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skye vasey
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  • The invitation to come to the South Saskatchewan offered Riel an opportunity to lead his people, a mission he had cherished for a decade. He agreed to assist in presenting the grievances of the district to the Canadian government and added that he would use this opportunity to pursue his personal claim for land in Manitoba.
  • Of the events of 1869–70 Riel could truly say during the trial of 1885 that “through the grace of God I am the founder of Manitoba.”
  • The boundaries given to Manitoba were deliberately restricted to limit the political power of the Métis. Similarly the administrative arrangements for acquiring public lands and responses to resolutions of the Council of the North-West Territories in 1884 provided for no democratic input. Riel’s hopes for the “New Nation” with full and effective biculturalism were doomed from the start. His ambition blinded him to these facts.
  • The execution of Riel caused not only an outcry in Quebec but a notable change in local and national politics.
  • need him [Riel] here as our political leader. In other matters I am the chief here.” Riel explained to Grandin what he wanted: “the inauguration of a responsible Government”; “the same privileges to the old settlers of the North-West Territories as those accorded to the old settlers of Manitoba”; the granting of “the lands, at present, in possession of the Halfbreeds” to them “in fee simple,” and the issuing of patents to them “on application”; 240 acres for all mixed-bloods; the income from the sale of two million acres for the support of schools, hospitals, and orphanages and for the purchase of ploughs and of grain; and for all “works and contracts of the Government in the North-West Territories be given, as far as practicable to residents therein, in order to encourage them as they deserve and to increase circulation of cash in the Territories.”
  • Riel and Jackson busied themselves at Prince Albert with the petition, and on 16 December it was sent to Ottawa, signed by Andrew Spence as chairman and Jackson as secretary of the joint English-Métis organization. The petition was a long one with 25 sections,
  • Métis and Indians were recited and it was noted that while the territories had a population of 60,000, Manitoba had been granted provincial status with only 12,000.
  • Frustrated by the lack of federal action, Riel was, in fact, having a renewed period of mental disturbance
  • Riel was nevertheless the undisputed leader of the movement, Dumont being the military head. Their intention was first to take Fort Carlton, and they tried without success to enlist the active support of the English-speaking mixed-bloods.
  • On 18 March, hearing a rumour that 500 North-West Mounted Police were advancing towards them, Riel and approximately 60 supporters ransacked stores and seized a number of people, including Indian Agent John Bean Lash, near Batoche.
  • But, during a mass in the church at Saint-Laurent on 15 March, Riel remonstrated with the priest, Father Vital Fourmond, on his attitude to a Métis armed movement, in effect making a final break from the church. He was becoming more and more mystical and pietistic, and he spent much time in prayer. He deepened his rupture with the clergy by preaching his own theology to his followers; he renamed the days of the week, put the Lord’s Day on Saturday as in Mosaic law, proposed that there be a new pope (Bourget, and later Taché), rejected the rule of Rome, and suggested that everyone would be priests in a new reformed Catholicism.
  • Of the government’s 100 men, 12 were killed and 11 wounded. The Métis lost only five of about 300 men. If Riel, who had given the order to return the fire from the police, had not stopped the fighting, the government forces would have been annihilated.
  • The Indian movement itself was never able to put up a united front, despite Big Bear’s efforts in this direction, and lack of concerted action was a major cause of its collapse
  • On Big Bear’s reserve the war chief, Wandering Spirit [Kapapamahchakwew], had displaced Big Bear and led the band in the violent attack on Frog Lake (Alta) on 2 April, where nine people were killed
  • The events at Frog Lake, although the responsibility of the Indians and not the Métis, aroused horror and hatred of Riel throughout English Canad
  • Dumont, too realistic to believe that his forces could defeat the Canadians, had hoped that a well-conducted guerrilla campaign would force the government to negotiate
  • When Riel reached Batoche (Sask.) in the District of Lorne at the beginning of July 1884 he found an unhappy and angry population – white, Indian, and Métis. The relocation of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s main line in the southern prairie region had produced a collapse of land values in nearby Prince Albert. Settlers did not hold clear title to their land despite the fact that many had lived for over three years in the district. For the more than 1,400 Métis in the area, the questions of unextinguished Indian rights to the land and the land surveys were the major issues.
  • The early favourable response to Riel among the white settlers yielded to growing opposition.
  • By the end of February 1885 Riel had agreed to stay, claiming that “a vast multitude of nations” was waiting to support him. However, although the missionaries were sympathetic to the Métis cause they opposed any use of force or any encouragement of the Indians
  • It was clear from the start that the trial would be a political one,
  • In retrospect, the defence lawyers’ handling of Riel’s case left much to be desired. They did not ask for dismissal on grounds of insanity, despite the fact that Jackson had been so acquitted a few days before.
  • it became known that Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald*, fearing the Minnesota annexationists, was again negotiating with the HBC for the transfer of Rupert’s Land, ignoring the population at Red River and the Council of Assiniboia.
  • In the Canadian west in 1885 the majority of the settlers regarded him as a villain; today he is seen there as the founder of those movements which have protested central Canadian political and economic power.
