Intercultural studies 

ANG 160 Fall 2005


Eastern townships



Quebec regions


Important people/Theories


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Native and Métis living in Canada

Walk in our moccasins the trail of our past.

 Live with us in the here and now.

Talk with us by the fires of the days to come.’

(Petrone 167)


For over forty years, Canada's legal framework has promoted the rights of citizens and protected them from discrimination. Unfortunately, this situation was not the same back in the 1880s, and especially for the Natives and the Métis living in Canada. Everybody knows how the Europeans tricked and conquered the ‘’Indians’’ of this continent when it was discovered in order to obtain goods and advantages. Since the beginning of the Canadian society, Natives have been fighting for their rights.

Some of us learned in a high school history class the Métis’ rebellion led by Louis Riel, whom was hanged in 1885 for high treason. With Gabriel Dumont, he fought for the Métis’ rights in Saskatchewan. The Métis were afraid to loose their lands and be forced to give them to the incoming white settlers. Louis Riel sent petitions to Ottawa with no response. Then Gabriel Dumont convinced Louis Riel to fight for their rights. The Canadian government sent troops, police, and spent $5,000,000 to shut the rebellion.

Nearly a century after Louis Riel’s event, and for merely the same reasons, the province of Québec had his own revolt in 1990: The Oka Crisis. Once again, Natives began with passive discussion. They protested against a plan to build a golf course on an ancestral burial ground.  The federal and provincial government responded with troops and police forces.

Natives and Métis are still fighting for their rights even if the Government of Canada adopted a new program to fight racism: A Canada for All: Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism.

    Louis Riel 1844-1885

   Two hundred Cree Indians attacked Battleford and Fort Pitt, killing 6. At Frog Lake, Wandering Spirit and his Indians murdered the Indian agent, Thomas Quinn and two priests, Father Fafard and Father Marchand. The Frog Lake incident prompted the Canadian government to intervene. Up until this time, John A. Macdonald had not taken events in the West seriously, but the Frog Lake massacre quickly caught his attention. The government took two measures; the first was to increase the amount of money provided to the Indians for food. This was a wise decision for; their hunger satisfied, some of the Indians remained on the reserves. The second measure was to mobilize a military force of 5,000 men under the command of Major-General Frederick Dobson Middleton. On May 12, the fourth day of the battle, the Métis were defeated. Louis Riel was hanged in November of 1885. Charge: high treason.

The crisis developed from a dispute between the town of Oka and the Mohawk reserve of Kanesatake. For 260 years, the Mohawk nation had been pursuing a land claim which included a burial ground and a sacred grove of pine trees near Kanesatake, which is one of the oldest hand-planted stands in North America, created by the Mohawks' ancestors. This brought them into conflict with the town of Oka, which was developing plans to expand a golf course onto the disputed land. The Oka Crisis began on March 11, 1990, and lasted until September 26, 1990. It resulted in massive traffic jams and three deaths.


Hopefully, Canada has demonstrated in 2004 (Speech from the Throne) ‘’its unwavering commitment to combat racism and racially-based discrimination. A Canada for All: Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism is the next step in the Government of Canada’s response. A Canada for All is a call to action to all individuals and groups who have made this country their home.’’