The following information is intended to provide a brief summary of the historical events contributing to the political evolution of the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, as well as the development of various other governments in the Northwest Territories, related negotiations for lands, resources and self-government, Treaty land entitlement and evolving aboriginal case law.
The Chipewyan, Cree, Dogrib, Yellowknife , Slavey, Hare, Mountain Dene, Gwich’in, and Inuvialuit lived a nomadic lifestyle on the sub-arctic and barrenlands of what would one day be called the Northwest Territories. Occupying their traditional territories, they hunted, trapped, fished and traded to survive.
The King of England gave the Hudson ‘s Bay Company control over the people and fur trade within the watershed of the Hudson Bay (Rupert’s Land).
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 by King George III recognized Aboriginal people as “nations or tribes” and acknowledged that they continue to possess traditional territories until they are “ceded to or purchased by” the Crown. “…Whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds… And We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present…to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included with limits of Our…new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and the North West….”
(The Royal Proclamation recognized Aboriginal self-government and set out to develop a system of peaceful cooperation between two very different cultures in which neither would dominate the other.)
Francois Beaulieu II was born at Great Slave Lake.
Peter Pond sent Laurent Leroux on behalf of Gregory McLeod and Company down the Slave River to Great Slave Lake. The Ross and Pangman outfit sent Cuthbert Grant of the Northwest Company north that same year. They establish two houses on Stoney Point (Grant Point) and the fur trade competition begins on the south shore of Great Slave Lake.
Northern Métis Francois Beaulieu, Delorme, Fabien and Mandeville guide Alexander Mackenzie down his “River of Disappointment” (he was looking for the Pacific Ocean) to the Beaufort Sea.
Francois Beaulieu I guides Alexander Mackenzie from Fort Chipewyan to the Pacific Ocean.
The battle of Seven Oaks was a skirmish between the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and Métis at a ravine called Seven Oaks on June 19 where the Métis defeated the HBC and asserted their rights to free trade. The event propelled Métis nationalism in the Red River region.
With the help of a map drawn by Francois Beaulieu, Francois Mandeville and Pierre St. Germaine guide John Franklin to the mouth of the Coppermine River.
The Hudson’s Bay Company absorbed the Northwest Company and exercised its monopoly until 1870.
A peace agreement between Dogrib Chief Edzo and Chipewyan Chief Akaitcho was brokered by the Métis Francois Baptiste “Le Camarade” de Mandeville at Roundrock Lake.
Hudson’s Bay records reveal that Francois Beaulieu II hunted with five families in the Lac La Martre (Wha Ti) area north of Great Slave Lake.
Captain George Back arrived at Fort Resolution and hired Francois Mandeville and Louis Cayen. They built Fort Reliance for him at the east end of Great Slave Lake
The Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Church began establishing missions in the Athabasca and Mackenzie regions. In the absence of any government aid or services in the north, the missions took it on themselves to provide health care and relief aid to the aboriginal peoples who were suffering increasing epidemics of diseases previously unknown to them. The missions also operated orphanages and residential schools.
Sayer Trial, the first Métis rights case. In 1849, Guillaume Sayer, a Métis free trader, appeared before a Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) magistrate facing charges of trading illegally outside of the HBC trade monopoly. The Métis community compelled the magistrate to suspend his sentence. This was viewed as an assertion of Métis freedom to trade.
The Métis in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, fought for inclusion in the Robinson Huron Treaty. They were denied participation as a collective, but their lands were guaranteed by Robinson, the treaty commissioner.
More to come…