The 1885 Uprising is one of the defining moments in Canadian Aboriginal Peoples’ history. Though the historical account of this series of events, which led to the prosecution of many Aboriginal leaders, seems to be biased from both the official reports and Stonechild’s account, the political position of the Native Peoples was set back for many years because of these historical incidents.
In March of 1885, a dispute that many felt was avoidable, commenced when a proud Indian Headman was shot when he chose to ignore the threats of an upset “half breed” and follow his usual path back to his reserve. Officially the Aboriginal band was implicated in the rebellion along with Riel’s Métis, but other than a few selected warriors defending their Headman, the Indian people were not responsible or deserving of the allegation. This account of the Duck Lake rebellion is a metaphor for the entire 1885 Uprising where a small number of anxious and over zealous individuals caused an entire people to be made accountable for something that they did not support or take part in. The Aboriginal tribes of the 19th century took their signings of Peace Treaties very seriously and would never have initiated a feud between themselves and the white settlers had it not been for ignorance and miscommunication. When the rebellion was finally put to rest, the leaders who in many instances had pledged their loyalties to the Queen and Canadian Government and who had even tried to stop the aggressions, were wrongfully prosecuted in turn suppressing the Aboriginal people for generations, changing the course of Canadian history. This article gives us a subjective view of Canadian history. The official account of this uprising is quite different to the picture that Stonechild paints.