Some of the dispersal was due to theft and lack of confidence
Under the Manitoba Act, half-breeds were entitled to have a certain lot of land for the extinguishment of their Indian title. A reserve, comprising 1,400,000 acres of land, was set apart for that purpose. However, there were long delays in implementing the granting of lands. Because of the delays, some of the Metis people became doubtful of the good faith of the Government, and were easily induced by speculators to sell their rights to the land. Many of the speculators canvassed Metis communities and told them that it would take many years to get possession of their land, and that the Government did not desire that they should get possession of them. Through this lie, many Metis sold their scrip outright, rather than get nothing at all. Most of the scrip was purchased for as little as 5 pounds.
As a result of these delays and the loss of their scrip, many of the Metis lost confidence in Canadian laws and Canadian promises. The result was that in 1880, 1881, and 1883, a large number of these Metis left the province, many went south towards the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, and were later enrolled as Indians there. Others went west, which increased size of the Metis settlements at Duck Lake, Qu'Appelle, Battleford, and St. Albert. As the quest to take Metis land continued, the once strong colony at Wood Mountain started to fracture around this time as well. Many of these people went to the United States into North Dakota and Montana.
Adapted from House of Commons Debates, Third Session (1885)
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities