Who Was Cuthbert Grant And How Did He Shape The Concept Of A Métis Nation?

Who Was Cuthbert Grant And How Did He Shape The Concept Of A Métis Nation?

Cuthbert Grant was born in Fort de la Rivière Tremblante, Saskatchewan, in 1793, and died on July 15, 1854, at White Horse Plains. He was a fur merchant as well as a Métis chieftain. The Métis founded Grantown (later St. François Xavier) in 1824. In 1816, Grant led the Métis to victory at Seven Oaks. This is what people currently say about Cuthbert Grant. Cuthbert Grant is credited with founding the Métis nation.

Early in childhood, his mother was a Metis lady named Margaret Utinawasis, and his father was also named Cuthbert Grant. Grant Sr. was a pivotal figure in the North West Company's fur trade (NWC). Grant spent his childhood in several NWC fur-trading sites around the Assiniboine River. When their father died in 1799, Cuthbert and James were both at school. He left money in his will to assist pay for their schooling before he died. Grant Sr. appointed William McGillivray, the NWC's Montreal representative, as their guardian, who looked after them. In 1801 McGillivray brought Grant to Montreal. At the time, he was roughly eight years old. On October 12th, he was baptized in the Scotch Presbyterian Church (later St. Gabriel Street Church). His father had contributed funds to the church's construction. Cuthbert attended McGillivray's school in Montreal, while his brother attended school in Scotland.

Cuthbert Grant was also known as Wappeston (white ermine).

Around 1810, Cuthbert Grant worked for the North West Company in Montreal. He was a clerk for the Upper Red River district by 1812. He was transported to Fort Espérance in Saskatchewan, which is today in Saskatchewan. At the time, the NWC and the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) were feuding over the Canadian fur trade. People were outraged when Lord Selkirk, a director of the HBC, erected a new village in the Red River valley, near where the NWC carried furs and pemmican. Selkirk refused to allow Metis and NWC merchants to export bison or get Red River pemmican near the settlement in 1814. This infuriated them. To entice the Metis to aid in the struggle against the HBC, the NWC appointed Grant as captain general of the Metis. Grant and the Métis seized animals from Selkirk settlers during a raid on June 7, 1815. Because another group of Metis did the same thing, the colony had to evacuate in June. Tensions between the HBC and the NWC remained strong. As the fur trade disagreements worsened, they were dubbed the "pemmican wars." The Battle of Seven Oaks ended in 1816. On June 19, 1816, it was dubbed the Grenouillère triumph.

The Battle of Seven Oaks.
This is what Cuthbert Grant accomplished in 1816. He led a group of roughly 60 persons from various tribes over Frog Plain near the Red River settlement to deliver pemmican to the NWC canoe brigades on Lake Winnipeg. When HBC Governor Robert Semple and his troops came into Grant's company, shooting and hand-to-hand combat erupted. Semple and 20 of his men were assassinated in the end. On the Metis side, one person killed and one was injured.
People who worked for the HBC claim that Grant assassinated an HBC official in August 1816. Grant handed himself in and faced prosecution in Montreal in 1817. Grant was exonerated of all accusations and returned to the West.

After 1821, life and work
The battle between the NWC and the HBC ended in 1821. They combined to become the HBC. Because the HBC was still concerned about Metis merchants, it decided to make friends with Cuthbert Grant. This would help the Red River remain stable and Metis under control. In July 1823, the HBC appointed Grant as a special constable. At Fort Garry, he was appointed as a clerk.
Grant left the next year and obtained a land grant on White Horse Plain, where he started farming. Grantown (now St. Francois Xavier) located roughly 29 kilometers west of Winnipeg. He established Grantown as a little town. When he arrived, he was greeted by as many as eighty to one hundred Metis households.
The HBC appointed Grant "warden of the plains" in 1828 to prevent unlawful fur trafficking. Later, in 1835, he was appointed judge of the peace for Assiniboia's fourth district. It took him seven years to acquire the position. In 1839, he joined the Council of Assiniboia and became one of the two sheriffs of Assiniboia.

Influence has declined.
Cuthbert Grant was loyal to the HBC during the fur trade wars of the 1840s, which made the Metis resent him. When he sought to retain the HBC monopoly during the Sayer trial in 1849, a younger generation of Métis nationalists objected. This meant that his term as a warden in Assiniboia was coming to an end, and he had to depart.

During the 1850s, Jean Louis Riel, the father of the renowned politician Louis Riel, had more influence and reputation than Grant, who had been in command for a long period. A new generation of youthful, rebellious French-speaking males took over the leadership from Scottish Metis like Grant. Riel Sr. was among this new set of guys.

The Importance of the Past and the Future
Cuthbert Grant aided Metis in considering the concept of a Metis homeland. People in the Red River Rebellion and the North-West Rebellion (1869–70) had a new sense of who they were (1885). Grant is well-known in the Metis community and around the globe. In 1972, the Government of Canada designated him as a "National Historic Person." The Manitoba Métis Federation declared 2016 the "Year of Cuthbert Grant Jr." This is due to the fact that it had been 200 years since the Seven Oaks battle. The St. James Assiniboia Pioneer Association observes Cuthbert Grant Day. Every year in July, they hold it.


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