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In Their Own Voices

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Ukranian Methodist Church PakanGeorge McDougall came to the Canadian West amid a growing sense of the possibilities and necessity of Canadian nationhood. He shared the vision of a settled country and considered farming, rather than hunting, to be a superior way to make a living. These beliefs consistently guided his work. As Superintendent of the Saskatchewan District, he set up missions that incorporated a settled agricultural lifestyle and an infrastructure to support it. The river lot system was successful in attracting Métis people from the Red River area to settle near the Victoria Mission. Many of his missions helped establish settlements that became towns that exist to this day and many are recognized as provincial historic sites.

Unlike his son John McDougall, George did not learn to speak Cree and relied upon interpreters.  This did not hinder the effectiveness of his influence in many of the major events and changes of the period, however. He helped Aboriginal and Métis people adapt during a difficult period of transformation and often served as advocate for them. At the same time, he was an agent of this transformation and frequently argued for the benefits that would come as settlement encroached on traditional ways of life.

McDougall FamilyAn important legacy left by George McDougall was his family, particularly John, who continued his father's work and left extensive written records detailing the events and changes of the era. 


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