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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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The BeginningsThe People and Their CommunitiesCulture and Lifeways
Warden of the Plains

In Red River, some time after the Pemmican War, Cuthbert Grant was given a position as ‘Warden of the Plains.’ He had settled with his sisters, their families, friends and associates on White Horse Plain (some distance west of Red River up the Assiniboine). The settlement known as Grantown made progress with eighty to a hundred families settling there. By 1827, Grant had 34 acres under the plough; however, he had not given up his former life as a trader. As early as the winter of 1825, he was operating an independent trading post at the former site of Fort Souris / Brandon House. Grant was allowed to do this under special license from Governor George Simpson. Indeed, for many years, he and Simpson seemed to operate on a private agreement. Grant had the freedom to trade over the area where his father previously had, and Simpson had a loyal trader opposing the encroaching Americans. In 1827, his difficulties with American traders near the border prompted Simpson to order George Taylor to survey and mark the border from Pembina as far west as he chose to go.

Simpson wrote of his reasons for supporting Grant:

Grant and his partner [Louis Guiboche in 1827] had a number of Indian and Metis relations and were intimately acquainted with all the Indian tribes of the region. Thus they could compete more effectively with the Americans than the company could by establishing a fort.1

In 1828, the Council of the Northern Department ‘regularized’ the relationship, creating an office and title for him. The Council resolved:

That Mr. Cuthbert Grant be appointed Warden of the Plains of Red River at a salary of 200 p. annum and that the Duties of his Office be the prevention of Illicit Trade in Furs within that District under the direction of Chief Factor McKenzie.2

Over the years, the need for Grant to police the border diminished and he turned to the care and management of his people. He continued to take part in the twice yearly buffalo hunts with his people, but it seems that he gradually lost touch with their spirit.

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Liens Rapides

Early Great Lake Métis Links

Early Inland Trade

Métis During Competition

Warden of the Plains

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