Following the Rebellion of 1885, the Métis of the Canadian West continued to move further west, settling in small family groups in isolated sections of Alberta. Many were impoverished, squatting on small land holdings with no legal title and living off the land where they were able to do so. An attempt to create a formal colony of Métis people at St. Paul in 1896 failed, and, although some individuals became successful agriculturalists, most Alberta Métis lived a precarious existence. In 1934, the province appointed a royal commission to investigate the conditions under which the Métis were living and to make recommendations regarding their betterment. Established under the authority of Alberta Supreme Court Justice A.F. Ewing, the commission heard testimony concerning the destitution, health problems, and lack of education among the Alberta Métis. Those Métis living in the more populated areas of the province were a particular focus. The commission recommended that the Métis be allotted individual plots of land on farm colonies established for the community, but saw the recommendations as a humanitarian gesture rather than a recognition of land rights descending from the community's Native heritage.

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