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The Trouble at Red River

A spy at the Red River Settlement?

Megan M.

on 12 December 2013

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Transcript of The Trouble at Red River

The Trouble at Red River

Louis grew up in the Red River Settlement along with his brothers and sisters. He attended a school in the settlement until he was 14, when Bishop Tache sent him to the College of Montreal to study priesthood. Louis was known as one of the smartest boys in Red River.
The Surveyors
Before we (the Dominion of Canada) officially owned Rupert's Land we sent Surveyors to begin and divide the land into squares for the new settlement. Louis Riel and the Metis were angry that they were not alerted of these plans and that the land which currently had settlers living on it was being divided. Louis Riel and a group of Metis confronted the Surveyors and forced them to return home.
Very shortly after Louis returned home to Red River he became the Metis leader. So far as leader he has defended the Metis, organized the Metis National Committee and possible even founded a new province.
In the settlement there is a lack of transportation (which we can use to our advantage when negotiating). The Metis only have Red River Carts (pulled by horses), york boats and canoes.
In the Settlement the Metis live on long, narrow lots, along the edge of the river. Farm houses are used in the summer and in the winter they move into log cabins. While I was spying I even saw a group prepare for a hunt. On hunts they sleep in Tipis and Tents.
The French-Speaking Roman Catholic Settlers
These are the settlers in the colony who speak french. Many are Metis. The majority of these settlers agree with what Louis Riel has been doing and want a french-speaking Roman Catholic to govern the new province.
The English-Speaking Protestant Settlers
The English-speaking protestant settlers came from Ontario. Also known as the Canadian party they follow their leader John Schultz. The Canadian Party encourages Red River to become a province and hope it is governed by an English-speaking protestant.
The Scottish Selkirk Settlers
Lord Selkirk of Scotland, traveled to the plains near Red River, interested in building a settlement. There, he purchased stock in the Hudson Bay Company. Eventually, he received a large amount of land from them. Back home in Scotland, Selkirk posted advertisements promoting a new life in the colony of Red River. Finding a sizable group of settlers was extremely difficult, but by 1811 the first group of settlers had sailed to Red River. The second group arrived in 1813. The women in this group were amongst the first European women to settle in the west.
The Aboriginal Peoples
There are many different Aboriginal tribes in the Red River Settlement. They often hunt (moose and buffalo), fish, trap and gather. Some of the groups are: Dene, Anishinabe, Cree, Tsuu, T' ina, Nakota, Siksita and the Metis.
First, you should learn about the half-breeds. I spent a large quantity of my time listening and observing them, trying to understand their culture. I discovered that they are actually called Metis.
The Metis
The Metis can be found wearing a combination of both First Nation and European designs. Women often make the clothing for the family, using animal hides and fabric. Moccasins, shawls, trousers, dresses, leggings and hats are common in the Red River Settlement. I even recognized various different bead work and embroidery patterns on their bags and shoes.
A major source of food for the Metis is the buffalo. On buffalo hunts there are strict rules to follow but it is also fun social gathering. When on the plains they always travel in large groups and no one can go for the kill without orders. On hunts they travel by horse and cart.
Food/Buffalo Hunt
Born: October 22, 1844, Red River
Father= Louis Riel
Mother= Julie Lagemodere
When Louis was 14 he studied Priesthood in Montreal. After his father died he decided that he no longer wanted to become a priest and studied in a law office. Louis also got engaged but the parents of his bride canceled the wedding because he was a Metis.
Louis Riel is known as: ambitious, intelligent, studious, moody, proud, irritable, daring, quick of perception, though not perfound, of indomitable energy, excessively suspicious of others and of a pleasing and rather dignified address (speech).
William McDougall
You (John A. Macdonald), sent Ruperts Land's new Lieutenant Governor William McDougall to Red River to claim it for the Dominion of Canada. Due to the fact that there was no railroad connecting Ontario to Rupert's Land he had to travel through the United States. When McDougall attempted to enter the settlement armed Metis warned him not to enter unless he had special permission from the Metis National Committee. Frightened he retreated.
The Provisional Government
Due to the fact that the Dominion of Canada and the Red River Settlement have been disagreeing, you Mr. Macdonald have not set up an official government. When Louis Riel discovered that Canada wanted an English-speaker with a European ancestry to control Red River he captured the 50 guards of John Schultz's (Canadian party's leader) store and its shipments. They next day Louis created a provisional government to ensure that they could keep all their writes. They then wrote a list of all of their demands.
The Metis Bill of Rights
1. The right to elect our Legislature.
2. The Legislature to have power to pass all laws, local to the Territory, over the veto of the Executive, by a two-third vote.
3. No act of the Dominion Parliament (local to this Territory) to be binding on the people until sanctioned by their representatives.
4. All sheriffs, magistrates, constables, etc., etc., to be elected by the people—a free homestead pre-emption law.
5. A portion of the public lands to be appropriated to the benefit of schools, the building of roads, bridges and parish buildings.
6. A guarantee to connect Winnipeg by rail with the nearest line of railroad—the land grant for such road or roads to be subject to the Legislature of the Territory.
7. For 4 years the public expenses of the Territory, civil, military and municipal, to be paid out of the Dominion treasury.
8. The military to be composed of the people now existing in the Territory.
9. The French and English language to be common in the Legislature and Council, and all public documents and acts of Legislature to be published in both languages.
10. That the Judge of the Superior Court speak French and English.
11. Treaties to be concluded and ratified between the Government and several tribes of Indians of this Territory, calculated to insure peace in the future.
12. That all privileges, customs and usages existing at the time of the transfer to be respected.
13. That these rights be guaranteed by Mr. McDougall before he be admitted into this Territory.
14. If he have not the power himself to grant them, he must get an act of Parliament passed expressly securing us these rights; and until such act be obtained, he must stay outside of the Territory.
15. That we have a full and fair representation in the Dominion Parliament.
The Solution
After taking the opportunity to learn more about the Metis and their culture I discovered a solution that would restore the peace between the French and the English and the People of Red River and Canada. If the Canadian Government uses force against Louis Riel and the Metis that would make our situation extremely worse. We need to seek a peaceful solution, through negotiation! Its the only way we will get what we want. Ruperts Land. We have to think wisely. Before its too late.
Reason #1
Firstly, if our Canadian Government used force against Louis Riel and the Metis it would result in a murderous, gruesome war. Not only would this war cause a rivalry between the inhabitants of Ruperts Land and the the citizens of Canada, but also between the french and the English speaking populations. Using negotiation would also calm our worry of future rebellions from the Metis.
Reason #4
Lastly, using peace will prevent our recently assembled government from collapsing. If we begin a war with the Metis the citizens of the Dominion of Canada will be hesitant on whether to side with Louis Riel and the French-speaking majority or with you (John A. Macdonald) who currently wants an English-speaking citizen to govern the new province. This would destroy our government as it is made up of an equal representation of French and English. Using negotiation will ensure that the United States does not take control of Ruperts Land.
Reason #3
Using force against the Metis would send them an inaccurate message. If we use our power against them they would think that we don't care what happens to their culture, settlements or families and that we only require the land on which they are living. Using negotiation proves to the colonists of Red River that they will have a say in the government and that we are willing to listen to their crucial terms and conditions.
Reason #2
Secondly, choosing the peaceful solution, though negotiation will prevent many injuries and deaths. Not only will it save the lives of our people trapped inside, but it will ensure that Fort Garry is returned to the Hudson Bay Company without damage. If we went to war with the inhabitants of Red River an excessive amount of destruction would be done, leaving us even further from owning Ruperts Land than before.
How do we use peace?
We can use peace through negotiation. As you are well aware of, the inhabitants of the Red River Settlement do not want to give up their religion, culture, laws, etc. Allowing them to keep their religion and culture and some of their laws will make them feel as if they are benefiting from the new province. Also due to the fact that there is no efficient method of transportation from the Dominion of Canada to Ruperts Land we can construct a railway. You, Mr. Macdonald can even organize a meeting where we can discuss any other crucial necessities that the colonists have. In return for our extremely generous offer, they will allow us to officially own Ruperts Land, sign a treaty promising no more rebellions and return Fort Garry to the Hudson Bay Company.

