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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
Post 1886: Rupture and Drift

The results of the 1885 Rebellion on all the Metis communities across the west were profound. Many of the communities were not involved in the rebellion. Some of those not involved in the Rebellion, but with memories of the criminal harassment of the soldiers in Red River, ran from their homes. Families gave up homesteads and enterprises, and fled. Those involved in the Rebellion but who escaped arrest, ran for the States. There is evidence that they fled up the Battle River and through the Buffalo Lake area before heading into the Blackfoot country and slipping across the border. Archaeologists have found fully loaded rifles and other gear dropped in flight. Those fleeing would have stayed away from trails settlers, and therefore the soldiers, would have used.

For a time, they would have found safety and hiding among the Montana and Dakota Metis communities. There are still families with stories of fleeing, of belonging to Montana bands such as the Rocky Boy, of returning to Canada and looking for isolated places where they could live without disturbance and with minimal interference by structures of the dominant society. Anyone involved in the Rebellion was struck off the list of those eligible for Metis scrip. They had to find a place for themselves on the edges. Each person applying for scrip after 1885 had to stipulate that they had not been involved in the Rebellion and state for the record where they were and how they were occupied during that time. There were whole communities who had played no part in the events of that year, but nevertheless were stigmatized.

Those communities at the centre of the Rebellion again had to deal with soldiers looting and burning their way down the Saskatchewan valley. They had to gather up what was left and start over. There was no crop that year. Some in the community, either with good connections or proof they were opposed to the Rebellion were paid reparations. Xavier Letendre dit Batoche received $19,000. Other merchants were similarly compensated. The hard times the Metis community experienced after the Rebellion explains in part why so many of the Metis community took their scrip in cash instead of land. The whole community was in straitened circumstances. Petitions were again sent to Ottawa in the 1890s, resulting in a new issue of scrip for Metis children in 1899-1900. Communities gradually rebuilt and descendants of the first settlers came to farms lands near where their ancestors had settled.

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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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