Metis 1863-1865



Six hundred Dakota Sioux flee to the Metis Red River for protection. The Americans, under Major Hatch, appeal to the Metis for food for their The United States called up some 40,000 militia in the event of full scale war.

Pierre Bottineau Metis (1810-1895) guided the infamous General Henry H. Sibley expedition to the Missouri River.

Alexander Grant Dallas of the Hudson Bay Company wrote: As a general rule, we wish to be civil to and assist the missionaries, but not to allow them to trespass too far upon our resources.

Many North Slave Metis trace their roots to Joseph Bouvier and Catherine Beaulieu who arrived at Fort Providence this year.

Ten thousand would be miners made their way to Virgina City (Montana) in Indian Territory within a few weeks of a gold strike.

The Metis Nation's request for a reservation on the Red River valley is rejected during discussions in the 1863 Indian Treaty in the Dakota Territories. The Metis returned to St. Joseph, Pembina and Turtle Mountain. Some, at this time, departed the Territory for Montana. The Pembina Metis are officially classified as the Pembina Chippewa Half-breeds, showing the contempt of the Government for their distinct, Red River Ojibwa culture. It is noteworthy that the Lake Superior treaty process labeled the Metis as mixed blood.

The International Finance Company, with Thomas Baring and George Carr Glyn as principle figures, by June, had acquired the Hudson Bay Company. The Metis are insulted deeply, as they, the owners of this New Nation, are not even consulted. The Metis received it by natural inheritance from their Indian forefathers. The Hudson Bay Company reversed its policy, with a strategic policy shift from furs to colonization, minerals and communication potential. The intent is to sell land for colonization that would support a railway.

Little Crow and eighty warriors visited Fort Garry to reaffirm the peace treaty with the Red River Metis, and said the Dakota Sioux people did not wish to injure anyone from Canada, in his person or his property. When questioned as to how they could tell a Canadian from an American, they replied:

Long Knives use four wheel wagons; Canadians use two wheel carts.

Long Knives use mules; Canadians use oxen or horse.

Long knives are pale faced; Canadians have red cheeks.

If you carry the red flag, we will know who you are. And we know how each talk. If you said 'I guess', then we would kill you.

Shortly thereafter, Count Arrigo di Castiglione Maggiore, Chamberlain to the King of Sardinia, arrived from St. Paul, Minnesota on the way to British Columbia and reported no problems with the Natives. At Saint Cloud, Minnesota, north west of Saint Paul, a Red River train; a long procession of carts with furs from the North West, arrived. This Metis contingent is brought in crowds to the land office to make application for American script, and receive between fifteen and forty dollars for each application. One hundred and sixteen applications are processed and not one is legitimate. Those Canadians thanked the generous United States Government and returned to Canada. Even Paschal Belgard, a member of the Canadian Government, received fifteen dollars and was told it did not matter that he is not a proper claimant.

Many of the Hudson Bay Company trade goods are lost in a St. Lawrence River accident, in the iron vessel 'Canada' which sunk off the east coast. A replacement shipment didn't arrive at St. John's, Newfoundland until October. One hundred and seventy Red River Carts returned from St. Paul, Minnesota empty, as the provisions didn't arrive before winter. During the winter, costly horse sledge transport is required to bring the provision into Red River.

The Iowa Volunteers, a 6,300 man army, entered the Dakota Territory on a punitive expedition under the command of the infamous General Alfred Sully; the killer of women and children. General Henry H. Sibley led 3,300 of the men. Henry was a former Governor and a fur trader among the Sioux for years. Some 600 Calvary rode up the Missouri River to Fort Pierre. By September they encountered 1,000 Dakota near Ellendale, North Dakota. The battle of White Stone Hill saw several hundred Dakota, Yanktonai, Santee Sioux ,and a score of soldiers dead. Samuel J. Brown, an interpreter at the Crow Creek agency on the Missouri, wrote that General Sully shouldn't brag at all because what he did, no decent man would have done. He pitched into their tents and slaughtered them. He killed very few men. It is lamentable to hear how those women and children were slaughtered. They had no hostile intentions whatever. In retaliation, a small band of warriors cut in behind the punitive army and killed thirty settlers in scattered raids.

