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Feb 4th.docx

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HIST 1253
Charles Baxter

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The North-West Rebellion 1885 February 4 th Background o Federal policy for the Northwest (focusing on settlement and agriculture) - The federal government wanted to control the land and its resources - Wanted to send Anglo-Canadians as opposed to French, because then it would create less diversity, and would make it easy to administrate and make policies  However, the Metis, and the French already in the West make this hard o Constraints on federal ambitions for the region - Financial pressures; treaty obligations; growing French-Canadian nationalism (Quebec supported the Northwest) - RCMP was formerly known as the Northwest Mounted Police, founded in 1874  Tried to do very practical things; prevent Americans from entering to partake in the whiskey trade • This is the type of thing the Federal Government wanted to lock down on • Sending these law enforcement agents into the Northwest was a way to establish law and order  The federal government wanted to avoid the struggle that the US had faced in settling the “wild west” o Unrealistic government expectations for First Nations - Indian Act expects them to adjust to a farming industry overnight (Settled Agricultural Lifestyle)  Federal Government was impatient and couldn’t figure out why they weren’t just feeding themselves  As the Government sent out farming implements, they expected even more farming production - On the whole, First Nations had NO sympathy from the government/Indian agents - Government didn’t supply the reserves with enough food (1880-1885 ~3000 dead from starvation) - The lands allotted to the Reserves weren’t always the best for agricultural farming - After the deaths of so many First Nations from starvation, some Indian Agents appealed to Ottawa  Ottawa didn’t care Important Cree Leaders o Restraint in the face of calls for action o Big Bear - Held out the longest to NOT sign treaties (esp. treaties 6 … didn’t sign until 1882) - Was sceptical of the government o Poundmaker - 2000 Cree’s gathered at Poundmaker’s reserve to discuss how they were going to address the government - Didn’t want to resort to an armed uprising, but was determined to alleviate the suffering of the people Continuing Metis Grievances o Important Metis communities at Qu’Appelle, Batoche and Duck Lake The North-West Rebellion 1885 February 4 th o The land rights that the Metis were guaranteed were diminishing, being taken over by Ontarians o Most Metis left Southern Manitoba, but those who stayed were outnumbered by 5-1 - Migrating Metis families came east from Manitoba to southern and northern Saskatchewan  When they saw the government showing up to survey land again, they got nervous about repeating the past o Ottawa ignored their petitions to preserve their land The Return of Louis Riel o June 1884 – Riel is invited by the Metis to return and lead their movement to fight the government - Within a month, Riel moves his family to Saskatchewan to the community of Batoche o March 18 1855 – Riel proclaims a provisional government and establishes a Bill of Rights - Himself as president - Was a rather reasonable document calling for better conditions for everyone in the Northwest - Wanted two new provinces with their own legislatures (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) - Better treatment for First Nations - Land set aside for schools and hospitals for the Metis and First Nations o The Riel that returned to help the Metis was not the same person that he had been before o Riel had been institutionalized for mental disturbance in Quebec once fleeing after the Red River Massacre - Settled down, had a family and became a US citizen  When the Metis delegation came to him, he had been a teacher o Started out very similar to Red River… Starts out as a peaceful protest movement - Made alliances with white settlers who were unhappy  Wanted higher government assistance and land reforms
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