The Annual Migration

Manitoba Pageant, Winter 1965, Volume 10, Number 2

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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An excerpt from The Nor' Wester newspaper, 8 June 1865:

A large proportion of the able-bodied male population of the Settlement has left it within the last couple of weeks, and it will be nearly two months before we can chronicle their return. Surely we are a nomadic race. Hundreds, men, women and children are off to the summer buffalo hunt - scores of tripmen are away to the interior on lengthened voyages in the Hudson's Bay Company's service and that of private freighters - one brigade of 150 carts is, we believe, soon to start for Georgetown - and again hundreds of carts are off to St. Paul, to bring back the spring and summer fineries and necessities, which go to make up our traders' stocks. There is always at this season a general hurrying and making ready for these long journeys through the wilderness - journeys which are taken twice a year by many of our people, and any one which would be of a character so novel and adventurous to most of our city-bred readers as to be deemed among the most memorable incidents of their lives. For the benefit of those at a distance, it may be necessary to explain that very few persons in these brigades are leaving the Settlement permanently. We are merely recording the annual "flitting" of the inhabitant, - some of whom are off to market the little distance of 500 miles, in the most primitive fashion conceivable in this "fast" age, to wit, with oxen and carts - others have gone to the limitless prairies of the North-West to hunt the buffalo, - and they go a-hunting on the grandest scale, for their game is often found in such immense bands as to blacken the plains far as the eye can reach.

By the brigades of carts going to St. Paul, this year, the two Archdeacons of the Diocese of Rupert's Land, following in the steps of the Bishop, have left not to return - thus leaving vacant here the three principal offices in the church. Archdeacon Hunter, we believe, goes to England, and Archdeacon Cochrane will probably spend some time with his son in the States and Canada before crossing the Atlantic, Rev. Mr. Stagg, of Fairford Mission, also left for England, with the trains.

Page revised: 18 July 2009