The second Riel insurrection
Ridd, Dwight Nugent
On occasion in the history of Canada personal interest and governmental procrastination in the remedying of grievances, either real or imaginary, have aroused and inflamed passions that resulted in violence and insurrection. In Upper and Lower Canada in 1837, the Red River Valley in 1870 and the prairie west in 1885 certain sections of our people, because of religious and social as well as political beliefs and prejudices with varying degrees of justification, or lack of it, have had resort to arms. A study of the second Riel insurrection clearly shows that more care on the part of those in authority and better judgment on the part of those aggrieved, or wiser leadership in their movement of protest, would have rendered unnecessary this last rebellion. The country affected by the regrettable insurrection of 1885 was the broad expanse of territory stretching from the boundaries of the old postage stamp province of Manitoba, west to the foothills of the Rockies, and extending north from the international boundary to the frozen regions of the arctic districts. At the time it was named the North West Territories but was commonly called The Saskatchewan. When the sparsely settled district of the Red River was created in 1870 into the province of Manitoba this wide Saskatchewan lay as a vast hinterland and was unpeopled except for approximately thirty thousand Indians, many groups of nomadic buffalo hunters who were mostly halfbreeds, the clergy at a few scattered missions, and a large number of Hudson Bay officials. The outward flow of immigration had not yet reached the prairie west....