Métis Nation History

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People-GabrielDumont-05444





More serious than these political differences was the racial feud that followed the second Riel Rebellion. For a second time the Canadian Government failed to show the foresight and the sympathy required in dealing with an isolated and backward people. The valley of the Saskatchewan, far northwest of the Red River, was the scene of the new difficulty. Here thousands of metis, or French half-breeds, had settled. The passing of the buffalo, which had been their chief subsistence, and the arrival of settlers from the East caused them intense alarm. They pressed the Government for certain grants of land and for the retention of the old French custom of surveying the land along the river front in deep narrow strips, rather than according to the chessboard pattern taken over by Canada from the United States. Red tape, indifference, procrastination, rather than any illwill, delayed the redress of the grievances of the half-breeds. In despair they called Louis Riel back from his exile in Montana. With his arrival the agitation acquired a new and dangerous force. Claiming to be the prophet of a new religion, he put himself at the head of his people and, in the spring of 1885, raised the flag of revolt. His military adviser, Gabriel Dumont, an old buffalo hunter, was a natural-born general, and the half-breeds were good shots and brave fighters. An expedition of Canadian volunteers was rushed west, and the rebellion was put down quickly, but not without some hard fighting and gallant strokes and counterstrokes. -- The Canadian Dominion, by Oscar D. Skelton (Primary source documents)



Métis Nation History

Commemorating 2010 Year of the Métis Nation Anniversary

Related 1885 Métis Nation Newspaper links

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