The infamous John A. MacDonald, an avid Orangeman of a foreign country, makes plans 
to annex the independent Metis Nation of the North West.


METIS HISTORY Return to METIS 1850-1899 index



The Hudson Bay Company's Governor William McTavish prudently abdicated all authority
 to the National Committee of the Metis Nation.


George Browne (1852-1919), who married a Metis woman this year, joined them in their annual bison (buffalo) hunt.

Louis Espaniel (Espagnol or Espaniol) Indian or Metis from Algoma, Ontario, HBC (1869-1890) Lake Huron

Patrick Goodwin (Goodwyn) Metis likely from Lake Superior, joined HBC (1869-1889) Albany

(I)-Gideon Halcro (Calcrow) b-1852, Joined HBC (1869-1909) married about 1880 Cumberland Mary Ann Saunders likely a Cree Metis,  
    (II)-Arthur Halcrow Metis b-1881 HBC (1899-1904) Portage La Loche
    (II)-Horace D.D. Halcrow b-1882 HBC (1899-1906) Ile-a-la-Crosse

Samual Alexander King Metis b-1869, Joined G. McLaurin and Co. in Nipigon Area before 1891, joined HBC (1898-1911) Lake Superior, 1908 Lake Huron, (1909-1911) Athabasca and last assignment was Fort Edmonton (1910-1911).

William McKay Metis joined (1869-1894) Swan River, Saskatchewan District (1874-1893 )

William E. Linklater Metis joined HBC (1869-1893)

(II)-Jean Baptiste Spence aka We-tcha-mash, Metis (1807-1889),  wintered 1869/1870 Fort Pelly.   Source Ida A. Spence

(II)-John Robert Spencer Metis (1831-1893) son (I)-Johm Hodges Spencer (1790-1881) and (II)-Anne Sinclair Metis (1796-1861);joined HBC (1869-1893)  York Factory and Churchill, Married Ann Janr

William McTavish stopped in Ottawa to warn caution in handling the Red River Peoples.  Bishop Alexandre Tache (1823-1894) also tried to make George Etienne Cartier aware of the mounting danger.  Cartier told the Bishop that he knew it all a great deal better than the Bishop did and that he did not want to be informed.  This is a clear indication that Ottawa is probably controlling the Red River incidents with the Canadian Party.  George Cartier, William McDougall and (I)-John A. MacDonald (1815-1891), all Orangemen, regarded the Red River settlers as savages.  (I)-John A. MacDonald wrote on November 23, 1869:  Unfortunately, the majority of the priests up there (Red River) are from Old France and their sympathies are not with us (Canadians).  The priests, however, considered the Natives and Metis dirty savages, at best needing their authority to bring them to civilization.

Red River includes 11,600 people, 6,000 French Metis, 4,000 British Metis and 1,600 Europeans/Canadians.  At this time Metis is a cultural characteristic rather than a mixed blood identification.  As an example, Louis Riel, (1844-1885) a Metis symbol, is only one eighth Chippewa and seven eights French Canadian.   He made a choice to align with his Metis heritage.
  Canoes in fog

A painting by Frances Ann Hopkins (1838-1918), made in 1869, is titled Canoes in Fog, on Lake Superior.  For those of us who have canoed in the early morning, this brings back many great memories.

The Metis Nation land system included the French river lots and community held pasture for livestock grazing, called hay privilege, which is a cornerstone of community living.  The English, Ontario square lots with no community held hay privileges, became the English symbol to crush those French Metis.  Charles Mair, the infamous poet and Orangeme, headed up the Federal Survey Party, which had just arrived at Fort Garry. He had previously published articles in Ontario stating that he wanted to see people flooding into Red River from Ontario and thereby drowning the half-breeds (Metis) who are numerous in the Red River.  The Red River population is more than ten thousand, and no more than one thousand, six hundred could call themselves 'white'.  The controlling majorities are half-breeds (Metis).  The English had tried to divide the Metis along racial and religious lines and had attempted to keep them out of positions of authority.  The most commonly held opinion by the Metis is that the eastern and European immigrants wanted to be masters of everything, everywhere and at all times, and this belief was in direct conflict with the Native (Indian or Metis) consensus governing process.  The Hudson Bay Company would not allow Red River inhabitants ,other than the original Scottish immigrants, to file land claims, nor would the Federal Government.

