Government Disdain and Deceit
The federal government acted in ways that reflected a total disregard for the settlers in a region while manifesting the spirit of expansion, imperialism and greed. In Regina whilst praying at the Legislature one word – disdain -seemed to encapsulate what the government was doing regarding the inhabitants of the province. This attitude of disdain manifested itself in Manitoba as well Alberta.
Disdain can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun disdain means the general attitude of something or someone being beneath consideration or not valuable enough for respect. To disdain something is to mock it or judge it poorly. One can also disdain an action, in other words, refuse to complete the action because one has deemed it beneath consideration or unworthy.
In Manitoba Louis Riel and the Metis nation formed the provisional government of Assiniboine where they drafted the conditions of the region becoming a province. Of the 12000 people living in the Winnipeg area 10000 were Metis. They were particularly concerned for protection of the use of French, Catholicism and land rights. While the Metis leaders negotiated in Ottawa the government sent settlers of British descent along with soldiers to shut down what they labelled as a rebellion through numbers and might. They had no intention of honouring the agreement with the Metis. After Manitoba became a province the Metis ended up with no land, which forced them to live on proposed future road allowance land. When the land was to be developed they uprooted them and destroyed their settlements.
Similarly the same thing happened in Saskatchewan with the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 where the Metis and the Cree encountered complete disregard for the treaties and land rights by the government. Riel was involved in the leading of the Metis uprising and took it into military action. The results were not good as the government seeded in distrust to the French speaking Canadians that is still unresolved to this day.
In the Legislature in Edmonton there is a statue of Chief Crowfoot leader of the Siksika First Nation and part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The government of Canada pursued him to be a part of the negotiations for Treaty 7, which covered much of Southern Alberta. Again as it had been in Manitoba and then in Saskatchewan the agents working for the government withheld vital promised supplies leading to starvation. Chief Crowfoot said at the signing he would be the first to sign and the last to ever break it. Although he held to his word the government failed to provide what they agreed to leading to starvation and decline in population of the indigenous people.
In every legislature we prayed for forgiveness of dishonoured treaties, disdain of the people on the land, the mockery involved in the governments dealings. There was a definite overwhelming sense of sorrow for what our people did. In all three provinces one after the other the government broke promises, deceived and set a wedge between people groups all for possession of the land.
We interceded in each capital through identification with all groups involved, asking forgiveness of the Lord, repenting for actions, declaring scriptural truths, strategically placing small stakes with scriptures in the ground, applying salt prophetically, and taking communion to remember how Christ stood in our place for our transgressions. We called upon the mercy of the Lord and released His blessings upon each province.