Manitoba History

History of Manitoba, The Province

The land that we now call Manitoba has been home to Indigenous peoples for thousands of years.

In fact, the very name of our province, Manitoba, is believed to come from several Indigenous languages, including the Cree word manitou-wapow, the Ojibwe word manidoobaa, or the Assiniboine word minnetoba.

Manitoba is the birthplace of the Métis, a people whose leader, Louis Riel, was responsible for negotiating the terms under which Manitoba joined confederation, as Canada’s fifth province.

Riel was instrumental in launching the Red River resistance and forming a provisional government to represent the rights of the Métis as well as all of the other people calling Manitoba home at the time.

Under Riel’s leadership, negotiations began between the Canadian Parliament and the Red River Métis, resulting in the passing of the Manitoba Act in 1870. Manitoba remains the only province to join Canada under Indigenous leadership.

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