The Red River harvest is very poor. The potato crop is a failure. The buffalo hunt is poor due to the Indian war of Resistance. The Americans, under Major Hatch, established a garrison at Pembina where they lost five hundred horses the first winter and had to obtain food from Red River that, itself, is short of food. In December five hundred Dakota Sioux, as a result of the Minnesota Dakota Resistance War, fled to Red River where they are given the protection of the Metis, as a result of treaty. The Scots were terrified. They established a civilian cavalry and petitioned Britain for troops. By year end, six hundred Dakota Sioux camped along the Assiniboine River. Due to their plight, many Red River families bought Dakota Sioux children. The gray nuns of St. Francois Xavier bought a boy and three girls for one hundred and twenty pounds of pemmican. Private settlers take three white children whose parents had been killed. The Dakota Sioux then moved to the White Horse plains to relieve mounting tension and apprehension.

Tension is running high between Canada and the United States in the east, and forty thousand sedentary militia are called up, in the event of war. Even some volunteers from the North West Territories responded. The Canadian dollar is valued at $2.65 vs. $1.00 U.S. as the fear of war grips the American people.

The Winnebago Act of February 21, 1863 and the Sioux Act of March 3, called for the relocation of Indians beyond the limits of any State, to the Dakotas and Nebraska.

The first contingent of 1,300 is stoned during a stop off at St. Paul, Minnesota; a gross outrage, as the St. Paul Weekly called it. Of these first 1,300, only 125 were men capable of bearing arms. Many women and children were injured by thrown stones. Nearly 1,950 Winnebago are forcibly deported from their Minnesota homeland.

Some surviving Indians refer to this outrageous Government action and subsequent actions as the Holocaust. It is noteworthy that the Winnebago took no part in the Dakota Sioux resistance war. Many Dakota, confined in internment camps in miserable conditions, died. Of those imprisoned, 120 would die or be killed by April 1866.

The total number of deaths from the forced expulsion and relocation to drought stricken places will never be known.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) violated the Constitution by shutting down the New York News for the second time for anti-administration editorials.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) violated the Constitution for the third time by shutting down the New York World for satirizing Lincoln, and the editor was arrested on Lincoln's personal orders.

April 28: Reverend Griffith Owen Corbett of the parish of Headingly, Red River, an outspoken critic of the Hudson Bay Company, is found guilty of the seduction of and the attempted abortion on his maid servant, Maria Thomas, who died 1867. She is the daughter of Simon Thomas, born 1815. Alexander Sutherland is foreman of the Jury and Judge Black sentenced Corbett to six months imprisonment.

April 20: A Canadian party led by James Stewart- a schoolmaster, Captain William Hallett, John Bourke and ten men, knocked down the jailer and freed the prisoner.

When James Stewart is himself imprisoned for this jail break, his Canadian Party freed him. The Hudson Bay Company and Governor William MacTavish's law and order are breaking down because the majority of the people in the North West do not accept the new ownership claim. The Reverend Griffith Corbett fled the territories, leaving wife and family to support themselves amid much privation. Maria Thomas had a daughter who now lives with her mother's family. Some claim Corbett was convicted for his views of the Hudson Bay Company rather than his acts. It is reported that a large group of citizens volunteered to recapture the villain but he had fled the North West Territory. Bruneau wrote Alexander Dalls that it had become too evident that Military protection was required to keep down internal tumult. The self proclaimed authorities were very reluctant to create their own Red River Rifles for fear they would turn on the Council and the Hudson Bay Company.
June 11: Near Lake Elizabeth in Kandiyohi County, Captain John S. Cady and his detachment are attacked. Cady is killed. Other isolated incidents are also attributed to Little Crow. Some still believe Little Crow is responsible, but no proof is offered.

