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1873 Saint Laurent Laws

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Aiden Relkoff

on 16 April 2014

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Transcript of 1873 Saint Laurent Laws

A Slow Burn: A Northwest Rebellion Timeline
1873 Saint Laurent Laws
Before the Saint Laurent laws, the Prairie Laws were in existence. Prairie laws basically regulated the Buffalo Hunt. There were less and less buffalo by 1873. The Metis needed buffalo to make pemmican and survive. Gabriel Dumont was elected leader of the Saint Laurent Council in 1873. At that time, the Metis decided that there should be an update of the Prairie Laws, so they updated to the Laws of the Saint Lawrent. This was a written document that Gabriel Dumont assisted in the making of. The new laws covered all parts of the Metis’ life, not just for those hunting. The Metis were starving because buffalo were starting to become extinct, so they set up this law limited how many buffalo you could kill.
Cyprus Hills Massacre
This mass murder happened on June 2, 1873. In total 24 people died. It happened in the Cypress Hills area of Battle Creek, in what is now known as Saskatchewan. It included several groups, but the Metis were among them. This incident made John A Macdonald want more of the North-West Mounted Police.
The 1876 Indian Act
The Indian Act was extablished in 1876 by the Canadian government. This act was made up to regulate the lives of the First Nations people. It was an important act because it enforced reserves for people who were First Nations. This wasn’t a good idea because it removed people’s freedom to live where they wanted to, they were forced to live on the land they were given. Also, their kids were taken away and put into residential schools, where they werent’ allowed to speak their own language. They also were not allowed to perform various ceremonies, like the Sun dance.
1884, The Metis Petitions
The Metis people were very disappointed with the ways the government had been treating them. They felt they were being treated like children. They were living in poverty and had lost a lot of their rights and freedoms. The Metis wanted to actually own the land they occupied. They sent petitions to the government and to tell the government their worries. They asked for assistance to help them become good farmers. They weren’t trying to be rebellious, they just needed help, but the government wanted to keep it’s own plans. They didn’t listen to the Metis.
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1884, Louis Riel Comes Back
Louis Riel has been living in the US for a while. That spring, the Metis decide to ask Louis to come back to Canada to be their leader and help them in their fight. Riel and Jackson collaborated on the “Metis Bill of Rights”. This document was way more detailed than the previous one. It dealed with the Metis grievances and the concerns of others living in the area. They sent it to Ottawa in December of 1884, and the government received it. The Metis were excited about what would happen next.
1885 Conflict Starts
Louis Riel decides that they should send another petition to the Canadian Government. They are demanding for responsible government . They pick Lawrence Clarke to be their representative because they think he will make a better impact than Louis Riel would. When he came back he said that a force of 500 North West Mounted police were going to arrest Louis Riel. This statement was false. Riel thought that war was the only way out and that they would have to fight. On March 26, 1885 at Duck Lake, there was a negotiation that went wrong and 12 police officers were killed and 25 wounded. Two Metis negotiators were shot.
Mid 1885, Poundmaker
Poundmaker was critical of the Canadian Government and it’s broken promises. Poundmaker led his people to Battleford to pick up supplies. Many people there panicked and hid in the fort. The following day, the Cree left, however the town was robbed and somewhat burnt. People blamed Poundmaker. Poundmaker and his people were attacked by Canadian troops at Cut Knife Hill and they defended themselves. Soon after, Poundmaker heard about Riel’s defeat.
April 24, 1885, Fish Creek
Only four days later, On March 30th, 1885, 5000 soldiers starting getting on trains to go help out with the rebellion that had started. They got there pretty quickly, in about 10 days. Frederick Middleton was the one in charge of the soldiers and was heading towards Batoche to attack the Metis. Before they got there, Gabriel Dumont and less than 300 Metis people attacked the soldiers at Fish Creek. This was amazing that they did that because there were lots more soldiers than Metis. There were 1600 soldiers. They were able to stop this group of soldiers from coming closer.
May 9, 1885 Batoche Battle
The other groups of soldiers attacked Batoch on May 9, 1885. The Metis hid in pits in the ground so that they could shoot bullets but have some protection. They didn’t have very many bullets, though, so after a while they had to use things like nails and rocks to shoot out of their guns. Also, the soldiers had more weapons, such as cannons and also a type of gun called a Gatling gun. It was a type of rapid-fire gun. After three days the Metis gave up. Dumont was able to get away but Riel surrendered on May 15th. All in all, 53 soldiers died and 35 Metis people died.
The trial July 28,1885
Riel was taken to Regina for his trial for treason. He was accompanied with 2 lawyers. His trial was held at Regina because only a 6 person jury was needed there, in Manitoba a 12 person jury was needed and since there was more natives in Manitoba they feared that some natives were going to be on the jury and they might have taken sides with Riel. At his trial he was not allowed to speak until the verdict was
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