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Chapter: Canada’s History

Topic: Challenge in the west

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Rising Concerns in the West

In 1869, Canada seized most of the region in the vast northwest from Hudson’s Bay Company. Unfortunately, during this whole time, the Métis, a distinct Indigenous group of people, who had lived for a very long time, were consulted when Canada seized the region because of this Louis Riel, the territorial capital, led an armed rebellion and took over Fort Garry. Canada’s future was at risk.

In 1870, Ottawa would send soldiers to Fort Garry to retake it from Louis Riel. Riel was forced to flee to the neighboring country, the United States. The Canadian government would later create a new province named Manitoba. Louis Riel would later be elected to Parliament. Louis Riel never took his elected seat.

Later in 1885, the rights of Indians and the Métis were threatened again by westward settlers. A second rebellion took place in Saskatchewan, which is west of Manitoba. Louis Riel was tried for this rebellion and was executed for high treason.

To prevent further rebellions, Prime Minister Macdonald created the NWMP or the North-West Mounted Police. This para-military was created to help pacify the Western and North Western territories and to negotiate with the local Indians.