The Prairies

THE Troops

1870-london Act: ordered troops into the area as peacekeepers. Métis were brutalized by the troops
Land ownership was not straightforward and , they were required to have scrip (paper-like money)
    • convertible to cash $160
    • Land scrip: allows you to exchange that for a homesteader's 160 acres of land
  • problems occurred: land spectators bought all the script from the Métis for an amount far below the actual value and the government of Manitoba often threatened the Métis with imprisonment if they didn't hand their script over
The Métis left Manitoba for Forts and settlements in modern day Northern Saskatchewan and Alberta and tried to recreate the culture they had enjoyed in the Red River settlement
  • Fort Edmonton on the North Saskatchewan River, Prince Albert on the junction of the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers, some also left for USA: Dakota and Montana

The Métis are rebels
Métis recreated small garden plots, hunting buffalo, hauling freight for the HBC
o when they started to dwindle, the Métis freaked out because their lives were dependent on bison, so they adopted the "Laws of St. Laurent" (LSL just for these notes)
§ these laws governed all aspects of life in the settlement, especially the buffalo hunt to conserve the buffalo
Lawrence Clarke: he was chief factor at the main HBC post in Northwest, didn’t like Métis and used his HBC and later, governing, power to lower their standards of living through paying only in goods, hiring on temp contracts and imprisonment if there were strikes
  • Someone violated the LSL and got fined by Dumont (Métis president), but that someone appealed to Clarke, which got Dumont arrested and tried them. This showed that now Ottawa had extended its power fully over the Métis

The First Nations People in the Northwest
The Whiskey Traders and the NWMP
Control passed from HBC à Canadian gov’t... problem: get rid of the American fur traders, who were trading liquor. This could lead to the loss of territory
· The gov’t established the northwest mounted police and the whiskey traders ran back to the US
Treaties with the Natives
Pretty much all of Northwest was still Aboriginal land (Cree, Saulteaux), so the gov’t started to make treaties to get land
  • Offers: 160 acres/family of five and also farm equipment, supplies, and teach them techniques
  • Treaty 1 and Treaty 2: August 1871 just 18 days apart
  • The gov’t didn’t want the natives to farm and sell the surplus wheat for cash and didn’t give them anything at all
  • By the end of the 19th century, the natives had given up on farming and relied on the gov’t for survival
  • Then by 1876 the Indian Act was introduced: have to live on reserves and kids would have to go to residential school
  • 1877 all the treaties were signed in that area

*the formating is really weird so if you want a formatted copy I can send that to you - Ariana

- Canada entered Confederation in 1871 with the promise of a transcontinental railroad within 10 years (to link rest of Canada)
- Railroad would help prevent Canada from being assimilated into the US
o transportation and communication link to join all parts of British North America
- McDonald resigned before the railway was built, after the “Pacific Scandal” (asked for bribes)
- McDonald developed the National Policy as a platform for his successful re-election
o Formula for nation building: remained an essential part of Canadian government policy well into the 20th century
o 3 main issues:
§ A System of Protective Tariffs (make US good more expensive)
§ Western Settlement (vast potential market →agriculture $)
§ The CPR (allow west to develop, trading network)
- McDonald secured a contract for building the CPR in 1880
o CPR Syndicate (BMO, HBC, James J. Hill) agreed complete the transcontinental railway within 10 years in return for:
§ $25 million
§ 25 million acres (most in prairies), exempt from tax until sold
§ 20 yr monopoly on rail traffic west of Lake Superior
- William Van Horne selected as general manager (intelligent, dedicated, efficient)
- BAD:
o Expensive (ran out of money twice)
o Workers: little access to fruits & veggies, no medical facilities, no compensation for injuries
o In Rockies, descended through Kicking Horse Pass at a grade 2x safely allowed
o Reason troops came in time to quell Northwest Rebellion (arrived in Winnipeg in 5 days)
§ After, the government gave CPR enough money to finish 5 years ahead of schedule (1885)
- Metis ...
o wanted titles,
o wanted financial aid to become farmers
o were starving
- Government...
o wanted revenue from the sale of Métis lands (more than pay for CPR)
o slashed budget of Indian department
o used food handouts as social control (troublesome starved)
o saw war – need to transport troops – as a way to justify the money spent on the CPR
o goaded the Metis into a rebellion that would remove them as a force in the Northwest
- in summer sent for Louis Riel to fight for justice
- Riel collaborated on Métis Bill of Rights similar to Declaration of Independence
o Complained that the government wasn’t living up to its arrangements for the North-West Territories, and detailed in the Manitoba Act
- Macdonald got ready for a rebellion
- On March 19, 1885, Louis Riel called the Métis to arms (government determined to make war)
- Rebellion started near Batoche, when 2 Metis delegates were shot
o then both sides opened fire
- More than 5000 Canadian troops deployed to contain rebellion
- battle of Batoche lasted 3 days, at which point the Métis were defeated
o Riel captured on May 15
o Dumont escaped to the US (spent next decade in exile)
- Métis leaders pardoned or sentenced to a short prison term (gov. saw Riel as true culprit)
- Riel charged with treason and hung on November 19, 1885