Monday, July 27, 2009

Hat to the Park Virtual Trip


This is report # 40

Kms are the same as I am sitting in the Fort soaking up history.

I going to vent and rant for a while until I get this Louis Riel thing all out of my system. Hindsight often gives a different perspective of a situation and that is definitely the case here. At the same time its unfair to superimpose today's sense of values on the event when they didn't exist at that time.

Remembering that Louis Riel already had a history of violence from the Red River event and was technically in breach of his expulsion order from Canada,, and remembering that Canada in 1883 only had to look back 20 years to see what had happened in the United States when rebellion had swept away hundreds of thousands of their citizens in out right civil war. These memories fresh in their minds plus given the Canadian government was young and trying to establish its control over a vast and almost uninhabited wilderness, are all facts to keep in mind and perspective while attempting to understand why John A Mcdonald acted like he did.

Like wise remembering that the fearlessly independent Metis were being displaced from their traditional lands and starving while no one paid any attention helps us to understand the desperation that caused these desperate and bold steps. Louis Riel in his plaid coat with deer skin mitts and Gabriel Dumont with his repeater rifle and trusty horse may have cut a handsome picture in Batoche but they were babes in the skills of raw political intrigue and power when compared to the cunning John A.

Besides, he had all the army and guns and now even the railways on his side.

The first thing Riel did was to form a provisional government. I understand that. It would give him legitimacy. It is his next step I have trouble understanding. He decided to get the Government's attention by taking on and attacking the N.W.M.P right in this fort. It was 1885 and the Officer in Charge was none other than Inspector Lief Crozier freshly transferred from Fort Walsh ( remember Fort Walsh?). He who had dealt with Sitting Bull with harshness and treachery was not about to be sympathetic or understanding to a group of half breed fanatics hell bent on committing treason. So the mouse roared at the elephant and the elephant responded with a very heavy foot.

Even as they maneuvered for their encounter, 8000 troops were being assembled across the nation. Amazing considering for the past 9 years, the Government had not managed to send a single shipment of food or assistance promised under the treaty called Treaty Number 6, signed in 1876. That was the treaty that promised all those things in exchange for the British claim to their lands. The Metis may not have understood politics very well, but betrayal, they had no problem recognizing.

To be continued next report.

Doug G

Thanks Doug

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