J.W. Taylor, appointed by the State Department, worked as a United States secret agent in the Red River Metis Nation.  H.N. Robinson wrote vigorously in the Red River newspaper, New Nation, at Fort Garry for independence and union with the Americans.  David Tayler (1844-1907), son of James Taylor, is imprisoned by Louis Riel (1844-1885).  In 1882 he moved to Bresayor, Saskatchewan and is killed by a run away team of horses.
Inevitably (7)-Lawrence Garneau is getting involved deeper and deeper with the resistance movement, based on his first hand experience in the Minnesota and Dakota Indian resistance movement among those Natives.  Most Red River people are involved in the events that led to the first Metis resistance movement of 1870.  Some would call it the Riel Rebellion. This is a miss conception, given it was not part of Canada.  Lawrence's participation in the Red River resistance is that of one of the Provisional Governments soldiers.  To add to his growing problems, he lost a baby this year, the bison (buffalo) are disappearing from the area, fish and game are scarce and drought and grasshopper infestation are ruining the crops.

Chief Trader Red River Doctor (I)-William Cowan (1818-1902) cooperated with the Provisional Government, claiming they are protecting Hudson Bay Company property.

The smallpox epidemic killed more than two thousand Blackfoot, Blood, Piegan, Sarcee and Plains Cree this and next year.


This photo represents a group of Metis who barred the way to Red River. The photo however is a recreation.


Fort Hamilton also known as Fort Whoop-up is constructed this year near present day Lethbridge, (Alberta) by John J. Healy and Alfred B. Hamilton of Montana for whiskey trading.  The Blackfoot burned the Fort after one trading season.  A second, larger fort is built in 1870 and then given the Whoop-up name, and the region became known as the Whoop-up country.  The North West Mounted Police took over the Fort in 1874. 

Lost among the Metis problems is Thomas John Barnardo who set up an agency in London's east end and sent 30,000 children into slave labor conditions in Canada.  He established receiving homes in Peterborough, Belleville, Stratford, Niagra on the Lake, Toronto Ontario and Russell, Manitoba.  The children, aged 4 to 16 years, are announced in local papers, and farmers are invited to view the home boys and home girls.  The were basically indentured as slaves and, if proven unsatisfactory, were returned for recycling.  Many, as you would expect, were abused, mentally, physically and sexually.  The whole scheme was inhumane and questions the basic value system of the British culture.  

In the fall:   Prime Minister (I)-John A. MacDonald (1815-1891) appointed William McDougall of the Hudson Bay Company to expedite the plan to survey the Metis Nation for sale to immigrant settlers, intentionally ignoring the river-lot system established for over one hundred years by the indigenous people from both English and French heritage.  To the Metis, this is a direct attack on life and liberty- the equivalent of a declaration of war.  Numerous Metis petitions for land title are ignored by the Government who informed them they would have to wait three years or more. This, which was Obvious to the inhabitants, was to allow time for the Eastern land speculators to secure prime locations.

August:  John S. Dennis arrived at the Red River State to survey the North West Territories.  The Metis farmers are alarmed by this foreign government invasion. 

October 11:   The sale of so called Rupert's land is not complete when the National Committee, chaired by John Bruce, ordered Louis Riel (1844-1885) and eighteen unarmed Metis to confront Mr. Webb; the surveyor.  He worked for the bumbling John Stoughton Dennis (1820-1885), friend of the arrogant Orangemen, William McDougall (1822-1905).  McDougall had ordered the survey to suit emigrants from Central Canada, not the local community.  The encounter took place behind the farm of Andre Nault (1829-1924) on the White Horse Plains, Red River and stopped them from continuing their work by standing on the survey chains.  It is noteworthy that Nault was not a Metis.  The whole country is in an uproar over the deliberate attempt by Canada to again cut up their land for sale without their permission.  

October 19:  The National Committee of the Metis is formed at St. Norbert, Manitoba, with John Bruce as President and Louis Riel (1844-1885) as Secretary.  This is effectively the Provisional Government for the People.

October 21:   William McDougall (1822-1905) is warned not to enter the Red River des Metis Country without express permission of the National Committee.  This rebuff, from Wandering Willie- as he was called, destroyed his political credibility.

November:   The Hudson Bay Company Governor, William McTavish, prudently had abdicated all authority to the National Committee.  

November 2:  The National Committee, with one hundred and twenty men, occupied Fort Garry without opposition.  The total muster roll at this time was about four hundred armed men, later joined by another one hundred highly organized and disciplined White Horse plain's horsemen.  

November 16:   A convention at Fort Garry united the Metis Nation into a Provisional Government.   Some suggest the proposal to form a provisional government was rejected.  They called for the expulsion of the rebel John Christian Schultz (1840-1896) and his Orangemen Canadian Party Aids from Red River.  The Council of Assiniboine, the only other claimed authority, continued meeting without interference.  Meanwhile, the Canadian Party of Orangemen, directed from Pembina and organized by the rebel John Christian Schultz (1840-1896), is organizing, according to his accounts, two hundred and fifty Scottish and English half-breeds (Metis) to make an armed assault on Fort Garry.  Others contend he had trouble in assembling seventy men, including the likes of Thomas Scott.

