THE METIS

Report
THE METIS:
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
June 11/09
Prepared by Larry McCallum
Consultant
Images are copyrighted by owners
For Personal Use only
Métis National Anthem –
by Unknown
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In the forest on the river, and across the western plain, a
s the white man journeyed westward, to the land of the Indian.
A new race was created, a new nation rose up strong.
Hardship as its destiny, and its curse to not belong.
In the land from which they came
in the land they helped to build.
They found themselves the alien
found their vision unfulfilled.
And despite their valiant effort,
to defend what they believe.
When at last the battle ended,
they were only left to grieve.
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We are proud to be Métis,
Watch a nation rise again,
Never more forgotten people,
We're the true Canadian.
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From across the plain they traveled,
from Red River to the Peace, searching for their own homeland, that would help them to replace, all the land that had been taken, and
the dreams that had been dashed,
Their brave heroes now called traitors, and courageous deeds now past.
“We are Proud to be Metis”
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We are proud to be Métis,
Watch a nation rise again,
Never more forgotten people,
We're the true Canadian.
For this newest generation,
and the future ones to come,
with the past to motivate us,
it will help to keep us strong.
As we build the Métis nation,
as we watch it rise again,
our past lost is motivation,
to inspire our future gain.
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We are proud to be Métis,
Watch a nation rise again,
Never more forgotten people,
We're the true Canadian.
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We are proud to be Métis,
Watch a nation rise again,
Never more forgotten people,
We're the true Canadian.
The Metis of the East & West
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THE METIS OF THE EAST:
Eastern mixed-bloods were as important to the early economic system as they would become in the west
Metis of the east: Mid-Ontario to the Maritimes
The eastern Metis did not become a distinct society as they did in the west
The final fate of these Metis was to integrate into the European Society of the time or, to integrate into the First
Nations societies.
Although there are people of aboriginal ancestry living in those areas today, they are considered by the Metis to
be mixed-blood. The Metis culture is basically non-existent for them as it hadn’t developed yet.
THE METIS OF THE WEST: Reasons why the Metis became largely a western phenomenon
They were more numerous in the west than in the east
They were bi-lingual
They were skilled hunters
They were religious
They developed a mind-set around being Metis
The Red River Metis and the Fur
Trade Era
- The demand for furs in Europe created an economic
boom for traders/companies and provided a new source
of livelihood for FN
- Inter-marriage created a new nation of people, the
mixed bloods later known as the Metis
- Prior to 1821, there were two main economic rivals: The
Hudson Bay Company owned and operated by the
English and the North West Company owned and
operated by the French
- The French Metis worked for the N.W.Co. and the
English Metis worked for the H.B.Co.
Metis Dependence on Fur Trade
Metis Role and Dependence on the Fur Trade:
- Trade created an interdependence between the FN,
Metis and settlers
- Competition was healthy
- Bilingual Metis became middle-men for the FN and
trading companies
- Metis became suppliers of pemmican and meat to
traders/explorers
- Metis provided transportation services with the Red River
Cart and York boats
- Trades items: guns, ammo, utensils, etc.
