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NorthWest Rebellion History

NorthWest Rebellion

by Lorine McGinnis Schulze

After the Red River Rebellion in 1869 and 1870 many of the Métis grievances remained unsolved. They had moved farther west and settled in the Saskatchewan Territories. By the 1880s, European and other settlers were moving into the Saskatchewan and the Métis saw their traditional lifestyle threatened again.

White residents of the Northwest Territories also had grievances against the Government of Canada. The white settlers in the Territory accused the Canadian Government of operating the Territory solely for the benefit of Eastern Canadian business to the detriment of local interests. In particular they were unhappy with the CPR monopoly and tariff on manufactured goods.

Natives had signed treaties giving up claim to the whole of the territory and agreeing to settle on reserves. The Canadian Government however, did not live up to the provisions in these treaties, with the result that people who were already unhappy at having to give up much of their traditional way of life were made more angry as promises failed to materialise.

In June 1884 the Metis Leader Louis Riel was called back from exile in Montana to lead them. Gabriel Dumont was appointed as his military leader and in March 1885, a provisional government was proclaimed in the west. Batoche was declared its capital.

The provisional government was eventually overthrown with the capture of Batoche on 12 May 1885. Riel was taken prisoner and later hanged for treason, while Dumont escaped to the United States.

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