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Louis Riel was a Canadian activist who helped found Manitoba. In 1869, he led the Metis (Canadian people of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry) in their fight against the encroachment of Anglo-Protestant immigrants into their territory when the Hudson Bay Company wanted to sell Rupert’s Land (about 1/3 of Canada’s...

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Louis Riel was a Canadian activist who helped found Manitoba. In 1869, he led the Metis (Canadian people of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry) in their fight against the encroachment of Anglo-Protestant immigrants into their territory when the Hudson Bay Company wanted to sell Rupert’s Land (about 1/3 of Canada’s land mass in the Northwest) to the Dominion of Canada. The Red River Colony (founded in 1812 in Rupert's Land) resisted the sale for fear they would loose their social, cultural, and political status to the Canadian Confederation. Under Riel’s leadership, the newly formed Metis National Committee was able to thwart progress toward the sale, and by December 1869, produced a provisional government for all of Rupert’s Land. In their "Declaration of the People of Rupert's Land and the North-West," the people rejected Canada’s right to govern the territory and proposed a negotiated settlement between the provisional government and the Confederation government.

The provisional government’s delegates and the Confederation government settled on the agreement laid out in the Manitoba Act. In spite of some opposition form people in Ontario, this Act brought the new Province of Manitoba into the Confederation on May 12, 1870.

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