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Field Division of Education
History of Glacier National Park
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III. The Canadian Frontier

The later history of the regions to the north of Glacier National Park somewhat parallels that of Montana, but there are important differences. We have already noted that the fur trade had been forced to withdraw northwards in favor of the American "whisky" traders. The excesses of the "whisky" traders caused the creation of the Northwestern Mounted Police, which in Alberta and Saskatchewan preceded the coming of the settlers. Consequently, the period of disorder in Montana between the beginnings of cattle raising, mining, and agriculture, which was marked by road agents and vigilance committees, was lacking in Alberta. There, by 1875, the Mounted Police had established a remarkable degree of order.

The Mounted Police performed another service north of the Park; they early gained the confidence of the Indians, particularly the various Blackfoot tribes. The more influential members of the Blackfoot were grateful for the suppression of the whisky traffic. They had seen the future with sufficient clarity to be anxious to conclude a treaty establishing a reservation at the earliest possible date, realizing that they would secure a better reservation if this were done before the coming of the settlers than afterwards. Consequently, in 1876, a treaty was made with the Blackfoot, which established their reservations and laid down the terms under which they were to occupy them. It is stated that but for the confidence of the Indians in the Mounted Police, established in two short years of contact, it would have been almost impossible to conclude the treaty.

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