June: Red River put together an army of 100 men to deal with the Dakota Sious, had they decided to attack the colony. It would appear that they were never required, likely because of the Peace Treaty with the Metis.

October 2: At Old Crossing of Red Lake River an American Treaty of Chippewa-Red Lake and Pembin bands made provisions for Mixed Blood of Red Lake and Pembina bands of Chippewa. The treaty was signed by Alexander Ramsey, Ashley C. Morrill- Commissioner, Mona-o-too (Moose Dunn, Metis?), Red Lake, Kaw-wash-ke-ne-kay (Crooked Arm) Red Lake, Ase-e-ne-wub (Little Rock) Red Lake, Mis-co-muk-quoh (Red Bear) Pembina, Ase-anse (Little Shell) Pembina, Mis-co-eo-noy-qa (Red Bob) warrior Red Lake, Ka-che-un-ish-e-naw-bay (The Big Indian) warrior Red Lake, Neo-ki-zhick (Four Skies) warrior Red Lake, Nebene-quin-gwa-hawegaw (Summer Wolverine) warrior Pembina, Joseph Gornon (likely Garneau, Metis?) warrior Pembina, Joseph Montreuil, (likely Metis?) warrior Pembina, Teb-ish-ke-shig warrior Pembina, May-shue-e-yaush (Dropping Wind) warrior Red Lake, Min-du-wah-wing (Berry Hunter, likely Metis?) warrior Red Lake, Naw-gaun-e-gwan-abe (Leading Feather) Red Lake. The witnesses included: Paul H. Beaulieu- interpreter, Peter Roy, T.A. Warren- interpreter, J.A. Wheelock, Reuben Ottman, George A. Camp, Minnesota volunteer, William T Rockwood, Minnesota volunteer, P.B Davy- Mounted Ranger, G.M. Dwelle- Lieutenant, F. Rieger, Surgeon- volunteer, L.S. Kidder- mounted Ranger, Sam B. Abbe, C.A. Kuffer and Pierre x Bottineau (1810-1895).

October 5: Edwin A.C. Hatch and his independent battalion arrived at Pembina to defend the border against incursions of hostile Dakota who had fled there. They are joined by thirty five Red River Metis. The Dakota continued to flood across the boarder to escape the hated long knives.

November 29: Twelve families of Dakota Sioux arrived at Red River. They had no guns or ammunition and are blood stained. These refugees settled six miles from Fort Garry on the Assiniboine.

December 19: A.G.B. Bannatyne of Red River wrote that, of the 600 Dakota in Red River, only nine were involved in the killing of whites.

December 25: The Hudson Bay provided the Dakota with food and ammunition provided they move away from the Red River settlement. The Dakota moved to the White Horse Plains, 25 miles west of Red River and settled in for the winter. Some of the Red River settlers wanted American intervention to rid themselves of these unwanted hordes. John H. McKenzie, a resident in the Red River Settlement, conspired for hundreds of dollars to deliver the Dakota Chief's Little Six and Grey Iron (Medicine Bottle) to the Americans.


Governor Evans was fearful that Major Wynkoop would achieve peace with the Cheyenne thereby making him look like a fool for panicking and asking for additional troops. At the close of peace talks in Denver he said, "What shall I do with the third regiment if I make peace?" They were, he said, "raised to kill Indians and they must kill Indians". Governor Evans replaced Major Wynkoop for making peace. He replaced him with Major Scott J. Anthony who was more inclined to kill Indians.

Second Lieutenant, Joseph Cramer, testified that Colonel Chivington was committed to war against the Indians even if they had laid down their arms and submitted to authority. He said that Chivington believed it right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians, and damn any man that was in sympathy with Indians. Chivington's instructions to his army were simple: "Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice".

Issac Gilbert Baker is appointed Chief Clerk at Fort Benton, Montana.

