’s Land: The Division Lies Only In Interpretation Essay, Research Paper

I sit here and I consider myself a young and developing Historian. I consider Frits Pannekoek and Irene M. Spry to be similar historians, yet with more knowledge, age, and experience. What I am sure does not differ between myself, these Authors and other related Historians, is a certain degree of ability to take a piece(s) of work and critically canalize it. I have done just that recently. I have taken the essays, The Flock Divided: Fractions and Feuds at Red river by Frits Pannekoek and The Metis and Mixed-Bloods of Rupert?s Land before 1870 by Irene M. Spry, and I have done my own critical analysis. I believe that both Authors are very persuasive in their respective essay, however when analysed and broken down the reader can see that aspects of both essays can be used to determine that just like any groups of a society the two Native groups of Rupert?s land were at times separated other times they were not. I would tend to sway more to Spry?s well researched essay, but Pannekoek?s positive points must also be mentioned to get a broad picture. This is best done by addressing the respective essay one at a time, then bringing some ideas together.

Before I get right down to analyse Pannekoek and Spry I must give the general background that the two essay use as their base. The Rupert?s Land of Red River has many ethnic groups. The two that are concentrated on, as Pannekoek I believe accurately puts it, are the English speaking Protestant mixed blood (Half-breeds, respectively) and the French speaking Catholic mixed blood (Metis, respectively) . It must also be know the location of Rupert?s Land to get a proper mental picture of the events. Rupert?s Land, Red River, was in what today would be (fill in later when you find location).

The main point that Frits Pannekoek makes in her essay is as follows. Panekoek reasons that there are differences between the Metis and the Half-breeds that led them to form to groups apart from each other, with a bitter relationship between the two . Pannekoek believes that ?In fact there was little unity between the two groups during the Riel Resistance? . I must start of my first main point by saying that essential there is much reliability to what Frits Pannekoek is saying. The two groups were divided to an extent in this time, at least in some of the main areas that Pannekoek explores. Pannekoek?s whole essay seems to be based mainly on the division of religion, conflicting to decide polities in the Red River colony, between the Mixed Blood Catholics and the Protestants. I see Pannekoek to be right in saying that this effected the majority of the Native population in Red River.

The reader sees that ?The first petition [for political change] came in June of 1856 from the Protestant clergy? . ?They did not wish for the removal of the Councillors, only that vacancies were filled by election, and that settlement be divided for that purpose into districts? . As the essay is read on it is apparent that this is only the first of many petitions and complaints from both of the groups. Now that the agitation has begun, even to by this small request, a bitter ex- Hudson?s bay Company employee named William Kennedy returned to Red River . Kennedy now became a leader of sorts for the Protestant side along with his relative Alexander Kennedy Isbister and local men Donald Gunn, James Ross, and Rev. John Black. Meetings were starting, they were held in the Half-breed parishes where William Kennedy wanted the people ?to elect five members, including himself and Isbister, to serve in the provincial legislature of Canada? . With the arrival of John Palliser, head of the British expedition to the North-West, we see some what of a rest in agitation from the Canadian party(mainly Catholic) side, and a stirring on the Protestant side . When Rev. G.O. Corbett, of the church of England, arrived in 1858 his arousing agitation towards the Catholic Metis and the church of Rome let him to become the predominant leader on the side of the Protestant Half-breeds . Corbett said ?that their future lay with a Protestant Crown colony firmly affixed to the British Empire? . We now see that the two groups are more clearly divided with the protestant English speaking Half-breeds on the side with Corbett to make Red River a crown Colony, and the French speaking catholic Metis who hated Corbett and that were against the idea of crown colony as Kennedy was . We then see that Corbett, backed by the Half-breeds circulated a petition for crown colony status . This petition was fittingly counter circulated by a counter petition by Kennedy mainly backed by the Catholic French speaking Metis who wanted no part of Corbett and his crown colony antics. We now see petitions and counter petitions thrown back and forth between the two sides, most of them going ignored. As the tensions between the two groups continue Corbett is jailed on charges of Abortion . The groups are now not only split between pro-crown and anti-crown, but the supporters of Corbett stand behind him. Corbett and his followers said that he was falsely accused by the company of Assiniboia(He saw to be mainly Catholics). Mainly the Catholics stood with the company against Corbett, and the Protestants believed Corbett and stood behind him . In 1865 the Half-breeds succeeded in liberating Red River from the Hudson?s Bay company, with their restrictive trade and the Catholic Roman Church . ?With Red River a Crown Colony, they would follow Corbett, a thoroughly Protestant Englishman? .

