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The Red River Resistance

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by

C. Manifold

on 26 February 2015

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Transcript of The Red River Resistance

Métis, lawyer, fluent in both French and English, and an excellent public speaker
At 24, became the leader of the Red River Resistance
October 1869, after he saw surveyors in the Red River Valley, Riel formed the
National Métis Committee
Events leading up to the Métis' attempt to achieve recognition of their rights and self-government; also known as the Red River Rebellion

What events have we discussed so far?

Red River Resistance
Louis Riel
Provisional Government
: A temporary government

William McDougall appointed lieutenant governor of the North-West Territories, National Métis Committee informed him he wasn't welcome
McDougall ignored them so the Métis occupied Upper Fort Garry, seizing weapons and ammunition

Riel had no intention of rebelling, set up a provisional government to ensure the Métis
had a voice
The Provisional Government
The goal of Riel's government was to maintain order and give the people of the Red River the power to negotiate an agreement to enter Confederation

Feared that if McDougall had complete control, he would give all the power to the Orange Order's Canadian Party

Macdonald postponed the transfer of Rupert's Land until issues could be resolved
Told McDougall to take NO action!
but...
Provisional Government
Before Macdonald's letter arrived, McDougall crossed the border and proclaimed himself governor of the North-West Territories
Copies of his proclamation circulated throughout the area

McDougall then quickly crossed back into the US.
The proclamation brought to an end HBC authority, but since McDougall was in the US, authority did not official transfer to Canada

So, who has authority in the region?
What Happened
Riel's provisional government was now the legal government of the area
, with "sovereign rights" and the right to negotiate with the Canadian government

Any actions taken by the Canadian Party against Riel's government would be against the law

Fearing the Canadian Party was armed and ready to take control of the area, Riel decided to act first
The Red River Resistance
"An assumption of the Government by you, of course, puts an end to that of the Hudson's Bay Company's authorities...There would then be, if you were not admitted into the Country, no legal government existing...it is quite open by the Law of Nations for the inhabitants to form a Government...for the protection of life & property, and such a Government has certain sovereign rights..."
-
Sir John A.Macdonald to William McDougall, November, 27, 1869
Riel in Charge
In December 1869, a group of armed Métis arrested John Schultz and 48 of his supporters, holding them in Upper Fort Garry

John A. Macdonald sent Donald Smith (senior HBC official) to negotiate with Riel...
"Smith goes to carry the olive branch. We must not think of military force until peaceable means have been exhausted. Should these miserable half-breeds not disband, they must be put down"
Jan, 1870, Smith and Riel agree the provisional government should send negotiators to Ottawa.

At this time Schultz and some of his men escaped from Upper Fort Garry and tried to free remaining prisoners

The Métis stopped them, captured several members of the group, including Thomas Scott who was killed by Riel

This marked the end of the threat of war between the Métis and the Canadian Party

By the end of the month a delegation left for Ottawa to negotiate the creating of Manitoba
Thomas Scott: Murder vs. Execution?
Read pg. 158-160

The left side of the room (closest to the door) will argue it was murder

The right side of the room (closest to the window) will argue it was execution

Be ready to state your case!
Rebellion or Resistance
Rebellion: An act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler

Resistance: The refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument

Were the events at Red River a rebellion or resistance?
Is there a difference? Does the title of the events matter? Why do you think they changed the title?
Homework
With a partner reflect on the class debate and discussion: "Murder vs. Execution" and "Rebellion or Resistance"
For homework, pick 1 of the topics. Briefly summarize what happened and take a stance on the issue. Comment on if your stance changed after the class debate or if your belief was reinforced

Due Next Class!
Shape of the Day
The Red River Resistance: Was rebellion inevitable?
1. Introduce Louis Riel
2. Recognize the legitimacy of the Provisional Government
3. Understand the significance of Thomas Scott, was his death murder or execution?
4. Be aware of the difference between a rebellion and a resistance
Full transcript