The Metis then went on to explain to Sully that if they could not hunt in Dakota Territory that they would starve. They further explained that the half-breeds living in Dakota Territory also come north to hunt and trap for furs. The Metis did inform Sully about what they knew about the Dakota movements and they also assured him that there were no hostiles east of Devil's Lake.
They were from Pembina. Sully then placed the camp under guard for fear that they might inform the Dakota that the soldiers were looking for them. Reference: Letter from Maj. The manner in which a person could hunt buffalo from horseback would seem impossible. All the action - shooting, chasing the herd, and having to reload - making it a daunting task at the very least. The half-breed Ojibwe of the Turtle Mountains and Pembina regions were experts at hunting from horseback. Few of them will use the cap gun from the loss of time in putting on the cap.
In loading [their flint locks] they pour powder from the horn which is secured around the neck into the partially closed hand, then into the barrel, throwing away the surplus; the ball which is previously put in the mouth is then put in the barrel, after shaking down the powder, and the ball is then shaken down, and gathers powder enough from being wet [with spit] to keep it in the barrel. In the meantime the horse has been pursuing a second buffalo, and as soon as he rides up, he lowers his gun and fires the gun at the same instant. There is no capping of the gun, and no use of the ramrod.
All of the Indians prefer the flint lock Lewis Henry Morgan: The Indian journals, Courier Corporation. They were stationed between the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the United States frontier, principally in the vicinity of Willow Bunch and Wood Mountain, for the purpose of watching the boundary, as it was feared that Metis and Indians from Turtle Mountain in Dakota might attempt to send men to support the rebels.
Metis Scouts. The scouts were given specific orders as follow: No. To detain and closely examine all per sons coming from the American frontier. Arms, ammunition and explosives to be special objects of search in all baggage. All conveyances to be thoroughly searched. Any person, other than a known settler on Canadian soil, found carrying or found in possession of arms and ammunition or explosives to be charged under 31 Vic.
Suspicious characters from across the border to be charged with evasion of the customs duties, provided they have any property with them to sustain the charge. All persons who fail to give a satisfactory account of themselves are to be charged under the Vagrant Act. All half-breeds carrying arms and ammunition to be arrested and charged under 31 Vic. No such person having come into Canada is to be allowed to re-cross the border if it can be prevented.
Jonas Hamelin Jr. This is a distinct class of people residing upon our frontier. They are the descendants of the early colonists of that country, by intermarriage with the Chippewa, Cree and Assiniboin Indians, and were, at a period not remote, residents upon our soil in their entire strength. When the line of the 49th parallel was marked, and the Hudson Bay Company found themselves located on our soil, the trading posts of that company were removed down the Red river about sixty miles.
The half-breeds being principally in the employ of that company, and dependent upon them, were obliged to follow. This obligation arose from their inability to get the necessaries of life from other sources than from the agents of this company. This removal, I believe, was about the year , when there was no communication between that point and the Mississippi river except by braving the perils of a long and difficult journey, through a wild waste of country inhabited alone by numerous hostile tribes of Indians.
With this view of the case, we may well say they were compelled to leave our soil. Within the last five or six years, the settlements on the Mississippi river having extended themselves to a point within some miles of Pembina; the establishment of a Fur Company post on our side of the line by Mr.
Kittson, and the annual transportation, by large trains of carts, of merchandise to that country; these half-breeds have begun to return, and are fast filling up again the frontier within our borders. The Hudson Bay Company has a charter which gives them the control of an immense territory, within which they reserve or appropriate entirely to themselves the fur trade. This is the only profitable business of the country, and a monopoly of it by a company must necessarily make dependents of all other inhabitants.
This restriction cannot be infracted within their territories, or by their residents out of them, without a liability to imprisonment and fines. The farmer's title to his land is with the condition that he is not to engage in the fur trade. The merchant, the mechanic, the day-laborer and the hunter, are residents only upon this condition; and the entire interests of the country are thus made to center around a business that the great majority are excluded from [due to their Indian blood]. I was told on my arrival at Pembina, that the half-breed population were anxious to return to their former homes within our borders; but not having imbibed any prepossessions of the country — its appearance not being calculated to inspire them — I was incredulous until I learned that it was rather to free themselves from disadvantageous restrictions, than from preference for a locality which, according to accounts given me, is inferior to the one they now occupy.
They also have a lingering fondness for the place of their birth, where reminiscences of parents and childish sports are revived by surrounding objects. They have about carts, oxen, work horses, horses for the chase, head of horned cattle, a few hogs, no sheep. The half-breed population on the English side is between and Of these, it is confidently expected by those living in our territory that the greater portion of them will remove to the United States. From my conversations with them, I think so myself; and I am almost certain of it, if the U.
The greater portion of [the half-breeds] are descendants of the Canadian French. They speak the French language, are nearly all Catholics, with mild and gentle manners, great vivacity, generous and honest in their transactions, and disposed to be a civil and orderly community.
