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Transcript of M©tis rebellions
Mtis rebellionsA part of Canadas not so peaceful pastRed river rebellionConflict in ManitobaReasonsCanadian government purchased Ruperts Land (what is now the western provinces and territories) from the Hudson Bay Company (HBC). The purchase would take effect 1870.Many First Nations did not recognize the HBCs right to sell land that the First Nations saw as belonging to themMtis were concerned due to Canadas history of making decisions that benefited English Protestants.In 1869 Canada sent surveyors into what is now Manitoba prior to taking possession of the landSurveyors were setting up a grid based land system while the Mtis owned land based on the French long lot system
Opening eventsMtis moved in and took Fort Garry, the home of the governor, without any violence48 Canadian settlers, primarily from Ontario, opposed the Mtis action and gathered in a warehouse planning to fight200 armed Mtis surrounded the warehouse with 2 cannons and demanded the settlers surrender which they did with no one being harmedThomas ScottThe settlers captured were allowed to go free if they promised to either leave or obey the provisional governmentOne person who refused and remained a prisoner was Thomas ScottScott escaped and tried to start a counter revolution before being captured againWhile in prison Scott constantly taunted his jailors and threatened to kill Riel, the leader of the provisional governmentScott was tried by a court and sentenced to death, a sentence that Riel ordered carried out in spite of requests that he overturn the sentenceMtis demandsThe following is from the Mtis List of Rights which was the basis of negotiations:That the people have the right to elect their own legislature. That the legislature have the power to pass all laws local to the territory. That a portion of the public lands be appropriated to the benefit of schools, the building of bridges, roads and public buildings. That the English and French languages be common in the legislature and courts and that all public documents and acts of legislature be published in both languages. That the judge of the Supreme Court speak the French and English languages. That treaties be concluded and ratified between the Dominion Government and the several tribes of Indians in the territory to ensure peace on the frontier. That we have fair and full representation in the Canadian parliament. That all privileges, customs and usages existing at the time of the transfer be respected.
Manitoba act of 1870As a result of negotiations with the Canadian government the province of Manitoba was created and included some interesting points:Religious schools would be allowedEnglish and French were to be used by the government and in their documentsMetis would be allowed to keep their landCanadas reactionInitially Canada did not send any troops due to the large distance and lack of a railway, additionally it was winter making travel even harderOntario Canadians were outraged at the execution of Thomas Scott and called for Riel to be tried for his murderCanada sent troops in with the new governor after Manitoba was formed to act as police and to appease OntarioRiel while never charged with a crime was forced to flee Fort Garry and was eventually exiled from Canada for several years for his part in the rebellionquestionsGiven that everything Riel and the Mtis did had the support of the majority of the people, including English Canadians, in the area were they justified in their actions?Was the execution of Thomas Scott a reasonable action?Given that all of these events occurred prior to Canada officially taking control of the territory should this be called a rebellion?1885 rebellionWar in SaskatchewanReasons After Red River many Mtis moved to SaskatchewanOnce again surveyors were ignoring the Mtis long lot farms and imposing a grid system in advance of the railway and settlersMetis and First Nations were hurt by the lack of buffalo to huntFirst Nations were suffering from European diseasesSettlers were angry at the cost of transportation and slow development of railwaysOpening eventsMtis, First Nations, and English settlers protested to OttawaMtis recalling their success in Manitoba sent a delegation led by Gabriel Dumont to ask Riel for assistanceRiel agreed and came to Batoche SaskatchewanRiel planned to use the same plan as during the Red River Rebellion, he set up a provisional government and sent a list of demands to OttawaSignificant differencesThis Metis rebellion was doomed from the start due to several significant changes from 1869:The North West Mounted Police (NWMP) was firmly established in the region as an armed forceThe Canadian Pacific (CP) railway while not finished was well on the way to being done and could easily and quickly transport troops to the areaRiel was not the leader he had been, having suffered a mental break down after Red River and developing a messiah complexbattlesDuck Lake56 NWMP and 43 volunteers met approximately 100 MtisBoth sides sent 2 men forward to talk, there was a struggle over a gun and a shot was fired starting the battleDuring the battle Dumont was wounded, while Riel sat on his horse and prayed never firing a shotEventually the NWMP fell back and the battle was over with 12 NWMP dead and 5 MtisbattlesFish CreekDuck Lake had frightened Canada so the government sent the army under General Middleton with new repeating rifles, field guns and the new Gatling gun to deal with the MtisDumont yielded to Riel and fought set battles in the Batoche areaThe Mtis ambushed the Middleton at Fish Creek hiding in bushes and then retreating down into the coulee where they could hid in more bushes and fire at the exposed troops on the edge of the couleeHowever by the time the Mtis retreated they had only 47 troops who stayed to face Middletons 400 troopsMiddleton even with fresh troops refused to attack again due to his lossesMiddleton had 10 killed, and 45 wounded, the Mtis had 5 killed and 1 woundedbattlesBatocheMiddleton planned to attack from two sides using a steamboat as a gunshipAs the ship passed the Mtis went to the river and exchanged gun fire before dropping a ferry cable and disabling the steamboatBe the time Middletons troops arrived and attack the steamboat had passed and the Mtis were back in positionMiddleton opened fire with a field gun and sent his troops to attack but once again they were exposed and the Mtis were under cover so the attack failedBattlesBatocheFor two days Middleton used field guns and the Gatling gun but did not attack in forceBy day four the Mtis were running low on ammunitionMiddletons troops were also tired of waiting aroundWhile Middleton had lunch some troops attacked and while it was successful it was poorly organized allowing many Mtis including Riel and Dumont to escapeNumbers are unclear but it is accepted that a total of 25 people died during the battle
The endA general amnesty was declared for all those involved in 1886First Nations leaders Poundmaker and Big Bear were sentenced to jail even though they tried to stop their people from fighting and their people fought for food and not RielDumontFled to the USJoined Buffalo Bills Wild West Show where people paid to see his shooting and riding skillsIn 1893 he returned to Canada and spent the remaining years hunting and farmingThe endRielSurrendered to Canadian troops several days after the battle of BatocheRiel was brought to Regina where he was tried for treasonRiels lawyers tried to put forward and insanity defense but Riel refused to cooperate stating that he was saneJury found Riel guilty but recommended mercyJudge sentenced Riel to death by hangingPrime Minister Macdonald refused to over rule the decisionHe was executed in Regina on September 18 1885 a little over a month from the end of the trialOutcomeMacdonalds Conservative party would lose power in 10 yearsThe liberal party became the party of Quebec for the next 100 yearsThe CP railway went from near financial ruin to being completed rapidlyGovernment provided the Metis all of their land requests by 1887 and returned the long lot system by 1890 in that areaThe war cost Canada $5 million (approximately $1 billion in todays dollars) to fight not counting the cost of the railway or the eventual granting of Mtis landsoutcomeThe war cost Canada $5 million (approximately $1 billion in todays dollars) to fight not counting the cost of the railway or the eventual granting of Mtis landsFifty years after the trial one of the jurors stated he thought Riel was tried for treason but hanged for Thomas Scotts murderquestionsGiven the eventual outcomes was either side justified in fighting this battle?Is Riel a hero standing up for his peoples rights or a traitor who tried to topple Canada?