North-West Rebellion

Last updated
North-West Rebellion
Part of the American Indian Wars
Battle of Batoche Print by Seargent Grundy.jpg Battle of Cut Knife.jpg
Top: Battle of Batoche
Bottom: Battle of Cut Knife
DateMarch 26 – June 3, 1885
Location
Present-day Saskatchewan and Alberta
Result Canadian victory
Belligerents
Canadian Red Ensign (1868-1921).svg Canada
Commanders and leaders
Strength
  • 5,000 volunteers and militia [1]
  • 500 NWMP [1] [2]
  • 280 Métis [3]
  • 250 Cree–Assiniboine
Casualties and losses
  • 38 dead [4]
  • 141 wounded [4]
  • 11 civilians killed [5]
  • 33 Métis dead [4] [6]
  • 48 Métis wounded [4] [6]
  • 10–17 Cree dead
  • 78–103 Cree wounded
  • 1 Nez Perce death (at Cut Knife Hill)
Total (Military):
  • 43–50 dead
  • 126–151 wounded

The North-West Rebellion of 1885 was a rebellion by the Métis people under Louis Riel and an associated uprising by First Nations Cree and Assiniboine of the District of Saskatchewan against the government of Canada. Many Métis felt Canada was not protecting their rights, their land and their survival as a distinct people. Riel had been invited to lead the movement of protest. He turned it into a military action with a heavily religious tone. This alienated Catholic clergy, whites, most Indigenous tribes and some Métis. But he had the allegiance of a couple hundred armed Métis, a smaller number of other Indigenous warriors and at least one white man at Batoche in May 1885, confronting 900 Canadian militia plus some armed local residents. About 91 people would die in the fighting that occurred that spring, before the rebellion's collapse. [7] [8] [9]

Contents

Despite some notable early victories at Duck Lake, Fish Creek and Cut Knife, the rebellion ended when the Métis were defeated at the Siege of Batoche. The remaining Aboriginal allies scattered. Riel was captured and put on trial. He was convicted of treason and despite many pleas across Canada for amnesty, he was hanged. Riel became a heroic martyr to Francophone Canada, and ethnic tensions escalated into a major national division whose repercussions continue to be felt. [10] [11] Due to the key role that the Canadian Pacific Railway played in transporting troops, Conservative political support for it increased and Parliament authorized funds to complete the country's first transcontinental railway. Although only a few hundred people were directly affected in Saskatchewan, the rebellion's lack of success contributed to the eventual assurance that the Prairie Provinces would be controlled by English speakers with a very limited francophone presence, and to the alienation French speakers across Canada who were embittered by the repression of their countrymen. [12]

Background

After the Red River Rebellion of 1869–1870, many of the Métis moved from Manitoba to the Fort Carlton region of the Northwest Territories, where they founded the Southbranch settlements of Fish Creek, Batoche, St. Laurent, St. Louis, and Duck Lake on or near the South Saskatchewan River. [13] [14] In 1882, surveyors began dividing the land of the newly formed District of Saskatchewan in the square concession system. The Métis lands were laid out in the seigneurial system of strips reaching back from a river which the Métis were familiar with in their French-Canadian culture. [10] A year after the survey the 36 families of the parish of St. Louis found that their land and village site that included a church and a school (in Township 45, Range 7 west of the 2nd Meridian of the Dominion Land Survey) had been sold by the Government of Canada to the Prince Albert Colonization Company. [15] [16] Not having clear title, the Métis feared losing their land which, now that the buffalo herds were gone, [17] was their primary source of sustenance. [11]

In 1884, the Métis (including the Anglo-Métis) asked Louis Riel to return from the United States, where he had fled after the Red River Rebellion, to appeal to the government on their behalf. [10] The government gave a vague response. In March 1885, Riel, Gabriel Dumont, Honoré Jackson (a.k.a. Will Jackson), and others set up the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan, believing that they could influence the federal government in the same way as they had in 1869.

The Federal Government's violation of its treaties with the Cree spurred Big Bear, a native chief, to embark on a diplomatic campaign to renegotiate the terms of the treaties. Bigbear-blanket.jpg
The Federal Government's violation of its treaties with the Cree spurred Big Bear, a native chief, to embark on a diplomatic campaign to renegotiate the terms of the treaties.