  • Hoping to support his family in Red River, whom Riel Sr had left impoverished and in debt
  • mixed-bloods (the country-born), Scottish settlers, and the French-speaking, Roman Catholic Méti
  • Riel’s experiences during the past ten years had produced a life-style very different from that of the buffalo-hunting Métis, but it was these people he now aspired to lead
  • Riel – ambitious, well-educated, bilingual, young and energetic, eloquent, deeply religious, and the bearer of a famous name – was more than willing to provide what the times required.
  • Fluent in French, he formed a first provincial cabinet which was strictly bi-racial in character and had no members from the Canadian party.
  • But his people in the northwest did not forget him
  • 5 October Riel was summoned to appear before the Council of Assiniboia to explain his actions. He declared that the National Committee would prevent the entry of McDougall or any other governor unless the union with Canada was based on negotiations with the Métis and with the population in general. However, by 30 October
  • made himself thoroughly unpopular in the settlement by a series of articles in Ontario newspapers in January 1869 criticizing the Métis
  • Dubuc and others now urged Riel to be a candidate for the riding of Provencher in the September 1872 federal general election. He agreed, despite warnings that he would be murdered if he set foot in Ottawa.
  • the English-speaking delegates, led by James Ross*, criticized the exclusion of McDougall from the settlement as smacking of rebellion. Riel angrily denied this allegatio
  • the formation of a provisional government to
  • the formation of a provisional government to replace the Council of Assiniboia and to negotiate terms of union with Canada
  • t was part of Canada as of that day and that he was its lieutenant governor. The “List,” probably composed by Riel, consisted of 14 items. It proposed representation in the Canadian parliament, guarantees of bilingualism in the legislature, a bilingual chief justice, and arrangements for free homesteads and Indian treaties.
  • The atmosphere of this session had changed and the listeners were now firmly behind Riel. Growing more confident and reaching the height of his influence, he realized that the meeting wanted something more than assurances of goodwill, and, taking the initiative, he proposed that a convention of 40 representatives, equally divided between the two language groups, meet the following week to consider Smith’s instructions in detail
  • Macdonald later admitted that under the circumstances the people of the community had had to form a government for the protection of life and property.
  • On 18 December McDougall and Dennis left Pembina for Ontario, having been informed that the Canadian government had in fact postponed union until the British government or the HBC could guarantee a peaceable transfer.
  • both language groups should participate in the provisional government.
  • The committee’s proposals, which were accepted on 10 February, established an assembly of 24 elected representatives drawn equally from the French-speaking and English-speaking parishes of the settlement.
  • However, as outsiders they misjudged the willingness of the country-born and Scottish settlers to oppose the Métis. Unfortunately for all concerned the three men had escaped from Upper Fort Garry in January 1870. Schultz had made his way downstream to drum up support for an armed force in the English-speaking parishes and among the Indians.
  • Riel had reached the pinnacle of his hopes and ambitions, and he could afford a gesture of generosity – he promised to release all the prisoners held at Upper Fort Garry.
  • Somewhat isolated from the events in Ottawa, Riel had given his attention to the affairs of the settlemen
  • Throughout the negotiations, and in the early summer, Riel had grown uneasy about a deterioration of his support. Some Métis, mostly established farmers and traders, had never actually accepted his leadership and regarded him as an upstart.
  • s of the Manitoba legislature had enthusiastically endorsed Archibald’s action, Riel became a political issue in Ontario. Premier Edward Blake*, in 1872, went as far as to offer a $5,000 reward to anyone who would bring about the arrest of Scott’s “murderers.”
  • But perhaps most important, he was worried by reports o
  • However, the many rumours in Winnipeg concerning the seriousness of the Fenian threat had caused Archibald to issue a proclamation on the 4th calling on all loyal men “to rally round the flag.
  • On 14 September Cartier was elected by acclamation, but a mob of Canadians wrecked the offices of the two pro-Riel newspapers
  • The new lieutenant governor, named on 15 July 1870, was Adams George Archibald*, a father of confederation from Nova Scotia and a member of parliament. He arrived in the settlement on 2 September and was at once confronted with the problem of maintaining order. Winnipeg was a place of riotous turbulence.
  • In the first week of November Lépine was found guilty of Scott’s murder and sentenced to death by Chief Justice Edmund Burke Wood, despite the jury’s recommendation for mercy.
  • Quebec was outraged at the outcome of the trial and the newspapers demanded amnesty for Lépine and Rie
52 annotations
 unrest and war 68
  • author James Daschuk
  • outcomes almost as a measure of oppression and marginalization.”Both nature and disease conspired against the aboriginal peoples of the prairies. First, the European fur traders infected them with contagious diseases – smallpox, measles, influenza – to which they had no immunity. Then climate change, the building of the CPR and the near-extinction of the bison, on which they depended for food, left them hungry and desperate.YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN...John A. Macdonald was the real architect of residential schoolsSir John A. Macdonald, the greatest PM of allThey turned to Ottawa, expecting Macdonald to honour the treaties he had signed with them, guaranteeing food in times of famine and a livelihood in the thriving agrarian economy he envisaged for the western plains.But he spurned their request. He ordered officials at the Department of Indian Affairs in Prince Albert to withhold food from First Nations until they moved to federally designated reserves far from the path of the CPR. Once they complied, they were trapped. They could leave only with the permission of the government’s Indian agent. Aboriginal women were raped. Men could not farm or hunt because they had no land and no freedom. If they complained, their rations were cut. Even if they were pliant, the food was substandard. One contaminated shipment triggered a mass outbreak of tuberculosis.None of this was accidental. Daschuk found the directives Macdonald sent to federal officials telling them to deny food to them to First Nations. He found public statements in which Macdonald boasted about keeping the indigenous population “on the verge of actual starvation” to save government funds. He tracked the infected food shipment to its source, an American company in which a senior official of the Canadian government had a large financial stake.His conclusion: “The uncomfortable truth is that modern Canada is founded upon ethnic cleansing and genocide.”These are shocking phrases – not ones Canadians associate with their peaceful, tolerant country; not ones mainstream historians are eager to incorporate in their accounts; not one that educators want to plant in young minds; and certainly not ones to burnish the image the government seeks to project.Get more opinion in your inboxGet the latest from your favourite Star columnists with our Opinion newsletter.Sign Up NowYOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN...Should statues of Sir John A. Macdonald be removed? YesShould statues of Sir John A. Macdonald be removed? NoIf these record-keepers are successful, the sanitized official version of Canadian history will prevail. Sir John A. Macdonald’s 200th birthday (Jan. 11, 2015) will be celebrated in fine style. Our children will be taught that their nation’s founding father was a hero. And we won’t have to reflect on what Daschuk’s discovery says about our forebears or ourselves.Carol Goar’s column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.SHARE:Report an errorJournalistic StandardsAbout The StarARTICLE CONTINUES BELOWARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
  • poor health outcomes almost as a measure of oppression and marginalization
  • But he spurned their request
  • not one that educators want to plant in young minds
  • public statements in which Macdonald boasted about keeping the indigenous population “on the verge of actual starvation
  • First, the European fur traders
7 annotations
 unrest and war 547
  • No
  • What should we be celebrating this January when we talk about Sir John A.?
  • basically we were guys who lived in North America and didn’t want to be American
  • One, he quit, which is damn hard for anybody to do
  • In my opinion, we are in a historic moment where a lot of institutions are being torn down
  •  I think he would recognize a great deal of it. The operations of the House hasn’t changed, the party structure is there
  • For me, without a doubt, it’s that this man was a workaholic
  • One thing that I mention, and people are often surprised, is that he was an advocate for women’s right to vote
  • He deliberately downplayed his intelligence to save contact with the ordinary person.
  • He said it was inevitable that sooner or later women will take their positions as equals in society.
  • the thought of our Prime Minister being a drunk, well gro
  • I’ll admit that I think I would fall into the stereotype about knowing two things: he was our first  prime minister and he had a drinking problem
  • Is he somebody we should look at the way the Americans look at Lincoln? Dutil. I think so
  • Every single Canadian, one way or another was involved with it, right up until today and some are still today.
  • There were terrible mistakes made. Macdonald bears responsibility for those mistakes but that does not erase his ambitions, his intentions and his strategies to help create a partnership.
  • well grow up, we all have weaknesses
  • o Macdonald and none of us would be Canadians
  • there have only been a few people who have led our public life, whether they’re elected or not, who’ve dared to say, “why not?” And I think that, on his 200th birthday, that spirit needs to be celebrated.
  • He said it was inevitable that sooner or later women will take their positions as equals in society. The only person I know of in the world who thought that way at that time was John Stuart Mill, one of the finest minds in the world in the 19th
  • We should recognize that Macdonald was a bit lucky, so was Laurier, in the same way, because he also benefited from that sort of… Nation builders are always given the benefit of the doubt, up to a certain limit.
  • The only person I know of in the world who thought that way at that time was John Stuart Mill, one of the finest minds in the world in the 19th century.
  • But that he did things that today we’d call racism is perfectly correct. He did. But by the standards of the day, he was one of the most liberal-minded on Aboriginal issues in the country, at least in public affairs.
  • Obviously Macdonald had a certain view on French Canadians—that they were a pain in the ass, but they were our ass.
  • Macdonald was not great in the meaning of the word great. You need circumstances to be great, the best example is Winston Churchill. Had there been no Second World War, he’s have been a loser of a politician. He is instead the single most important person in the entire 20th century. Macdonald was really running a backward poor runty little colony, that’s all we were in 1867. What you are telling the story of, with Macdonald, is the Canadian version. We are not dramatic, we did not kill people.
  • But what’s happened, which is so self-defeating, is people who are genuinely infuriated say by the residential schools— absolutely right they are disgusting—are kind of unloading their anger and resentment and guilt onto a guy who was conveniently dead a long, long time ago.
  • For me, the best, most eloquent statement of Macdonald’s success on English-French relations is that Wilfrid Laurier, a francophone Catholic, will be elected in 1896. That the country is so solid after 30 years that people in Ontario will say, yeah, that French-Catholic might be worth a chance because we’re solid enough as a country to take it on
26 annotations