At the end of 1873, the Canadian government organized the N-WMP, a semi-military unit meant to bring law and order to the Canadian West. The force was hastily assembled and sent west in December 1873 in response to the outcry over the Cypress Hills Massacre, but John A. Macdonald had been formulating plans for the N-WMP for some time. Canadian officials, observing with disdain and apprehension the violence of the American frontier, had no desire to see a repetition of this experience in the North-West Territories. Assisted by the fact that the Canadian West was not attracting settlers in large numbers, it was possible for the N-WMP to take the time to establish a working relationship with the Native peoples in the West. Fundamental to the approach taken by the N-WMP was the view that individuals, rather than bands or whole tribes, be held accountable for infractions. The perception that the force also dealt justice evenly to Native and non-Native alike, a view encouraged by the diligence of the N-WMP in the pursuit of the Americans responsible for the Cypress Hills Massacre, won them support among the Natives. The force was originally envisaged as a body of Métis troops with British officers modelled on the British army in India, but the Red River Resistance put an end to that idea. They did, however, rely on Métis and Native guides and hunters to ease their establishment in the west. Once in place, they saw their mission largely in terms of offering paternalistic protection to Canadian Natives from the debauching effects of contact with American whiskey traders. The red-coated Mounties carried with them the authority of the British Crown, and they worked to consolidate relations between the government and the various Native peoples of the Plains. The N-WMP played a role in the negotiation of four of the Numbered Treaties, and the presence of  Commissioner James Macleod was instrumental to the successful conclusion of Treaty 7. The mandate of the police in the West would expand as they were called upon to enforce the terms of the treaties in the next decade.

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