Finding Friday – The Seven Oaks Massacre

A little History of the Canadian WestThomas Douglas 5th Earl of Selkirk

Thomas Douglas – 5th Earl of Selkirk – purchased land from the Hudson’s Bay Company near present day Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He intended setting up an agricultural settlement using Scottish farmers suppressed by England in Scotland.  The Colony was called ‘Red River of the North’ Settlement. The settlement was not very successful.  In 1812 they built Fort Douglas.  1814 – the Governor, Miles McDonnell issued the ‘Pemmican Proclamation’ – prohibiting the export of food out of a starving settlement.  His orders were backed by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), but not by the North West Company (NWC) – comprised of mainly Metis and French.

The HBC seized a shipment of pemmican from the NWC who intended to sell the meat outside the settlement.

The NWC (mainly Metis) met the HBC men south of Fort Douglas, known as Seven Oaks by the English (and Frog Plain by the Metis).  An argument started – followed by gunshots. When it was finished the Metis had killed 21 men.  Only one Metis died.  Lord Selkirk tried to prosecute but everyone was exonerated.

A young Louis Riel was part of the Seven Oaks Massacre. He was banned from the area and went down to Montana and settled there.

Fort DouglasShortly after the NWC and the HBC combined, and became the fur-trading monopoly in western Canada.