Within the context of Metis political organization, Adams discusses how discrimination against Metis people in the Buffalo Narrows community impacted their ability to engage in economic development and survival. For example, Adams describes incidents in which Metis commercial fishermen were violently confronted by individuals who disapproved of them selling to the Co-op instead of Waite's fishing outfit, harming their ability to make a living. Adams clarifies that discriminatory treatment was being enacted by non-Indigenous individuals, implied by his comment that racist remarks were being made by "white fellows."
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, tuberculosis was sweeping across the Canadian Prairies, resulting in many deaths. Periodic but severe famines were also documented in several communities. During this period of time, theories of social Darwinism and racial evolution informed the perspective of many health professionals and policy makers in Ottawa, impacting how they treated Indigenous people who had contracted tuberculosis. In the 1930s, sanatorium directors and government medical personnel warned of the threat of "Indian tuberculosis" spreading to white communities. Indigenous people were characterized as being negligent towards their own health. In Saskatchewan, as in other prairie provinces, provincial sanatoria and community hospitals often refused to take Indigenous patients. For example, the Fort Qu'Appelle Sanatorium reserved its more than 300 beds for white patients, although at a time the administration opened up 40 beds for Indigenous people in order to repay debts to the Federal government. Further north in Prince Albert, the sanatorium provided a few beds for Indigenous people who were deemed deserving of care by the Indian Agents or local physicians. In this case, it was social rather than medical criteria that determined which Indigenous people would be admitted to the sanatorium: young residential school students who came from families demonstrating progress and assimilation. This led to the development of segregated health care, and the construction of "Indian hospitals" such as the Fort Qu'Appelle Indian Hospital in 1936. At the time, Dr. Ferguson, director of the Fort Qu'Appelle Sanatorium, began conducting an experimental trial of the controversial BCG vaccine on Indigenous children (see BCG Lubeck disaster). His trial was funded by Indian Affairs and the National Research Council. Ferguson had began his investigation into TB in 1927 at the nearby File Hills school. Surrounded by poverty-ridden Treaty 4 reserves, Ferguson had a readily available source of subjects to test the vaccine. Ferguson's twelve-year study was an apparent success. However, his research revealed that 77 of the 609 children in the study, more than 12%, died before their first birthday, but only four of these were tuberculosis deaths. The rest of the child deaths were caused by other diseases such as pneumonia and gastroenteritis. The most likely cause of these diseases was poverty, an issue not addressed by the BCG vaccine, nor by the provincial and federal governments. Finally, historical research has demonstrated that residential schools played a significant role in the spread of tuberculosis, as sanitation was poor, ventilation in most schools was substandard, and infected children were not properly quarantined, often sleeping in the same rooms as the other children, increasing the risk of cross-infection. According to the final report of the TRC, tuberculosis accounted for just under 50% of counted deaths in residential schools. In addition to the residential school system, several government policies contributed to undermining the health conditions of Indigenous people. For example, in periods of starvation, rations were withheld from bands in an effort to force them to abandon their lands. Aid that was promised by the government when making the treaties was slow to come, if it came at all. Restrictions on Indigenous farmers made it difficult for them to sell their produce of borrow money to invest in farming technology. Reserve housing was also poor and crowded, sanitation was inadequate and access to clean water was limited. Under these conditions, TB flourished on reserves and within Indigenous communities.
In regard to Métis children, churches were eager to admit them to their boarding schools as it aligned with their goal to convert Indigenous children. However, the federal government policy on provision of schooling to Métis children was conflicted. It viewed the Métis as members of the ‘dangerous classes,’ Residential Schooling was implemented to ‘correct.’ However, from a jurisdictional perspective, the federal government believed that the responsibility for educating and assimilating Métis people lay within provincial and territorial jurisdiction. There was a concern that if the federal government began providing funding for the education of some of the children for whom the provinces and territories were responsible, it would find itself having to take responsibility for the rest.
Because provincial governments and school boards were often unwilling to build schools in Métis communities or to allow Métis students to attend public schools, Métis parents who wished to have their children educated often had no choice but to send them to residential schools. Falling between federal and provincial jurisdictional conflicts, Métis children who attended Residential Schools often "slipped through the cracks". That is, their attendance was undocumented, one reason being because the boarding schools they attended were not recognized as official residential schools.