The Metis don't let their absence of transportation get in their way when working! The men often work for the fur trade companies as hunters, voyagers, interpreters or company clerks. They are also farmers, soldiers or independent hunters. The women supply pemmican for the fur trade.
Due to the fact that the Metis have many different backgrounds, they can speak many different languages. English, french and Indian are the most common. If they are of a French descent they are Roman Catholic. If they are of an English or Scottish descent they are Protestant.
Language and Religion
The Metis began when European fur traders and Native women would marry. Their children would be born half-European, half-First Nations, which is why they are also known as half-breeds. Often the children were assimilated to their parents origin instead of becoming Metis.
The Metis love to dance and sing.
They are known for their Red River Jig and fiddle playing. The Red River Jig is the Metis traditional dance which includes fast, confusing footwork and patterns. The most common instrument is the fiddle but some can even play the harmonica and various finger instruments.
Music and Dance

The Dominion of Canada

Special Agent: Megan Maher
My Mission
For these past few weeks I have been stealthily observing Louis Riel and his troop of half-breeds. After I gathered all the vital information you requested, I used all of my knowledge and experiences from Red River and thought of the best solution for our... slight dilemma.
Now that you know about the citizens of Red River it is crucial to learn about their leader...
Louis Riel
December 1, 1869
The Metis are not the only occupants of the colony. There are many other settlers who arrived from various different locations while I was there. Some even came from Ontario!
The Peoples of the West
P.S. Don't forget to mention me as a Father of Confederation in the treaty!!! And I was thinking we could name the new province.. "Manitoba"!
By: Megan Maher
Fort Garry
Fort Garry, located in Winnipeg is the Hudson Bay Company's main trading post and headquarters. On November 2, 1869 the Metis National Committee (led by Louis Riel) took control with ease, as there were no troops prepared to defend. Stored inside the Fort are crucial quantities of weapons and foods, which we (the Dominion of Canada) depend on. They are also holding many of our citizens hostage. This leaves them in a good position to negotiate with us.
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