Book Review:
Cuthbert Grant of Grantown by Margaret Arnett MacLeod and William L. Morton

by Douglas Kemp

Manitoba Pageant, April 1963, Volume 8, Number 3

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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Among the many names remembered from the history of the Red River Settlement none has held the taint of infamy like that of Cuthbert Grant. His part in the collision of fur trade and settlement at Seven Oaks assured the permanence of the stain. The story of his later career at Red River and the extent of his contributions to his people and to the Settlement are known, for the most part, only to the more serious student of the history of the west. Grant, at the apex of his career, was Warden of the Plains, Councillor of Assiniboia, Sheriff and Magistrate; honours and offices he held with dignity and performed with diligence. In this book two prominent Manitoba historians have collaborated in presenting for all an authoritative and valuable account of the life of the chief of the Métis and the defender of Red River Colony.

As the authors tell us, their efforts have been directed toward explaining and vindicating the character and career of this great leader of the Métis and they have succeeded admirably. That they did so, dispassionately, is a tribute to their scholarship.

The reviewer is grateful for the definitive biography of Grant but as a teacher of history is greatly in debt to the authors for the story of many of the institutions and events that shaped the development of the West. Here is usable information on the organization of the North West Company, the canoe brigades, the Nor'Westers' provisioning system, the background of Seven Oaks, the harassment of the Selkirk Colony, the buffalo hunts, the Sioux wars and an insight into the Métis character. Not only is the information of great teaching value but it is presented in a style that will prove absorbing and exciting to the student. Cuthbert Grant of Grantown is a book that should be in every school library.

Link to:
Margaret Arnett MacLeod | William L. Morton

Page revised: 1 July 2009