Métis children attended most of the residential schools from Saskatchewan that are named or discussed in the final TRC report. Métis children suffered in the same ways as other First Nations children did, undergoing experiences such as: high death rates, restricted diets and starvation, crowded and unsanitary housing, harsh discipline, heavy workloads, neglect and abuse (psychological, spiritual, physical and sexual). Many Métis children remember feeling rejected and discriminated against as they were too "white" for the Residential Schools, and too "Indian" for the provincial public schools. Many former students describe the trauma of being separated from their families.
For an example of Métis experience at residential schools, please consult the interview excerpt contained below under "sources", in which Helen Sinclair describes the cutting of her hair, subjection of students to the unhospitalized tonsil removal, conducted without the consent of their parents.
In 2006, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was settled between the Federal government, First Nations and Inuit representatives, and churches. Owing to the fact that Métis attendance in Residential sSchools was poorly documented, combined with the lack of recognition of several Métis boarding schools as "official" Residential Schools, many Métis people were excluded from the compensation and settlement process. Métis individuals and communities lobbied and continued to lobby for the addition of schools to the official lists and records as a means of acknowledging their experience as well as their eligibility for compensation.
Métis experiences in Residential Schools shows that the impact of Residential Schools extends beyond the formal Residential School program that Indian Affairs operated. The history of these provincial schools and the experiences of Métis students in unofficial schools are not as widely documented due to the nature of unofficial schooling.
Alphonse Janvier, who spent five years at the Île-à-la-Crosse school, recalls the anger and hurt he felt upon arrival at the school, where he was put in a barber's chair and stripped of his long hair. Métis children were also stripped of their culture and prohibited from speaking their Metis languages such as Cree or Mitchif. Facing hunger, harsh discipline and widespread abuse, many children ran away from the schools. Cultural trauma following hundreds of years of colonization and oppression have left Métis and First Nations communities socially, economically and politically scarred.
Apology and compensation: In 2006, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was settled between the Federal government, First Nations and Inuit representatives, and churches. Owing to the fact that Métis attendance in residential schools was poorly documented, combined with the lack of recognition of several Métis boarding schools as "official" residential schools, many Métis people were excluded from the compensation and settlement process. Métis individuals and communities lobbied and continued to lobby for the addition of schools to the official lists and records as a means of acknowledging their experience as well as their eligibility for compensation.
- Capitaine, Brieg, and Vanthuyne, Karine, eds. Power through Testimony: Reframing Residential Schools in the Age of Reconciliation. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017. 96.
"Power through Testimony" is a collection of essays from on their experiences within Residential Schools. The authors also reflect on the post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. They emphasize the limited involvement and collaboration of the government and churches with the TRC. Moreover, the work on the TRC is framed in its historical, political, and social limits. In fact, the TRC does not examine other types of institutions that were equally damaging facets of settler colonialism. For example, schools for settler children subsumed Metis children's education in many cases where Metis children reported discrimination from students and school staff. The research broadens the perspectives on the history of Residential schools, showing aspects that are often obscured when research is being done. See “Learning through Conversation: An Inquiry into Shame” by Janice Cindy Gaudet and Lawrence Martin/Wapisan, p. 95. for more.
- Satzewich, Vic and Wotherspoon, Terry. First Nations: Race, Class and Gender Relations. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1993. 112-146.
In the "Education and Job Training" chapter, Satzewich and Wotherspoon analyze the ways in which State policy has interrupted and changed Indigenous economies and redirected labour. Epistemological biases and the needs of Canadian capitalism shaped education and jobs, through coercive, punitive, and assimilating pedagogies. They address the paragraphs: human capital and struggles for educational control; the role of education in the colonization process; education and the process of state formation; segregation and the deterioration of Indigenous education; steps towards the integration of Indigenous peoples into the educational system; steps over the devolution of First Nations education; recent trends in post-secondary and vocational training.
- Helen Sinclair, interviewed by Margaret Jefferson, “Helen Sinclair interview on Metis experiences of being adopted, attending Muskowekwan (Muscowequan) boarding school in Lestock and economic activity” (transcript), Gabriel Dumont Institute Visual Museum Oral Histories Archive, August 13, 1982.
