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Click here for a definition of the Metis people


Long ago, before Manitoba was a province of Canada, the first people who lived here were Aboriginal People(s). Some lived on the prairies and hunted buffalo; others lived in the forests and hunted deer and moose. Each had a rich and unique way of life and culture.

"A Party of Indians-Asseneboines"
Buffalo Hunt
"A Forest Scene"
Aboriginal Woman Skinning Rabbit

When the first explorers came, they traded goods for the furs the Aboriginal People(s) had. Soon, there were two fur trading companies, The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) and the North West Company. Both companies hired many people to travel to the west with goods to trade for furs. The HBC hired men who were Scots from the Orkney Islands. The North West Company hired mostly French Canadians from "Lower Canada", now called Quebec.

"Company Officers Travelling in Canoes"
"Burial Place of the Voyageurs"


Red River Settlement

Over time, the settlement where the Red and Assiniboine rivers met grew larger. In 1810, Fort Gibraltar was built. In 1812, Lord Selkirk brought a number of people from Scotland to make their homes at the settlement. This is where Louis Riel was born.


Riel's Parents and Childhood

Living In Montreal