André Nault

André Nault, Métis leader, farmer, and buffalo hunter (born 20 April 1830 in Point Douglas, Red River Colony [now Winnipeg, MB]; died 17 December 1924 in St Vital, MB). Although a kinsman of Louis Riel and always considered a Métis, Nault was not of mixed blood (his mother and father were French Canadian).

André Nault was a buffalo hunter (see Buffalo Hunt), farmer, and Métis leader. Interference with his hay privileges by federal government surveyors provoked the first armed resistance in the North-West in 1869. During the Red River Rebellion of 1870 (also known as the Red River Resistance), he was in charge of the party that seized Upper Fort Garry. Also, he sat on the council that condemned Irish-Protestant Orangeman Thomas Scott on 3 March 1870 (see Orange Order in Canada). Nault commanded the firing squad the next day. Chased across the border and left for dead by Orangemen shortly after the Canadian takeover, he returned to St Vital and in 1873 was arrested with Ambroise-Dydime Lépine for Scott's murder. Nault stood trial in 1874 but the jury could not reach a verdict.

Fort Garry
Fort Garry in 1860 (Now Winnipeg) [pictorial work]. Winnipeg, 1885.

Unlike Ambroise-Dydime Lépine and Louis Riel, Nault was pardoned as part of Liberal Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie’s general amnesty of 1875. He lived the rest of his life on his farm at St Vital and died at the age of 94.

Execution of Thomas Scott
Protestant Orangeman Thomas Scott is executed on orders from Louis Riel. From the Illustrated Canadian News, 23 April 1870.

Further Reading

  • J.M. Bumsted, The Red River Rebellion (1996) and Trials & Tribulations: The Red River Settlement and the Emergence of Manitoba, 1811–70 (2003).

    Gerhard Ens. Homeland to Hinterland: The Changing Worlds of the Red River Métis in the Nineteenth Century (1996).

    Marcel Giraud, The Métis in the Canadian West (1986).

    Donald George McLean, Home from the Hill: A History of the Métis in Western Canada (1988).

External Links