Canada Gets Independence Fever

Dry air is sifting in from Canada making for comfortable conditions across the area and skies will be dominated by the sun for the next few days with cool mornings and warm afternoons, though Tuesday afternoon will push toward 90 and the humidity will inch up. The Fourth of July still looks hot and humid and a front will come down to bring a chance for general activity on Thursday. But the big news of the day is that today is Canadian Independence Day!! This overshadows a failed gesture by the Continental Congress.

On This Date In History: On this date in 1867, the Canadian Provinces became a self-governing entity within the British Empire with the passage of the British North American Act. I guess the Crown could see the writing on the wall, remembered the cost of the American Revolution and figured it was better to cut a deal with the Canadians. It wasn’t until 1885 that the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed and that allowed for more rapid settlement of the vast territory….yes, people flocked to bustling metropolitan areas like Moose Jaw. The flag above was the Canadian Flag until 1965 when the Canadians got even more independent minded and dropped the Union Jack symbol in favor of the more familiar maple leaf. The basic design had stayed the same though with different coats of arms at various periods. I think 1868, 1921 and finally this one in 1957 until it was replaced completely.
Meanwhile, the American colonists in 1775, fresh off the passage of their Articles of War, got to thinking that perhaps it might be a good idea to get some of the home team on their side. The native inhabitants of the region had joined up with the French to fight against the British in the past so perhaps they might be interested in joining the revolutionaries. Trouble is, the colonists were the ones who had been tricking and mistreating the Indians for years. In general, not to many tribes were eager to sign up as they weren’t too trusting of the ever land hungry European settlers. Most would cast their lot with the Crown in hopes that the King might somehow come to their aid in the future. Even with Congress’ resolution calling for an alliance, their was still mischief as in 1778, during the revolution in which the colonists wanted the Indians help, there was a massacre of neutral, Christian Indian women and children at prayer in Gnaddenhutten, Pennsylvania. Nice PR move. In another instance in 1777, a Continental officer murdered Cornplanter, a Shawnee leader and Patriot ally. That certainly didn’t do much to convince the Indians of the colonists’ sincerity. I guess since the general citizenry wasn’t too kind to the Indians, the Continental Congress decided that it was best to join the constituents instead of fighting them. So, at the conclusion of the war, those Indians who had joined and helped to defeat the British were promised land in exchange for their efforts. Instead, the Congress seized their land and gave it to settlers. It has been suggested that the Indian “allies” were treated worse by the new Americans than those who had helped the British. And so it seems that the Indians could never catch a break from the European masses…that is until someone suggested Casinos! The Native American tribes finally have gotten at least a small measure of give-back in that they are reaping the rewards of American enterprise and the long arm of the tax man can’t do a thing about it. Hey, they didn’t make the rules. Its good for them but, this little tale does show that the revolutionaries did not come out of the conflict with clean hands. Not only did they not play well with their neighbors,but there was that little issue of slavery that they kicked down the road for someone else to deal with and in doing so, some 600,000 of their future relatives died and the very nation they created was almost torn apart.

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