Aftermath of the North-West/Riel Resistance

Summary

Pihtikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker) was brought to Regina for the trial in July 1885. He declared himself innocent, claiming he had done everything to stop the violence. However, the court sentenced him to three years in prison.

Implications
Poundmaker served a year in prison at Stony Mountain Penitentiary in Manitoba. With poor health and broken spirit, he died shortly thereafter, on 4 July, 1886.
Sub Event
Trial of Pihtikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker)
Date
1885-08-00

Aftermath of the North-West/Riel Resistance

Summary

Mistahimaskwa and fourteen of his companions were prosecuted in Regina for treason-felony. He did not participate in the conflict and tried to stop hostilities. However, according to the judge, Mistahimaskwa should have left his band at the beginning of the violence. The judge Hugh Richardson sentenced him to three years.

Implications
In jail, Mistahimaskwa converted to Catholicism. After two years in the Stony Mountain Penitentiary, Mistahimaskwa was released (February, 1887), already ill. On January 17, 1888, Big Bear died on the Poundmaker Reserve. Since Mistahimaskwa never had a Reserve, his band became diasporic, dividing into other communities and maintaining ties of kinship.
Sub Event
Trial of Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear)
Date
1885-09-25

Coercion / Deception in Metis Enlistment for World War One

Summary

Primary source interviews indicate that Metis individuals were coerced or deceived in order to recruit enlistments for the First and Second World Wars. Metis man Pierre Vandale describes the process by which Metis men were lied to and plied with alcohol in order to better solicit recruits during the First World War. Metis woman Caroline Vandale believes that a lack of education contributed to her brother's vulnerability and/or susceptibility to use of deception in obtaining consent to enlist. She notes that she thinks that such deception occurred on a larger scale, resulting in a number of Metis individuals being recruited in this way. As lack of education amongst Metis was widespread in this time period, it is possible that this led to their being targeted for recruitment using deceptive means.

Implications
Coercion and deception are unethical means of obtaining war recruits, a strategy which is reported to have been used to recruit Indigenous men for the First and Second World Wars. As well, war experience frequently results in psychological traumatization which can vary in severity, and can potentially lead to the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Unresolved trauma and/or PTSD can impact an individual's ability to execute the requirements of daily functioning, such as maintaining employment or providing a beneficial home environment.
Date
1914-00-00
Theme(s)

Indigenous Migration to City During and After World War II

Summary

At the end of the Second World War, and as use of the illegal government-imposed pass system ended, Indigenous people began to migrate to urban areas in increasing numbers, seeking employment and education opportunities. In the primary source listed under "Relevant Resources" (on this page),Dorothy Askwith notes that the number of Indigenous people in the city increased after World War II had broken out as a result of Indigenous enlistment.

Implications
The government had not kept its treaty promises as it related to assisting Indigenous peoples in transitioning from a subsistence livelihood to one based on participation in a capitalist, cash-based economy. Relocation to the city often meant a better chance of making a survivable living and of access to education and other resources. However, living in the city also had the potential to result in a loss of community and cultural connection, and introduced new challenges such as frequent experiences of racist discrimination.
Date
1939-00-00

Metis Experiences of World War II - Psychological Trauma

Summary

Primary source interviews indicate that Metis individuals who volunteered for the war effort were exposed to trauma-inducing events both directly and vicariously. Because alcohol was frequently used and abused as a coping mechanism by army personnel, addictions were often developed.

Implications
Alcohol addictions, in addition to a lack of recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder and symptomatology, as well as culturally-sensitive treatment, often created difficulties in interpersonal relationships and daily functioning. For example, PTSD or post-traumatic symptoms, combined with addictions, often impede personal well-being and the ability to successfully parent. Unresolved trauma can result in generational transmission of dysfunctional or unhelpful behavioural coping mechanisms.
Date
1939-00-00
Theme(s)

Aftermath of the North-West Resistance / Riel Resistance

Summary

In a May 1885 correspondence to the Indian Commissioner, an official states that it is his impression that Moosomin, Turtle Lake and Thunderchild bands will remain loyal, and that if they are not, that they will be discreet enough to at least appear to hold a position of neutrality. The writer was unsure regarding the loyalty, disloyalty or neutrality of Poundmaker. The writer also states, “It would seem to be matter for regret that we should not endeavour to keep well disposed Indians in hand, but the military authority superseding ours, renders it impossible to make any move in this direction.”

