allotment: The dividing up of reserve land into individual family allotments to promote assimilation through individual ownership and allow the government to declare any remaining land “surplus” and subject to sale.
assimilation: The process of being absorbed into the culture or customs of another group through the suppression and erasure of the original culture, language, religious beliefs, knowledge, and customs of a society.
Assiniboia grant: A grant of land in 1811 from the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) to its shareholder Lord Selkirk for the purposes of starting a colony for Scottish settlers at the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers extending down into what is today Minnesota as the international border west of Lake Superior had not yet been clearly agreed upon and surveyed. Neither the regional First Nations nor the North West Company families who had settled at the Forks were consulted with regard to the transfer or plans for settlement.
Douglas, Sir James: (1807–73) Governor of Vancouver Island (1851–63) and of British Columbia (1858–64), a man of mixed West Indian and Scottish heritage married to an Indigenous woman who earlier was Chief Trader (1835–9) and then Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver, and who was responsible for 14 agreements (1850–4) granting Aboriginal title to Coast Salish bands on southern Vancouver Island. He had reserves surveyed for Indigenous Peoples that included their village sites, burial grounds, fields, and fishing stations and allowed Indigenous people to purchase Crown lands despite Colonial Office instructions that settlers should have priority in land selection. However, these reserves were not codified in law, and his successor, who had no respect for Aboriginal title, significantly reduced them.
Frog Plain: (Seven Oaks, 1816) Part of a larger fur trade dispute between the HBC and North West Company (NWC). Cuthbert Grant flew the Métis flag for the first time at this conflict and proclaimed the Métis a new nation with free trade and travel rights in defiance of the Pemmican Proclamation. The victory song composed after this conflict is considered the national anthem of the Métis.
Grant, Cuthbert: (c. 1793–1854) Métis fur trader, North West Company employee, and political leader who advanced the concept of the Métis nation; killed Robert Semple, governor of the HBC-administered territories, near Seven Oaks (present-day Winnipeg) in a Métis rout of HBC personnel celebrated among the Métis as the battle of Frog Plain.
gunboat diplomacy: Diplomacy on the West coast backed by the use or threat of military gunboats with heavy artillery capable of destroying villages along the Pacific coast and its larger tributaries.
Kahkewaquonaby: (Rev. Peter Jones, “Sacred Feathers,” 1802–56) Mississauga-Welsh Métis and Methodist minister as well as a leader of the New Credit community who advocated Indigenous control of their education systems, and was able to convince provincial governments to allow the Mississauga chiefs to have control over their own funds. His was the first letter to the Indian Department in his own hand without the use of a translator in 1825.
Métis: A constitutionally recognized Indigenous People created by intermarriage between Europeans and Indigenous people whose culture reflects both influences and whose political identity crystallized at the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers during the nineteenth century. While they became recognized in the 1982 constitution following patriation, they did not have recognized governance and Aboriginal resource rights until the R v. Powley (2003) and Daniels v. Canada (2016) decisions.
Mikak: (c. 1740–95) An influential Labrador Inuk woman involved in the Labrador coastal trade who learned English to help her engage in diplomacy on behalf of her people. In 1768 she was taken to England where she had a chance to advocate on behalf of her people.
model villages: Settlements of Indigenous people organized and administered by government officials or missionaries for the purpose of promoting Indigenous assimilation.
North West Company: (NWC) Consortium of largely French-speaking fur-trading firms and individuals formed in the late eighteenth century to compete with Hudson’s Bay Company in the western fur trade. The HBC absorbed the NWC in 1821 after the United States made it illegal for British traders to operate on American soil.
Peguis: (c. 1774–1864) Born at Sault Ste Marie, Peguis was among those Anishinaabe who migrated west in the late 1790s and was leader to those who settled on Netley Creek, a branch of the Red River between the Forks and Lake Winnipeg, where they farmed potatoes, corn, and other grains as well as hunting for the trade. Peguis signed the Selkirk treaty and provided aid to the first settlers, and he was with Cuthbert Grant’s party at Frog Plain. However, he acted more as a voice for peace and helped resettle some of the colonists at Norway House following the battle. By 1860 he had lodged complaints regarding settlers beginning to encroach on lands that he had not ceded, but he passed in 1864 and did not live to see Treaty One.
Pemmican Proclamation: Proclamation forbidding the sale of pemmican produced at Red River for trade outside of the Selkirk Colony without a licence from the HBC-allied governor. This was claimed to be a measure to feed the colony due to a drought, but was widely viewed as a measure to put the NWC out of business and economically injure communities involved in pemmican production.
quit-rents: A European feudal arrangement in which those farming lands owned by another (in England usually a member of the nobility) owed individual taxes, but not service for use of the land. These usage rights were inheritable in perpetuity and the ability for a lord to evict tenant farmers was relatively limited. Indigenous leaders used the quit-rent system in the Selkirk treaty to convey the Indigenous concept that they were sharing the land with the British for their use, but not outright selling it. The treaty stated that the Crown, Selkirk, and the settlers would be able to use the lands in perpetuity provided that the quit-rents were paid annually on 10 October at the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers by Earl Selkirk, his heirs, or their agents, and in exchange, the First Nations would respect the occupational rights of the Selkirk settlers as well as those of the HBC and NWC traders and the Métis.
Red River Colony: (Selkirk Colony, Lord Selkirk’s Colony) A colony founded by Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk, in 1812 on the Assiniboia grant received from the HBC without consultation with local First Nations or intermarried francophone fur trade families who had settled in the region largely affiliated with the North West Company. While the Colony brought in largely Scottish settlers affiliated with the HBC, the ensuing conflicts forged Métis national identity, leading to the establishment of an opposition government under Louis Riel when once again local communities were not consulted prior to the Rupert’s Land Transfer. The requests of this government led to the formation of the province of Manitoba.
relocation: A policy of the Canadian federal government that meant moving First Nations or Inuit communities to new locations, ignoring Indigenous ties to the land and modes of using it.
reserves: Tracts of land, the legal title to which is vested in trust with the Crown, set apart for the use and benefit of an Indigenous community.
Saugeen Tract: Triangular area of 1.5 million acres (607,500 ha) on the western edge of Lake Huron adjacent to the Bruce Peninsula, ceded to the federal government in 1854 by the Saugeen Ojibwe Nation in August 1836 in exchange for assistance to those who moved to either Manitoulin Island or the northern end of the Bruce Peninsula where the much less-desirable lands consisted of granite rocks and bog land.
Selkirk Colony: See Red River Colony.