AT Calgary, in the District of Alberta, one may take a prejudiced view of rebellions from being too nigh them for correct observation. Our Police have just left us to fight the rebel Riel; the Blackfeet, Crees and Sarcees around us are casting insolent glances of admiration at our household gods, and the long-haired half-breeds walk through the settlement with haughtier step now that their brethren are rising and the frontier towns are left without protection. And yet, where we might be supposed to be fearful, we are laughing; and, in spite of antecedents and present activity, we hold Riel to be the most blameless rebel in the territories.
This Half-breed rising is not, in the first place, at his instigation. It has been gathering for ten years, and it has gathered from the same sources as in the Red River trouble. When Riel was summoned from Montana in August last by his Half-breed compatriots, he betook himself to the French Half-breed settlements lying around and between Edmonton and Prince Albert. He did not go haphazard, or because he was tired of Montana. He went there because able and representative Half-breeds from these territories had gone to Montana to pray him to come. “We are in trouble,” they said, and whatever else may be said of Riel, it cannot be denied that he is a loyal Half-breed. There was also another reason. After the Red River Rebellion was over and the Half-breeds dispersed the old leaders left Manitoba and went west. They settled in what we call the “north country.” To settlers along the railway line the “north country” means chiefly the country the first Canadian Pacific Railway would have traversed, if it had passed through Battleford, Edmonton and the Yellowhead Pass as originally intended, instead of through Moosejaw, Medicine Hat, Calgary and the Bow River Pass, as it actually does. In rough terms, it is the parallel line three hundred miles north of the railway. It was along this line that the Half-breeds settled in the Saskatchewan country. Some left Manitoba before the Rebellion, more during it, others after. So many of them were there that that country is more populous to-day than the railway belt will be for years to come. There are farms along the Saskatchewan River to-day that have been under crop for twenty seasons. There are French Half-breed settlements and homesteads there handed down from father to son since 1864. Their history is for the most part like the history of some of the small villages below Quebec -— just as primitive, as priest-marked, as sorrowful; telling only of struggles from the earliest days, and presenting a scene of struggle and poverty still.
Then came the influx of 1867, 1869, 1870 and the following years.
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