George 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.
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.