Major Hatch's garrison at Pembina introduced the Brotherhood of Free Masons to Red River. The first lodge in Red River, called the Northern Light Lodge, included many members of the Canadian Party. Dr. John Schultz became worshipful master and the Roman Catholic Church condemned this association. John Ross sold his interest in the Nor'wester to Dr. John Schultz who would also use the paper to serve his own ends. This summer is the hottest on record in Red River with temperatures over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and the first rain of the season didn't arrive until July. This was the general condition of the Dakotas as well. The hot weather brought out a locust plague in Red River and in the Dakotas.

Three thousand Dakota Sioux visited Red River to recover the children who were bought last year. They did minor pilfering before departing, but did not excessively harass the communities.

Pope Pius IX attacked freedom of religion and equated it with the liberty of death. However, Pope John Paul, in 1999, would proclaim that freedom to practice or change one's religion must be considered a basic human right. General Alfred Sully, the killer of women and children, defeated the coalition of tribes at Whitestone Hill and Killdeer Mountain in the Dakotas. The Santee and Teton, who had taken their eastern brothers in, had paid dearly for the Minnesota resistance movement. This lesson is fresh in the minds of the Red River Metis and Native communities in the North West Territories, as tensions are mounting. William McTavish, suffering from tuberculosis, became the Governor in Chief of Red River in May when Alexander Grant Dallas resigned in frustration due to lack of direction from the new owners. Scarlet fever killed more than 1,000 Blackfoot on the prairies this year.

The first membership meeting of the Northern Light Mason Lodge was in December and included Reverend W. Taylor, Archdeacon Hunter, Judge Black, Chief Factor Claire, A.G.B. Bannatyne (the son in law of Andrew McDermot), S.W. Bannatyne, Dr. W. M. Schultz, J.W. Inkster, Coldwell, Sheal, S.D. Hall, J.D. Bird and Morgan.

This year the American Mixed Blood Chippewa land script became a negotiable trade item at the principle banks of Saint Paul, Minnesota, causing demand for more script.

General L.E. Webb, Indian Agent for the Chippewa of Lake Superior, employed Joseph Gurnoe- interpreter, James Chapman- clerk, and one T.J.L. Tyler who was nominally employed as a farmer on the reservation. He was a reckless and dissipated man and a convenient tool of fraud. Tyler is elected Justice of the Peace for the Township of Bayfield, Wisconsin. They visited the different bands of Chippewa in Lake Superior, those of Michigan located at Sault Ste Marie and Mackinac, to obtain script application. In addition, the names of parties whom they failed to find were used without permission, and they also included names of some full bloods. In some cases names are used where persons bearing them have been dead for years.

Joseph Gurnoe and Chapman witness over two hundred applicants prepared by Indian Agent Webb. In this manner Agent Webb secured the issuance of one hundred and ninety nine pieces of script which he disposed of to other parties. He realized, from such transactions, the sum of two dollars fifty cents per acre, along with one half of what might be secured from the sale of the same over such sum. In total, seven hundred and thirty six invalid applications for script are made. Others involved are Isaac Van Etten of Saint Paul, Minnesota, N.W. Kittson of Saint Paul, Minnesota who employed H.J. Donaldson, a Notary Public who worked the Red River area, including areas within the limits of the British Provinces. In this manner one hundred and five pieces of script are obtained, not one being valid.

Charles Thomas, a clerk, is employed from 1865 to1866 with the Hudson Bay Company.

A Half-Breed settlement is located at the north end of Flathead Lake in Montana Territory. The Metis of Montana had the vote since the elections this year which had established Montana as a territory. These basic rights would be denied the Red River Metis in the creation of their Territory.

The first settlers around Fort Victoria included Peter Erasmus and wife Charlotte, George McDougall, Flett, Conors, Phil Tait and Revard Rose Norn.

Some contend the semisecret Brotherhood of Freemasons or Orange Order was started in Red River about this date. Others suggest it was not until 1870 when the English Soldiers many of whom were Masons arrived in numbers. The movement was in some disarray being divided between the Ancient and the Moderns. The Masons were denounced by the Roman Church because of the secrecy and non-Christian leanings. Many Masons were anti-Metis.