In this interview, Metis woman Helen Sinclair (who was adopted by a First Nations family and attended Muskowekwan/Muscowequan boarding school in Lestock) details her experiences at the boarding school, including the cutting of her hair and a medical procedure that was conducted without their or their parent's consent in non-sterile conditions. She reports that one child almost died after the procedure: --- Margaret: "Do you have pictures of the girls you went to school with when you were younger?" --- Helen: "No." --- Margaret: "No." --- Helen: "No, they never gave us any pictures. But they did take pictures. But the one that had them pictures of our school days she had them pictures but she passed away, I don't know who had them now. But you had long hair, we had braids. And then I was (inaudible) my hair when sometime that, you know, cut our hair very short." --- Margaret: "Who was going to cut it?" --- Helen: "Pardon." --- Margaret: "Where were you going to get it cut at? Who was going to cut your hair?" --- Helen: "Oh there was somebody there that done that." --- Margaret: "Oh. Just to get it trimmed you mean not to get it all cut off." --- Helen: "Short, short, yeah short all of them. They took all our braids, I had long long hair. And then in 1924 when I was at the school there was thirteen of us girls and three boys went through an operation they took our tonsils out, right in school we didn't go to no hospital." --- Margaret: "Right in school?" --- Helen: "Right in school, they gave us that ether to sniff and oh boy I woke up with a sore throat and blood. My two sisters too, the ones that passed away they had their tonsils out. There was a whole, there was a bunch of us girls, thirteen girls and three boys." --- Margaret: "Well, did they always take everyone's tonsils out, or..." --- Helen: "Well, these thirteen girls had their tonsils out there, one just about died she had to be looked after by a nurse from Edmonton." --- Margaret: "Well why did they take your tonsils out, were they bothering you?" --- Helen: "I don't know. The doctor came and examined all the girls and boys that had big tonsils and they took them all out. All these, I mean these thirteen girls and boys." --- Margaret: "And then you got..." --- Helen: "We didn't know." --- Margaret: "You were sick after that eh?" --- Helen: "Oh yes." --- Margaret: "Well didn't they have to have the parent's, your mom and dad's permission?" --- Helen: "No they didn't do anything I guess. I never knew where my parents were. We seldom seen our parents, very seldom. My mother used to be in Alberta and my father would be up north, he used to go all over. Never couldn't keep track of them. And the priest used to take us to the sports, old man sports they used to have good times over there in the olden days. Good sports and race horses, and oh everything like that, dances at night on the grounds. Go to old man's and Gordon Reserve, and Lestock, and Daystar's and Raymore, Symons, (?), all over it was. We were able to get there. The priest used to take us Old Man's mostly that's for every year we'd be going."
TRC_Métis Experiences in Residential Schools
Northwest Resistance: Memorandum for the Hon. the Indian Commissioner Relative to the Future Management of Indians
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.
In the weeks and months following the Northwest Resistance, there was no questioning or introspection on behalf of government officials regarding underlying causes for the Resistance beyond racist stereotypes of Indigenous stubbornness and resistance to Victorian notions of 'civilization' and 'progress.' Rather, following attempts of Métis 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 also meant that ability to hunt was severely undermined. It should also be noted that the government used tactics including fear and intimidation by hanging eight other leaders and Louis Riel in a public forum. They also sentenced Poundmaker and Big Bear to prison, inevitably leading to their hastened deaths.
As a means of consolidating existing legislation regarding Indigenous peoples, this new federal legislation marked the beginning of creating special offenses that only applied to Indians. From the Crown’s perspective, it unilaterally marked a transition of Indigenous peoples in British North America from that of sovereign tribal nation in the tripartite imperial system to that of legally incompetent wards of the state in the federal and provincial system. Whereas previously the Crown had an expressed goal of protecting Indian tribal autonomy, the Indian was now cast as a dependent child. There would be no further protection of the cultural distinctiveness of Indigenous people, but rather, an expressed goal of civilization, as defined by the Crown, and assimilation.
In its drafting of the Indian Act, the Crown chose not to make reference to the treaties made with Indigenous peoples that were already in existence. This was in keeping with the Crown’s emphasis on a policy of assimilation, as well as undermining the previous nation-to-nation legal relationship and shifting towards one which perceived Indigenous people as subordinates. The version of the Indian Act that was passed in 1876 communicated the paternalistic mindset of the Crown by dictating the operations of almost every aspect of the daily lives on Indigenous people on reserves, including procedures for determining Indigenous identity, land surrender, and land use
The Indian Act also attacked traditional forms of band governance in an attempt to implement democratic forms of government. Extensive steps were taken to supposedly educate Indians in matters of self-governance, despite the presence of functional structures of intra and inter-tribal governance prior to European contact. For example, the superintendent general acquired vast powers to direct all aspects of the electoral process. By controlling this process in its entirety including initiation and the selection of candidates, this interference was akin to appointment of band leadership by the Department of Indian Affairs. The government also included clauses that enabled the unilateral deposition of leadership. Section 75 of the Indian Act read that chiefs “shall continue to hold the rank of chief until death or resignation, or until their removal, by the Governor in Council, for dishonesty, intemperance, immorality or incompetency..." These grounds for deposition were vaguely defined to enable the government to manufacture legally unassailable arguments to remove band officials in the case that said leaders engaged in behavior that ran contrary to federal objectives, resisted the agenda of the Department of Indian Affairs or otherwise proved to be problematic to their goal of assimilation. The local Indian Agents also held vast powers in regards to interference in band governance and council meetings, and ensured that all aspects of band affairs were under the surveillance and control of the Department.
In addition to imposing democratic governance, the government attempted to undermine community ties by outlawing communal practices such as Potlatches and dances. This coordinated with the government’s desire to foster individualism, which was further encouraged by surveying reserves and dividing them into individual farm plots, isolating families. This demonstrates the devastating effect that the Indian Act held on women. Isolating families sabotaged the means that would have provided communal accountability for violent or otherwise abusive husbands. The Act also oppressed Indigenous women by taking away the Indian status of those who married non-Indigenous persons, thus alienating them from their land base and preventing them from inheriting family property, receiving treaty benefits and being buried with their ancestors on the reserve. Despite a history of inclusion in affairs of self-governance, particularly amongst matriarchal tribes, Indigenous women were now also excluded from taking part in band land surrender decisions. The exclusion of women would not change until 1951.
The Gradual Civilization Act is one of the most significant legislative events in the evolution of Canadian Indian policy. Any First Nations man over the age of 21 who was able to read or write either English or French, reasonably well-educated according to the standard of the day, free of debt and of good “moral character” was eligible to apply to be enfranchised and join the Canadian body politic. Indigenous people with a professional designation (doctor, lawyer or clergy) were automatically enfranchised regardless of whether they desired to change their legal status or not. Enfranchisement was portrayed as a highly valued privilege by the Canadian government, such that any First Nations man who falsely represented himself as enfranchised would receive a jail term of six months.
Enfranchisement had the effect of removing all legal distinctions between First Nations people and Settlers with the intent that Indigenous peoples would effectively assimilate, the long-term goal was to reduce the fiduciary and Treaty obligations of the Canadian Government through enfranchisement. The concept of 'status' (Indian status vs. no Indian status), and thus the ability of the government to remove it, was instituted as a way to create both legal distinctions that would disadvantage Indigenous peoples, and determined federal expenditures. To further encourage First Nations men to enfranchise, the government awarded enfranchised persons an individual possession of up to 50 acres of land from within their home reserve, as well as their per capita share in the principal of treaty annuities and other band payments. The enfranchised person could not sell the land. Upon the death of the enfranchised person, however, the land would pass to his children, who could sell the land if they wished. Although, if the land passed on to the widow of an enfranchised man, said land would revert to Crown ownership upon her death - she could not sell it, nor would the band receive it. This ensured a gradual erosion of the reserve’s land base through legal loop holes without the formal and sometimes challenging process of a formal and consensual land surrender, as was stipulated in early treaty-making by the Crown.
The aggressive darwinian and colonial ideology that informed the Gradual Civilization Act had several further negative implications. By implicitly stating that Indigenous peoples were not “civilized” and were not "intelligent" as dictated by White Europeans and Colonists until they acquired a certain level of education, the Crown was abandoning the promise to respect Indigenous peoples as nations, with their own education systems and worldviews, which had been affirmed in the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This nation-to-nation relationship would not be acknowledged again until the 1980s. Moreover, the government’s refusal to rescind this policy until the 1980s effectively soured Indigenous-government relations by engendering mutual suspicion. Attempting to replace Indigenous self-determination and invalidating Indigenous kinship structures also had deleterious effects on relationships between band councils and members. This initiated a state-sanctioned form of violence on Indigenous sovereignty that would serve as the precursor to the Indian Act in 1876.
The colonial civilizing mission, as demonstrated in the Gradual Civilzation Act, stems from ideologies of white supremacy, social darwinism, and arm-chair anthropology. Colonists viewed Indigenous peoples to be "near extinction," and could not survive without the intervention and control of Settler Colonists and their ideological systems. Other stereotypes that were weaponized against of Indigenous peoples included: "lazy," "unsanitary," "promiscuous," etc. These stereotypes in large effect permeate Canadian socio-political culture and have informed North American's perceptions of Indigenous peoples for centuries. For many First Nations, the act of enfranchisement was connected with a state-sanctioned loss of culture, ancestral land-bases, language, and Indigenous worldviews and protocols, resulting in the deterioration of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.
