“Pork, Beans and Hard Tack”


"Our volunteers are soldiers bold, so say the people all... They leave their homes on starving pay to take the nitchies' (Indians') life." Fed poor rations, they are sent all around Canada by train, boat, and foot


For the historical background to the Metis uprisings, see "Riel's Song." This song (which appeared in the University of Toronto Songbook only two years after the revolt) accurately describes the fate of the soldiers sent to pursue Riel.

Sent west by rail, the troops had to finish their trek by boat and foot, with rations even worse than they enjoyed on the train. Having reached Metis country, they had great difficulty finding the enemy, and spent time as laborers. Then they were sent back, primarily by boat, to Winnipeg. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1885 - Second Metis uprising, which collapsed despite the failure of Canadian troops to defeat the enemy

Cross references


  1. Fowke/Mills/Blume, pp. 127-129, "Pork, Beans and Hard Tack" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #4516
  3. BI, FMB127


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1887
Found in: Canada