December 1:   William McDougall, a snob and shabby genteel fool, proclaimed himself Lieutenant Governor and announced the transfer of the North West to Canada.  Henry Prince and a few Saulteaux (Ojibwa) joined William McDougall at Pembina, ready to make war on the National Committee of Red River.  The great body of inhabitants, however, did not support William McDougall and his rag tag groups.  

December 1, 1869
Metis Bill of Rights is based upon Indian/Metis Canadian Common Law.

1. The right to elect our Legislature.

2. The Legislature to have power to pass all laws, local to the Territory, over the veto of the Executive, by a two-third vote.

3. No act of the Dominion Parliament (local to this Territory) to be binding on the people until sanctioned by their representatives.

4. All sheriffs, magistrates, constables, etc., etc., to be elected by the people -- a free homestead pre-emption law.

5. A portion of the public lands to be appropriated to the benefit of schools, the building of roads, bridges and parish buildings.

6. A guarantee to connect Winnipeg by rail with the nearest line of railroad -- the land grant for such road or roads to be subject to the Legislature of the Territory.

7. For 4 years the public expenses of the Territory, civil, military and municipal, to be paid out of the Dominion treasury.

8. The military to be composed of the people now existing in the Territory.

9. The French and English language to be common in the Legislature and Council, and all public documents and acts of Legislature to be published in both languages.

10. That the Judge of the Superior Court speak French and English.

11. Treaties to be concluded and ratified between the Government and several tribes of Indians of this Territory, calculated to insure peace in the future.

12. That all privileges, customs and usages existing at the time of the transfer to be respected.

13. That these rights be guaranteed by Mr. McDougall before he be admitted into this Territory.

14. If he have not the power himself to grant them, he must get an act of Parliament passed expressly securing us these rights; and until such act be obtained, he must stay outside of the Territory.

15. That we have a full and fair representation in the Dominion Parliament. 

December 7:  The rebel, John Christian Schultz (1840-1896), and his motley group of forty five men of the Mason Party, marched on Red River expecting an easy conquest.  He is shocked to discover an army of six hundred armed and highly organized Metis soldiers of the National Committee.  The Mason Rebellion, including Charles Mair and Thomas Scott (1846-1870), are quickly defused and they surrendered without a fight.  The rebels are escorted to waiting cells in Fort Garry.  The Metis National Committee drew up their list of rights as a condition to joining Canada.  These include the right of the Metis to elect their own legislature, that both English and French be official languages, and that their customs be respected.

December 8:   The Red River people complete their Provisional Government according to International Law.  The Metis Nation Government began preparations to enter into negotiations with the Canadian Government for a favorable, good Government and the prosperity of the people of Manitoba.  The cannon of Fort Garry belched forth a salute and fireworks to honor the creation of the new Provisional Government.  Lieutenant Colonel J. Dennis of the Canadian Party ordered the Party to cease action against the duly authorized Provisional Government and fled south to Pembina disguised as a squaw (iskwao).  (Squaw is a very insulting English word.)  (I)-John A. MacDonald (1815-1891) still considered the Red River people as "wild people' but also considered William McDougall to be a buffoon.

December 15: Alexander Begg recorded that James McKey (1828-1879), the Metis, has gone to St. Jo (Joseph) (from December to next March) and is in danger of being captured by the Americans who have a warrant for him for complicity in the Dakota (Sioux) outbreak of 1862 and other times.

December 23 : John Bruce resigned, and Louis Riel (1844-1885) became leader of the Provisional Government which included:

        President: Louis Riel, (1844-1885) French Metis,
        Secretary: Thomas Bunn, English fur trader,
        Assistant Secretary: Louis Schmidt, English Metis,
        Treasurer: W.B. O'Donogue, American,
        Adjutant-General: Ambrose Lepine, French Metis,
        Chief Justice: James Ross, English Metis,
        Postmaster: A.G. Bannatyne, Hudson Bay Company.

December 17:   Ambrose Lepine confronted and escorted William McDougall, the self proclaimed governor, and Stoughton Dennis out of the North West Territories, and they continued on to Ottawa by way of St. Paul, Minnesota.  (I)-John A. MacDonald (1815-1891) laughed when he heard that the savages of Red River humiliate McDougall.  A confused Queen Victoria cabled a statement saying that certain misguided persons have banded together to oppose, by force, the entry of the future Lieutenant Governor into Her Majesty's settlement on the Red River. Samuel MacKenzie considered the whole affair a mutinous activity, and McTavish conceded that the Hudson Bay Company could only operate on the good will of those in power.  He reported that they were an arrogant lot towards the Company, but reported no loss of order.

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