January 1: Hatch wrote Andrew Bannatyne of Fort Gary: If they deliver Little Six and eight others, I will allow the remainder to camp near us and will feed them.

Bannatyne had the contract to supple Hatch with horse feed.

January 14-18: The plot to capture the Dakota is hatched by John McKenzie; a man of little importance, and Onisime Giguere, as translator, visited the Dakota Camp.

McKenzie used Mr. Lane to encourage the Dakota into a trap. Andrew Bannatyne provided drugged wine for Little Six and Medicine Bottle. D.L. Kingsley was hired to assist in tying and carrying the Indians to Fort Pembina. Andrew Bannatyne also had some of his friends waiting to assist. McKenzie and Kingsley started out for Pembina with Little Six. Medicine Bottle is over powered by Jaguish, Giguere and others. He is bound and transported to Fort Pembina. John H.(M.) McKenzie and Onisime Giguere, a.k.a. Gyere, received $1,000 in blood money. The whole proceedings was considered very disgraceful by the majority of the Red River Settlement.

January, 9: The Dakota at Red River surrendered to the Americans.

March: The Hudson Bay Governor, Dallas, granted permission for the Americans to cross into Red River to pursue and capture the savages. The infamous General Henry H. Sibley, however, had previously forbid Hatch to cross the International Boundary.

April 24: A treaty was made with Chippewa-Red Lake and Pembina bands. The signers were: May-dwa-gua-no-nind (He that is spoken) Red Lake, Mons-o-mo (Moose-dung)- Red Lake, Ase-e-ne-wub (Little Rock)- Red Lake, Mis-co-muk-quah (Red Bear)- Pembina, Naw-gon-e-gwo-nabe (Leading Feather)- Red Lake, Que-we-zance (The Boy)- Red Lake, May-zha-ke-osh (Dropping Wind)- Red Lake, Bwa-ness (Little Shoe)- Red Lake, Wa-bon-e-qua-osh (White Hair)- Red Lake, Te-bish-co-ge-schick (Equal Sky)- Pembina, Te-besh-co-be-ness (Straight Bird)- Red Lake warrior, Osh-shay-o-sick Red Lake- warrior, Sa-sa-goh-cum-ick-ish-cum (He that makes the ground tremble)- Red Lake warrior, Kay-tush-ke-wub-e-tung- Red Lake warrior, I-inge-e-gaun-abe (Wants Feathers)- Pembina warrior, Que-we-zance-ish (Bad Boy)- Red Lake warrior. Wintesses included: Paul H. Beaulieu- interpreter, J.G. Morrison- interpreter, Peter Roy- interpreter, T.A. Warren- interpreter, Chas E. Gardell and Charles Bottineau.

May: Hutch's army is no longer fit for military service. Most of the horses had died and morale was low. The motley crew departed Fort Pembina. Most people of this time believed the Dakota were not allowed due judicial process nor a fair trial.

May 4: Portage La Prairie asked to be annexed to Assiniboia, and therefore the Red River District. Their concern was more for safety, if attacked by Indians.

November: During the winter some of the Dakota Sioux had moved to Lake Manitoba to sustain themselves on jack fishing through the ice. Tensions are running high with a group of Chippewa who attacked the Dakota Sioux camp, killing fourteen people, no doubt avenging past grievance. During the Dakota Sioux stay in Red River they are model guests. No robberies are reported, and they did not retaliate against the unprovoked Chippewa attack. Two participants in the 1862 resistance movement, Chiefs Shakopee and Medicine Bottle, are drugged, bound and delivered to Major Edwin A.C. Hatch of St. Paul who is waiting at Pembina. Some believe the Canadian Party (Free Masons) is behind this shameful conduct. Shakopee said, as he is being hanged: As the white man comes in, the Indian goes out. In the spring the rest of the Dakota Sioux went with the Metis on their annual buffalo hunt and returned to the Missouri River. There are some five thousand Dakota Sioux wintering along the Missouri this year. Walter Traill says he will never go out without his gun, for one knows not what he may see before he gets back.