- The concept of profits/money for a livelihood was
accepted
Ruperts Land 1670
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1670-owned by the
H.B.Co. by virtue of a
land grant by the
English monarchy
**The Metis people
were settled in the
Red River area at this
time. Their presence
was accepted by the
H.B.Co. due to their
value in the fur trade
The Traditional Metis Homeland
Territory of Assiniboia 1812 and the
Selkirk Settlement
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Metis lived there for 150
years or so
In 1812, Lord Selkirk,
part owner of the
H.B.Co., received a land
grant in order to bring
over starving, mainly
Scottish settlers. This
became known as the
Selkirk Colony
This land grant happened
to be in the heart of Metis
land
The Selkirk Settlement
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Initial relationship was friendly as they
both shared the struggle to survive
The Metis began small scale farming; the
Scotts learned to hunt and trap
But, the table was set for land and trade
issues, especially because the French
Metis mainly worked for the NWCo and
the English Metis for the HBCo
Battle of Seven Oaks 1816
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By 1816, the H.B.Co had a trade monopoly in the Territory of Assiniboia
They banned trade goods from leaving the territory (maintain their
monopoly)
Created a blockade on the trading route so the Metis could not transport
goods East
Cuthbert Grant became the first important Metis leader:
He organized the Metis in an attempt to break the blockade
In a battle that lasted 15 minutes, the H.B.Co lost 20 men and the Metis 1
Result: This battle is often seen as the birth of the Metis Nation. There was
an emergence of a new identity, that of being different. As well, there was
a new nationalism
The blue Metis flag was flown for the first time. It became a source of
pride, identity, nationalism
This flag is the oldest flag indigenous to North to North America
Flag flown by the Metis at Seven
Oaks in 1816
Early Metis Nationalism
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The division of trade between the H B Co. and
the N W Co. and their role in the fur trade
Amalgamation of the two companies in 1821
The HBCo. Grant of Metis land to Lord Selkirk to
create the Selkirk Colony
The Red River Colony and its Metis Majority
Metis leader: Cuthbert Grant
Battle of Seven Oaks 1816
Transfer of Rupert’s Land to Canada after
confederation
The Red River Settlement 18211870
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By 1821, the H.B.Co. and The N.W.Co. had
merged into a single entity. This created
massive unemployment among the Metis in the
territories
The result: The Metis gathered and settled in
great numbers in the Red River area
Approximate population was 12,000: French
Metis at 6,000; English Metis at 4,000; and First
Nations/Non-natives at 2,000
This large gathering of Metis enabled the culture
and identity to grow and to flourish
Settlement pattern (GDI)
Confederation – 1867
Canada becomes a Country
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First Prime Minister: John A. MacDonald
As part of becoming a country, Rupert’s Land is
transferred to Canada without consulting the resident
Metis. This created anger, more nationalism.
Later, Ottawa sent surveyors to survey the Red River
area, again without consulting the Metis residents. The
Metis saw this as a threat to their land ownership
A well educated Metis, Louis Riel, stepped forward to
organize the Metis. They stopped the surveyors
Ottawa saw the Metis as a threat to
expansion/settlement and sent an armed force to the
area to maintain order
THE FIRST RESISTANCE
First Provisional
Government(temporary gov’t) 1869
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Louis Riel formed the first Provisional
Metis government in 1869. They had
several worrisome happenings:
- settlers
- armed force on the way
There is considerable discussion that this
government was legal under international
law as this was still a territory
The government was short lived
Petitions to Ottawa
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To be allowed into Confederation with an
elected, representative legislature
Official form of bilingualism
Request for representation in parliament
Recognition of existing land tenure and
custom
Survey systems
Second Provisional Government
1870 is formed
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Was formed to maintain
order/law in the
settlement
It had the power to arrest
trouble makers
Executed Thomas Scott
Put together a petition to
form a new province with
the hope of joining
Canada
Fought to protect Metis
land rights
Thomas Scott
Charged with treason
Manitoba Act 1870
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Manitoba joins
confederation as a new
province when the
Government passed the
Manitoba Act of 1870
Metis not included in the
government
Received? 1.4 million
acres of land in the form
of scrip (240 acres for
their children and each
adult head of the family a
further 160 acres)
Affects of Manitoba Act
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Riel fled to The USA to save himself from
the Canadian militia who were on their
way to enforce their version of ‘order’ in
the new province
Metis Scrip(
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paper representing valued item such as land
The displaced Metis
people were promised 1.4
million acres of land to be
distributed as ‘scrip’
Scrip had the potential to
destroy the Metis nation
as scrip promised land
somewhere in the
Dominion (Canada) but it
never specified where in
Canada; this led to a
unity issue for the Metis
people
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Problems
Lands were not distributed until 1875
(5 years later)
 Most Metis lost their lands through fraud
and to land speculators
 Metis were subject to continued
harassment by new settlers
 Many Metis were forced from their lands
without any settlement of claim
 Few families stayed to farm
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GDI
The First Metis Dispersal:
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Northern Manitoba
Present day Alberta
and Saskatchewan
(see map)
Northern USA
GDI
The Metis begin again:
The Saskatchewan Metis
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Moose Mountain-Qu'Appelle River area
Along the South Saskatchewan River at St. Laurent and
Batoche
In 1873, Gabriel Dumont set up a Metis community
government at St. Laurent with himself as president
The Metis had rules/laws for their people.
