Riel Rebellions (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: Two separate revolts against the government of Canada led to the dispersal and marginalization of the once thriving Metis.
Canadian policies that threatened both the Metis and Indian ways of life were at the heart of two separate revolts in Canada's newly acquired prairie region. (Metis people are of mixed Indian and European descent.) In 1869 the Hudson's Bay Company relinquished its claim over Rupert's Land and the Northwest to the recently confederated nation of Canada. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald set out to build a great nation joined from the Atlantic to the Pacific by a rail line. Although the government negotiated treaties that established Indian reserves, it offered the Metis, whom it did not regard as legally Indian, no such consideration. This contributed significantly to the erosion of the Metis economic and social life.
Red River Rebellion, 1869-1870
Preparing to take over the new territories in the fall of 1869, Canada sent survey parties into the Red River region. The Metis of the region had for many years occupied long, narrow farmsteads along the riverbank. Contrary to this practice, the surveyors delineated square township lots. Both fearing the imminent arrival of large numbers of English-speaking Protestants and fearing that their long-established land tenure would be ignored once Canada asserted control over the area, the Metis and a few of the original white...
(The entire section is 1261 words.)
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