Native American Veteran and Canadian aboriginal veteran List.

North West Rebellion

MARCH 26 - MAY 12, 1885



Uscw title drawing



(The figures include the Rebels)

53 Métis served the Canadian Army in the St Albert Mounted Rifles.



After the failure of the Provisional Government he established in the Red River region in 1869-1870, Louis Riel went into exile in Montana.

In 1873, however, Riel was elected in abstentia federal deputy for the Provencher constituency in a by-election. He went underground to Ottawa and signed the register of deputies, but was immediately removed from the House of Commons on the proposal of Mackenzie Bowell, leader of the Ontario Orangemen, and returned to the United States.

He was re-elected in the 1874 general election, but this time did not attempt to occupy his seat as MP, while Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald went so far as to finance his exile to maintain peace between the provinces. Time passed, the temperaments calmed down in 1875.

He became an American citizen in 1883 and moved to the Métis community of St. Peter's, Montana, where he resumed teaching; but in 1884 an unofficial coalition of Métis, Indians and settlers from the North Saskatchewan Valley, who had grievances and claims against the Dominion Government, invited him to return to Canada to represent them. Shortly thereafter, Riel again proclaimed a provisional government, this time at Batoche, whereupon Macdonald dispatched an expeditionary force to the North-West to restore order and restore Canadian sovereignty.

Louis riel


By 1884, Canada's North West had 26,000 Indians and probably about 13,000 Métis. If they had risen up en bloc, the Dominion's hold on this part of the country had been hanging by a thread, but they were relatively few in going into rebellion.

The old animosity between the Plains Cree bands, who took up arms, and

other Aboriginal groups who had less unpleasant experiences in dealing with government officials and other whites made it highly unlikely that concerted action would be taken to support Riel. Especially since his opinion of the Indians was unlikely to rally them to his cause. He regarded them as primitive savages that should be made to work "as Pharaoh had made the Jews work - for the benefit of the half-breeds," we must assume.



Hayter Reed, Commissioner of Indians for the North West and known for the harshness of his judgments estimated that only 28 bands, out of 74 that included his administrative territory, had been "unfair".

Most Métis communities also remained apart from the fighting; those who supported Riel were concentrated around Batoche along the south branch of the Saskatchewan River. Meanwhile, armed Métis scout units and riders were recruited by the Dominion Government to patrol the Canada-US border, to monitor communications and transportation lines, and to prevent weapons smuggling. arrival of any reinforcement Indian or métis with the troops of Riel.


In the aftermath of the North West Rebellion, the dream of an autonomous Métis territory was abruptly dispelled and the Métis were dispersed to even larger territories (especially to the Northwest Territories). Despite the fact that most Indian bands observed strict neutrality, restrictive amendments to the Indian Act were arbitrarily and unilaterally applied against all Indians in order to dissuade them from any future challenge to the authority of the government.