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Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


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The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

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The First World War

Indigenous Peoples

Relations between the residents of Red River and Indigenous people were varied. Some First Nations, such as the Sioux [see John HALKETT], were feared as a threat to the colony during times of famine and conflicts over hunting grounds. In contrast, others, such as the Saulteaux (Ojibwa), and especially the leader PEGUIS, maintained good commercial relations with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and joined forces with the settlers against their long-time Sioux enemies:

“[Peguis] welcomed the first settlers brought to the Red River area by Lord Selkirk [Douglas*] in 1812 and is given credit for aiding and defending them during their difficult years. When the main group of settlers arrived in 1814 to find none of the promised gardens planted or houses built, Peguis guided them to Fort Daer (Pembina, N.D.) to hunt buffalo. The children, weak from the journey, were carried on ponies provided by the Indians. The Saulteaux showed the settlers how to hunt and brought them along on their annual trek to buffalo country.…

“On 18 July 1817 Peguis was one of five Saulteaux and Cree chiefs who signed a treaty with Lord Selkirk to provide an area for settlement purposes.… This land treaty was the first to be signed in western Canada.”


During the 57 years she spent at Red River, Sally ROSS, an Okanagan woman, was a valuable and appreciated intermediary:

“Sally Ross carried much of her Indian culture with her to Red River; there her concern for family relationships harmonized with that of the numerous Scots. Like many other Indian women… Sally was a link between Indian tribal life, the mixed-bloods, and the new white communities of traders. She became a devout Christian, the centre of a lively and intelligent household, and she was one of the women who contributed to the shaping of Manitoba society.”


The following lists give biographies that provide additional information on the First Nations who left their mark on the evolution of the colony and the relationships between Indigenous people and whites during the 1812–70 period.


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