- Britain controlled Canada in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
- On the whole, relations between the British and the Native Americans
were relatively good (see source 1 of this case study).
- In some ways this is surprising. The Native Americans lost most of
their lands as a result of European settlers driving them out.
- However, Native Americans generally preferred British rule to rule
by the USA or by the settlers in British North America. Throughout the
19th century there was a steady stream of native Americans
out of the USA and into British North America.
- This document is an official report written in 1875 by the Earl of
Dufferin. He had travelled to the western parts of Canada to see how
the Native Americans were being treated. These lands were only just
being opened up to European settlers.
- The British government encouraged Native Americans to move westward
in the 1800s to avoid conflict with the European settlers. They gave
80 acres of land in the western territories to each family, as well
as guns, carts and other equipment.
- By 1875, when this source was produced, the British government had
little control over the western territories of Canada. The settlers
and the Canadian government decided that 80 acres was too much, and
many Native Americans found the land was taken away from them. This
was often made easier because Native Americans grazed animals without
fences. When they moved from one area to another, they might come back
the following year and find that white farmers had fenced off the land.
- The report gives the impression that the Native Americans feel
they can trust the representative of the British government, they are
glad he has come and that they can tell him their concerns. It is clear
that the Earl feels responsible for the Native Americans because they
are subjects of Queen Victoria. Despite his sympathies, little was done
to help them.