They are hale and hearty, robust men, evidently accustomed to hardships and exposure, to which they submit cheerfully. They can hardly be called an industrious people, which is rather attributable to circumstances than disposition. I am told they commenced farming in the country, but finding no market for their produce, and having much to buy, it was necessary that they should resort to occupations that would yield them the means of purchasing the necessaries of life.
At that time, the Hudson Bay Company traders were the only possessors of merchandize in the country, and would dispose of it only in a way that would promote their own trade.
This was by them, employment of trappers, voyageurs, and hunters on the plains. This always finds a ready sale for money or goods. Into these employments the people have been driven by necessity, in consequence of which they had to neglect their farms; the practice continuing, they abandoned them, and are now the victims of occupations they cannot discard, and are able to obtain from them only a bare subsistence. They now devote themselves entirely to fur hunting and the chase; by the former they command some money, and by the latter they live.
Select a valid country. The elk and buffalo had left, but their bleached antlers and skulls were strewn everywhere over the prairie Shipping cost cannot be calculated. As such, the half-breeds at Pembina were always considered by virtue of their Indian extraction as being in possession of Indian rights and as component parts of the band itself. The Metis did inform Sully about what they knew about the Dakota movements and they also assured him that there were no hostiles east of Devil's Lake.
They go to the plains in the spring and fall, in parties of from to hunters. They appoint, before going out, a captain who controls and directs their hunts, which assume rather the character of an expedition than the unregulated excursions of Indians or whites when abroad with such objects. Their families go with them, and each family has from one to ten carts. Within our territory there is no farming; the small gardens they cultivate yield so triflingly, that they are hardly worthy of notice. They build log-cabins generally in the timber which they occupy in the winter, and leave in the summer.
Each family has its "lodge" made of dressed buffalo skin, and when pitched, it is of a conical shape ten or fifteen feet high, and from ten to fifteen feet in diameter at its base. These have a doorway, with a buffalo skin hung over it, which is lifted for an entrance.
The fires are built in the center, and the apex of the lodge has an opening through which the smoke escapes. At this opening a wing is attached, so that by giving it a certain position with reference to the wind, there is always a draft sufficient to carry off the smoke. I found the Half-breeds possessing the semblance of a government. They had a council consisting of five of their principal men, in which was vested a jurisdiction relating to transactions among themselves. On the 24th of August these people had returned from their spring hunt, and about of the hunters came to see me.
They had appointed four men as their speakers. I told them that in virtue of their Indian extraction, those living on our side of the line were regarded as being in possession of Indian rights upon our soil; that they were on our frontiers treated with as component parts of their Indian tribes; that they either came under the Indians' laws or regulations, or formed such for themselves.
I urged them to organize themselves into a band under a council or chiefs, invested with ample authority to act in their name, in all matters which might arise to affect their interests, to preserve and enforce order and harmony; that the US President would not allow them to engage in any of the difficulties among our Indians on the plains; that they were expected to live amicably with all Indian tribes, and generally to be good citizens.
They told me they would return the next day when they had perfected an organization they were then arranging. My talk had taken a wide range, but not of importance enough to be even abridged. They wished to reflect and have consultations upon it. Baptiste Wilkie, the first on the list, is the president of the committee.
He is a French Half-breed, of a good character, well disposed towards the United States, and intelligent. The other eight of the council are men the most esteemed in the country, and friendly toward the United States. They say it is their wish to become agriculturists. It is their intention to make their improvements within our territory.
They complain of the immense quantities of buffaloes that are killed annually and carried into the Hudson's Bay territory. They want some encouragement and aid from the United States, and they are anxious to have a military post established among them. I told them that, on the subject of the English hunters killing buffalo, I had no instructions but from the facts that the Indians were making the same complaints; that Major Sumner had been ordered to the plains a few before with a military force purposely to drive back these invaders, and the Hudson's Bay Co.
They say that Major Sumner directed them to put up notices prohibiting that practice; that they had done so, but they were not respected.
I told them they ought with safety to act upon the advice of Major Sumner, and enforce it, if need be, and our government would support them, as Major Sumner was an authorized agent and reported his acts on that frontier, and if not approved, they would have been corrected. Their desire for a military post is urged on the ground alone, that it will give them a market.
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I told them our posts were established for the protection of the country. That if an armed force were necessary there to protect the rights of the citizens, or to support the laws of the country, it might be granted them, but that I was confident they would never get a military post among them for the sole purpose of affording a market for their surplus produce.
They are beginning to be imbued with the progressiveness of the age, and expect soon, with the patronage of the government, to see their wilderness smiling in prosperity and beauty under the invigorating influences of railroads and steamboats. The matter-of-fact business of cultivating the soil and gathering about them all the comforts and enjoyments that a provident industry can bestow, is tame in their excited imaginations, and they did not listen with much satisfaction to the representations I gave them of the prosperous independence of our farmers, and how they attained it.
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