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"During my inspection in the North-West, I ascertained that some prejudice existed amongst the Indians against the colour of the uniform worn by the men of the Rifles, for many of the Indians said, 'Who are these soldiers at Red River wearing dark clothes? Our old brothers who formerly lived there (meaning H.M.S. 6th Regiment) wore red coats,' adding, 'we know that the soldiers of our great mother wear red coats and are our friends.'"

The Indians like the bright colour, but they also in this case connected it with the regular regiment that had come to the Red River to keep the peace. Referring to this same subject of uniform, Mr. Charles Mair, noted author and frontiersman, recently said: "There is a moral in colour as in other things, and the blind man who compared scarlet to the sound of a trumpet was instinctively right. It does carry with it the loud voice of law and authority so much needed in this disjointed time. It disconcerts the ill-affected and has no small bearing in other ways."

The Hon. Frank Oliver, of Edmonton, who has known the West from the early days, wrote not long ago on this point:

"For nearly half a century throughout Canada's great plains, the red coat of the Mounted Policeman was the visible and definite assurance that right was might. A red speck on the horizon was notice to both weak and strong, honest and dishonest, that the rule of law prevailed; while experience taught white men and red that 'Law' meant even-handed justice as between man and man without fear or favour."

"The red coat was evidence that wherever the wearer was, he was there with authority. In any other colour he might have escaped hostile observation. Not so when clad in red."

(The Marr Residence served as a hospital and is currently a historical site in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) --Policing the Plains, by R.G. MacBeth (Primary source documents)



Métis Nation History

Commemorating 2010 Year of the Métis Nation Anniversary

Related 1885 Métis Nation Newspaper links

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