The Metis suffered greatly at the hands of the soldiers
While most people are aware of the various battles and skirmishes that took place between the Canadians and the Metis in 1885, few know – and little is documented – about the war crimes that were committed by the Canadians as they tried to subjugate the half-breeds into submission.
In addition to attacking and pursuing the Metis warriors incessantly, the Canadian forces were tasked with adding insult to injury and rubbing salt into the wounds suffered by the Metis and other aboriginal peoples during the rebellion.
For instance, in his memoirs published following the end of the 1885 rebellion, Major Charles Arkoll Boulton, euphemistically noted in his memoirs that after the Fall of Batoché that, “The half-breeds had any number of ponies, and the soldiers were soon seen galloping about on their backs, and every man who wished had a shagganappi for his own use and amusement for the time being”. In this instance, Boulton was using slang terminology of pony/shagganippi as for the conquered Metis women. Boulton and his men used the women as booty of war and the “galloping about on their backs” was word-play referring to the unfortunate half-breed and Indian women and girls being raped by the pillaging white soldiers under his command.
Other war crimes and atrocities in 1885 (to name a few) include the murder of Damase Carrière, who was hanged over the back of a pony because the soldiers thought he looked like Louis Riel, and the rapes of Marie-Thérèse and Elise Tourond and a young Miss Gervais who had the unfortunate fate of being encountered by the soldiers.
For more see: Reminiscences of the North-west rebellions : with a record of the raising of Her Majesty's 100th regiment in Canada, and a chapter on Canadian social & political life / by Major Boulton, commanding Boulton's scouts. Toronto : Grip printing and publishing co., 1886
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities