Louis Riel, 'on the Missouri', to 'Editor', Helena Independant. Several of our big merchants have made their money trading unlawfully with the Indians; the poor citizen is bound to act that way; if anyone denounces another for illegal trade he becomes...; when the halfbreed is met by the trader with liquor he is thrown into demoralization; that is what several clerks at Wilder's Landing and at McGinnis' are doing; in the absence of Mr. Broadwater the stores are conducted in the most selfish manner; C.A. Broadwater & Co.'s influence was extensive and by its employees obnoxious; I told Broadwater a year ago I would fight the Company morally and warned Pepin; should you admit my letter to your columns I hope your readers will excuse my imperfect language; two years ago I declared my intention to become a citizen.
On the Missouri Between Rocky Point and Carroll. May 29th, 1882. To the Gentleman, Editor of the "Helena Independant" Mr. Editor, Why is it that he who denounces any one as having traded illegally on indian reservations, as having sold liquor to indians, is generally looked upon as a man of small character? Is it not that too many people in our community have traded more or less unlawfully in that manner; and that they are yet liable to take, sooner or later, chances on the same grounds? Several of our big merchants have made their money that way. Several of those who strive, at the present time, to build up a little capital for themselves are working their profits that way. The poor citizen, who tries to start in business, being most part of the time under the thumb of those merchants, is bound if he wishes their aid, to act also that way. And the laborer is under the mastership of all those influences mixed up together. That is, in my opinion, the mercantile atmosphere in which we respire from the Snowy Mountains to the international line; from the Benton region to the Yellowstone valleys. There if any one denounces another for illegal trade of any kind, he becomes not, by the fact, a the Scourge of war. But when he comes to trade peaceably, it is wrong to treat him unjustly. He feels it. And he becomes worse than ever against the whites. The Halfbreed's nomadic mode of live is a public embarrass, as he hunts, most part of time without permit, on indian reservations. When he visits a store with the produce of his chase, if the trader meets him with intoxicating liquor and trickery, he throws him into demoralization and poverty and retards his final settlement. That is what several clerks at Wilder's landing, Assiniboine and the trader in chief at Mcginnis, are doing on a great scale. The same clerks cause, by their sharp, unfair dealings, more than one white man to quit social life, to go and remain in the Mountains and live there suspicious. In the absence of Mr Broadwater, the stores are generally conducted in the most selfish manner. Except a few, all the employees seem to ignore that the only way of being honest and more probably prosperous, in trade, is to exchange on both sides, articles of a different nature, according the requirement, but of an equivalent value, for the two exchanging parties. C.A. Broadwater & co's influence, was extensive and, by their employees, obnoxious in proportion. I made up my mind to attack them, as soon as I could. The occasion has well presented itself. My attack is not a clandestine one. Nor has it come unexpectedly. A year ago, I told Mr Broadwater that my intention was to fight the company morally, for the faults of their employees. Last winter, I have warned again and again Mr Pepin that their forgetfulness of common justice would cause them losses and trouble. Mr Editor, my article is written in a manner which renders it hardly worth of notice. Should you be kind enough to admit it in your columns, I hope you and your readers will excuse my imperfect language. It is not three years since I have come to this country. Two years ago I have declared my intention to become a citizen. I belong to that class of emigrants who receive their naturalization papers long before they can speak well the american language. But I [feel] so glad and proud of my citizenship that cheerfulness instead of aptitude will help me to learn the nice language of my adoptive land and perhaps to speak it tolerably well, if God wills me to live. I am, Mr Editor, respecfully yours Louis Riel