THE MÉTIS TIMELINE
1600s-1700s: The European fur trade brings thousands of men seeking their fortune to the New
World. The largely French Voyageurs intermarry with First Nations women and the Métis Nation is born.
1780s: Pembina, a Métis community, is established in North Dakota.
1800s: Westward expansion changes the lives of the western Indians and Métis
and effectively alters buffalo hunting forever.
1812: Lord Selkirk gets a major land grant from the HBC and moves Scottish farmers
into his settlement. Under the pressures of Canada and the US fighting for control of the West in the War of
1812 and the HBC and NWC's struggles for domination of the fur trade, the settlers and the Métis are at odds.
1814: Miles Macdonnell, Governor of the settlement, issues a proclamation,
stating that goods produced in the area could not be sold to the fur trade and were for the exclusive
use of the colony. This split the loyalties of the settlers (who held stock in the HBC) and the
Métis, who were loyal to the NWC and whom supported free trade.
He issues a second proclamation prohibiting the use of horses in the buffalo hunt. This proclamation was
used to try to slow down the Métis and give the inexperienced settlers a chance to successfully hunt. This
caused a further deterioration in relations with the Métis.
1816: The Hudson's Bay Company seized the North West Company's Fort Gibralter
at the Forks, Manitoba. Métis under the direction of Cuthbert Grant seized an HBC supply of Qu'Appelle
pemmican. In June, Governor Semple intercepts Grant on his way to sell
the contraband pemmican to the NWC at Seven Oaks. In the ensuing battle, 21 settlers and 1 Métis
1823: Cuthbert Grant establishes the Métis settlement of Grantown, outside present
1844: Skirmishes between the Métis and the Dakota over hunting grounds come to an end with peace negotiations.
1849: Guilliame Sayer and three other Métis are arrested by the HBC for illegally
trading in furs. At the trial 300 armed Métis, under the supervision of Louis Riel Senior surround the
courthouse. Although pronounced guilty, the defendants are set free.
1869: The Government of Canada, Great Britian and the Hudson's Bay Company sign
an agreement whereby Rupert's land is sold to the Dominion of Canada. Métis, Indians and settlers
are not consulted.
1869 (Nov. 16): French and English delegates from Red River meet to formulate a
plan for negotiating with the federal government. Louis Riel proposes forming a provisional
1869 (Dec. 1): The group meets again to establish a List of Rights. Though many
points are agreed upon, the English-speaking participants do not agree with the proposal
to deny entry to the Canadian Governor into their territory until the rights are
1869 (Dec. 8): The Provisonal Government is formed with Riel as President.
1870 (Mar. 4): Thomas Scott, militant, Orangeman and prisoner of the Provisional Government is
tried and executed by the Government.
1870 (August): Riel flees to the US to avoid capture. The Manitoba Act is signed,
bring Manitoba into Confederation.
1873: Scrip is issued to the Métis, an unsatisfactory process that divided the communities
and impoverishes the participants.
1873: Gabriel Dumont and a group of Métis in the newly established community of
St. Laurent, form a Government to rule over them. Dumont is elected President.
1875: 50 NorthWest Mounted Police are dispatched from Swan River, Manitoba to investigate allegations of a Métis insurrection.
Dumont is arrested for his part in the Council of St. Laurent and the governing body is dissolved.
1884: After years of injustices, abandonment by the Canadian Government the invasion of
settlers, the Métis cry out for Riel's return. They draw up a petition and send it out from
1884 (June 10): Riel returns with his family in Canada.
1884 (December): A petition asking for the guarantee of Métis rights and fair
treatment is received by an official in Ottawa. There is a confirmation upon delivery, but no action is taken.
1885 (Mar. 19): Riel re-forms a Provisional Government
1885 (Mar. 21): Riel demands the surrender of the approaching police sent out to arrest
him and stop the forth coming insurrection.
1885 (Mar. 26): General Crozier sends out a small group of troops to Duck Lake for
ammunition. They are intercepted by Gabriel Dumont and his men. A scuffle ensues and 10 men are left
dead, including Dumont's brother and a cree man.
1885 (Apr. 2): After hearing of Riel's victory at Duck Lake, Big Bear, Wandering
Spirit, Poundmaker and some of the younger Chiefs decided to do something about their maltreatment
and injustices, as well. They plan and execute a raid on the Frog Creek Settlement. Two weeks later, they
seize Fort Pitt
1885 (Apr. 4): The March to Batoche begins. General Middleton is in charge and
has; 5,456 junior offices and men, 586 horses, 8 9-pound cannons, 2 Gattling guns(the first time this new
invention is ever used), 6000 Snider-Enfield .50 caliber rifles, 1000 Winchester repeating rifles. At no time did the fighting force of the
Métis ever exceed 350 men.
1885 (Apr. 20): Major General Strange starts out from Calgary to prevent Riel and
the Cree from uniting.
1885 (Apr. 24): Middleton and his men are ambushed by Dumont and a group of 130 Métis at Tourond's
Coubee. Both sides retreat due to a storm.
1885 (May 2): Poundmaker defeats Strange and sets out to meet up with Riel's men in Batoche.
1885 (May 9): Before Native allies can arrive at Batoche, the battle begins.
1885 (May 12): The Battle of Batoche... The small Métis force holds of the huge
Canadian contingent for 4 days before their defeat. Dumont manages to hide the women and children before their stronghold
collapses. He later flees to Montana at the insistence of his wife.
1885 (May 15): Riel surrenders to Thomas Hourie, a Métis scout employed by
Middleton. He is charged with High Treason.
1885 (Aug. 1): Riel is pronounced guilty. Mr. Justice Richardson ignores the
jury's plea for mercy and sentences Riel to hang. 1885 (Nov. 16) Louis Riel is hung outside the North
West Mounted Police barracks in Regina, Saskatchewan.
1937: The first Métis specific organization is formed in Canada, The Métis Nation of Saskatchewan
1982: Under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's Constitution Act of 1982, the Métis
are recognized as Aboriginal peoples with specific rights
1983: The Métis National Council splits from the Native Council of Canada in order to better represent
the needs and aspirations of Canadian Métis
1993: The Métis Nation of Ontario is established.
1998: The Powley case out of Sault Ste. Marie challenges the rights and the very existence of Métis
communities in Ontario. Jean Teillet, great grand niece of Louis Riel is council for the Defense.