It is 1869, two years since Canada became a country. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) has agreed to sell all its British territories and colonies to Canada including the Red River settlement. Canada plans to create a territorial government ruled by a Lieutenant-Governor who will have the power to make and enforce all laws in the region without participation from the local population.

No one has approached Red River settlers about these plans or asked their opinion on a new form of government. Many Métis (who make up most of the population) and most of the residents fear that a foreign administration will not give them a say in how their settlement will be run. They want assurances that their land holdings will be respected and that they will be valued as citizens.

William McDougall has been appointed by Canada as the Lieutenant Governor of the Red River Settlement.  McDougall has ordered 350 rifles and ammunition to be brought to the Red River Settlement. Many think he is hostile toward French and Métis people and will use these rifles to arm a militia made up of newcomers from Ontario.

McDougall travels through the United States to reach the Red River Settlement.  On October 30, 1869, McDougall reaches Pembina at the border between Assiniboia and the United States.

What should Louis Riel do?

Consult and analyse available resources on your right, and provide guidance to Louis Riel.
Nor’Wester 1869-10-26, p1

Insurrection of the French Half-Breeds

William McDougall

Hon. William McDougall, 1822-1905

Louis Riel (Louis David Riel)