In a correspondence from May 29, 1885, from Indian Agent MacDonald to the Indian Commissioner, the Agent writes, “If it can be done I would strongly recommend that the File Hill Band of indians be treated with by General Middleton, in the same manner he has done with those north - Invite the Chiefs and Head men to meet him at Fort Qu’Appelle, order the men to surrender their arms, depose the three chiefs and unruly head men and those who killed the cattle we will punish [there had been an oxen found, stripped of meat - assumedly killed by Aboriginal people, who were likely starving]. Actions of this kind will settle all difficulties in the future in this Treaty, an example should or must be made, I see no better one than to treat the File Hill Bands as having been disloyal during the troubles North had they been harshly dealt with previous to the battle of Batoche these four bands would have been on the warpath, reinforced by young bucks from other Reserves within the Treaty and by some halfbreeds what the consequences would have been no one can tell….The Northern Indians have got a lesson which they will never forget.”

In a June 2, 1885 letter from the Indian Commissioner to the Superintendent General, the Commissioner writes, “The guilty Indians should also be severely punished as an example to others in the future and the Chiefs and Head men deposed as suggested by Agent McDonald.

In a June 5, 1885 letter from the same Commissioner to Indian Agent MacDonald, the Commissioner reiterates these plans: “In a letter from the Indian Commissioner to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, the Commissioner recommends numerous ways to punish First Nations and Métis who were involved in the resistance: “I told the young men to consider over well what was going on [up] North. The Government was determined to punish all who took up arms against the Queen’s laws no matter how slight they may be, and no matter whether he was a White or Black man, Halfbreed or Indian, they would be dealt with alike.”

The following is a summary of the Memorandum for the Honorable Indian Commissioner relative to the future management of Indians (the summary is not a direct transcription but aims to use as much original phrasing as possible):

1. All Indians who have not during the late troubles been disloyal or troublesome should be treated as heretofore.

 2. It is suggested that all leading Indian rebels whom is it found possible to convict of particular crimes such as instigating and inciting to treason, felony, arson, larceny, murder, be dealt with in as severe a manner as the law will allow, and that no offence of their most prominent men be overlooked.

 3. Métis involved in the rebellion convicted will be punished in similar manner.

 4. That the tribal system should be abolished in as far as is compatible with the Treaty, ie. in all cases in which the Treaty has been broken by rebel tribes; by doing away with chiefs and councillors, depriving them of medals and other gifts to their offices.

 5. No annuity money to any ‘rebellious’ bands or individuals who joined “insurgents... The annuity money which should have been expended wholly in necessaries has to a great extent been wasted upon articles more or less useless and in purchasing necessaries at exorbitant prices, entailing upon the Department a greater expenditure in providing articles of clothing, food and implements not called for by the terms of the Treaty…”

 6. Disarm all rebels, but to those rebel Indians north of the North Saskatchewan River who have heretofore mainly existed by hunting: return shot guns (retaining the rifles), branding them as Indian Department property and keeping lists of those to whom arms are lent.

 7. No rebel Indians should be allowed off the Reserves without a pass signed by an Indian Department official.

8. The leaders of the Lakota who fought against the troops should be hanged and the rest be sent out of the country as they are certain of the settlers who are greatly inclined to shoot them on sight.

 9. Big Bear’s band should either be broken up and scattered among other bands or be given a Reserve adjacent to that of Onion Lake.

10. One Arrows band (later seen on the ‘not loyal’ list of bands in Carlton Agency) should be joined with that of Beardy and Okemasis (also considered ‘not-loyal’) and their present Reserve surrendered and dealt with by the Department for their benefit. Chekastaypaysin’s band should be broken up and their Reserve surrendered, the band being treated similar to One Arrows. Neither of these bands are large enough to render it desirable to maintain Farming Instructors permanently with them and as they are beyond assistance.

11. All Métis, members of rebel bands, although not shown to have taken any active part in the rebellion, should have their names erased from the Paysheets and if this suggestion is not approved of, by forcing anyone belonging to a band to reside on Reserves. It is desirable however that the connection between Métis and the Indians be entirely severed as it is “never productive” (Researcher observed note in margin of this document which was presumably by another official, possibly the Commissioner. The note simply says “yes” to indicate agreement.)

 12. Not applicable

 13. James Teenum, Mistawasis and Ahtahkakoop should receive some gift of government appreciation for their conduct [not participating in the rebellion].

14. Agents should be particularly strict in seeing that each and every Indian now works for every pound of provision given to him.

15. Horses of rebel Indians should be confiscated and sold, and cattle or other necessities be purchased with the profits of such sale as this would encourage an agricultural lifestyle.

