McDougall was a rather devout Protestant missionary who (p. 111-113) engaged the Indians in an anti-alcohol petition, a miner episode in the Red River Colony’s rebellion against the Canadian government which had transferred Hudson’s Bay Company land to the new country to the detriment of Métis interests in their land and culture.
p. 26: Most of our reading was done by the dim tallow dip or chimney fire; our literature was limited, and of the ancient type; one thousand miles to the nearest post gave us very little trouble with our mail.
p. 36, winter 1868-9 in Saskatchewan, on missionary educational efforts: Our oldest little girl, Flora, whom he had left with her grandparents at Victoria in September, I brought up with me, and she was now with us, and though scarcely three years old, was a most remarkable example of language learning, for in three months she had learned to speak English. Her vocabulary was quite extensive, and her pronunciation remarkably correct. Formerly it was all Cree with our little daughter; now it was all English, and she quite amused her mother and the Indians around us by her insistence in using this new language at all times.
…Getting out timber and lumber, gathering firewood, hauling hay, keeping the pot boiling, and our time was fully taken up. Even if we had a study and books, there would have been precious little time for them. But as we see things now, our study was a big room wherein was all manner of strange life and mysterious problems, and in the working out of the questions before us at the time God was teaching in his own way.
p. 158, during a smallpox epidemic among French Métis: Ammunition and powder-horns and camp equipage, carts and saddles, etc., the prostrate sick and the dying, the weakly convalescent, the few excited well news worn out with nursing—all in danger. “Never fear; don’t move. I will stop the fire,” assured the priest, and while many things could have been done, and which ordinary common-sense would urge the doing of, these people, dazed and burdened by the awful epidemic, were passive in the hands of the foolish fanatic, and left undone what should have been done. So out towards the fire the priest went, with book and cross and beads, and kneeling and praying and signing the cross towards the flames did what he could according to his belief; but ruthlessly and relentlessly the fire came on, nor heeded him for one moment, and he had to flee for his life, alas, too late to save the camp.