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Metis Petition from St. Antoine de Padoue (Batoche), 1882.

St. Antoine de Padoue, South Saskatchewan River, 4th September, 1882. To the Right Honorable Sir John A. Macdonald, Minister of the Interior, Ottawa: SIR, We the undersigned French half-breeds, for most part settled on the west bank of the Saskatchewan, in the district of Prince Albert, N.W.T., hereby approach you, in order to set forth with confidence the painful position in which we are placed with reference to the lands occupied by us in this portion of the territory, and in order to call the attention of the Government to the question which causes us so much anxiety. Compelled, most of us, to abandon the prairie, which can no longer furnish us the means of subsistence, we came in large numbers, during the course of the summer, and settled on the south branch of the Saskatchewan. Pleased with land and the country, we set ourselves actively to work clearing the land, but in hope of sowing next spring, and also to prepare our houses for winter, now advancing rapidly. The surveyed lands being already occupied or sold, we were compelled to occupy lands not yet surveyed, being ignorant, for the most part, also, of the regulations of the Government respecting Dominion lands. Great then was our astonishment and perplexity when we were notified that when the lands are surveyed we shall be obliged to pay $2 an acre to the Government if our lands are included in oddnumbered sections. We desire, moreover, to keep close together, in order more easily to secure a school and a church. We are poor people and cannot pay for our land without utter ruin, and losing the fruits of our labor and seeing our lands pass into the hands of strangers, who will go to the land office at Prince Albert and pay the amount fixed by the Government. In our anxiety we appeal to your sense of justice as Minister of the Interior and head of the Government, and beg you to reassure us speedily, by directing that we shall not be disturbed on our lands, and that the Government grant us the privilege of considering us as occupants of evennumbered sections, since we have occupied these lands in good faith. Having so long held this country as its masters and so often defended it against the Indians at the price of our blood, we consider it not asking too much to request that the Government allow us to occupy our lands in peace, and that exception be made to its regulations, by making to the half-breeds of the North-West free grants of land. We also pray that you would direct that the lots be surveyed along the river ten chains in width by two miles in depth, this mode of division being the long established usage of the country. This would render it more easy for us to know the limits of our several lots. We trust, Sir, that you will grant a favorable hearing to this our petition, and that you will make known your decision as soon as possible. We await it with great anxiety, and pray God to protect you and keep you for the direction of this great country which you wisely govern. Your humble petitioners:

Gabriel Dumont, Jean Caron, Emmanuel Champagne, Louis Batoche, and forty-two others.

Damase Carrire and Andr Nault, both men signed this petition. Socit historique de Saint-Boniface, St. Boniface, Manitoba, SHSB 108.

Modest Gladue, Gabriel Dumont and Napolon Nault , circa 1890. Gabriel Dumont and Napolon Nault both signed this petition. (Public Archives of Manitoba, N7582)

Jean Caron Jr. and his mother, Marguerite Dumas Caron Jean Caron Jr. and his father Jean Caron Sr. both signed this petition. Parks Canada, Justine St. Germain Collection, Winnipeg

Jean Caron Sr. and his wife, Marguerite Dumas with son Albert and granddaughters Emma and Marie on their farm at Batoche, circa 1895. Jean Caron signed this petition. Provincial Archives of Alberta, OMI Collection

Franois Xavier Letendre dit Batoche, signed this petition.

Saskatchewan Archives Board, R-A 12, 116

Emmanuel Champagne in shackles, Regina Gaol 1885. Emmanuel signed this petition. Credit: O.B. Buell / Library and Archives Canada / PA-118760

Adophus Nolin University of Saskatchewan Library, Special Collections. Adolphus signed this petition. On the back of the photo is written: In 1885, "A tall, dark, smooth-faced, athletic fellow of twenty-five." W. B. Cameron.

Alphabetical Listing Batoche, Louis Batoche, Xavier Boyer, Baptiste Carrire, Damase Carrire, Napoleon Carron, Jean Jr. Carron, Jean Sr. Carron, Theophile Champagne, Emmanuel Delorme, Baptiste Delorme, Joseph Dumas, Zephirin Dumont, Gabriel Fergusson, Antoine Fidler, A. Fidler, Francois Fidler, William Gareau, Charles Gervais, Gervais, Alexis Goulet, Theophile Honore, Mise Honore, Pierre Lariviere, Charles Natome, William Neault, Andr Neault, Napolon Nolin, Adophus Parenteau, Joseph Parenteau, Mathias Parenteau, Mise Parisien, Elzar Poitras, Ignace Poitras, Maxime Racette, Jereme Rochlot, Baptiste Tessier, R.P. Tourond, Calixte Tourond, Franois Tourond, Joseph Tourond, Patrice Vandal, Antoine Vandal, Baptiste Jr. Vandal, Baptiste Sr. Vandal, Joseph Vandal, William Villeneuve, Isidore