Basic stats for Red River 1869-1870
Based on the results of the 1870 census, the permanent population of the Red River Settlement during the Resistance 1869–1870 is generally estimated at about 12,000 persons.[i] Of these, about 6,240 were reported to be Catholic and 5,720 were reported to be Protestant.
Almost 10,000 people in the settlement were recorded to be ‘Half Breed’/ Métis.[ii]
According to the ‘French Report’ of Archibald’s census, 5,757 people were Métis Français and 4,083 were Métis Anglais.
The ‘English Report’ indicated there were 5,696 ‘French Half Breeds’ and 4,082 ‘English Half Breeds.’[iii]
Among the neighbours and family members of the ‘Halfbreed’/ Métis population there were approximately 560 ‘settled Indians,’ with homes and farms. Relatives who belonged to First Nations and were “living in tents, or wandering from place to place without a settled home” were not counted in the census.[iv] (Nevertheless, a report by the Indian Branch, Department of the Secretary of State for the Provinces of Canada, indicated there were over 18,357 First Nations people estimated to be in the Province of Manitoba between 1870 and 1871.[v])
Likewise, there was no separate category for counting people of Inuit descent — though some individuals at Red River may well have had Inuit ancestry — for example, members of families of Hudson’s Bay Company employees who had migrated to Red River from posts in Labrador, or from along the Eastmain (the eastern shore of Hudson Bay and James Bay). The census enumerators would have had to make decisions on a case-by-case basis on how to record individuals whose ancestry was not specifically mentioned as a census category.
The ‘White’ population, according to the census, numbered 1,563, of whom “slightly less than one-half had been born in the North-West.” There were:
- 412 people from Great Britain or Ireland;
- 294 Canadians;
- 69 who had come from the United States;
- 15 who had come from France;
- 38 from other countries.[vi]
Incidentally, there was no ‘Black’ category. It is possible, therefore, that in some cases people of African ancestry, who had come to Red River Settlement from a colony such as British Guiana, or from the United States, might have been counted as ‘White.’[vii]