"People of Two Worlds"

14" x 18" Oil on Linen

Along the Southern Border of Canada from Manitoba and going west to the prairies of the Western provinces lived and roamed a nomadic group of people who, by bloodline, were French, English, Assiniboine, Sioux, and First World tribes, and who built a culture that was Catholic but kept their traditional native beliefs in their lives.  They were know by a lot of different names, many of them offensive, but were called Red River Indians or more collectively "Métis."  They had a local government organized under the leadership of Mayors and councils.  One of the trademarks of the people was their two-wheeled carts known popularly as Red River Carts.  They were constructed without nails or screws using only wood.  A cart had two large spoked wheels tread with heavy thick rawhide, laced on tightly, which also held the wheel together.  


About the most famous personage of the Métis was Louis Riel who had a very complicated and varied life and who staged a bloody rebellion against the Provisional and National Governments, was captured, tried, and executed for treason in 1885.  Interestingly, he had become a citizen of the United States in 1883 and taught school in Sun River, Montana before returning to Canada.  It's a long story of a frustrated leader of a people of many cultures and who could not find a place of their own.



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