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In the 1850s Tsimshian Indians

Tsimshian culture was typical of Northwest Coast Indians and similar to that of the Haida and the Tlingit. (Ref. 38 )
of coastal British Columbia were savage fighters engaging in ritual cannibalism and they were finally "tamed" by a preacher, William Duncan, by 1862. He was later made governor of Vancouver. The gold rush of Vancouver Island and the Fraser River area occurred in 1858. In the Great Plains were large numbers of Catholic French Indians called "Metis". For 50 years they made yearly excursions in the plains to hunt buffalo and in the middle of the century they were confronted by the Hudson Bay whites, who set up various rules and regulations, which included the prohibiting of those people to trade with the Americans in St. Paul, Minnesota. This prairie land (Rupert's Land) was sold by the Hudson's Bay Company for 300,000 to the New Dominion of Canada in 1869, just 2 years after that Dominion was established by the British North American Act. The sale remained unknown to the 6,000 French-speaking and 4,000 English-speaking mixed bloods and 1600 white settlers in the plains areas.

Louis Riel the Younger, 1/8 Chippewa, but educated in Montreal on a Catholic scholar- ship, became the Metis leader. He rebuffed the government's attempts to survey and reclaim the land, working out of his headquarters in Fort Garry, which was later to become Winnepeg. Riel was hung as a traitor to the Dominion in 1885, 15 years after Manitoba had become a province. Canadian Mounted Police had been formed and after the Metis were controlled, the great nations of the Sioux had to be tamed and that included Sitting Bull, himself, who had gone to Canada after the famous Custer massacre in the United States. The end result for these displaced Indians, however, was gradual starvation, as civilization came west with the Canadian Pacific Railroad in the 1880s. We shall hear much more about earlier Indian problems in the vicinity of the Great Lakes in later paragraphs. (Ref. 151 , 212 , 32 )

The formation of the Dominion resulted from three forces, the rise of Canadian nationalism, a desire of British liberals to slough off colonial responsibilities and the ambition of some elements in the United States to annex Canada. The constitution granted to the Dominion reserved the powers of government in the Parliament at Ottawa, but it failed to quench provincialism, particularly among the French population, which considered itself a nation apart, and still does.

Like the United States, Canada had a depression in 1873, which lasted at least 20 years and slowed the growth of that country considerably. It recovered only after the completion of the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, after years of financial and engineering difficulties. The election of 1896 brought Sir Wilfrid, a French-Canadian lawyer, to head the government as premier and his long administration saw a wave of prosperity as the prairie provinces developed with their new railroad transportation system. Still, at the end of the century great expanses of land in Canada were essentially uninhabited. Lands occupied by 1900 included a narrow strip along the St. Lawrence River, Montreal and the eastern Great Lakes, then southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta, with Winnipeg as a wheat center being the only city of over 100,000 west of Toronto. (Ref. 151 , 8 )

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, A comprehensive outline of world history. OpenStax CNX. Nov 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10595/1.3
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