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Glossaries have been created to provide the definition for words
specific to each theme area. It is suggested that students review
the glossaries before they examine a specific theme area. For example,
the Ranching Glossary contains many terms such as "greenhorn,"
"heifer," or "wrangler," that only a rancher
or cowboy might know.
Barrack: A building or group of buildings used to house
military personnel and soldiers.
Battalion: An army unit usually consisting of a headquarters
and three or more companies.
Bison: A very large, bovine mammal having large forequarters,
a shaggy mane, and a massive head with short curved horns. Often
mistaken with the term buffalo.
Blackfoot Confederacy: A First Nations alliance that includes
the Kainai (Blood), the Siksika (Blackfoot), and the Piikani (Peigan)
Blood Tribe: Also called the Kainai, the name means "Many
Chiefs." The Kainai/Blood are members of the Blackfoot Confederacy,
an alliance that also includes the Siksika (Blackfoot), the Piikani
(Peigan), and the Blackfeet.
Boer War: A war fought from 1899 to 1902 between the Boer
governments and Great Britain in South Africa. The war was over
the sovereignty and commercial rights in these lands and ended with
Bright's disease: A disease marked by an inflammation of
Buckskin: Soft, yellowish leather having a suede finish
made from deerskins.
Buffalo: Applied to the North American mammal; bison
is the correct name of the animal (see Bison).
Commissioner: A governmental official or administrator in
charge of a department or military group.
Discharge: To release a soldier from duty.
First Nations: A Canadian term for an organized aboriginal
group or community. First Nations provides a respectful alternative
to Indian, a term that may be taken offensively.
Gold Rush: A large movement of people to an area where gold
has been discovered.
Hoedown: A Western social gathering at which music and dancing
often take place.
Insubordination: The act of an inferior military officer
deliberately disobeying a lawful order from a superior officer.
Magistrate: A minor official with the power to administer
and enforce law within a limited jurisdiction.
Marquee: A large and often sumptuous tent, often with open
Maverick: There are two main definitions.
1. Originally, it referred to cattle that have not been branded
yet, usually meaning a calf that has become separated from its
mother. They were usually considered the property of the first
person to brand them.
2. Today, it refers to a person who is independent in thought
and deed, or who refuses to "go along with the group."
Minstrel: An entertainer who traveled from place to place,
usually singing folk songs and reciting poetry.
Mobile forge: A movable furnace or hearth where metals are
heated and shaped into tools or weapons.
Mortar: A high-angle cannon with a short barrel that fires
shells at high elevations for a short range.
Mutiny: Open rebellion of military personnel against superior
North-West Rebellion (1885): A provisional government was
proclaimed in the West by Louis Riel in March, 1885, especially
because of broken promises by the Federal Government to the First
Nations and Metis groups. It was eventually overthrown with the
capture of its capital, Batoche, on 12 May 1885. Riel was taken
prisoner and later hanged for treason.
NWMP: The North-West Mounted Police was created in 1873
by the federal government. Their mission was to bring order to the
frontier, encourage settlement, and establish Canadian authority
in what is now Western Canada.
Piikani/Peigan: One member tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy,
an alliance that also includes the Siksika (Blackfoot), the Kainai
(Blood), and the Blackfeet tribes.
Provisional Government: A government in power or serving
only for the time being or for the short term.
RCMP: In 1919, the RNWMP became the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police due to the need for a permanent federal police force for
Recruit: A new member of a military force, usually of the
Red River cart: A small horse-drawn cart with three-foot
solid wheels cut from large trees that could carry up to 450 pounds.
Re-enlist: To re-enter a military force.
Regiment: A military unit of ground troops composed of at
least two battalions.
RNWMP: In 1904, King Edward VII decreed that the name of
the NWMP be changed to include the "Royal" in recognition
of its excellent service to Canada.
Sovereignty: Complete autonomy and self-government by a
Treaty: A formal agreement between two or more groups or
states, usually in reference to peace or trade.
Union Jack flag: The national flag of the United Kingdom
(or Great Britain).