How Did This Strange Food Start A War?

How Did This Strange Food Start A War?

How did a strange survival food known as pemmican start a war in Canada? The Pemmican War started when the governor of the Red River Colony issued the pemmican proclamation. This was meant to limit the number of buffalo the Métis could kill, thus stunting their ability to make pemmican. As the Métis were who supplied the North West Company fur traders, it would cut off their food source giving their rival the Hudson's Bay Company a distinct advantage. The proclamation first went ignored, until the governor forbade the export of staples and confiscated 400 bags of pemmican from the North West Company. The Metis and North West Company waged war. The war lasted years, farms were razed, buildings and trading posts burned. The war ended when 15 North West Company partners were captured and tried for treason, among other things. In 1821, the Crown forced the merger of the two parties.

07:10

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    The base ingredient for pemmican is powdered meat. Often, caribou or fish meat is boiled and then placed by a fire before being ground into a powder. (0:40)

  • 2

    In this traditional recipe, bear fat is melted down and mixed with the powdered meat. (4:28)

  • 3

    The final product is a dense survival food, high in fat and protein. (6:14)

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