A Casualty of Colonialism

Red River Métis Farming, 1810–1870

Norma J. Hall

First published 2015 to https://casualtyofcolonialism.wordpress.com/; deactivated 2019; archived here, with corrections and additions 2021.




Naming Places: Red River, Assiniboia, Turtle Island

On Terminology and Aboriginality

Defining Settlers, Horticulturalists, and Agriculturalists

The Myth of Non-Development

Chapter 1.

Settling in to Capitalize on Farming: Re-viewing Colonial Red River

An Overwhelmingly Métis Settlement

Acknowledging the Colonial Context with Economic Modelling

Re-thinking Post-Contact Settler Norms in North America

Métis Farmers: First in the Field, Perseverant, and Female as Often as Not

Women with Land and Free to Farm

A Child’s World: the Red River Family Farmstead

Chapter 2.

Red River Farming

The Location: Limits and Potential

Knowing the Soil

Harvesting the Wild

Planted Produce, Preferences, and Production Limits

The Limits of European Excellence: Model Farms and Other Failures

By Way of Contrast, a Series of Success Stories: Métis Farm Expansion and Diversification

The Myth of Métis Indolence: Factoring Youth into Analysis of Wealth, Status, and Farm Size

The Impact of ‘Disasters’: Grasshoppers, Floods, and Droughts (etc.)

Charting Development and Picturing Progress to 1870

Chapter 3.

Red River Ranching: A Reasonable and Rewarding Endeavour

General Remarks on the Prevalence of Livestock and Poultry


Bovines, Kinds and Uses

Care and Feeding of Cattle

Chronological Accounting of Cattle Production: The First Twenty Years (c. 1810 to 1830)

The 1830s and 1840s, Years of Expansion and Export

Twenty Years More, Cattle and Profits, Disasters Notwithstanding

Chapter 4.

The Hay Privilege: Red River’s Distinctive Farm-hold



Labour: Men, Women, and Children (and beasts of burden)

Working at Haying on the Privilege

Working at Haying on the Common

Instituting the Privilege and Legislating Haying: The GCA

Protecting the Right of the Privilege: André Nault and the Comité National des Métis

Protecting Privilege: The Council of Twenty-four

Protecting Privilege: The Convention of Forty

Protecting Privilege: The LAA, Provisional Government of Assiniboia

Canada, Maladministration, and Delay in Commutation of Hay Privileges

Conclusion: A Push-back against Proscribed Prescription


A. Table 1: Women Recognized by the HBC as Owners of Red River Farmland

B. Tables 2–20. Responsible Women: Widowed, Single, or Alone acting as heads of families and managers of household production, Red River 1870

C. Agricola’s Vision

D. The President’s Speech on the Hay Privilege

E. Lois Riel (Sr.) loses a Horse

F. Political Family Ties at Red River Settlement



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