The end to the political struggle in the Red River colony between the Protestant Half-breeds and the Catholic Metis is not of real importance to the point of my essay. However the difference in the religious struggle for political rule that Pannekoek shows us is important. I believe that Pannekoek was wrong in saying that the Native groups of Red River were Divided. Pannekoek would have simply been better off to state that the differences that existed in Red River about Crown Colony rule split apart the Catholic and Protestant mixed bloods of Rupert?s land. After focussing on the essay a few times, it is important to see that he two groups had a serious difference or two, but it is inaccurate to conclude from this essay that they were unanimously divided in all life at Red River.

When I move on to the essay that is presented by Irene M. Spry I am tended to think that she hit the broader topic that Faits Pannekoek fell a bit short in showing. Spry shows us that even know Pannekoek was right in showing that the natives of Red River were divided on such issues of polities and government, they were not two worlds separated.

Irene M. Spry first seeks to show us that ?far from being mutually hostile, Metis and Mixed-Bloods were ……linked by ?ties of blood and of long association on hunt and trip?? . Second spry shows us, in a very good point, that there was a variety of language in Red River. ?Many Metis and Mixed bloods, at least among the elite, spoke both french and English, as well as one or more of the Indian languages? . Spry also shows us that there were a number of marriages were occurring between the mixed-blood and Metis groups . There was also evidence that was discovered from the Protestant parishes to show a number of these marriages were of French and non- French names . The vast list that Spry provides us in her essay is very concrete factual records obtained through her research (church registers). I can look at the chart in front of me and see some of the cross-Marriages that took place between 1820 and 1860. When you view this evidence it is easy to accurately conclude, as Spry did, that ?the Metis and Mixed-Blood communities cannot hae been rigidly isolated from each other? . It is also evident through the writings Spry researched that members of each of the parishes went to each others parties, and also their children attended school together . Spry shows record that a school teacher had recorded having had both French and English speaking children in her school house . Even know her evidence is small, Spry also suggests that the Metis and the Mixed-bloods joined together for the great Red River buffalo hunt . I addition to the Buffalo hunt the two groups seem to have merged together for frighting, even carrying on to the winter via dog sled . ?The Hudson?s Bay Company?s account books the names of some of the trip-men who received advances….gives a mingle-mangle of French and non-French names? . What I find particularly interesting is the fact that Spry sheds light on the fact that there are more then just two groups in Rupert?s Land, there are also Scots, Irishmen and others . Evidence of a party in 1832 consisting of French, Scot, Metis and Half-breeds went to the United States to bring back heard of sheep, suggests contact between all the groups . In another example when Henry Youle Hind set off in 1858 for west plains he was accompanied by Scotch, and various half breeds consisting of Cree, Ojibway and french .

Sprys last main point is the fact that the Metis and the Half-breeds often worked together for their own betterment in the Red River, not always against each other as was seen in the Pannekoek essay. W.L Morton noted that when a petition was sent c.1846 for the institutions of the Colony to reflect the ethnic composition of the members it was doing so speaking for the English and French Half-breeds . Also another petition in 1851 another petition was sent by the Aborigines Protection Society asking for amendments such as a judge appointed in Red River to speak both French and English . This evidence shows us that even know there tended to be small cleavages between the two groups in Red River there was some lasting unities when it was beneficial to both groups as a whole.

Now that I hae broken down and analysed both of the essays I believe that it is easier to see that both Frits Pannekoek and Irene M. Spry had well written essays. Pannekoek made the point that the two groups in Red rivers had a major difference, and this was shown through the clerical evidence that she researched. Spry I believe showed me that the two groups may have had such underlying problems as Pannekoek notes, however they also seemed to live a life that was intertwined with each other. I believe that both Authors are very persuasive in their respective essay, however when analysed and broken down the reader can see that aspects of both essays can be used to determine that just like any groups of a society the two Native groups of Rupert?s land were at times separated other times they were not. As seen I tend to sway more to Spry?s well researched essay, but Pannekoek?s positive points had to be mentioned to get a broad picture. I proceeded to do this by addressing the respective essay one at a time, then bringing some ideas together. I now believe that the History of the Mixed Blood Catholics and the Protestants in Rupert?s land is now clearer when the two are brought together.


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