The role of aboriginal peoples prior to—and during—the outbreak of the rebellion is often misunderstood. A number of factors have created the misconception that the Cree and Métis were acting in unison. By the end of the 1870s, the stage was set for discontent among the aboriginal people of the prairies: the bison population was in serious decline (creating enormous economic difficulties) [18] and, in an attempt to assert control over aboriginal settlement, the federal government often violated the terms of the treaties it had signed during the latter part of the decade. [19] Thus, widespread dissatisfaction with the treaties and rampant poverty spurred Big Bear, a Cree chief, to embark on a diplomatic campaign to renegotiate the terms of the treaties (the timing of this campaign happened to coincide with an increased sense of frustration among the Métis). [20] When the Cree initiated violence in the spring of 1885, it was almost certainly unrelated to the revolt of Riel and the Métis (which was already underway). In both the Frog Lake Massacre and the Siege of Fort Battleford, small dissident groups of Cree men revolted against the authority of Big Bear and Poundmaker. [21] Although he quietly signalled to Ottawa that these two incidents were the result of desperate and starving people and were, as such, unrelated to the rebellion, Edgar Dewdney, the lieutenant-governor of the territories, publicly claimed that the Cree and the Métis had joined forces. [22]

For Riel and the Métis, several factors had changed since the Red River Rebellion. The railway had been completed across the prairies in 1883, though sections were still under construction north of Lake Superior, making it easier for the government to get troops into the area. In addition, the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) had been created, developing an armed local force. Riel lacked support from English settlers of the area as well as the great majority of tribes. Riel's claim that God had sent him back to Canada as a prophet caused Catholic officials (who saw it as heresy) to try to minimize his support. The Catholic priest, Albert Lacombe, worked to obtain assurances from Crowfoot that his Blackfoot warriors would not participate in a rebellion. [23]

Demographics

Canada Saskatchewan relief location map.jpg
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The District of Saskatchewan in 1885 (within the black diamonds) included the central section of Saskatchewan and extended into present-day Alberta and Manitoba. The area of conflict is circled in black.

The District of Saskatchewan, part of the Northwest Territories in 1885, was divided into three sub-districts and had a population of 10,595. To the east, the Carrot River sub-district with 1,770 people remained quiet. The Prince Albert sub-district located in the centre of the district had a population of 5,373 which included the Southbranch settlements with about 1,300. The Southbranch settlement was the centre of Louis Riel's Provisional Government of Saskatchewan during the Rebellion. To the west, where the Cree uprising led by Poundmaker and Big Bear occurred, was the Battleford sub-district with 3,603 people. [14] [24]

The largest settlement and the capital of the district was Prince Albert with about 800 people [25] followed by Battleford with about 500 people who were "divided about equally between French, Métis and English". [26]

The Métis population in Saskatchewan in 1885 was about 5,400. A majority tried to stay neutral in the dispute with the national government, as the priests recommended. About 350 armed men supported Riel. [27] A smaller number opposed him, led by Charles Nolin. In addition he had the support of a small number of the Indians. Riel's supporters included the older, less assimilated Métis, often with close associations with the Indian population. Many moved back and forth into Indian communities and preferred to speak Indian languages more than French. Riel's opponents were younger, better educated Métis; they wanted to be more integrated into Canadian society, not to set up a separate domain as Riel promised. [28]

Course of war

Riel had been invited in to lead the movement but he turned it into a military action with a heavily religious tone, thereby alienating the Catholic clergy, the whites, nearly all of the First Nations, and most of the Métis. He had a force of a couple hundred Métis and a smaller number of First Nations at Batoche in May 1885, confronting 900 government troops. [7] [8]

Outbreak of rebellion

In March 1885, a skirmish broke out between the Canadian Militia, the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), and Metis and aboriginal warriors. Battle of Duck Lake.jpg
In March 1885, a skirmish broke out between the Canadian Militia, the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), and Métis and aboriginal warriors.

On March 26, 1885, the 150 to 200 Métis and Aboriginal warriors under the command of Gabriel Dumont defeated a combined group of 90 Prince Albert Volunteers and North-West Mounted Police led by their superintendent Leif Newry Fitzroy Crozier at Battle of Duck Lake, outside Batoche. [29] The federal government had, shortly before the battle at Duck Lake, sent Major General Frederick Middleton to the West. Eventually, over a period of many weeks, Middleton brought 3,000 troops to the West, and incorporated another 2,000, mostly English-Canadian volunteers, and 500 North-West Mounted Police into his force. [1]

