1869 Resistance – Making Manitoba

Dec 8, 2022

The Role of the Métis in the Red River Resistance and the formation of the Provisional Government 1869-70

On December 8, 1869, a Declaration of the People of Rupert’s Land and the North West from Upper Fort Garry was issued. The Declaration proclaimed that a Provisional Government was established on November 24, 1869 and that it would be the only lawful authority in Rupert’s Land and the North-West. Furthermore, the Declaration identified that the Provisional Government would ready itself to enter negotiations with the Canadian Government.

On the 19th and 20th of January 1870, a public meeting was held outdoors at Upper Fort Garry where Donald A. Smith, a commissioner from Canada, was sent to communicate Canada’s intentions as it pertained to their existing rights.

Following the meeting, Riel proposed a motion to bring 40 representatives equally from French and English-speaking parishes together to decide how to proceed in light of Smith’s assurances and Canada’s promises. On January 25, the elected representatives, known as the Convention of Forty, convened at Upper Fort Gary until February 10. It is during these sessions that the representatives collaboratively drafted a revised List of Rights, which set out the terms by which the Provisional Government would agree to join into Confederation with Canada.