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A Lackluster Victory

Type: Document

The Canadian government's military campaign against the North West Rebellion exposed the weaknesses of the mobilization system and the logistics needed to support a contingent in the field.

Site: National Defence

The Growth of an Empire

Type: Document

Post-confederation, Canadians came to see themselves both as part of, and distinct from, the British Empire culture.

Site: National Defence

First Prairie-Recruited Militia Corps

Type: Document

In 1835, responding to a growing population in the area south of Lake Winnipeg, the Hudson's Bay Company created the Red River Volunteers. This was a combination of militia and police force. It was the first European military unit recruited on the Canadian Prairies.

Site: National Defence

Trouble On the Red River

Type: Document

In 1869, Canada acquired the North West Territories. The province of Manitoba was created in 1870. The local Métis population objected, and set up a provisional government led by Louis Riel. When Riel ordered the death of an Anglophone opponent, there was outrage in English Canada.

Site: National Defence

Regular British Troops Arrive

Type: Document

The Oregon Crisis of 1845 made it important to send British regular troops to Rupert's Land. A detachment of the 6th Regiment of Foot arrived in 1846, becoming the first British unit stationed on the prairies. The threat of an American attack from the south was an ongoing worry.

Site: National Defence

The Advance to Batoche

Type: Document

After refresher training, the main column under General Middleton moved towards Batoche from Qu'Appelle. Middleton's moves were cautious as he had little faith in the expertise of the militia under him, and the lessons of the massacre of Custer in 1876 and the recent Indian massacres at Duck Lake and Frog Lake. He divided his column on either side of the South Saskatchewan River and was ambushed at Fish Creek, resulting in a retreat and a two week rest while he retrained his troops.

Site: National Defence

Bloody Rivalry for the Fur Trade

Type: Document

In the early 19th century, the Red River region was the site of a bloody rivalry between the long-established Hudson's Bay Company and the upstart North West Company. 1819 saw the massacre at Seven Oaks of a group of Scottish colonists sponsored by the Earl of Selkirk.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Government Mobilization

Type: Document

With improvements in transportation brought about by the transcontinental railway, the government’s response to the 1885 North West Rebellion was different from that of the 1870 Red River Rebellion. Major-General Frederick Middleton was able to move over 8,000 militia by rail to the region within a few weeks and form three columns at Qu'Appelle, Swift Current and Calgary.

Site: National Defence

Events Leading Up to the North-West Rebellion

Type: Document

The North West Rebellion was a consequence of treaties between the Dominion government and aboriginal tribes in Saskatchewan leading to fears by the Metis, who were non-status Indians, about losing title to their lands. The Metis sought the help of Louis Riel to resolve this issue with Ottawa. Riel was unsuccessful in negotiating with the Dominion government, and attempted to persuade the surrounding Indian communities to join the Metis in forming a provisional government at Batoche.

Site: National Defence

The Metis’s Revenge

Type: Document

Middleton was impressed by the courage of the Metis, fighting what he believed was a lost cause. But the true battle had been for the political recognition of the Métis people. Middleton himself was pilloried for his cautious military approach and later left Canada under a cloud of almost universal disapproval.

Site: National Defence