VIEW-2031 | Red River cart and Métis camp, Qu'Appelle, SK, 1889

Red River cart and Métis camp, Qu'Appelle, SK, 1889
William McFarlane Notman
1889, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  horse drawn (374) , Photograph (77678) , Transportation (2517)
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Keys to History

Unlike the Aboriginal people, the Metis of Manitoba were not asked to sign a treaty. Instead, they were offered "scrip," certificates which entitled them to parcels of land in their traditional region. However, issuing the scrip took a long time, and many Metis, disgusted with the delay and with harsh treatment and discrimination at the hands of newcomers, left Red River to head west, their goods packed in carts like this one. Many ended up near Batoche, in north-central Saskatchewan, and in 1885 took part in the Northwest Rebellion. The descendants of those who remained in Manitoba are now trying to secure compensation through court action for lost land and rights.Red River carts were built without any metal. Because the prairie dust dried out the grease in their axles, the carts made a squeaking noise that could be heard for miles around.

  • What

    This is a photograph of a Red River cart.

  • Where

    The cart was photographed in the Qu'Appelle River Valley of southern Saskatchewan.

  • When

    These carts were invented by the Metis people, and were used by them throughout most of the 19th century. In 1889, when this picture was taken, the era of these carts was nearing an end.

  • Who

    The cart belonged to a Metis family that was not identified.