Back to school is just around the corner which means summer is coming to an end, that also means our two summer students are wrapping up their work. Heritage SN is grateful to have received grants from the Canada Summer Students program for several years. HSN also thanks Bill Loewen for his added support.
If you have been down to Place Saint Norbert this summer on Wednesdays, Saturdays or Sundays you may have met one of the students giving tours of the Cart and Ox house! Hopefully you all learned something about the heritage in St. Norbert on your visit. You may have also noticed the new summer kitchen that was added this spring. In the summer kitchen we have posters of important people, events and places in st. Norbert. Recently we also put up a Map of St. Norbert from 1874 with all the residents living on the lots at the time. That was the project of one of the summer students.
This Summer we have began a huge research project. We are trying to track the important history of the people in St. Norbert. Most of the Red River Settlement residents, especially the parish of St Norbert, ware mainly people of the Metis Nation. When Canadian Confederation happened in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the Canadians started to look into confederating the west. Rupert’s Land and the North West was being sold by Britain to Canada and at the time the small province of Manitoba was also in the sights of John A. McDonald and the government of Canada.
McDonald sent surveyors to the Red River to prepare the new province for “Canada Firsters”, the Ontarian Settlers coming to Manitoba. Louis Riel and other Metis people, even some Scottish, French and British, weren’t very happy with the lack of respect for the peoples lands when surveyed. Around where Waverley and Bishop Grandin now meet is where Riel and followers stepped on the surveyors chains, beginning the Red River Rebellion.
You can check out our Instagram account for more important dates to the Red River Rebellion as they hit 150 years, as this all started October 1869, nearly a century and a half ago.
St. Norbert changed a lot as the “Transfer” of Manitoba to Canada happened. A lot of Metis left because they were unaware of the Manitoba Act rights to land, mainly due to the language barrier because most of them spoke French. Some left as well due to the trials of Louis Riel and other members of the Provisional Government. No matter the reasons that they left, it was clear the Metis population in Manitoba plummeted rapidly after the transfer. This is very important to us to track, as St. Norbert wouldn’t be the community it is today, if not for the Metis Settlers on the river lots on the banks of the Red River.
One of our summer students spent July at the Manitoba Archives downtown looking at the parish files, Manitoba Census, patent records and many more items they have available. They have been recording everything they’ve found and the project will be continued next summer!
We hope to have a map for you to see at the McDougall house of how the residents changed from 1869, through “the Transfer” of 1870, to the time the Real Property Act came into play in Manitoba around 1875, up until the trials of Louis Riel and the battle of Fish Creek and Batoche in 1885.
We hope you like the look of the Website, between Red River cart tours and research the summer students have been updating the look and adding information to the website! You can also head down to McDougall house to listen to the different sounds of local CD’s that have been digitalized on our computer that plays a slid show of all of Historic St. Norbert photos.
We hope you all had a wonderful summer with you kids, grandkids, friends and family over the break! Hopefully as fall and winter comes around you keep warm and are thankful you don’t need to keep the stove heater fire burning like the Metis settlers living on the land prior to us!