In 1949, CCF attempts to undermine Métis sovereignty and leadership ultimately disintegrated Métis political organization within Saskatchewan with few funds or attention being allocated to the SMS (Saskatchewan Métis Society); along with Douglas’ focus on the newly formed Union of Saskatchewan Indians, Métis leadership and concerns were often overshadowed or ignored altogether.
Integration & Mobility
Brief Introduction to Disease Epidemic/Outbreaks on the Northern Great Plains (including Saskatchewan)
This essay provides a brief analytical introduction to the impact of colonialism in terms of undermining social determinants of health, thereby contributing to the proliferation of disease epidemics on the Prairies (please see "additional notes" below for bibliography): From 1492 onwards, disease epidemics resulted in Indigenous mortality rates ranging in upwards of eighty five to ninety five percent, causing tremendous suffering and wreaking devastation on the social and political organization of Indigenous nations (Daschuk 2013, 12; Kelton 2007, 37; Sundstrom 1997, 306).
In the late 1940s, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) Minister of Natural Resources and Industrial Development Joe Phelps enacted a relocation of First Nation and Métis populations to combined settlements further south. These actions were part of a broader CCF philosophy of economic and social development in Northern Saskatchewan. An essential part of this effort included large-scale forced movement to settlements where the CCF professed they could teach Indigenous peoples to live as settlers and better deliver its various programs to northerners.
Although movement towards implementation of a permit system began in the House of Commons in the 1870s with amendments to the Indian Act, it was not fully implemented until 1885. This policy prohibited Indigenous people from selling anything they had "owned, grew, raised, cut, dug, caught, were given, found, or otherwise acquired" (Smith 2009, 99 - see relevant resources below).
According to the testimony given by Myrtle LaFontaine in an interview for the Metis Oral History Project, in the year 1949, her family, and the residents of the Chicago Line, or Little Chicago, were relocated by the government to Northern Saskatchewan. This was a road allowance community outside of Lestock, Saskatchewan.
The North-West Mounted Police was established in 1873 by the government of John A. MacDonald. The Cypress Hills massacre as well as the increasing number of conflicts on the U.S border due to alcohol smuggling are often cited as the main reasons the MacDonald government passed the bill creating the new military-style police force. However, most historians agree that the primary reason for establishing the force was to control First Nations and Métis populations, as the government sought to populate the West with settlers.
In 1939, representatives from the Metis Society of Saskatchewan approached the provincial government for assistance in petitioning the federal government in recognition of outstanding and unresolved land claims. Please see "Relevant Resources" below for complete details.
With the advent of Treaties 8 and 10, the vast resources of Northern Saskatchewan became available to exploit by the federal, and later the provincial governments (Quiring 2004, 40). However, much like many other dealings between First Nations people and the Canadian governments, a regime of exploitation established itself. In the case of resources in Northern Saskatchewan, so-called “co-management” regimes have been established.
Historian Peter Bakker writes that the ethnogenesis of the Metis began out of the pairings of people who were male European fur traders (French) and women who were Indigenous (Cree/Ojibwe). In Contours of a People (see "relevant resources" below), historians Brenda McDougall, Carolyn Podruchny and Nicole St.