obtaining sufficient for their wants; but the land irrigated will enable the raising and cutting of such a quantity of hay annually as will allow of the feeding of cattle when otherwise many of them might starve.
Of interest in this direction must necessarily be the views of one outside the department and unbiassed in his experiences; consequently I take the liberty of presenting an extract from a report on the irrigation work at the Blackfoot Crossing, by the Chief Inspector of Surveys and Irrigation in the Department of the Interior: -
"The works as far as completed consist of a main canal designed to carry about twenty cubic feet of water per second, heading in the Bow River at a point on the north bank of the river about four miles east of the, western boundary of the reserve, and extending from thence easterly about four miles, with the necessary embankments or dams for raising the water in portions of old water-course utilized as a portion of the system. In addition to the main canal, some miles of main laterals and a considerable length of drainage ditches have been constructed, and the extension of main canal