The Red River Revolution Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1901 Words
Date:  2022-12-20


Following the red river revolution in 1870, an act was created in the same years. It was to allocate lands to 700 descendants of metis. Many years passed and the government did not issue the areas, and that contributed to their frustration, and they moved to Saskatchewan to join the others. The northwest rebellion occurred between 1870 and 1885 a period which led to the creation of Manitoba. In 1884, Metis wanted to protest against the government concerning their rights. They needed a leader, and this led to Louis Riel return from exile. In 1884, Riel was tried and pleaded guilty of treason. Referring to himself as "Prophet of the New World," he chose Gabriel Dumont to lead the army. They raided a local store in Duck Lake and stole some supplies that they need. Dumount and his men were hunted down by northwest police, and this was the first resistance fighters and men from both sides died. However, the police retreated.

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Louis Riel surrendered on 15th May 1885 as he believed his public execution would be a symbol of Metis suffering. Before his trial, he was placed in Regina jail for eight weeks. Dumount and his men fled to the United States. In November 16th the same year, the prime minister had to decide between punishing Riel and losing supporters. He would upset the English Canadians for not punishing Louis. He would also loose supporters from Quebec if he foresees the execution. He was later executed by hanging, and the federal government beat the metis militia which now had less than 70 men; that brought an end to the northwest resistance.

The north-west rebellion was an insurgency against the Canadian government that took five years. Metis and their first allies were involved in this fight for what is now termed as Saskatchewan and Alberta. The west side was changing rapidly, and this brought fear among the metis and the first inhabitants. The outbreak of violence which took place in 1885 left so many people to die even though federal troops finally defeated the rebels. Therefore, it was now possible to enforce new Canadian law in the plains of indigenous people in Canada usually known as the west. These laws ensured the conviction of Louis Riel who died through hanging. In this essay, three articles are used to analyse, compare and contrast the approaches and conclusions of the three following authors to the next topic: The Northwest Rebellion of 1885.


Douglas Sprague has vividly narrated the events of the Northwest rebellion that took place before and 1885. The part of revisionism took place approximately a decade ago. In this document, interpretations of metis are thoroughly made to provide a critical view of history. Imperialist British traditions, anti-French Catholics and theories on racism were bias when it came to practicing literature, and this was problematic to most authors. Literature was allowed to be exercised until the 1970s. However, the views and writings before then have still been kept as evidence. Sprague, Douglas N. 1988 did tremendous work to create new perspectives to the early history of Manitoba province. He achieved his goals by analysing the correspondence of Sir J. A. Macdonald. He dominated the policies of Canada except for a term between 1867 and 1891 period. During his time as the prime minister, his domination in development policies was so eloquent; he wanted to transform the economy of Canada. However, his principal interests and the national system were mainly hinged on controlling and transforming western Canada. It was the only part that had no interests in dominion, and therefore, he could do anything to ensure everybody was on board.

Sprague developed the critical element of MacDonald's policy. The native inhabitants of the northwest were dispersed and dispossessed and later replaced with euro Canadians. The most intriguing part is that the prime minister's intentions are quite evident. There seem to be essentially opportunistic and inconsistent attributes in his actions. However, Sprague does not indicate whether the government followed the right procedures in the implementation of these policies or not. The fact that people were displaced from their native lands and replaced is a clear indication that the government supported MacDonald's beliefs. In chapter 3 and four talks about the causes of resistance from the perspective of Metis. Additionally, there were negotiations between obdurate Pere Ritchot's" and Ottawa which are also demonstrated in these chapters. The reason behind the adoption and implementation of prime minister's policies is due to the elimination of Riel which left metis powerless.

Macdonald uses lies to manipulate others and justify his actions. He deceives Quebec lieutenant, George-Etienne Cartier on amnesty issues to appease prejudices. This came after an abusive citizen (Thomas Scott) was executed. Sprague brings out the analysis of land issues in Manitoba. The point of land allocations and ownership is stated in Manitoba's act. In sector 2 of the law, Metis is theoretically guaranteed of land rights. However, section 31 indicates that mixed-race residents have rights to own land. Hence 1.4 million acres are set aside for their benefit. In the name of a series of amendments, Metis is not able to secure a land base due to delayed delivery of patent. However, this was being done on purpose to ensure that the prime minister's policies are implemented and no one would talk; it was a way of silencing the inhabitants of the west side and facilitated reallocation. It was possible now for speculators to acquire through scripts that came at a price ranging between 160 and 250 dollars which one could negotiate ether for either land or money. By 1885, all the Metis land had already been distributed to newcomers.

