Mixed-blood concerns were exacerbated by Canadian attempts to resurvey the settlement in defiance of existing occupancy, and by the appointment of Canadian annexationist William MCDOUGALL as the territory's first lieutenant-governor. In late 1869 Louis RIEL emerged as the Métis spokesman. He recognized that his people must work with the more reticent anglophone mixed-bloods to satisfy their grievances. While local HBC officials maintained a studied neutrality, Métis opposition late in 1869 caused the Canadian government to refuse to take over the territory on 1 Dec 1869 as had been agreed. This encouraged Riel's insurgents, who had already prevented McDougall from entering the settlement; they seized Upper Ft Garry and fought against supporters of Canada. Representatives of the settlers were summoned to an elected convention, which in Dec proclaimed a provisional government, soon headed by Riel. In Jan 1870 Riel gained the support of most of the country-born in a second convention, which agreed to form a representative provisional government to negotiate with Canada the terms of entry into CONFEDERATION.
Armed conflict persisted over the winter, but Riel seemed in control until he made the colossal blunder of court-martialling and executing a prisoner, Ontario Orangeman Thomas SCOTT. Although the Canadian authorities were still willing to deal with Riel, they later seized upon the Scott case as a reason for refusing to grant an unconditional amnesty.
The legislative assembly of the provisional government organized the territory of ASSINIBOIA in Mar 1870 and enacted a law code in Apr. Although the Canadian government recognized the "rights" of the people of Red River in negotiations in Ottawa that spring, the victory was limited. A new province called Manitoba was created by the MANITOBA ACT, its territory severely limited to the old boundaries of the settlement, whereas the vast North-West remained firmly in Canadian hands. Even within Manitoba, public lands were controlled by the federal government. Mixed-blood land titles were guaranteed and 607,000 ha were reserved for the children of mixed-blood families, but these arrangements were mismanaged by subsequent federal governments. The Métis nation did not flourish after 1870 in Manitoba. There was no amnesty for Louis Riel and his lieutenants, who fled just before the arrival of British and Canadian troops in Aug 1870. Although the insurrection had ostensibly won its major objectives - a distinct province with land and cultural rights guaranteed - the victory was hollow. The Métis soon found themselves so disadvantaged in Manitoba that they moved farther W, where they would again attempt to assert their nationality under Riel in the NORTH-WEST REBELLION of 1885.
Author J.M. BUMSTED
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
Communications and Electronics Branch of the Canadian Forces
This site offers a detailed history of Canadian military communications from the pre-Confederation era to modern times. Includes fascinating details about the Red River Rebellion of 1870, the early use of telephone technology, and much more. From the Department of National Defence.
The RCMP March West
Read Commissioner George Arthur French’s day-by-day account of the treacherous journey that brought peace and order to Canada’s prairies -- the March West of 1874. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police website.
The Red River Expedition
A digitized image of a historical painting by artist Frances Anne Hopkins. From "The Canadian West" website, Library and Archives Canada.
A biography of Louis Riel from the “Canadian Confederation” website. Includes photographs and other archival resources. From Library and Archives Canada.
The Canadian Wartime Experience: The Documentary Legacy of Canada at War
This website examines the impact of wartime experiences on previous generations of Canadians. Peruse digitized images of ink-stained personal letters, official documents, news clippings, old photographs, and much more. Covers major military conflicts from the Red River Rebellion to the Vietnam War. Also offers learning activities that relate to primary source materials. From University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
A brief overview of the sometimes turbulent history of the Métis community in Western Canada. Part of “The Kids’ Site of Canadian Settlement” from Library and Archives Canada.
The Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture
This site features a wealth of primary sources about Métis history and culture. Includes oral history interviews, photographs, and various archival documents. Also offers informative learning activities that will immerse students and teachers in Métis traditional life and customs.
Glossary: Treaty 6
A glossary of terms related to the history of Treaty 6. From the Alberta Online Encyclopedia.
CANADIAN HISTORICAL DRAMA: PLAYWRIGHTS IN SEARCH OF A MYTH
A comparative analysis of landmark Canadian historical drama. From the journal "Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne," University of New Brunswick.
Red River Resistance
The text of a brochure which marks the 125th anniversary of Manitoba’s entry into Confederation. Offers a summary of the pivotal events of 1869-1970 and provides information on a number of sites in and around Winnipeg associated with the Resistance. From the website for the Manitoba Historical Society.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...