Red River - Weebly

Red River - Weebly

RED RIVER Issues, resistance, rebellion LETS FALL BACK A COUPLE OF YEARS BEFORE CONFEDERATION: REVISITING THE METIS Remember that the Metis settlement in Manitoba lived rather peacefully (the last time we talked about it). There were a few British people who moved in and tried to cause some racial ruckus, but it didnt work, and most of them then left the area The HBC owned Manitoba (actually, the HBC owned Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and a good chunk of all 3 Territories and Alberta at this time) The company decided it was too expensive to keep running this land (called Ruperts Land) and since the government wanted to have an ocean-to-ocean union, they started to negotiate with each other

Right after Confederation in 1867, The HBC started procedure to transfer ownership of the land to the Canadian government; the problem is that they didnt consult anyone who lived on the land! Land surveyors who arrived on the scene to check out the land saw the Metis farms and settled areasbut assumed they were not actually owned LOUIS RIEL In 1868, Louis Riel returned to the Red River settlement Who is Louis Riel, you ask? He was a 24 year old Metis who went to law school in Montreal, and returned home as an accomplished young man He arrived back in his hometown in the midst of this land tension Riel would have none of this ignorance. He formed a resistance group, and he and his cohorts watched the land surveyors very carefully In October 1869, land surveyors trespassed on a Metis farm and Riel was quickly called for. He informed the workers that they were trespassing on legal

farmland, and stood in their way, forcing them to stop work Riel formed The National Metis Committee to fight for Metis rights. This was an incredible step, as historically, Aboriginals had been stepped on for years by government officials LAND TRANSFER Despite everything, in November 1869, the transfer of land (the sale) progressed (MN, SK, part of AB, and the Territories were joined to be called North-West Territories) John A Macdonald (our first Prime Minister) appointed William McDougall as lieutenant-governor of the North-West Territories As soon as that happened, the Metis Committee warned McDougall that he was not welcome on the land McDougall ignored them, angering the committee, which then took up weapons and got ready to fight a battle for their land

The strange thing is: Riel and the committee (and other Metis) were not against Confederation. What they wanted was to be consulted, to be a part of the process, to not be ignored. Riel decided to make a provisional government in order to help Metis rights be heard CONTINUED The sole purpose of this provisional government was to make sure that Metis (and their voices) were heard. It would keep order and negotiate on behalf of its people McDougall was known to be anti-French, and because Metis backgrounds were French, as well as First Nations, this was a scary situation for the group. A provisional government that had the best interests of its people at heart was a good idea With all of this unrest happening, Macdonald decided to postpone the sale

of land rather than do it amidst a bloody battle (good choice?) He sent a letter (remember, no phones or email at this time) to MacDougall to tell him to stay put until further notice, but MacDougall didnt receive the letter in time, and decided, in bravado, to cross the border into the new North-West Territories, and proclaim himself the new leader of the land How do you think that went? ALWAYS, ALWAYS! READ THE FINE PRINT! This became awkward: 1. McDougall announces himself as lieutenant-governor, and then runs back across the border in the USA 2. Written announcement of his leadership is then circulated to the Settlement 3. With this written (legal) announcement, the HBC (who still technically

owned the land because Macdonald was postponing final sale and transfer) actually lost ownership of the land 4. BUT, because McDougall was on USA land, there was no one legally in charge. Weird but true 5. So, who else is on the land and in government format? Louis Riels provisional government! And guess what: now Riels provisional government was legally the government of the area, haha! CONTINUED Riel was an extremely bright man. He figured the Canadian Party (government) was armed and ready to fight to the finish to claim the land as their own In December 1869, Riel decided to beat them at their own game. He (as a legal government official) arrested John Schultz (remember him?) and FORTY-EIGHT of his supporters, and legally made they stay in Fort Garry (hmmmm, sound familiar? Forcing a group of people onto a small area of land for no reason?)

News of this situation travelled to Ottawa, and Macdonal sent one of his workers to speak with Riel about negotiating the release of Schultz and his men, as well as the problem with the land sale Macdonald might have seemed like a peaceful and pragmatic man publicly, BUT secretly he had particular thoughts about the Metis. He was quoted once as saying, Smith will carry the olive branch and we will hope for peace over battle. However, should these miserable half-breeds not disband, they will be put down. (Note the racial slur) NEGOTIATIONS In 1870, Riel and The Negotiator (Macdonalds man) agreed that Riel should send some representatives to Ottawa to further this discussion regarding Metis rights and land During this time, Schultz and some of his men escaped confinement. One of

the men, Thomas Scott, was particularly brutish, and later, Riel executed him The Red River Rebellion never escalated to a full-on war, but death in any negotiation situation is always regrettable. Many people did regret Thomas Scotts execution, but also appreciated that progress was made without a war In Feb 1870, reps for the Metis and the Canadian Party started their travel to Ottawa feeling positive about the creation of a province called Manitoba MANITOBA Unfortunately, the escaped John Schultz reached Ottawa before either group, and told the story of how the despicable Metis gunned down the good Christian Thomas Scott. Schultz did his best to incite negative feelings towards the Metisand he was successful Shortly afterwards, the Metis reps arrived in Ottawa, and Macdonald (and others) were in an uproar. He was re-thinking negotiations and had no love for the Metis at this time Macdonald refused to give up public land to the Metis, but he did say he would allot 2000km2 for all Metis children

In 1870, Manitoba joined Confederation He secretly sent militia to Red River, however, in a plan to keep peace until all sales and transfers and legalities were finished (including the power of government to be legally moved to him) He told his officials to not treat Riel and his men as a real government, which is ironic because they WERE the real government of the area, the ONLY government that legally existed Riel, as I said before, was a smart man. He figured that government officials would start to look for him. He fled in the summer of 1870 to the USA. Eventually, Riels government was officially pardoned for everything everyone except for Riel, who stayed far away in the USA for now STUDENT ASSIGNMENT Read The Trial and Execution of Thomas Scott on page 159 of Horizons. Answer the bullet question at the end of the reading. Be thoughtful and decisive in your answer, as these are the types

of questions people today ask during court trials from everything from theft to murder, in order to decide a persons fate. Take another look at the Metis List of Rights and Freedoms on page 161, and then the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the one we use today) on page 162. In chart format, answer question #1 on page 162.

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