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Charles Nolin M.L.A. (b. 1838)

Charles Nolin M.L.A. (b. 1838)

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Metis politician Charles Nolin is profiled.
Metis politician Charles Nolin is profiled.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Lawrence J. Barkwell on Jun 11, 2012
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Charles Nolin.

Charles was born on May 2, 1838 at Cavanagh, North Dakota, the son of Augustin Nolin and Hélène-Anne Cameron. His father and uncle fought on the British side at Michilimackinac during the War of 1812. Charles’ first marriage was to Marie-Anne Harrison, a cousin of Louis Riel; after her death he married Rosalie Lépine, the widow of Godefroi Lagimodière; from the two marriages he had at least eleven children and he adopted two sons; he died 28 Jan. 1907 at Outarde (Goose) Lake, near Battleford, Sask. Children of Charles Nolin and Marie Anne Harrison: • Adolphe "Dolphis" Nolin b 12 Jan 1860 married Elise Letendre b 02 Dec 1860 her parents were Andre Letendre Sr and Catherine Godon. Adolphe and Elise had 4 children. • Augustin Nolin b 01 Feb 1862 d 15 Nov 1871. • Thomas Nolin b 1863-64. • Marie Nolin b 1865-66. • Caroline Nolin b 1866-67 married Jerome Racette b 24 Mar 1859 his parents were Charles Racette and Helene Boyer. Caroline and Jerome had 7 children. • Pauline Nolin b 1868-1869. • Baptiste Nolin b 1871. • Joseph C. Nolin b 07 Mar 1872 married Anne Boyer b 1870 her parents were Baptiste Boyer Jr. and Elizabeth Bousquet. Joseph and Anne had 6 children. • Lucie Nolin b 14 Nov 1874 married Patrice Lepine b 12 Sept 1870 his parents were Maxime Lepine Sr and Josephte Lavallee. Lucie and Patrice had 5 children. • Virginie Nolin b 04 Nov 1876 married Baptiste Boyer b 08 Oct 1872 his parents were Baptiste Boyer Jr and Elizabeth Bousquet. Virgine and Baptiste had 4 children. Children of Charles Nolin and Rosalie Lepine: • Marie Charles Nolin b 30 June 1880. • Gabriel Nolin b 18 Sept 1882. • Maxime Nolin b 1886. • William Nolin b 1889. Charles was educated by bishop Provencher and worked as a fur trader and merchant. Nolin became involved in the provisional government that Riel had set up to replace the Council of Assiniboia. Representing Ste-Anne-des-Chênes, Nolin was one of 20 Frenchspeaking delegates elected to “The Convention of Forty” called by Riel, which first met on 26 Jan. 1870, and he was appointed to its executive committee. At this time an intense rivalry between Nolin and Riel began to develop. Nolin disagreed with Riel’s proposal that the region be granted provincial status, put forth on 3 February, and he evidently resented his ascendancy over the Métis. The quarrel escalated and Riel even attempted to have him arrested. Nolin reluctantly agreed to support the provisional government and its leader. He was elected later in February to the 24-member assembly that had been established by the convention, but he was soon removed from it and jailed for a short time. After the adoption

of the Manitoba Act in May 1870, Riel visited Ste-Anne-des-Chênes in hope of reconciliation. The animosity between the two factions was so great, however, that the Nolin family threatened him. Roman Catholic bishop Alexandre-Antonin Tache subsequently intervened to bring about peace between the two men, cousins by marriage. In March 1871 Nolin wrote a letter of apology to Riel and there was renewed solidarity among the Métis. In October 1871 he led the Métis contingent from Ste-Anne-des-Chênes raised during the Fenian scare and he met with Riel and other Métis in St Vital to discuss Métis rights and political representation. He supported Riel’s candidacy for the federal riding of Provencher in 1873 and after Riel went into exile he tried, without success, to assume the leadership of the Métis. During the negotiations with the Ojibwa that had led to the signing of Treaty No.3 in 1873, he had acted as interpreter for Lieutenant Governor Alexander Morris. Chief Mawedopenais told the Lieutenant Governor, “I wish you to understand you owe the treaty much to the Half Breeds.” Although an agent of the government, Nolin had long disapproved of its treatment of the natives. After the Treaty was completed Chief Mawedopenais requested that the position of Indian Agent be given to Charles Nolin. He was elected in the riding of Ste. Anne in the provincial election of December 1874. He was Minister of Agriculture in Premier John Norquay’s cabinet from March to December 1875, when he resigned to sit as an independent, and in this capacity he was highly critical of the treatment of the Métis. In June 1879 Nolin was found guilty of the charges arising from the Manitoba election of 1878 and he was severely reprimanded. Later that year, humiliated and debt-ridden, he left for the Touchwood Hills, NWT. Nolin lived for three years on a homestead in the Touchwood Hills. His property consisted of a house, stable, store, storehouse, and small schoolhouse. In 1881 he had 12 acres under cultivation. He farmed, traded in furs, and operated a school for the scattered Métis settlers of the district. He moved north to a farm halfway between Saint-Laurent-de-Grandin (St Laurent-Grandin) and St Louis in 1883. With his neighbour Lépine he operated a ferry service. On his arrival in the South Saskatchewan River district he had organized secret meetings to discuss Métis grievances regarding land claims and other issues and had become involved in the preparation of petitions to the governmentNolin strongly supported the resolution to invite Riel to return as leader. After he arrived in July 1884 Riel resided with Nolin and during the next few months the two were inseparable. Nolin was an early advocate of armed resistance and he helped draft the petition of December 1884 outlining the grievances of the Métis and the Indians in the northwest. However, his support of Riel wavered in the face of opposition by the clergy and the miraculous cure of his wife following a novena. Nolin became a member of Riel’s council, or exovedate, in March 1885 but his behaviour and actions were equivocal. The council accused him of treason and condemned him to death. A subsequent reconciliation occured and Nolin was given two important missions. On 21 March he was asked to deliver an ultimatum to Superintendent Crozier of the North-West Mounted Police; and later he was

assigned to enrol the English “Halfbreeds” living near Prince Albert in the Métis cause. It became evident that he was subverting the provisional government and he fled to Prince Albert during the battle of Duck Lake on 26 March but was promptly arrested and jailed by the NWMP. In 1891 he unsuccessfully sought election for Batoche in the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories against Charles-Eugène Boucher, a young Métis. Nolin and his associates were found guilty of bribery and fraud. The election caused much division in the Métis community and marked the final episode of his political career. In 1895 he and his sons were wintering cattle south of the Thunderchild Indian Reserve near Battleford. In the federal election of 1896 he supported the Liberal party and was appointed farmer-instructor at the One Arrow Indian Reserve but local opposition forced his withdrawal. By 1901 he and his family had relocated to a ranch at Outarde Lake, where he died six years later. Scrip affidavit for Nolin, Charles; born: May 2, 1838; father: Augustin Nolin (Métis); mother: Anne Cameron (Métis); claim no: 570; scrip no: 4400 to 4407; date of issue: June 13, 1876; amount: $160 = ; Scrip affidavit for Nolin, Charles; father: Augustin Nolin; mother: Helene Anne Cameron who died August 28, 1873 leaving as her heirs her children: Charles (the deponent); Marguerite; Norbert; Augustin; Marie; John; Francois; Angelique; Duncan and Joseph; claim no: 597; scrip no: 9142 to 9147; date of issue: July 3, 1876; amount: $160 = Reference: Diane Payment, “Charles Nolin,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography. http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?BioId=41086

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