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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
Free Trade at Red River

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After the 1821 amalgamation of the two trading companies the predictable result was a monopoly held by the HBC. In the 1830s the Métis demanded more representation on the Council of Assiniboia, which made key decisions effecting the Métis population in the Red River Settlement. The council had no Métis representatives even though it was the governing body for the region. In 1839, Cuthbert Grant was appointed to the council. The Métis protested the HBC monopoly and demanded no import duty on American goods as well as facilities for exporting products.

In 1845 the Métis petitioned the governor of Red River for recognition of their special status. Métis free traders were among the most vocal in their demands for nationalism. Fear of a possible Métis uprising caused the British to send troops to the colony in preparation. In 1849 an armed body of Métis surrounded a courthouse where a Métis trader, Guillaume Sayer, was being convicted for trafficking in furs, thereby opposing the HBC monopoly. The trial ended with Sayer being found guilty, but with a penalty that was not enforced, and the conclusion by the community that the monopoly was broken. But coming as it did after four years of constant pressure, not only in Red River, but in England, it marked a transition point. In Red River and in the surrounding area, the monopoly was effectively broken. The Métis could now sell their furs for the best price.

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Liens Rapides

Rivalry and Union(1821)/Seven Oaks

Free Trade at Red River

Battle of Grand Coteau

Provisional Government (1869-1870)

Manitoba Act and Scrip

Indian Treaties

Post 1886: Rupture and Drift

Political Agitation (1870s and 1880s)

North-West Rebellion (1885 and after)

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