The red river resistance
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The Red River Resistance. Key People. Sir John A. MacDonald (Prime Minister of Canada) Louis Riel (Leader of the Métis) William MacDougall (Lieutenant Governor of the NWT) John Shultz (member of the Canadian Party) Thomas Scott (an Orange man). Key Questions.

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The Red River Resistance

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The red river resistance

The Red River Resistance

Key people

Key People

  • Sir John A. MacDonald (Prime Minister of Canada)

  • Louis Riel (Leader of the Métis)

  • William MacDougall (Lieutenant Governor of the NWT)

  • John Shultz (member of the Canadian Party)

  • Thomas Scott (an Orange man)

Key questions

Key Questions

Explain why the Canadian government wanted to gain control of Rupert’s Land.

Why did the Métis people feel threatened by the actions of the Canadian government regarding Rupert’s Land?

Which point of view do you agree with? The Métis or the Canadian Government?

Canada purchases rupert s land

Canada Purchases Rupert’s Land

  • John A Macdonald and D’Arcy McGee wanted to create a country stretching from sea to sea

  • The HBC wanted to sell Rupert’s Land because the fur trade was declining and they were finding it difficult to maintain control over such a large territory

The negotiations begin

The negotiations begin…

  • The HBC and the Canadian government began negotiations to transfer control of Rupert’s Land

  • No one bothered to consult the people who lived in the Red River Settlement

  • They reached an agreement in November 1869- Rupert’s Land joined the North-Western Territory and the entire area was renamed “The North- West Territories” (see pg 157)

The negotiations

The negotiations…

  • January 1869 Government of Canada bought Rupert’s land from the Hudson’s Bay company.

  • The government was not allowed to take over until December 1869, almost a year later.

  • No one from the government had spoken to the people of the Red River Settlement.

The new canada

The New Canada

  • After this deal, Canada more than doubled in size.

  • The HBC received $1.5 million from the government, and 2.8 million hectares of prairie farmland

  • Before the deal was finalized, land surveyors arrived in the Red River settlement and started laying out grids for the townships…

The hudson bay company

The Hudson Bay Company

  • Since 1670, the Hudson’s Bay Company (a British company) owned Rupert’s Land – the vast northern territory

Seeking sovereignty annexing the northwest

Seeking SovereigntyAnnexing the Northwest

  • It was mostly occupied by First Nations peoples and fur traders, but there was also a settlement of Métis living near present-day Winnipeg, at a place called Red River.

The key events at red river

The Key Events at Red River

  • The Surveyors Arrive

  • National Committee of the Métis

  • The Lieutenant-Governor Arrives

  • Forming a Provisional Government

  • Negotiating

  • Trouble in Fort Gary

  • Trouble in Ottawa

  • The Province of Manitoba

  • Riel Leaves

Red river

Red River

Red river valley

Red River Valley

Seeking sovereignty annexing the northwest1

Seeking SovereigntyAnnexing the Northwest

  • After Confederation, the Red River Metis were still British subjects, but they wanted to become part of the Dominion of Canada.

  • Canada negotiated with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and bought Rupert’s Land (including Red River), renaming the entire region the North-West Territories. Neither the Canadians nor the British, however, had bothered consulting the Metis at any time.

Economic problems

Economic problems…

  • Economic problems in the Red River contributed to rising tensions…

    • Crop failures

    • Decrease in bison

    • Less investment by the HBC

Land ownership issues

Land ownership issues…

  • Added to this was the fact that:

    • The Metis never made legal claim to their territory although they had farmed it for years

    • According to HBC policy, all HBC employees were entitled to their farmland if they lived on it for 3 years

    • The land surveyors assumed that the people who lived on the land did NOT own it and had no right to claim it…

      PROBLEM: The Metis believed that if a person cleared the land and farmed it, they had the right to it.

The surveyors arrive

The Surveyors Arrive

  • In the summer of 1869 surveyors arrived and started marking land into squares for settlers.

  • The problem was, the land that was being surveyed was already claimed by Métis families.

  • The Métis became worried and angry.

  • One man named Louis Riel who spoke for the Métis told the surveyors to stop, they did and left the area to avoid a fight.

Louis riel

Louis Riel

  • Born in 1844, he was the son of Louis Riel Sr. who was the Metis leader for many years.

  • He was a literate, well- educated lawyer

  • He was fluent in both English and French

  • He was an excellent speaker

  • He was only 24 years old when he

    returned to the Red River

National committee of the m tis

National Committee of the Métis

  • In 1869, the tensions in the red River were very high

  • Settlers were angry at the HBC and at the land surveyors. After the surveyors left, the Métis from Red River got together to discuss their situation.

  • The Métis of Red River knew that the surveyors would be back and would be surveying the land for new settlers.

  • Riel formed the Metis National Committee to fight for Metis rights

National committee of the m tis1

National Committee of the Métis

The lieutenant governor arrives

The Lieutenant-Governor Arrives

  • October 1869, William McDougall, the new Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories arrives in Red River.

  • Canada had not taken over the territory yet.

  • A group of Métis stopped McDougall from entering Fort Garry, a key fort in the Red River area.

  • The Metis took over the fort and where able to control the surrounding area.


William mcdougall

William McDougall

Goal of the resistance

Goal of the Resistance

  • Riel and supporters simply wanted to ensure that the people of Red River would retain their rights and traditions when it came under Canadian government rule.

  • They did not want to rebel against Canada…

Forming a provisional government

Forming a Provisional Government

  • The French and English speaking Métis in the Red River realized that they needed to form a government if they wanted to join confederation and have the same rights as other colonies.

