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Oxana Ossiptchouk



    A song about what are called Daughters of the Country or Country Wives. Which were Indigenous Women taken as wives by the fur traders of the Hudson Bay Company of NorthWest Company.  Usually, they were the daughters of Chiefs and used as a tactic by the trader to generate better relationships between traders and Indigenous people. As a result of these relationships, a people known as the Metis were created by these liasons and developed there own culture and way of life.

    The Métis, Bois Boule, Half-breeds or Katipayimsosik were from the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816 to the 1885 northwest Rebellion, Princes of the Plains. Nothing happened on its vast expanse without some involvement of these proud and noble people. From the formation of the province of Manitoba to the signing of the Treaties by First Nations, the Métis were an integral part of the western plains. They were the mediators between the white fur traders and the Plains Indians, having a stokehold in both cultures. This was the time in history for the Métis people, a time when Métis nationalism came to the forefront in the history of Western Canada. They were the free traders; the Courier de Bois, buffalo hunters, and negotiators of the many treaties of Canada and America.

            The results of the negotiations were the Manitoba Act, passed by Parliament on July 12, 1870, and to take effect July 15. Although some of the Métis grievances were dealt with entry into Canada. It did not grant amnesty for individuals who involved with the creation of the new province, consequently, Riel and followers had to flee into the United States and would have to live the rest of his in fear of assassination. The Manitoba Act granted the Métis1,4000,000 acres of land where they could live. But this law was not abided by and it has been over 130 years of dealing with the government of Canada that have this legislation recognized. The Métis were abused and persecuted in the newly formed Province of Manitoba. So many left further west where they could maintain their way of life.

            The Canadian Government had no intention of living up to its end of the bargain. They sent Colonel Wolseley with 1200 soldiers embarked on a campaign of violence. Racism became an everyday occurrence, the need for land and the vanishing buffalo lead a massive westward migration of the Métis the new frontiers were they could live their lives as they once had. In 1870 the population of Manitoba was 12,000 of whom 10,000 were mixed blood and 6,000 French-speaking the remained being English speaking Half-breeds. In 1885 less than 12% of the population was of mix heritage. With the exception of John Norquay, an English speaking Half-breed became Premier of Manitoba in 1876. They were treated as second class citizens in the province which they helped to create. The Métis would never again dominant in their first homeland.

            A great migration took place which saw many of the Métis move from the now Province of Manitoba to places such as St. Laurent, Wood Mountain, Cypress Hills, Willow Bunch, Lewistown and other places that were traditional places the Métis had visited in their travels. It was in isolated pockets of Western Canada that they Métis thought that they could live out there live as they always had.

            It was not long though before many of the Métis living in St Laurent experience the same problems they had faced in Manitoba. They would have to take action, in 1884 lead by Gabriel a contingent of four Métis went to Montana to plead their case to Louis Riel who living in exile. They convinced him to return with them and send petitions to Ottawa. At this time the Métis wanted to be recognition of their rights to the land, which they now have been occupying for some time and wanted to retain title to it. Many petitions were sent to Ottawa and were heard by deaf ears. So began The Metis protection of The Metis Homeland and ended with Métis people being destitute and homeless, wanting justice where there was none to be found. The end result was the end to a way of life that many Métis had lived for hundreds.

Oxana Ossiptchouk, Edgar Muenala
Greg Edmunds
Cheryl Ogram
Oxana Ossiptchouk
Oxana Ossiptchouk
Oxana Ossiptchouk, Edgar Muenala, Becky Thomas
Greg Edmunds, Becky Thomas