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The Red River Valley

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C. Manifold

on 18 February 2015

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Transcript of The Red River Valley

The Red River Valley
Let's review:

What do we know so far?
Where is the Red River Valley?
Why is this area significant?
Who does the area belong to?
The economy revolved around the needs of the HBC:
Scottish colonists grew crops
Métis provided pemmican and hides, worked as labourers, crew on York boats or HBC clerks

Turn off: To leave behind a Métis wife and children or to replace a Métis wife with a European wife

George Simpson took a leave and returned to England to find an English wife
Married his 18-year-old cousin, Frances

Frances would not socialize with any Métis wives or relatives of HBC employees - wanted European women to be settlements new social elite
Foolish move

Elitist attitudes were common outside of the NW
Fur trade society was exceptional in terms of its tolerance of racial and cultural differences
Changes: 1860-1870
Fur trade and HBC influence declined

Arrival of new colonists from the Canadas
Most of the good farmland taken

1870 census of Red River Settlement:
5720 French Métis
4080 English Métis
2428 Canadians
Image by Tom Mooring
Race & Social Class
The Red River Valley
"Le commerce est libre! Vive la liberte!"
Red River colonists began expanding, saw opportunity to sell many of their products
...but the HBC had a trade monopoly

Métis believed they had the right to trade freely, began trading regardless of rules

1849, 4 Métis charged with illegal trading
Pierre Guillaume Sayer went to trial
At request of judge, Sayer was found guilty but freed without penalty
The Red River Valley, 1821-1860
1821-1860: After years of confrontation, the Red River Valley became a stable, isolated, self-sufficient community

Who lived there?
Métis, Scottish colonists, Swiss mercenaries, HBC employees
1821: 50/50 Métis and European
1860: more than 80% Métis

Rising Tensions
New arrivals were Protestant and members of the Orange Order
Anti-French, anti-Catholic movement

Rising racial tensions
French Métis discriminated against because of their language and religion

"Doctor" John Christian Schultz moved to the area, opened a general store and took over the only newspaper, the
Organized the "Canadian Party"
Used newspaper as platform for his anti-Métis views
Rupert's Land
John A. Macdonald wanted to create a Dominion of Canada that stretched coast to coast

HBC realized that running Rupert's Land was too expensive

After Confederation (1867), the government and HBC began negotiating the sale of Rupert's Land
How much would you pay for Rupert's Land?
In 1867, USA paid $7.2 million for Alaska from Russia
HBC did not consult people living in the Red River Valley

Métis had no "official" ownership of their land

An agreement on the sale of Rupert's Land was signed in November 1869
HBC was pressured by Great Britain to sell to Canada instead of the US
Price: $1.5 million

Canadian government joined Rupert's Land with the North-Western Territory
Renamed the region the North-West Territories in 1870
“No explanation it appears has been made of the arrangement by which the country is to be handed over…All these poor people know is that Canada has bought the country from the Hudson’s Bay Company and that they are handed over like a flock of sheep to us” - Sir John A. Macdonald
Analyze this quote from Sir John A. Macdonald
What possible problems do you see if there is no explanation on how the country is to be handed over?
How would you react if you were "handed over like a flock of sheep"?
Read and make notes on "I am Marie Garneau" on page 150-151

Continue to fill out the Key Terms list
Shape of the Day
The Red River Valley (1821-1860; 1860-1870): How did changes turn a somewhat stable community into a community ready for rebellion?
1. Understand life in the Red River Valley, focus on stable periods and periods of change
2. What social structures existed in the Red River Valley
3. Recognize how the sale of Rupert’s Land was significant
Full transcript