Lord Selkirk Settlers Honoured by Manitoba Legislature
Today Members of the Legislative Assembly voted to honour the Lord Selkirk Settlers on the Bicentennial of their arrival at the Forks.
A resolution, introduced by MLA for Selkirk Greg Dewar, called for the recognition of the role of the Settlers in the creation of the Province of Manitoba.
“These people took great risks to come here and faced so many challenges that we can’t imagine today,” he said. “By settling here and establishing an agricultural community, they played a crucial role in the creation of Manitoba.”
The resolution recognizes Lord Selkirk, whose goal was to help the disadvantaged people of Scotland, Ireland and other countries by bringing them to the Canadian Prairies. Chief Peguis was honoured for his role, among others, in saving many of the settlers from starvation.
“It’s the story of many people coming together to help each other. That’s the history we want Manitobans to know about and celebrate,” says Lawrence Prout, Co-Chair of the Bicentenary of the Red River Selkirk Settlement Committee.
Events celebrating the bicentennial include an exhibit at the Manitoba Museum on from now to September and a series of events in September planned by the Bicentenary of the Red River Selkirk Settlement Committee.
“We also want to thank the volunteers who are working so hard to raise awareness about this important event in our history,” says Dewar.
Resolutions are presented by individual MLAs in the House in order to raise the profile of an issue, encourage discussion among MLAs, and to ensure that these matters are documented in the official public record.
The text of the resolution follows. You can also see it by clicking here.
WHEREAS this year marks the 200th anniversary of the Lord Selkirk Settlers’ arrival at the Forks; and
WHEREAS the 5th Earl of Selkirk, Thomas Douglas, sought to help Scottish highlanders who lost their lands by establishing three colonies in British North America; and
WHEREAS for the last and most ambitious colony, an area in the heart of the fur country, The Hudson’s Bay Company granted Lord Selkirk the territory of Assiniboia, much of which we now know as Manitoba; and
WHEREAS Lord Selkirk recruited disadvantaged people from Ireland, Scotland, and other countries who leapt at the opportunity to own their own land and make their way in a new country; and
WHEREAS the Settlers showed courage in the face of many challenges and proved that a settled agricultural community could support life on the Prairies; and
WHEREAS without help from Chief Peguis and other First Nation peoples, the Settlers likely would have starved.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba recognize the role of the Lord Selkirk Settlers in the creation of the diverse province we now call home.