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The Metis

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The Metis were partly french and

partly indian. Their leader was called Louis riel. Following

the Union of the Hudson's Bay Company and the North

West Company in 1821, trading had been reorganized in

order to reduce expenses. Since there was no longer

competition in the fur trade, it was unnecessary to have two

or more posts serving a single trading district. For this

reason, some posts had been closed and the number of

brigades reduced. This reorganization had led to some

unemployment among

Metis who for years had been

working in the fur trade. The Hudson Bay Company had

attempted to assist these these men by encouraging them to

engage in farming in what is now South Manitoba. A few

families take to agriculture, but most of the metis found it

difficult. To them, the excitement and the adventure of the

buffalo hunt held more appeal than farming. Hundreds of

Metis were content to earn a living by hunting buffalo,

making pemmican or finding employment as freight drivers.

After a while Canada bought Rupertsland from Hudson Bay

Company. When the Metis herd this they were alarmed.

They feared their religion,their language, their lands and their

old, free way of* life. They had known for some time that

Canada was busy constructing a colonists highway from

Lake Superior to the Red River. The situation became tense

surveyors were sent into the flow of settlers, and it was

considered a wise move to have the surveying well under

way before settlement began in earnest. It was decided to

use a system or land survey similar to that used in the

western part of the United States. Townships were to be

divided into thirty- six sections, each containing one square

mile or 640 acres. The sections were then to be divided into,

the quarter-section was thought to be enough land for each

family settling in the North West. (An interesting aspect of




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