Conflicts arose when Dumont’s government tried to
arrest HBCo hunters who were not following Metis laws
The NWMP were called in, and the government quietly
collapsed
The Metis continued a lifestyle patterned after Red River
GDI
Gabriel Dumont
The Second Resistance:
The Riel Resistance
By the 1880’s, a crisis was again at hand for the
Metis:
 Buffalo were nearly extinct/livelihood
 Land was again being surveyed and opened up
to homesteading
 Settlers were moving into the area
 Economic survival was threatened
 Land was being given to railway companies
 In 1881, Ottawa decided to sell, rather than give
land away, so this made land speculation a huge
problem
Riel Returns
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The French Metis, headed by Dumont, invited
Riel back from exile in the US to lead the Metis
struggle
They composed petition,1.) listing grievances
and demands, 2.) representation in the Federal
government; 3.) land rights
In 1879 the Federal government had amended
the Dominion Land Act to deal with Metis land
scrip in the North West, however, when they
finally agreed to allocate it in 1885, it was too
late!
Metis Provisional Government
March 1885
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The Metis felt a need to defend their
territory and formed a ‘Provisional
Government’
Troops were on their way to Batoche
The beginning of the Riel Rebellion
(European Canadian perspective) or, as
the Metis say, the Riel Resistance.
Federal Government reasons for
military action:
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They didn’t want bloody uprisings like
those in the US
They wanted to mobilize financial support
in the east for a nearly bankrupt railway
system
Revenge for the execution of Thomas
Scott
Establish power/order in the region for
settlement
Duck Lake Incident
March 26, 1885
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Approximately 200
Metis/First Nations
against 100 well
armed police and
volunteers. The Metis
suffered 5 dead, the
police 12
Battle of Fish Creek
April 24, 1885
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Approximately 200
Metis against 400
army militia
Riel
Battle of Batoche
May 9 – 12, 1885
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Metis battle standard
Videos:
a. Riel Rebellion
b. Four Bloody
Days
Batoche 1885
The steamer
The Church
Troops
Aftermath of the Resistance:
Louis Riel
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Trial of Louis Riel
Execution on
November 16, 1885
Gabriel Dumont
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Gabriel Dumont
escaped to the USA
He became part of
Wild Bill’s Wild West
Show
Returned to Batoche
in 1890 and died in
1906
GDI
Second Metis Dispersal
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Northern USA
Calgary area
Edmonton area
Northern
Saskatchewan
Willowbunch area
Fort Qu’Appelle area
“The Road Allowance
People”
Mass grave at Duck Lake
Issues
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Constitution Act 1982 – recognition of the
Aboriginal peoples: First Nations; Metis;
Inuit
Metis Rights
Governance
Identity
Land Claims
Present day Metis land claim (GDI)
Metis Land Claim Overturned
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In December, 2007, the Supreme Court of
Canada ruled against the Metis Land Claim
Why? Why?
We remain the ‘landless’ aboriginal people
in Canada
METIS WEBSITES
http://www.metisnation.ca/
Metis National Council
http://www.albertametis.com/MNAHome.aspx
http://metna.sasktelwebhosting.com/
Metis Nation of Sask.
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Atrium/4832/metis.html
Metis information
http://www.jkcc.com/history.html
History Metis community of Buffalo Narrows
http://www.jkcc.com/sakitawak.html
History of the Metis community of Ile a la Crosse
www.metismuseum.ca
Metis history, music, culture, etc.
http://www.metisnation-sask.com/
Metis Nation of Saskatchewan
http://www.mmf.mb.ca/
Manitoba Metis Federation
http://www.mpcbc.bc.ca/
BC Metis Nation
http://www.metisnation.org/
Metis Nation of Ontario
http://www.othermetis.net/Orgs/Orgs.html
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples: Proposes to represent aboriginal peoples
http://www.othermetis.net/links/Metis.html
Metis links

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