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Angus McKay (b. 1836) MLA, MP

Angus McKay (b. 1836) MLA, MP

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Metis politician Angus McKay, elected M.L.A. in 1871 is profiled. He was the brother of the famous James McKay. Includes an interview with his son Tache McKay (b. 1885) by Margaret Stobie in the 1970s.
Metis politician Angus McKay, elected M.L.A. in 1871 is profiled. He was the brother of the famous James McKay. Includes an interview with his son Tache McKay (b. 1885) by Margaret Stobie in the 1970s.

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Published by: Lawrence J. Barkwell on May 25, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Angus (Augustin) McKay,
M.L.A., M.P.
(1836-c. 1897)Angus was the brother of the famous James McKay. He was born on November 1,1836 at Edmonton House; the son of James McKay Sr. and Marguerite Gladu. Hemarried Virginie Rolette (b. 1849) at St. Boniface. The couple lived in St. Charles Parishand later at St. François Xavier Parish. Like his brother James, Angus was fluent inFrench, English, and several Indian languages.Angus opposed Louis Riel in 1869 and was elected to the Manitoba LegislativeAssembly in 1870 to represent the Lake Manitoba riding. The following year he attendedseveral meetings of the Métis, including one at Riel’s home in St. Vital on October 6th.At that gathering he was among those who felt the Métis should respond positively to the proclamation of Lieutenant-Governor Adams George Archibald
calling on all men to joinforces with the government against a possible Fenian invasion.In March 1871, Angus ran for Marquette in a special election todetermine Manitoba’s first representatives to the House of Commons. The election resulted in a tie between McKay and Dr James Spencer Lynch, a prominent supporter of John ChristianSchultz. Although both men were declared “returned as elected”to the single member constituency by the house in April 1872and took their seats (on different days), they subsequentlywithdrew while the house committee on elections studied the problem. Parliament was dissolved before the committeereported. McKay was not a candidate in the federal generalelection later that year. He was re-elected by acclamation on December 23, 1874 andresigned in December 1876 to make way for his brother James who then won LakeManitoba riding by acclamation. .Late in 1876, Angus accepted the position of Indian agent for portions of thesouthern prairies and the Qu’Appelle valley covered in Treaty No.4. Officials of thedepartment believed that he encouraged the Indians to express dissatisfaction withgovernment actions, thus in 1879 he was posted to northern Manitoba, first at GrandRapids, and then, in 1883, at Berens River, where it was hoped he could do “little or noharm.” He then served as Indian Agent at Norway House in 1894. Despite his numerousrequests for transfer he remained Indian agent in the area covered by Treaty No.5 until1897.Margaret Stobie did an interview with Angus Tache McKay, the son of AngusAugustin McKay and Virginie Rolette for the University of Manitoba. Tache was born onJuly 19, 1883 at Berens River.Tache McKay discusses his life and how he acted as interpreter for the Indian agentsand doctors. No date given, probably in the 1970's.DOCUMENT NAME/INFORMANT: TACHE MCKAY
INFORMANT'S ADDRESS: BERENS RIVER LANGUAGE: ENGLISHDATE OF INTERVIEW: MARGARET STOBIETRANSCRIBER: JOANNE GREENWOODSOURCE: MARGARET STOBIE TAPECOLLECTIONARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONSELIZABETH DAFOE LIBRARYUNIVERSITY OF MANITOBAWINNIPEG, MANITOBAR3T 2N2TAPE NUMBER: IH-MS.010a (16 min. in)IH-MS.022bDISK: TRANSCRIPT DISC 42PAGES: 4Discusses how he acted as interpreter for Indian Agents.Tache: That time my father was the Indian Agent, Angus McKay. Of course that's myname now, you see, my name -- Bishop Tache is my godfather. And my sister married,my oldest sister, she is my godmother. And it's him that baptized me. Bishop Tache wasthe first Bishop that was around at St. Boniface. That's what they state. All I have to do isto show that and they --Margaret: Were you in any of the treaty payment trips?Tache: Yes. Yes. I've been the head of it, I was in charge of the whole thing. I was takingthe Agent and I would interpret for the Agent and I would interpret for the doctor. Allseparate and then I had to interpret to the bandMargaret: How many days did the treaty go on?Tache: Oh, it took us quite a while. How many days? It took us about a month and a half.Had to put beddings for them. Had to make bedding with brush. You know, this pine andfix it all up and make that bed there. Put a canvas tent, you know. Sleep outside everycamp. We had to put up seven tents. Put brush under every one. (Inaudible)Margaret: You had to come up by boat all the way?Tache: Yeah, we had to come up and camp. We used to camp about every seven miles.Make camp.Margaret: Well did you come up by boat right from Selkirk?
Tache: Oh yeah. Sixteen foot canoe. And there was no engine either them days. Therewere no engines, we had to pack everything up.Margaret: Did you ever have any canoes capsize?Tache: He had canoes, of course, that was when the Agent was on, I was a cook. I had tocook too. I had to cook and everything for the camp. It was an awful, awful job. Then youhad to interpret for the doctor separate. 'Cause I spoke the languages, all the languages allthrough here, I had to interpret the whole thing. I had to work too. Second Person: He talks Cree, Saulteaux, English, French. He.talks French as fluently ashe can English. His father and mother both spoke it. See old Angus McKay, he spokeseven languages. And I just remembered the name of that place the Gilbert Plains. That iswhere my father was born and my mother. Or, not my father, my mother.carry it.Margaret: How old were you then?Tache: I was about, oh, I wasn't very old. That is my young days I was talking about. Idone that for years. I was always out. I had to interpret for the Agent, I had to interpret for the doctor and I had to interpret for the -- of course they were both Frenchmen -- and Ihad to talk Indian, Saulteaux and I had to talk again in another language and all differentlanguages. And I knew the whole works of them. I was born with them.Margaret: Where were you born?Tache: I was born... Well, my grandfather was the first -- my mother's father, JoeOuellette [Rolette] -- was the first president(member of the legislature) in the States inMinneapolis. And that was my mother's father. And I booked that old guy. After he gotelected, I booked that old guy. My mother was telling me all about it. 'Cause there is myfather, my father wasn't a Catholic Priest. My father was a -- what do you call thesefellows now? He was a....Second Person: He was a Presbyterian. He was a Scotch Presbyterian.Tache: Oh, that's it. What?Second Person: His religion was Presbyterian. There were two churches, one wasPresbyterian and the other was Methodist.
And he is one of them two.Tache: What you call that religion now?Second Person: Methodist.

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