The Metis Mon April 5, 92 *********** ================= The Metis Were

The MetisMon April 5, 92***********=================The Metis were partly french and partly indian. Their leader wascalled Louis riel.Following the Union of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North WestCompany in 1821, trading had been reorganized in order to reduceexpenses. Since there was no longer competition in the fur trade,it was unnecessary to have two or more posts serving a single trading district. For this reason, some posts had been closed and the numberof brigades reduced. This reorganization had led to some unemploymentamoung Metis who for years had been working in the fur trade. TheHudson Bay Company had attempted to assist these these men by encouraging them to engage in farming in what is now South Manitoba.A few families take to agriculture, but most of the metis found itdifficult. To them, the excitement and the adventure of the buffalo hunt held more appeal than farming. Hundreds of Metis were contentto earn a living by hunting buffalo, making pemmican or findingemployment as freight drivers.After a while Canada bought Rupertsland from Hudson Bay Company.When the Metis herd this they were alarmed. They feared theirreligion,their language, their lands and their old, free way of*life. They had known for some time that Canada was busy constructinga colonists highway from Lake Superior to the Red River. The situation became tense surveyors were sent into the flow ofsettlers, and it was considered a wise move to have the surveyingwell under way before settlement began in earnest. It was decidedto use a system or land survey similar to that used in the westernpart of the United States. Townships were to be divided into thirty-six sections, each containing one square mile or 640 acres. The sections were then to be divided into, the quarter-section wasthought to be enough land for each family settling in the North West. (An interesting aspect of the survey system was the plan of the settingasside two sections in each township for the future support of education.The idea to sell these sections at a later date and use the money forthe construction of schools.) When th survey began, friction occured in those areas where the french specking Metis had settled alongthe river, occupying long narrow strips in the manner common in New France. Attempts were made by the surveyors to avoid disturbingthe pattern, but in some cases the survey lines crossed the narrowholdings, leading the Metis to believe the their land was being takenaway from them.Louis Riel Mon April 5, 92************ ===============Louis Riel was the leader of the Metis. He was a black-bearded, handsome young man, the son of the leader of a minor Metis revolt in 1849 against the Hudson’s Bay Company. Born in the red River region in 1944, Riel had been chosen as a possible candidate for the priesthood and had stidied at the Jesuit College de Montreal. However, he failed to complete his religious studies and returned to the Red River in 1868, looking for employment. His powers of eloquence and his hot-tempered nature soon made him an outspoken defenter of the Metis.


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