Implications
In the weeks and months following the Northwest Resistance, there was no questioning or introspection on behalf of governmental officials regarding underlying causes for the Resistance beyond racist stereotypes of Indigenous stubbornness and resistance to Victorian notions of civilizational "Progress." Rather, following attempts of Metis and First Nations non-violent diplomacy, the government responded with force towards their negotiations. Indian Affairs officials advocated that non-loyal bands be “harshly dealt with,” that an “example should or must be made,” that “ guilty Indians should also be severely punished as an example to others,” and that they “be dealt with in as severe a manner as the law will allow.” Several of the recommendations were carried out, including the right to earn a livelihood. The implementation of the pass system (article 7 of the memorandum - see also separate entry under “pass system” in database) would severely inhibit the ability of Indigenous peoples to organize politically, or be advocates against the settler colonial occupation. The removal of arms such as guns and knives (article 6 of the memorandum - see also “Aftermath of the North-West Resistance/North-west Rebellion - Aboriginal People Prohibited from Owning Weapons) also meant that any ability to engage in hunting or trapping was also severely undermined. It should also be noted that the government used tactics of psychological violence including fear and intimidation by hanging eight other leaders in addition to Louis Riel. They also sentenced Poundmaker and Big Bear to prison, inevitably leading to hastened deaths.
Sub Event
Publishing of Indian Affairs memorandum relative to the future management of Indians in discussion of future government policy
Date
1885-05-00

North-west/Riel Resistence

Summary

Whitefish Lake band abandoned their reserve and fled to a wooded area to avoid the violence during the rebellion. Some members of the Saddle Lake band also abandoned their reserves, with some of them joining the rebels and others joining the Whitefish Lake band in hiding.

Implications
Fear of government discipline and punishment for being associated with the Riel Resistance resulted in members of this band being forced to leave their territory, resulting in an undermining of social cohesion and support networks.
Sub Event
Whitefish Lake and Saddle Lake Bands Flee Reserves
Date
1885-00-00
Community

Violence on Poundmaker Reserve After Rations Refused

Summary

A young man on the Poundmaker reserve assaulted a Farming Instructor after being refused rations. Because a Sun Dance (Dewdney also uses the term Thirst Dance) was also taking place on the reserve at the time, the young man was able to arouse significant sympathy for his complaint, and many band members rose up against Indian Affairs officials. The Police were dispatched to help quell the conflict.

Sources

J.M. Rae, the Indian Agent on Poundmaker's Reserve reported that, "In May Big Bear and his party came down from Pitt, and Lucky Man's people began to leave their work. Kamanitowas, the headman, however, said be wished to leave his chief and join Little Pine. There was not much trouble with those who now remained on the reserve, until a Thirst Dance was begun, when even Little Pine and his people left their work for a short time, and the affair nearly ended in a riot, as one of the Indians struck Instructor Craig, and when the police attempted to arrest the man, they at first refused to give him up. After the prisoner had been arrested and held for trial, Big Bear and party wanted me to give them provisions to take them to their reserve at Pitt. This I did, and they started for their destination. Since then Instructor Craig has had no trouble. The Indians seem to like him, and he has brought them on admirably." pg 195. --------------- Edgar Dewdney writes about the same event, "At Poundmaker's, the disturbance was caused by an assault being made on one of our farming instructors, by an Indian who had been refused rations, as he had not performed his day's work. As a Sun Dance was going on at the time, a large number of Indians had gathered to take part in it, and on the Police attempting to make the arrest, they were defied by the Indians, who were worked up to a great state of excitement, as is generally the case while taking part in a dance" Pg 290.

Date
1884-00-00
Theme(s)
Documents

Internal Division within Yellow Quill band

Summary

A conflict erupted among the Yellow Quill band at Portage La Prairie, resulting from an internal division within the band among those that followed Chief Yellow Quill, those that followed Short Bear (aka Young Chief), and those who wanted to create an independent band with a chief of their own choice. Alexander Morris was sent to mediate this dispute, and to provide bureaucratic consent for the division of the band. He was also present to listen to their concerns about the reserve land offered to them under Treaties 1 and 2.

Implications
Morris' settlement of the dispute would result in the creation of the Long Plain First Nation, with their own Chief and Council. The settlement was seen favourably by Short Bear who advocated for the creation of a new reserve.
Sources

For extensive information on this settlement, please see http://lplands.ca/Home/About

Date
1876-00-00
Community