This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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. He married Virginie Rolette (b. 1849) at St. Boniface. The couple lived in St. Charles Parish and later at St. François Xavier Parish. Like his brother James, Angus was fluent in French, English, and several Indian languages. Angus opposed Louis Riel in 1869 and was elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 1870 to represent the Lake Manitoba riding. The following year he attended several 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 join forces with the government against a possible Fenian invasion. In March 1871, Angus ran for Marquette in a special election to determine 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 Christian Schultz. Although both men were declared “returned as elected” to the single member constituency by the house in April 1872 and took their seats (on different days), they subsequently withdrew while the house committee on elections studied the problem. Parliament was dissolved before the committee reported. McKay was not a candidate in the federal general election later that year. He was re-elected by acclamation on December 23, 1874 and resigned in December 1876 to make way for his brother James who then won Lake Manitoba riding by acclamation. . Late in 1876, Angus accepted the position of Indian agent for portions of the southern prairies and the Qu’Appelle valley covered in Treaty No.4. Officials of the department believed that he encouraged the Indians to express dissatisfaction with government actions, thus in 1879 he was posted to northern Manitoba, first at Grand Rapids, and then, in 1883, at Berens River, where it was hoped he could do “little or no harm.” He then served as Indian Agent at Norway House in 1894. Despite his numerous requests for transfer he remained Indian agent in the area covered by Treaty No.5 until 1897. Margaret Stobie did an interview with Angus Tache McKay, the son of Angus Augustin McKay and Virginie Rolette for the University of Manitoba. Tache was born on July 19, 1883 at Berens River. Tache McKay discusses his life and how he acted as interpreter for the Indian agents and doctors. No date given, probably in the 1970's. DOCUMENT NAME/INFORMANT: TACHE MCKAY
INFORMANT'S ADDRESS: BERENS RIVER LANGUAGE: ENGLISH DATE OF INTERVIEW: MARGARET STOBIE TRANSCRIBER: JOANNE GREENWOOD SOURCE: MARGARET STOBIE TAPE COLLECTION ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS ELIZABETH DAFOE LIBRARY UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA WINNIPEG, MANITOBA R3T 2N2 TAPE NUMBER: IH-MS.010a (16 min. in) IH-MS.022b DISK: TRANSCRIPT DISC 42 PAGES: 4 Discusses how he acted as interpreter for Indian Agents. Tache: That time my father was the Indian Agent, Angus McKay. Of course that's my name 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 was the first Bishop that was around at St. Boniface. That's what they state. All I have to do is to 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 taking the Agent and I would interpret for the Agent and I would interpret for the doctor. All separate and then I had to interpret to the band Margaret: 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 and fix it all up and make that bed there. Put a canvas tent, you know. Sleep outside every camp. 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. There were 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 to cook too. I had to cook and everything for the camp. It was an awful, awful job. Then you had to interpret for the doctor separate. 'Cause I spoke the languages, all the languages all through 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 as he can English. His father and mother both spoke it. See old Angus McKay, he spoke seven languages. And I just remembered the name of that place the Gilbert Plains. That is where 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. I done 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 I had to talk Indian, Saulteaux and I had to talk again in another language and all different languages. 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, Joe Ouellette [Rolette] -- was the first president(member of the legislature) in the States in Minneapolis. And that was my mother's father. And I booked that old guy. After he got elected, I booked that old guy. My mother was telling me all about it. 'Cause there is my father, my father wasn't a Catholic Priest. My father was a -- what do you call these fellows 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 was Presbyterian and the other was Methodist. And he is one of them two. Tache: What you call that religion now? Second Person: Methodist.
Tache: Of course that is his nationality, my father. He was a Scotch. The old man was a Scotch French Canadian. Same as I am. I'm a Scotch French Canadian. Margaret: When you carried the mail in the wintertime, where did you go? Tache: Oh, I had to carry the mail. (laughs) I had dogs, two trainer dogs, and I had a runner to run ahead. And they had these... I had to go from here to, round trip took me -it used to take -- I used to go twice a month. Margaret: From here where? Tache: From here right straight to Fisher River, you know. I had to use a canoe, two canoes, and I had to go right between water, like over there. Where I couldn't travel with the dogs we used a canoe. Put dogs and all in the canoe. Off and on, off and on. We would start from here to Berens River and then I'd got right straight to, what you call that? Fisher River. Oh, Mikey(?) Little, he had a hotel there. Margaret: How long did it take? Tache: I used to make a round trip. A round trip would take me... I had to travel on time too. So many days. I guess we went to Fisher and some places we had to use the dogs and some places like right here. See, there is a portage here. I take two trains of dogs and pull the canoes. That was enough. Then I'd set the dogs on the track when there was ice or sometimes it was slush and the dogs had to run on that and pull the canoe right on top of that. Oh, it was hard work.. Margaret: It must have been. Tache: I would make a round trip every month. I had to do that every month. Margaret: Were you ever on the York boats? Tache: No, I wasn't. My old man was. I remember, her name was Old Turtle. That was her name, Old Turtle. That is an Indian name, turtle. Because a turtle was a, travelled on the ice in any weather, you know. Margaret: How long did he run that? Tache: Oh, it was quite a few years. Quite a few years I done that. Margaret: Did you ever come up with the supply ships and York boats with the year's supplies? Tache: No. They used to, the York boat, you see they used to... Well, old Roderick Smith, that's Hector Smith, that's his father. He used to build York boats at Norway House. I saw him, Roderick Smith was his name. He had a place on Main Street in Selkirk. Still today
that is where... And he bought hay and he bought... And they had a big scale and they recorded our liquor. And when you'd buy liquor, they'd go in there... And of course he knew I was Angus Mckay's son, he knew my father. So I always got their liquor for them. (Inaudible) Oh, he'd be glad. I was Angus Mckay's son. He said, "Okay, have a beer." I always had a beer down here. (End of Interview) Reference: Carter, Sarah. “Angus McKay.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. XII (18911900). Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990: 640-641.
Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell Coordinator of Metis Heritage & History Research Louis Riel Institute