Government mobilization

The government realised that the resistance movement would be imminent after their first retreat. On April 24th, 1885, a superior government force of 900 soldiers was defeated by 200 metis, and that threaten the major general Major Fredrick Middleton. Therefore, the government started mobilising Canada's well equipped and part-time militia as well as cavalry units to form a permanent active militia. The result of this mobilisation was two trains carrying 10th royal grenadiers were ready to leave Toronto. The army also consisted of Queen's riffles. Quebec City also generated 9th voltigeurs and Montreal's Mount Royal riffles. The main idea was to recruit inexperienced young militiamen from every city in the east to an army that will fight and end the resistance movement.

Metis had no government interventions. People were aware that MacDonald and his associates used deception to manipulate the other senior officials and the only thing they could do is make accusations. From Sprague's book, it is quite evident that by this time the half breed was increasing in metis and the native people have no channels to make complaints about their rights and traditions. In the book, there is also cooperation between the government officials and business interests to replace metis. Sprague vividly brings out evidence and convincingly argues that replacing metis was based on power and racism. The mixed-race inhabitants would be easy to manipulate, and that is what the government officials need to exercise their power. The majority of the half Europeans was highly represented, and this creates discomfort for metis, and that is when rebellion starts. However, the book suggests that they are outnumbered and the only solution was to migrate and seek new homelands.


The prairie fire by Dr. Rod Macleod is divided into three parts to explain the history of northwest rebellion. Section 1 is referred to as waiting for a spark which gives the reader background information of the fighting in 1885. Part 2 is the conflagration which talks about the battle and skirmishes which started in Duck Lake and ended at Frenchman's Butte. Lastly, section 3 the stamping out of the Embers where the author discusses the trials of metis and Indians. Unlike Thomas Flanagan and Flanagan and Sprague, MacLeod divides his work into three sections that are easier to understand even before the reader starts reading. However, the author begins by indicating that Prairie fire in the history of the rebellion. It is crucial to note that this can have impacts on readers' minds since at first someone might be convinced that the history of the uprising is the central definitive feature.

As already established, part 1 talks about the discomfort origins among the Indians, Metis, and whites in the northwest. The period is between 1870 until Louis Riel returned in 1884. The information seems to be narrated in a way that the Canadian people might never understand. Northwest rebellion has been a matter of discussion and debate among the Canadian people mostly historians. The author presents tones of evidence without showing the significance and clarifying what impacts it had on the involved parties. For instance, there is a treaty six that where differences in negotiating positions occurred given that both the woods and plain Cree were to adopt the policies. It is not indicated why Indians who had converted to Christianity were willing to sign the treaty compared to the others. The author suggests that some Indians were not willing to approve the deal.

Macleod indicates in the book to there is starvation in the Westside, and the east side would not be willing money to be spent in ending food crisis in the west region. However, there is limited information about this case, and most scholars have been left confused. Additionally, a few land issues are discussed, unlike Douglas Sprague who made the entire rebellion to be about land. The Metis are the most affected by the uprising according to Sprague and Flanagan who are stripped of their properties and forced to flee to the northwest. In MacLeod's book, both Indians and Metis are the victims, and the only thing that comes out is being forced to sign treaties.

Flanagan and Beal

Thomas Flanagan and Bob Beal in their book "Riel and the Rebellion" discuss the factors that led to the Metis community to redress their grievances. From his book, the primary cause of the rebellion island issues. Unlike the other authors, Flanagan brings out the role of Riel in the uprising. The most intriguing part is that Metis leaders followed their indemnity during Riels trial. The leaders played a role in the execution of Riel. Moreover, the book also brings out the condemnations of the Canadian government as well as victimisation of the innocent metis. It is not clear which government officials were involved in the victimisation. At least in Sprague's book an individual behind the reallocation of lands has been mentioned (the prime minister).In the literature examination of Flanagan's book, some important issues are missing like the social, cultural ways the plain metis embraced.

The most common thing about these three books is that northwest rebellion took place in 1885. The people were fighting for a common goal relating to their rights even though the reason differ. Sprague's books indicate that the reason the Metis individuals are being replaced in their land is that the government needs inhabitants they can control and brainwash to exercise their power. He gets rid of Riel in the early stages of the book, and this leaves the people with no government representative or spokesman. Therefore, this becomes the main reason for revolution, and since they were outnumbered, they give up, and they migrate to other lands.

On the other hand, the prairie fire author Macleod and Beal brings out the prairie fire as the root of the rebellion. Flanagan's book states that the reason behind the Metis rebellion was Riel's invitation. H...

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