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Batoche National Historic Site of Canada

Unrest in the North West

There were problems within the settlement. In 1878, the government had surveyed some of the tradition river-lot farms of the Métis already at Batoche, but many who arrived later had to settle on lands surveyed in the eastern Canadian square-township system. There were also difficulties with acquiring "legal" land titles, obtaining scrip (a certificate which could be exchanged for a land grant or money), resurveying the rest of the settlement and acquiring greater representation in Territorial and Federal politics.

Unrest during the period was not restricted to Batoche. First Nation peoples were demanding food, equipment and farming assistance promised in their treaties. Settlers across the Northwest were angered and disillusioned with Sir John A. Macdonald's national policy of railway development and protective tariffs. The farmers were denied consideration on grain liens, couldn't get their crops to market and had to pay higher prices for eastern Canadian manufactured farm implements because of the high tariffs placed on cheaper American equipment.

Metis leaders such as Gabriel Dumont, Maxime Lepuine, Moise Ouellette, Pierre Parenteau Sr. and Charles Nolin, held meetings and drafted petitions to draw the government's attention to the situation. When the Canadian government failed to respond, another meeting was held in the spring of 1884. Action was needed. Three men were sent to a small mission in St. Peter's, Montana, to invite Louis Riel, the Métis leader in Manitoba in 1870, to lead his people in this new struggle.