Louis Riel Day Feb 15, 2016.

Make plans to celebrate Manitoba’s Louis Riel Day.

1870 A Metis settlement, Manitoba by William Wallace Armstrong.

1870 A Metis settlement, Manitoba by William Wallace Armstrong.

Louis Riel was the driving force behind Manitoba becoming Canada’s fifth province. His dream of a province that embraces all cultures is still shared by Manitobans today.

On the third Monday of February, get out and join other Manitobans from all across our great province to celebrate Louis Riel’s vision. http://www.gov.mb.ca/february_holiday/

Parkdale and the North West Rebellion 1885
Parkdale in Pictures page 22. The Parkdale Register 1881, Click to read here.

Short summary of PIP: Parkdale sent and supported 15 volunteers in 1885 to take up arms against the Metis and Indians of Manitoba. How Did this Great Disparity Develop?

The disparity between these two government positions across time is so great as make me feel shy to write.  The opinions expressed here are my sole personal responsibility and I reserve the right to change and develop my understanding of this complex situation in future. Jack Gibney.  (more text following the pictures)

In 1610 Champlain exchanged a French boy, Etienne Brule for a native boy to cement peach with the locals along the St Lawrence river. Brule began a tradition of Europeans living among the natives in peace and raising what grew into a nation of Metis.  These Metis continue to mix with both native and European cultures, resulting in a mixed culture that may be the origin of the uniquely peaceful and thoughtful Canadian culture. 

Champlain also allied with the Wendat and Algonquin against the Iroquois, escalating the first Beaver war. The Iroquois defeated the French-led alliance in the third battle of 1615 and the French never abandoned military alliance with the Wendat Confederacy. The Dutch and later, the British around New York armed the Iroquois with many guns; the Wendat and their allies were defeated and destroyed by 1651. The refugees were dispersed mostly north west, and that is another story. The second Beaver war destroyed more Native nations. The American Revolution and the war of 1812 killed still more natives as dwindling populations of natives had to take sides. It is not always wise or easy to be neutral. By the mid 1800s many of the surviving natives had been forced into northern Ontario and Manitoba. By the, the Natives had little trust left for the British (us).

By 1869 the buffalo were gone, the fur trade had collapsed, the prairie Indians were starving and the Courier de Boise both English and French had intermarried with the natives and produced a significant Metis population that had turned to farming. Many had set down roots in the Red River Settlement at present day Winnipeg. The Hudson Bay Company was negotiating the sale of its land and assets to Canada but provisions of the contract required Canada to make agreements with the aboriginals.  On Dec 1, 1869 there was no legal ownership of the territory and the Metis elected a Provincial Government to negotiate with Canada under Riel. They took over Upper Fort Gary.

In Dec 1869 Ottawa formed a provisional government for Manitoba and sent representatives to negotiate its content. Riel was elected leader of the new government. Negotiations resulted in elected representatives agreeing to take a plan to Ottawa to negotiate. 

Several small armed rebellions against Riel’s government were easily contained and the leaders pardoned. Eventually Riel agreed to the execution of a leader of a rebellion. This enabled the opponents of the Metis to undermine their gains.

Although the delegation successfully negotiated terms with Ottawa and the Province of Manitoba was formed, public opinion was turned against Riel and amnesty was not granted. When a military detachment arrived in Red River Riel and his officials fled. The Metis eventually gave up and moved further north west.  A similar scenario repeated a decade later in the North West Resistance or Rebellion.

After the North West Rebellion was suppressed in 1885 the Prairie Natives were confined to reservations under the ‘Pass System”, until the 1960s. The residential school system was implemented to steal their children, brain wash them to be ‘white’ and suppress their language and culture. Both of these programs were illegal, immoral and an embarrassment to Canada and the Church that was used to administer the schools. The residential schools system involved sexual abuse and torture of children. The surviving children had learned Christianity and terrible parenting skills that will take generations to overcome. Their beautiful democratic and communal culture was severely damaged. We lost a lot of wonderful heritage here.

