The Assiniboine River from La Normandie 1891
Dixon settled in what is now southern Manitoba in1880. His idyllic paintings of the Assiniboine River and of the surrounding landscape may convey a sense of peaceful pioneer life, but the events of the time were far from peaceful. By all accounts it was a troubling time of broken promises, violated treaties, starving Indigenous people, and a resulting bubbling cauldron of discontent. At the depth of this discontent was a contentious struggle over land. During the 1880s, First Nations peoples were forced onto reserves and told to abandon traditional nomadic hunting lifestyles for farming. Meanwhile, the Métis were being cheated out of their land.
As a twenty-nine-year-old justice of the peace, Dixon was more than a casual observer.