Inhabited by a diverse population of First Nations peoples, Metis, Scots, Upper and Lower Canadians, and Americans, and dominated by the commercial and governmental activities of the Hudson's Bay Company, Red River - w Winnipeg - was a challenging settlement to oversee. This illuminating account presents the story of the unique legal and governmental system that attempted to do so and the mixed success it encountered, culminating in the 1869-70 Red River Rebellion and confederation with Canada in 1870. In Law, Life, and Government at Red River, Dale Gibson provides rich, revealing glimpses into the community, and its complex relations with the Hudson's Bay: the colony's owner, and primary employer. Volume 1 details the history of the settlement's establishment, development, and ambivalent relationship with the legal and undemocratic, but gradually, grudgingly, slightly, more representitive, governmental institutions forming in the area, and the legal system's evolving engagement with the Aboriginal population. A vivid look into early settler life, Law, Life, and Government at Red River offers insights into the political, commercial, and legal circumstances that unfolded during western expansion.
Dale Gibson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of law at the University of Manitoba.