Metis Land Grants in Manitoba: A Statistical Study


  • Thomas Flanagan
  • Gerhard Ens


The Manitoba Act provided for substantial grants of land to the Metis inhabitants of the new province. Until recently, most historians viewed the intentions of the federal government in relation to these land grants in a favourable Light, blaming overwhelming numbers of Ontario immigrants and the character of the Metis themselves for the rapid transfer of the lands out of Metis hands. This consensus came under attack during the 1970s and 1980s, as new research shifted the blame to the government's administration of the land grants. This study of the land grants received and lots sold by a sample of Metis families in Manitoba challenges both earlier arguments. The authors conclude that the Metis had little difficulty receiving title to the lands promised them in the Manitoba Act, that they behaved rationally in the land market of the 1870s and 1880s, and that they received, on the whole, substantial monetary benefits when they sold their lands.