Following the amendment made the previous year (see entry for Indian Act Amendment 1894 - this allowed the superintendent general the power to lease the land of any Indian unable to cultivate it without having to secure a surrender) a new amendment allowed the Superintendent General to lease without the surrender any Indian land he saw fit upon his request. ----------------------------------------- During one House of Commons debate regarding the proposed amendment, the minister of Indian Affairs noted “As the law stands, no reserve or portion of reserve can be sold or alienated unless surrendered to the Crown...What we do now is...to provide that the SIG may lease for the benefit of any Indian the land to which he is entitled without the same being re-leased or surrendered. In a number of cases, particularly in Ontario, Indians have engaged in other occupations and are fairly well off…In a number of cases, the neighbours, through spite or pique, have used sufficient influence to prevent [Indians from engaging in other occupations]. This Bill provides that the SIG may lease these lands for the benefit of these Indians. This gives us no further power to alienate, but simply provides for the leasing of them.” The 1895 amendments to the Indian Act would entitle Indians who were "emancipated" (enfranchised) to receive their money and land benefits in a lump sum. The 1895 amendments also reinforced that the Indian Act had magisterial jurisdiction over the territories within their agency and beyond, and that when an Indian is admitted into membership to another band, he loses all interest in the lands and moneys of the band to which he was formerly a member. He is then entitled to the lands and moneys of the band to which he has been newly admitted.------------------------------- Section 88 was amended to read that Indians must possess exemplary good conduct and management of property to prove that they are qualified to receive their share of moneys of the band. Section 88.3 was amended to read that shares of money of unmarried children of full age would only be obtained if they were qualified by the integrity, morality and sobriety of their character. Otherwise, they would be required to pass through a probationary period. Section 117 was also amended to read that Indian Agents have the power and authority of two justices of the peace.
During the Great Depression many Metis peoples from the Southern Branch began to move into Prince Albert, live for a year and then apply for relief.
"C.W. Report re Unemployment and Relief in Western Canada,1932". 29-30.National Archives of Canada, Charlotte Whitton Papers, vol. 25, Manuscript Division.
Following the Red River Resistance and the Manitoba Act’s passing a wave of new settlers from Eastern Canada arrived in Manitoba. These individuals were largely English Protestant and were linguistically and religiously intolerant. The French Metis experienced violence and a general disregard for their land rights.
Excerpts from "The Forgotten People" in the "relevant resources" section below detail the alienation of Metis people from their land through the Manitoba Act and processes of scrip certificate distribution. In 1886 the Metis of Manitoba petitioned the government, stating that their land patents and scrip had been stolen. Some Metis reported that their scrip had been stolen when land speculators forged powers of attorney (by bringing in someone to impersonate the Metis scrip owner) at the land office. The government officials at the land office were fully aware that this occurred and supported the theft of land by land speculators by forging powers of attorney. This constitutes government fraud.----Some primary sources, such as interviews with Metis women Agnes Amyotte Fisher and Celina Amyotte Poitras, as well as with Metis man Gilbert Rose, confirm that their Metis family received scrip certificates and land. However, other Metis interview participants, such as Pauline Anderson, Billie (Marie) Robison and Norma Welsh, as well as Metis man Joe Terranso, disclose that their families never received land or payment for their scrip certificates. Metis man Joe Vandale reports that his Metis family had to purchase their land (which implies that their land rights were not recognized by the government). Metis man Pierre Vandale reported that the government did no sufficiently inform Metis people of the significance or value of scrip certificates (this is also implied in the interview with Emily Norris Roehl). Metis man Frank Auger testifies that some First Nations people felt confined by treaty regulations, and thus took scrip instead, which they later regretted because the land that had been set aside for them for hunting was, in actuality, too small. Metis historian Harry Daniels reported that in Alberta in 1935, "I have found that the destitute, the most destitute people amongst the Metis today, are the direct descendants of the Indians who left the treaty in favour of scrip. They were misled in thinking that they were being taken out of bondage, they were misled in giving up their treaty.”
D.N. Sprague argues that the petition accurately describes how the Metis were treated by scrip commissions. He indicates that a very small portion of money scrip reached the Metis claimants and much was pocketed by assignees and attorneys.