The Republican Revolution
A Kevin Annett Newsletter
September 4, 2019 Volume I, Issue # 6
Electing Winnipeg North…
Why did Kevin Annett choose Winnipeg North as his riding in the upcoming federal election? More to the point, why should North Winnipeg choose him?
Kevin and North Winnipeg are a good fit because they share the same rich heritage. The people North of Portage and Main originated from three races; the Cree nation who named Winnipeg “muddy water,” the Scottish settlers who brought their single malt barley extract with them and the Frenchcoureurs-des-bois, who had to be runners-in-the-woods because of the exorbitant prices (in beaver pelts) they exacted from the native residents for watered-down cognac.
Kevin Annett, by the way, drinks nothing stronger than Gatorade, so following the election he should adapt easily to Ottawa society. Electable, as they say in Washington. In fact, an ancestor of his who was neither Scottish nor French, gave away a franchise called 6-Up as a failed enterprise. Instead, the example of Wandering Spirit (who once whipped 10 or 12 Mounties)* inspires him, as does the legacy of Louis Riel who, in Canadian political fashion, was first elected to Parliament and then hanged.
*This is a passing reference to the Frog Lake Massacre of 1885. In Canadian parlance, when 60,000 Indian children are wiped out in “residential schools,” which were in full flower at that same time, it’s referred to by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his apology later in 2006 as misguided pedagogy, i.e. a well-intentioned Sunday School gone awry. But when a dozen or so Mounties are killed in a skirmish at a Hudson’s Bay trading post, it’s called a massacre.
But perhaps the most important racial inheritance
Kevin Annett shares with North Winnipeggers is from the Scottish Selkirk Settlers, who were verily the warp to which Louis Riel later supplied the woof in the growth of this bustling anti-British colony. Oh, Jake Penner bustled pretty good along the same lines, but that came much later.
“Lord Selkirk’s Settlers,” significantly, derived their name from Lord Selkirk. Jusr as the Irish Potato Famine succeeded in populating New York and Boston, a similar atrocity on the part of certain Scottish Lairds prompted Selkirk’s Red River Settlement.
This catalyst was known as The Highland Clearances. Although they were pretty dumb (they couldn’t even spell “Lords,” which of course they were) these Lairds finally figured out that if they booted all the peasants off their land – after they had won it from the British, with the help of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce (a part-time Laird himself) and an ancestor of Mel Gibson, who also did the screen play and directed – there would be more land for the Lairds, which they could then hire the peasants to share-crop. (A system later perfected in the Southern States by still other Scottish settlers, who also invented bourbon whiskey by adding an “e” and corn in place of barley.
But Lord Selkirk was not your average Laird, i.e., he was smart. For example, he learned by studying the French Revolution that –unlike Marie Antoinette – that there’s more money to be made on the distaff side than on the nobility’s side with your average revolution. I mean, think about it: would you rather have a bunch of freezing highland acreage full of rocks, wilted heather and thistle, where you’re being ripped off by resentful peasants, or would you prefer to own an almost limitless chunk of the future Province of Manitoba, simply by sponsoring a bunch of grateful settlers who would end up piecing you out, building a statue of you and naming a Street, a city and even a university after you? Not to mention becoming the buddy of the chief Cree Chief, whom you taught to distill all that muddy water, and who also would even supply the necessary wives for the single settlers in your colony in order to keep them down on the farm?
By the way, according to colonial scholars, ”metis” may be the French pronunciation of a greeting still used by the women who hang out around the Marlborough just off Portage Avenue, who address johns as ‘matie.”
In addition to Kevin Annett’s anti-British French heritage and his anti-British Scots’ ancestors, many mausoleummed in Kildonan Cemetery in North Winnipeg, Kevin is the descendant of a great-great Cree grandmother, which may or may not echo his name (Eagle Strong Voice) given him by Chief Louis Daniels of the Anishinabe Nation.
But being 1/16th native beats Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Warren, even if it got her as job at Harvard.
Editor’s Footnote: Geez, I’m only 1/32nd native. But aren’t we all?