Canada remains conflicted on this issue.  followind is a summary of events with pictures and scraps of information. 

PHOTOS  Of Louis Riel and his struggles for the Metis.

If you are interested in further detail I include a couple of passages with sources. The full detail becomes very convoluted. Comments would be welcome:

The Red River Government. 1870
Manitoba Government

end of buffalo and fur trade and new settlers without recognizing existing settlements

North West Rebellion 1885
Library and Archives Canada

hudson’s bay land

the International Financial Society bought controlling interest in the HBC, signalling a shift in the company’s outlook: most of the new shareholders were less interested in the fur trade than in real-estate speculation and economic development in the West. Negotiations conducted with the Colonial Office and, after 1867, with the Canadian government, eventually resulted in the sale of Rupert’s Land to Canada in 1870. As part of the agreement, the company received £300,000 and one-twentieth of the fertile areas to be opened for settlement. In addition, it retained title to the lands on which it had built trading establishments. The terms of the agreement strongly influenced company development after 1870. By retaining large landholdings on the prairies and the parcels adjacent to its posts, many of which were located in developing urban centres in the West and North, the HBC was able to become one of the most important developers in western Canada. From the 1874 establishment of the Land Commissioner’s Office onward, the company was active as a major real-estate developer, acquiring control of Markborough Properties in 1973 before eventually spinning it off as a stand-alone company in 1990.

Hudson’s Bay Company’s surrender of its charter to the Crown

In 1869–1870, the Hudson’s Bay Company surrendered its charter to the British Crown, receiving £300,000 in compensation. While it is often said that Hudson’s Bay “sold” Rupert’s Land as well as the North-Western Territory, the company had no land to sell: its Charter was essentially for a trading monopoly enforceable on British subjects. Control was originally planned to be transferred on 1 December 1869, but due to the premature action of the new lieutenant governor, Sir William McDougall, the people of Red River formed a provisional government that took control until arrangements could be negotiated by leaders of what is known as the Red River Resistance and the newly formed Government of Canada. As a result of the negotiations, Canada asserted control on 15 July 1870.

However, Canada still did not have legal control because the Imperial Crown had made the transfer subject to treaties being entered into with the indigenous nations. While Canada did pass legislation in 1870 purporting to create the “Province of Manitoba, the absence of the treaties was soon noted, and it was decided in 1873 to pass a second Manitoba Act which would have legal certainty.”[citation needed] Other “numbered treaties” followed, and treaty-making extended to the North-Western Territory, which comprised the regions northwest of Rupert’s Land and to the north of the Colony of British Columbia.

The transaction was three-cornered. On November 19, 1869, the company surrendered its charter under its letters patent to the British Crown, which was authorized to accept the surrender by the Rupert’s Land Act. By order-in-council dated June 23, 1870,[8] the British government admitted the territory to Canada, under s. 146 of the Constitution Act, 1867,[9] effective July 15, 1870, subject to the making of treaties with the sovereign indigenous nations to provide their consent to the Imperial Crown to exercise its sovereignty pursuant to the limitations and conditions of the Rupert’s Land documents and the treaties. Lastly, the Government of Canada compensated the Hudson’s Bay Company £300,000 ($1.5 million) for the surrender of its charter on the terms set out in the order-in-council.

The company retained its most successful trading posts and one-twentieth of the lands surveyed for immigration and settlement.

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2 Responses to Louis Riel Day Feb 15, 2016.

  1. B B Evenson says:

    This is a very interesting article about the rebellions and Parkdale’s involvement.

    The article states “Short summary of PIP: Parkdale sent and supported 15 volunteers in 1885 to take up arms against the Metis and Indians of Manitoba”

    I believe one of these volunteers was my great uncle Gus Clark who lived at 224 Jameson in Parkdale. Do you know where I would find the names of the 15 volunteers Parkdale supported?

    • jack gibney says:

      I found all of my information in Parkdale in pictures. for a couple of hundred dollars robin Burgoyne, An Archivest can find out quite a bit 647 435 5067. Let me know how this works for you.

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