Metis Letter Inquiring About How to Claim Land Along the South Saskatchewan River


In January 1872 the Metis of the South Branch (area along the South Saskatchewan River roughly between Tourond Coulee and St. Louis) inquired about the securing of land rights in the area. This was particularly important in light of an influx of settlers, and the correspondence noted below from Archibald in "relevant resources" describes the anger of the French Metis within the area. The Metis hoped to reserve a large region of river lots along the South Saskatchewan River. On January 17, Lawrence Clarke wrote a letter to Adams Archibald, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, on behalf of the Metis.

Archibald responded that the Metis in the South Branch had no land rights and that it was out of the question that the Metis would be treated differently than any other settlers. The denial of land rights to the Metis showed that they were not considered to be Indigenous under the eyes of the Canadian Government, despite their Indigenous ancestry and prior existence on the land before European settlement of the west. This disparity meant that Metis peoples and their communities were susceptible to community breaking/fracturing and racism due to European settlement in Metis territory.

Glenbow Archives. Hardisty papers, Archibald to Christie, 11 January 1872 and Clarke to Archibald, 17 January 1872.