ORGANIZATION
BHQ 60TH COY BUFFS COY VICS COY BAND CADETS RHQ
ASSOCIATION
PARENT NFLD-MARITIMES TORONTO CALGARY VANCOUVER ISLAND THE POWDER HORN THE QOR BURSARY
HISTORY
EARLY DAYS THE FENIAN RAID THE NW REBELLION WORLD WAR I WORLD WAR II POST WAR PRESENT DAY RIFLE REGIMENTS VICTORIA CROSS BATTLE HONOURS COLONEL-IN-CHIEF FAMOUS MEMBERS ALLIANCES AIRBORNE ROLE QOR 2010 GALLERY REPOSITORY RSOs
COMMUNITY
MEMORIALS TRUST FUND MUSEUM BLACK NET ST. PAUL'S CANTERBURY THE LAST POST
SOCIAL
CALENDAR JR RANKS' MESS SERGEANTS' MESS OFFICERS' MESS BAND EVENTS KITSHOP MAPLE LEAF CLUB

 

 

The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada

The Northwest Rebellion 1885

In the mid 1800's Meti fur traders were pushing west into the area of present day northern Saskatchewan. They hunted buffalo and traded with the Cree natives during the summer months but would return to more hospitable lands to wait out the winter. Eventually, some of the Meti began to take up year round residence at a bend in the South Saskatchewan River that they called Batoche. Here they made farms and started a town.

In the summer of 1884 land surveyors from the Canadian government appeared in the area. They were preparing the way for the settlers that would be coming on the new Canadian Pacific Railway. The Meti spoke French but the surveyors were English. The Meti had established their farms in the traditional French style that drew property lines based upon the river. The surveyors used a system that took the whole territory into account and was based upon the railroad line. When the surveyors appeared on Meti farms and started drawing lines down the middle of them, the stage was set for trouble.

Some of the Meti had come from the Red River Settlement in Manitoba where fifteen years earlier the same thing had happened. There the government surveyors had come and redrawn the boundaries. They told Meti squatters that the farms they had been working did not belong to them. That was why they had moved west. Now it looked like the same thing was about to happen again. The Meti would not allow it. They wrote letters to Ottawa and they sent a delegation to Montana to fetch the exiled Meti leader Louis Riel.

In 1870 Louis Riel had led the Red River uprising. He and his men seized Fort Garry and proclaimed their independence. The Canadian government mobilized the army to put down the uprising. Before the government troops arrived Riel and the other leaders fled across the border into the United States. Now he returned to Canada to help the Meti at Batoche.

Riel was not a military leader. He was a spiritual leader and a great orator. The Meti chose Gabriel Dumont as their general. When Ottawa ignored their letters the Meti chose a more drastic approach. They captured the store at Duck Lake and on the 26th of March 1885 the North West Mounted Police came to expel them. In the process two Police Officers and eleven volunteers were killed.

The winter of 1884-1885 was a harsh one. The Cree natives living in the area came into the town of Battleford asking for blankets. When the townspeople refused, Chief Poundmaker and most of his people left but some warriors stayed behind. They attacked the town and looted some buildings. The Cree did not really support the Meti rebellion but they took the opportunity to pursue their own goals.

In Ottawa the politicians hit the roof. It looked like the whole west was on the verge of rebellion. Sir John A. MacDonald's plan to secure the west with the Canadian Pacific Railway was supposed to protect us from the threat of American expansionism. Now the west was in danger of being lost to a bunch of Meti and natives. Ottawa mobilized the army.

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"In Pace Paratus - In Peace Prepared"