Manitoba Act and the Métis Manitoba entered Confederation on July 15, 1870, and was the first province to enter under the British North America Act (BNA Act) after the original four provinces. The Manitoba act of 1870 enacted by Parliament in response to the Métis concerns of the provisional government led by Louis Riel. Riel had a major impact on the Manitoba Act which was based on his list of rights. • The Red River colony and its surroundings would become the province of Manitoba, which was a tiny area around the Red River Colony. • Unlike other provinces initially Manitoba would have its land and other resources initially administered by the Federal government • The Manitoba Act made French and English official languages in province and provided for the right to a dual public school denominational schools - Protestant and Catholic. The two languages, English and French, reflected the political reality of Manitoba's population then which was about 6,000 French speaking and 6,000 English speaking in 1871. • Guarantee that they would receive title for the lands they already farmed and 1,400,000 acres (5,700 km2) of farmland for the use of their children. • It would seem that Métis rights and interests were protected. • As a result of the settlement Prime Minister John A. Macdonald convinced the British to send a military force of 1000 soldiers to Manitoba, led by Colonel Wolseley. Canada had no army at that time. The Red River Expedition at Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, enroute to Manitoba. • The Métis were frustrated by the Canadian government in their attempts to obtain land promised to them as part of Manitoba's entry into confederation. • The Manitoba Act recognized Métis aboriginal rights by way of their Indian ancestry and granted 1.4 million acres of land and seemingly assured all the native inhabitants of Manitoba that the land they already occupied would not be jeopardized by joining Canada. • Sections 31 and 32 of the Act committed Canada to distributing approximately two and a half million acres of land among the inhabitants of Manitoba of 1870. • An estimate of the amount of land actually allotted to the Métis by 1882 is estimated to be less than 600,000 acres. • Troops sent into the Red River Valley to oversee the peaceful transition to a province instead rained terror and brutality on the Métis. • Macdonald remarked: “These impulsive Metis have got spoilt by the emeute (uprising) and must be kept down by a strong hand until they are swamped by the influx of settlers. • Gaining title to their land was a confusing process. • All settlers were required to have scrip. • Scrip was a piece of paper given to the Métis. Money scrip had a value of $160. • Land scrip entitled a person to 160 acres of land. • The Métis were used to a traditional economy without money, and did not understand the value of scrip. • Many became dispossessed by selling the scrip to unscrupulous land speculators for a fraction of its true value. In the Northwest, the Métis recreated the pattern of settlement established at Red River at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Catholic church was always at the centre of the community. Income was drawn from subsistence farming. hunting buffalo, and hauling freight for the HBC. • Macdonald vision was the continuance of a steady stream of white settlers from Eastern Canada to Manitoba’s farms and thus overwhelming the Métis • Land scrip enabled the government to exercise some form of control over the lands which the Métis settled. • Money scrip so issued in hopes the Métis would use the cash and not acquire title to their land in Manitoba. • Many of the Métis left Manitoba as they felt disillusioned betrayed. • Riel’s provisional government had negotiated favourable terms with Canada. • Occupying soldiers land speculators , the scrip process , influx of new white settlers caused many Métis to seek a home elsewhere. • A large number of Métis settled to the Northwest, where they tried to recreate a pre-1869 Red River community without interference. Métis population distribution 1870 • The massive slaughter of the bison nearly drove the animal into extinction. • The slaughter was to clear way for farming homesteads in the United States and Canada and to forced Natives onto reservations. • The traditional Métis way of life was severely disrupted, as they lost a major source of, clothing, and trade (pemmican). • As a result, the slaughter caused great economic and social hardship. • The decline of bison forced the Métis to adopt strict hunting rules to conserve the animals. The Laws of St. Laurent were an extension of the Métis List of Rights, and formed the constitution of the community. • These laws governed all aspects of life, including the bison hunt. • The community would elect a president and council. • The council had final authority over disputes. • The captain of the bison hunt regulated the hunt. • The Laws of St. Laurent did not usurp the authority of the Canadian government. • Lawrence Clarke - HBC Chief Factor at Fort Carlton. • Clark bigoted and believed in the inferiority of the Métis. • He abused his position in attempts to lower the standard of living for the Métis. He hired Métis carriers on temporary basis (no job security) and he paid them as little as he could. • Instead of cash he paid the Métis in trade goods thus reducing the expenses of the HBC, making the Métis dependent on him. • Clarke also asked the Canadian government to provide a magistrate to enforce Canadian law in the Fort Carlton area. • The government responded by appointing Clarke the magistrate. • Clarke abused these powers – instead of applying justice and fairness, Clarke wielded and manipulated the law for the benefit of the HBC. • Any Métis who objected to the low pay, or who attempted to strike for better wages, could be imprisoned. • Gabriel Dumont, the president of the Métis, arrested several people who broke the law by hunting before the official hunt had begun. • These people appealed to Chief Factor Clarke, who in turn arrested, tried, and punished Dumont. • This incident proved to the Métis that they had no power; not even power to regulate the buffalo hunt. • Although the federal government acknowledged Dumont acted properly they did not rebuke or reprimand Clarke.