Location: Manitoba, Canada
The Red River Colony Metís people are recognized in Manitoba for their long connection to the region, unique history of immigration, their culture, innovation and family heritage. Research on the Metís, and their contribution to Canadian history is an active and vibrant field.
Between 1763 and 1870 there were thousands of Metís families who established themselves in the Red River Colony of what is now Manitoba. They represented significant migrations of people from the regions that are now Quebec and Ontario.
Metís migrated for a variety of reasons: business (eg, the North West and Hudson Bay Fur Trading companies), religion (most were Protestants coming from Catholic areas), peace (Lachine, Montreal, and Quebec were recently at war with the British), and the promise of land grants (including dedicated grants for Metís and Metís children.) The Métis settled in particular along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, with their homes along the river, and long narrow lots extending back from the river in the French Canadian style.
Many Métis were working with both the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company who relied on their knowledge of the fur trading country, connections to indigenous communities, strength and skills. Others were working as free traders, or buffalo hunters supplying pemmican to the fur trade.
In 1812 the Hudson's Bay Company gave Lord Selkirk a land grant of 116,000 acres centred on the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in the Red River Valley to bring in Scottish settlers. The Hudson's Bay Company wanted to stop Métis from selling pemmican to their rivals in the Northwest Company, and the settlers tried to stop the Métis pemmican export business. The Métis opposed these settlers because they feared losing their livelihood and lands. But they had no legal title to their land, even though they had occupied it for decades, some as early as 1760.
Miles Macdonnell, leader of the settlers, passed a law to stop the export of pemmican from the district. Métis, led by Cuthbert Grant, ignored the new law. There was on-going conflict between the Métis and the settlers. At a confrontation with the Métis at Seven Oaks in 1816, 21 settlers were killed. This became known as the Seven Oaks Massacre."
- Archives of Manitoba, Extracts from registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in Rupert's Land sent to the Governor and Committee (1820-1851), https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/name_indexes/rrs_baptisms_marriages_burials.html
- Gabriel Dumont Institute - Virtual Museum: http://www.metismuseum.ca/browse/index.php?id=15
- Manitoba Red River Census, Vol 1, 1831-1847 https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c2170/440
- Manitoba Census, Vol. 3, 1870 https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c2170/5
- Manitoba Red River Census Vol. 2, 1849, 1832, 1833 https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c2170/777