  • In December 1869 the Métis formed a provisional government( a government that takes over until a final government is in place) and Louis Riel became the leader.

The provisional government

The Provisional Government

Why did Riel want a new province?

- He feared that if McDougall took charge of the area, the Metis would be ignored and would lose their rights



  • John A. MacDonald decided it was better to negotiate with the Métis provisional government that to their land by force.

  • MacDonald sent messengers to talk to the Métis and the Métis in return sent three delegates( Persons authorized to act as representative for others) to Ottawa in February 1870.

  • The delegates brought with them the Métis Bill of Rights.

John a macdonald

John A. MacDonald

Seeking sovereignty

Seeking Sovereignty

  • Led by Riel, the Métis demanded several things from the federal government, including:

  • The right to enter Confederation as a province.

  • The right to be represented in Parliament.

  • The right to have both English and French as official languages in their schools and courts.

  • The right to control their own local affairs.

  • The right to maintain their traditional way of life.

  • Métis would keep rights to their land.

  • The Gov’t would negotiate treaties with the First Nations in the area.

Metis list of rights

Metis List of Rights

  • What do you think of these rights?

  • Are they fair?

The orange order

The Orange Order

  • Many of the new Canadian settlers were Protestants and members of the Orange Order:

    • A violently anti- French, anti- Catholic movement

  • They were prejudiced against the Métis because they were French, Catholic, and of mixed heritage…

The orange order1

The Orange Order

  • Although they were small in number, the

    presence of the Protestants increased

    tensions in the Red River a lot.

  • One of the first immigrants was Dr. John Schultz, he opened a general store, took over the newspaper “The NorWester”

  • By the end of the 1860’s he had organized a small group called the Canadian Party which hoped to gain control of the settlement.

Dr. John


Civil war

Civil War?

  • Riel feared that a civil war would begin because the Canadian Party was armed and ready to attack the Metis

  • To stop this from happening…

    • Riel led a party of armed Metis to Schulz’s home (headquarters of Canadian Party)

    • They took 48 of Schulz’s followers to Fort Garry

Riel and macdonald

Riel and Macdonald

  • After this, Riel declared that he was ready to negotiate with the Canadian government

  • Macdonald refused to recognize Riel and would not negotiate with him


Fort garry

Fort Garry

Trouble in fort gary

Trouble in Fort Gary

  • Not all of the settlers of Fort Garry agreed with the provisional government.

  • Some wanted the Red River to become a English speaking Protestant province.

  • During January 1870 these people planed to attack the provisional government so Riel had them thrown in jail.

  • Riel agreed to release who promised to leave the Red River settlement or obey the provisional government.

The red river resistance

Were the Métis justified in seizing Fort Garry?

Trouble in fort gary pt2

Trouble in Fort Gary-Pt2

  • Some men escaped and made plans to attack Fort Garry again, but they were caught and thrown back in jail.

  • One of the men, named Thomas Scott said he would escape and kill Louis Riel.

  • Under traditional Métis law Scott’s actions were serious offences so he was put on trail.

Thomas scott

Thomas Scott

Thomas scott1

Thomas Scott

  • Scott was found guilty of conspiracy and was executed on March 4th 1870.



What do you think about the execution of Thomas Scott?

Was this the best course of action?

Was the action justified?

Trouble in ottawa

Trouble in Ottawa

  • When English speaking Protestants in Ottawa found out about Thomas Scott’s execution they became very angry. They wanted Louis Riel to be punished.

  • Because many Métis were French speaking, the French supported Riel because they saw him as defending French culture.

  • John A. MacDonald decided not to arrest Riel so that he would not loose the French voters in the next election.

  • MacDonald was also looking for a peaceful solution.

Trouble in ottawa1

Trouble in Ottawa

  • Prime Minister Macdonald was scared of the instability in the region, and was worried that it would leave Canada vulnerable to the United States.

  • He negotiated with the Metis and allowed the Red River colony to become part of Canada – as the province of Manitoba – in 1870.

    • He also promised that:

      • They would have an elected assembly

      • English and French would be recognized as official languages

      • The Metis would receive title (official claim) to their lands

      • The Metis would receive additional lands.

Louis riel and other rebel leaders

Louis Riel and other Rebel Leaders

The province of manitoba

The Province of Manitoba

  • MacDonald and the Métis worked out an agreement-The Manitoba Act was created.

  • The province of Manitoba was created on the 15th of July 1870.

Manitoba in 1870

Manitoba in 1870

Manitoba in 18701

Manitoba in 1870

Key point of the manitoba act

Key Point of the Manitoba Act

  • Manitoba could send four members to the House of Commons in Ottawa and two members to the Canadian Senate.

  • People in Manitoba could use either French or English in schools and government.

  • Approximately 560000 hectors of land was kept for Métis families.

Riel leaves

Riel Leaves

  • When Manitoba was created Riel was happy but he was concerned that he would be charged with Thomas Scott’s murder.

  • MacDonald arranged to have Riel leave the country to let things cool down, but Riel did not go.

  • Riel did have to go into hiding because a militia was after him and had decided to kill him. They did not succeed

  • In 1874 Riel was elected to the house of commons but was not allowed to take his seat. The new prime minister, Alexander Mackenzie, agreed to grant Riel amnesty if he left Canada for five years.

  • Riel chose to leave this time.

The red river resistance

  • Should the events of 1869 and 1870 be considered a rebellion by the Métis of Red River? Or should it be considered a Resistance?

    Rebellion: is an action used to overthrow a government or institution.

    Resistance: is an opposition to somebody or something, or a refusal to comply or cooperate.

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