Peaceful Protector of the Prairies: John A. MacDonald

People are inherently evil without the threat of government and law hanging over their necks. John A. Macdonald realized this and righteously took it upon himself to create the North-West Mounted Police. The North-West Mounted Police were established in 1873 with the goal of governing the unruly prairies and suppressing the North-West Rebellion (Butts.) While some say that the North-West Mounted Police did heinous crimes like “intercept[ing Indigenous] children” and “physically abus[ing]” them, the claims are all anecdotal and lack evidence (LeBeuf). However, it is irrefutable that the North-West Mounted Police were crucial in suppressing riots and revolts. Seeing that John A. Macdonald’s creation of the North-West Mounted Police allowed for the rule of the Prairies through law rather than violence which championed Canada through a time of Indigenous discrimination and unruly whiskey trade, his name should continue to be known as a venerable peacekeeper in the public sphere. 

John A. Macdonald’s constant concern and care is what helped turn the Prairies, destitute and desolate wasteland of crime and corruption into the rich and bountiful land it is today. In fact, “the Liberal opposition actually berated him for spending too much on food relief for the famine-stricken [Prairie] native [tribes]” when Macdonald increased the budget of feeding the Indigenous (Hopper). John A. Macdonald’s protective actions to ensure that the natives are fed and able to sleep comfortably is a value that many Canadians did not have at the time. Macdonald was very forward thinking when it came to taking care of the natives, especially in the Prairies where he used the North-West Mountain Police to detain many Indian Agents who were hiding food from the natives or even poisoning the natives due to their discriminatory beliefs (Hopper). Macdonald built the North-West Mounted Police based on “honesty, courage, impartiality, tenacity and a job well done” which is exactly how they handed out punishments to the guilty criminals of the Prairies (Steele). 

The group of people that removed John A. Macdonald’s statue from the city hall of Victoria, B.Cargued that the “injustices that Macdonald inflicted upon the First Nations outweigh [his] contributions [as] the Father of Canadian Confederation” (Thomas). However, without John A. Macdonald’s intervention in the whiskey trade, countless Indigenous lives would have been lost in what is currently known as the American Indian Wars (Peters). The whiskey trade in the Prairies was a series of transactions where American companies were diluting whiskey and selling them to Indigenous Peoples until they were addicted to it. The Indigenous were outraged and began to enter combat with the Americans. During the constant fighting between the Blackfoot Confederacy and the American companies who were trying to conquer Rupert’s Land (present-day Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), Macdonald “knew that the only way to achieve this end would be to dispatch a force of mounted riflemen to the North-West Territory to quell the whisky trade” which was the North-West Mounted Police (Peters). Through Macdonald’s selfless act to put government funds into building the martial force, Macdonald saved thousands of Indigenous lives and stopped Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan from being annexed by the U.S.A. 

John A. Macdonald’s heroism is under dispute as one side claims that “Macdonald basically had Indigenous People locked down so tightly that they became irrelevant after 1885”, but Macdonald’s actions have only helped to provide aid for the Indigenous People as everyone else neglected and took advantage of them (Hopper). John A. Macdonald built the North-West Mounted Police based on the most righteous of intentions which were to protect and administer justice for all of Canada which was a huge success in terms of suppressing rebellions and violence in the Prairie and saving many Indigenous lives in the vulgar whiskey trade. MacDonald and the North-West Mounted Police fought for Canadian law and order. For Canada to suddenly turn their back on the contributions of John A. Macdonald is sickening, especially when John A. Macdonald refused to turn his back on Canada and the Indigenous People even when everyone else was against him. 

Butts, Edward. “North-West Mounted Police.” North-West Mounted Police | The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2006, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/north-west-mounted-police. 

Hopper, Tristin. “Here Is What Sir John A. Macdonald Did to Indigenous People.” National Post, 28 Aug. 2018, nationalpost.com/news/canada/here-is-what-sir-john-a-macdonald-did-to-indigenous-people. 

LeBeuf, Marcel-Eugene. PhD. “The Role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police During 

the Residential School System.” Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 2011. Ontario:  

Canada. 20. Print. 

Peters, Hammerson. “How John A. Macdonald Helped the First Nations.” Canada History and Mysteries, 25 Aug. 2018, www.mysteriesofcanada.com/alberta/how-john-a-macdonald-helped-the-first-nations/. 

Steele, Samuel Benfield. “North-West Mounted Police – A Tradition in Scarlet.” Police à Cheval Du Nord-Ouest – Une Tradition En Rouge, nwmphistory.ca/eng_html/7.3_legacy.html. 

Thomas, Megan. “’It’s Time’: John A. Macdonald Statue Removed from Victoria City Hall | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 12 Aug. 2018, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/john-a-macdonald-statue-victoria-city-hall-lisa-helps-1.4782065. 

 

 

 

indepth #6

Summary of learning:

As we begin to close in on the finish of In-depth, I have created a new piece under the instruction of my mentor. I crafted this flower arrangement with the motifs of coziness and lightheartedness. Coziness was expressed by the close-quartered container and the sort of layering of flowers as they share the small space; Lightheartedness was represented through the colour scheme which brings that sort of mood and the comfortable fitting of the flowers as they complement each other. This particular work is very simplistic compared to my prior works and that is because I also felt like going for a minimalist feel which differs from my past works. My mentor and I both feel that only through exploring different techniques and concepts can we come to a fuller perspective of ikebana. Below is the flower arrangement titled “Floral Folly”.

Concepts:

Concepts are actually one of the key ideas in ikebana as the flower arrangements are always made with some bigger concept or theme behind it. The kind of concept used in ikebana is like the idea behind the company. The company represents the idea and capitalizes on it to turn it into something unique and special which is how the flower arrangement portrays concepts in original ways. My mentor and I usually dicuss a few different types of concepts before creating an arrangement. The first concept is mood which is basically what you want the person looking at it to feel and then we take concepts like colour and angle to appeal to the feelings we are looking for. In ikebana, I feel like concepts are layered and that certain concepts lead to other concepts like in the example I just showed. Concepts can be described as “road junctions that open up several other roads” as they open new paths for ideas and thoughts (p.121).

Alternatives:

I almost feel like these chapter topics are made for ikebana because ikebana is an ancient art with thousands of variations. One of the most important ideas to understand about ikebana is that it is divided into thousands of schools of thought. In fact, some ikebana doesn’t even use flowers and uses modern means like paperclips and staples to portray meaning. My mentor has offered me lots of alternatives as she does not force me to stick to any school, although she is most skilled in the school of ikenobo. In fact, as you can see from my summary of learning, my newest work is taken from a minimalist train of thought which is quite diverse of an alternative to which I am used to. My mentor encourages me to learn from different perspectives to gain a fuller understanding of ikebana and its essence. If I had to say something about her offering more alternatives, I would like to try ikebana without flowers and instead use other means of representation.

In-depth night presentation:

I plan on creating a learning centre rather than presenting as my in-depth is more of a viewing than an act. I don’t intend do anything fancy as I would like my audience to pay attention to the flower arrangement themselves. I plan on displaying the flower arrangements in the open and answering any questions or comments from the audience. I hope to talk about my learning experience and the concepts I have grasped over my period of learning. I wish to share my knowledge and expertise in the subject and hope the audience will take in an interest in ikebana as well. The interactive feature of my learning centre is viewing the same flower arrangement from different angles and talking about how the angles affect the mood and tone of the art as angles are very important in ikebana.