Pemmican Proclamation

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Selkirk's land grant (Assiniboia)

In January 1814 Governor Miles MacDonell, appointed by Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk issued to the inhabitants of the Red River area a proclamation which became known as the Pemmican Proclamation. The proclamation was issued in attempt to stop the Métis people from exporting pemmican out of the Red River district. Cuthbert Grant, leader of the Métis, disregarded MacDonell's proclamation and continued the exportation of pemmican to the North West Company.[2] The proclamation overall, became one of many areas of conflict between the Métis and the Red River settlers.[2]. Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk had sought interest in the Red River District, with the help of the Hudson's Bay Company as early as 1807. However, it was not until 1810 that the Hudson's Bay Company asked Lord Selkirk for his plans on settling in the interior of Canada. [3]

The Red River Colony or the Selkirk Settlement included portions of present-day southern Manitoba, northern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, in addition to small parts of eastern Saskatchewan, northwestern Ontario and northeastern South Dakota.[4]


The Proclamation defined the borders of the lands ceded to Lord Selkirk by the Hudson's Bay Company over which Miles MacDonell had been appointed Governor.[5]

The proclamation next outlined the reasons and the means by which the governor would control the flow of food, mostly pemmican from the area.


The Proclamation was submitted as evidence during the Pemmican War Trials held in Montreal in 1818.[6] and published in the: Report of trials in the courts of Canada, relative to the destruction of the Earl of Selkirk's settlement on the Red River With observations (p. 61-62) by Amos Andrew in 1820.

The Proclamation[edit]

"Whereas the Governor and Company of Hudson's Bay, have ceded to the Right Honourable Thomas Earl of Selkirk, his heirs and successors, for ever, all that tract of land or territory, bounded by a line running as follows, viz:--Beginning on the western shore of the Lake Winnipic, at a point in fifty-two degrees and thirty minutes north latitude; and thence running due west to the Lake Winipigashish, otherwise called Little Winnipic; then in a southerly direction through the said lake, so as to strike its western shore in latitude fifty-two degrees; then due west to the place where the parallel of fifty-two degrees north latitude, intersects the western branch of Red River, otherwise called Ossiniboine River; then due south from that point of intersection to the height of land which separates the waters running into Hudson's Bay from those of the Mississouri and Mississippi Rivers; then in an easterly direction along the height of land to the source of the River Winnipic, (meaning by such last named river the principal branch of the waters which unite in the Lake Ságinagas,) thence along the main stream of those waters and the middle of the several lakes through which they pass, to the mouth of the Winnipic River; and thence in a northerly direction through the middle of the Lake Winnipic, to the place of beginning. Which territory is called Ossiniboia, and of which I, the undersigned, have been duly appointed Governor.

And whereas, the welfare of the families, at present forming Settlements on the Red River, within the said Territory, with those on the way to it, passing the winter at York and Churchill Forts in Hudson's Bay; as also those who are expected to arrive next autumn; renders it a nece-sary and indispensable part of my duty to provide for their support; in the yet uncultivated state of the country, the ordinary resources derived from the buffalo and other wild animals hunted within the Territory, are not deemed more than adequate for the requisite supply. Wherefore, it is hereby ordered, that no persons trading in furs or provisions within the Territory, for the Honourable Hudson’s Bay Company, or the North-West Company, or any individual, or unconnected traders or persons whatever, shall take out any provisions, either of flesh, fish, grain, or vegetable, procured or raised within the Territory, by water or land carriage, for one twelvemonth from the date hereof; save and except what may be judged necessary for the trading parties at this present time within the Territory, to carry them to their respective destinations; and who may, on due application to me, obtain a license for the same. The provisions procured and raised as above shall be taken for the use of the colony; and that no loss may accrue to the parties concerned, they will be paid for by British bills at the customary rates. And be it hereby further made known, that whosoever shall be detected in attempting to convey out, or shall aid and assist in carrying out, or attempting to carry out, any provisions prohibited as above, either by water or land, shall be taken into custody, and prosecuted as the laws in such cases direct; and the provisions so taken, as well as any goods and chattels, of what nature soever, which may be taken along with them, and also the craft, carriages and cattle instrumental in conveying away the same to any part, but to the Settlement on Red River, shall be forfeited.

Given under my hand at Fort Daer, (Pembina,) the 8th day of January, 1814.

(Signed) . MILES MACDONELL, Governor

By order of the Governor, (Signed) . John Spencer, Secretary."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b "The Metis and the Red River Settlement." Canada's First Peoples. 2007. Accessed February 9, 2015.
  3. ^ Carter, George E (1968). [ "Lord Selkirk and the Red River Colony"] Check |url= value (help). The Magazine of Western History. 18 (1): 60. Retrieved January 24, 2018.  More than one of |pages= and |page= specified (help)
  4. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia
  5. ^ (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b Amos, Andrew (1820). "Report of trials in the courts of Canada, relative to the destruction of the Earl of Selkirk's settlement on the Red River With observations (p. 61-62)". Saskatoon Gen Web. London: John Murray. Retrieved 2014-02-02.