150th anniversary of the Red River Resistance

Riel House National Historic Site

The Red River Resistance was a sequence of events that led to the creation of the Province of Manitoba.

For 200 years, most of what would become Manitoba was under the control of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The area was called Rupert’s Land and HBC was working with the British Government to transfer this land to the newly formed country of Canada. The Métis were left out of this process, despite being the majority of the people living in the area at the time.

In 1869 the Métis living in the Red River Settlement, blocked this transfer of land and created the provisional government. It was made up largely of Métis settlers, led by Louis Riel and they were determined to enter Confederation – if they entered it at all – on their own terms.

To stress the need for negotiations, the Métis stationed themselves at Upper Fort Garry, while the Canadian faction were stationed at Lower Fort Garry. As tensions rose, armed conflict broke out between the two sides.

The Métis further asserted their rights by establishing the List of Rights which allowed for further negotiations with Canada and served as a basis for the Manitoba Act. These developments showcase the Red River Settlement working constructively to find a solution to the threats posed by the original plan for the land transfer.

As the unrest continued, Riel’s provisional government established the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia to negotiate an agreement. Through the collective diligence of the Assembly, the Manitoba Act was passed and the Province of Manitoba entered into Confederation.

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