Essay/Term paper: The metis

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

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The Metis were partly french and

partly indian. Their leader was called Louis riel. Following

the Union of the Hudson's Bay Company and the North

West Company in 1821, trading had been reorganized in

order to reduce expenses. 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 number of

brigades reduced. This reorganization had led to some

unemployment amoung Metis who for years had been

working in the fur trade. The Hudson 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 it

difficult. To them, the excitement and the adventure of the

buffalo hunt held more appeal than farming. Hundreds of

Metis were content to earn a living by hunting buffalo,

making pemmican or finding employment as freight drivers.

After a while Canada bought Rupertsland from Hudson Bay

Company. When the Metis herd this they were alarmed.

They feared their religion,their language, their lands and their

old, free way of* life. They had known for some time that

Canada was busy constructing a colonists highway from

Lake Superior to the Red River. The situation became tense

surveyors were sent into the flow of settlers, and it was

considered a wise move to have the surveying well under

way before settlement began in earnest. It was decided to

use a system or land survey similar to that used in the

western part 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 was thought to be enough land for each

family settling in the North West. (An interesting aspect of

the survey system was the plan of the setting asside 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 for the construction of schools.) When th survey

began, friction occured in those areas where the french

specking Metis had settled along the river, occupying long

narrow strips in the manner common in New France.

Attempts were made by the surveyors to avoid disturbing

the pattern, but in some cases the survey lines crossed the

narrow holdings, leading the Metis to believe the their land

was being taken away 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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