November: Colonel John M. Chivington, with his Colorado army of 750, attacked an unarmed Cheyenne camp of 700 (500 women and children and 200 unarmed men) under American army protection by treaty and flying an American flag and a white flag of truce. The savage army massacred Metisand Indian, especially woman and children under the specific directions of Chivington. A six year old girl carrying a white flag was shot and killed. A pregnant woman had her unborn child cut from her still living body. The savages cut the private parts of the women saying they were going to make tobacco pouches out of them. The soldiers murdered between 400-500 innocent people at the Sand Creek massacre, saying all were killed nobly. Denver considered the savage army as heroes, saying all acquitted themselves well. "The Colorado soldiers have again covered themselves with glory". Kit Carson, in 1865, after reviewing the evidence, reported that Colonel Chivington and his boys were cowards and dogs. The Government reported that this ignoble act had resulted in war and cost America 30 million dollars, and that hundreds of soldiers had lost their lives, not counting the butchered settlers and loss of property.

November: More than 2,500 claims were filed for damages as a result of the Dakota Sioux War of Resistance. It is noteworthy that not all these claim were accepted as valid.


Typhus (some say cholera) ravaged Red River, and within one family twelve died including Francois Bruneau in June and his wife a few hours later. Bruneau, a Metis Councilor, had received the most in salaries from the public purse. The annual Metis duck hunt, which lasted up to two weeks in the summer, is a social outing. The autumn goose hunt also falls into the same classification. The horse, used in the buffalo hunt, called a buffalo runner, costs about fifty to seventy pounds and is the most valuable possession of the Prairie Metis. The fall buffalo hunt is very poor this fall and many Metis go hungry this winter. The fall is the time for hay cutting. The hay stacks remain on the ground, in many cases, near their winter homes. In winter all travel is by cutter and cariole with their warm furs and chains of bells. Some twenty cutters and carioles comprise a surprise party that calls on friends for dance and merriment. If you look at the annual patterns of all the Metis activities, they combined music, dancing and socializing as an important criterion of their civilization and their quality of life. The women and children attend the merrymaking as the Metis are a strong family people. This practice of including family in the hunt or freighting did not sit well with the ministers who would perpetuate the idea of transient landholders. The Cree language became a common form of communication between the French and English, and many Metis could speak the three or four languages that were necessary in the trade.

A Red River Metis train of carts numbering 1,200 reached St. Paul, Minnesota in trade.

About 25 to 30 Metis families from Red River settled around Fort Victoria and British Columbia, including Samuel Whitford, Joseph Turner and Adam House.

Kendall Vanhook Bumpass, a mountain man, fell into a boiling mud pot and had to have his leg amputated. They named the thermal area after him: Bumpass Hell, California.

February: Joseph Gurnoe and General L.E. Webb, Indian Agent of Lake Superior Chippewa, in February 1865 are in Washington completing the mixed blood applications for land script. John W. Bell of La Pointe, Wisconsin, in Washington said that Joseph Garneau asked him to become an identifying witness. Garneau offered him an interest in the script issued but he refused. He, however, agreed to witness those he knew. Peter Roy testified that Garneau approached him and he agreed to witness those he knew. Peter Roy reviewed the list of application for script and told Indian Agent General Webb that none listed met the criteria for script. General Webb requested silence upon Roy's part and took the application roll away. Testimony during 1867 and 1868 suggests that General Webb, through his position, forced Joseph Gurnoe to sign for many applicants in Washington without their knowledge.

March 27: (I)-John A. MacDonald (1815-1891), in a private letter to Edward Watkin, stated that "Country (North West) is of no present value to Canada." The Canadian Party, headed by John Christen Schultz- the Mason who also controlled the Nor'wester newspaper, having acquired Coldwell's interest, is imprisoned. Fifteen of the Canadian Party overpowered the constable on duty and freed him. This was the second time the law of Governor McTavish is flouted by the Canadian Mason Party, which is a thin guise for the Orange Order.

April: The American Civil War broke out on April 9, 1861 and, after four years, 700,000 men were killed.