North-West/Riel Resistance


On 7 May Indian Commissioner Edgar Dewdney revealed that several bands had been compelled to join Riel under threat of death. He also revealed that warriors within Indigenous societies supported the conflict. Dewdney did not communicate this information to the Canadian troops deciding instead that the Indians should "have themselves a good lesson before an olive branch is held out to them." He also issued a notice in April stating “This is to give notice that all good and loyal Indians should remain quietly on their Reserves where they will be perfectly safe and receive the protection of the soldiers; and that any Indian being off his Reserve without special permission in writing from authorized person; is liable to be arrested on suspicion of being a rebel, and punished as such. Any loyal Indian who gives such information as will lead to the arrest and conviction of any such runner from Riel, or any hostile bands of Indians, will receive a reward of fifty dollars ($50.00).”

This decision led to Middleton accusing Aboriginal groups-most notably Poundmaker and Beardy-of their involvement in the resistance. The decision also led to some individuals being arrested, such as Poundmaker.

NAC, Macdonald Papers, vol. 107, 43071-74, E. Dewdney to J.A. Macdonald, 7 April 1885.

Sub Event
Dewdney Keeps the Nature of Aboriginal Involvement Secret