On March 30, 1885, a raiding party of Cree people, short of food due to declining bison populations, approached Battleford. The inhabitants fled to the nearby North-West Mounted Police post, Fort Battleford. The Cree then took food and supplies from the empty stores and houses. [30] As well, Cree insurgents looted Hudson's Bay Company posts at Lac la Biche and Green Lake on April 26. [31]

On April 2, 1885, at Frog Lake, Saskatchewan (now in Alberta) a Cree raiding party led by Cree war chief, Wandering Spirit, attacked the small town. Angered by what seemed to be unfair treaties and the withholding of vital provisions by the Canadian government, and also by the dwindling buffalo population, their main source of food, Big Bear and his Cree decided to rebel after the successful Métis victory at Duck Lake. They gathered all the white settlers in the area into the local church. They killed Thomas Quinn, the town's Indian agent, after a disagreement broke out. The Cree then attacked the settlers, killing eight more and taking three captive. [5] [32] [33]

The massacre prompted the Canadian government to take notice of the growing unrest in the North-West Territories. When the rebellion was put down, the government hanged Wandering Spirit, the war chief responsible for the Frog Lake Massacre.

On April 15, 1885, 200 Cree warriors descended on Fort Pitt. They intercepted a police scouting party, killing a constable, wounding another, and captured a third. Surrounded and outnumbered, garrison commander Francis Dickens capitulated and agreed to negotiate with the attackers. Big Bear released the remaining police officers but kept the townspeople as hostages and destroyed the fort. Six days later, Inspector Dickens and his men reached safety at Battleford. [34]

Government mobilization

The Canadian Militia on the march towards the conflict, near the Qu'Appelle Valley. Qu Appalle Valley 1885 Rebellion.jpg
The Canadian Militia on the march towards the conflict, near the Qu'Appelle Valley.

Recognizing that an uprising might be imminent, the federal government had, three days before Duck Lake, sent Major General Frederick Middleton, the commander of the Canadian Militia, to Winnipeg, where a unit of militia, the 90th Winnipeg Rifles, and of militia artillery, the Winnipeg Field Battery, already existed. After Duck Lake, the government immediately commenced the mobilization of some of Canada's ill-equipped part-time militia units (the Non-Permanent Active Militia), as well as the units of cavalry, artillery and infantry regulars that made up the tiny Permanent Active Militia, Canada's almost-nonexistent regular army. By March 30, after hasty mobilization in Toronto, two trains containing the 10th Royal Grenadiers and Queen's Own Rifles militia battalions were ready to leave Toronto. Other militia units, the 9th Voltigeurs from Quebec City, and the 65th Mount Royal Rifles from Montreal, were also quickly mobilized. Soon every major city in the East was the scene of embarkation for inexperienced young militiamen cheered by immense crowds.

The first militia to struggle westward had to contend with the many lengthy breaks in the CPR line in northern Ontario. They marched through snow, or were carried in exposed sleighs. Where there were short stretches of track, the militia rode on hastily-constructed railroad flatcars which did nothing to shelter them from the extreme cold. Many of the soldiers suffered greatly from the winter weather. However, the first troops sent west were, in succeeding weeks, followed by thousands more. [35]

The Battle of Fish Creek was a major Metis victory, persuading Major General Frederick Middleton to temporarily halt his advance. Battle of Fish Creek.jpg
The Battle of Fish Creek was a major Métis victory, persuading Major General Frederick Middleton to temporarily halt his advance.

On April 24, 1885, at Fish Creek, Saskatchewan, 200 Métis achieved a remarkable victory over a superior government force numbering 900 soldiers who were sent to quell the rebellion. The reversal, though not decisive enough to alter the outcome of the war, temporarily halted Major General Frederick Middleton's column's advance on Batoche. That was where the Métis would later make their final stand. [36]

On May 2, 1885, the Cree war chief Fine-Day successfully held off Lieutenant Colonel William Otter at the Battle of Cut Knife near Battleford. Despite its use of a gatling gun, a flying column of Canadian militia was forced to retreat. Fine-Day was affiliated with the chief Poundmaker. Big Bear did not get involved. [37] [38]

Ending the rebellion

On May 9, 1885, Middleton attacked Batoche itself. The greatly outnumbered Métis ran out of ammunition after three days of battle and siege. The Métis resorted to firing sharp objects and small rocks from their guns, until they were killed or dispersed when Middleton's soldiers advanced in strength and overran their rifle pits. Riel surrendered on May 15. Gabriel Dumont and other participants escaped across the border to the Montana Territory of the United States. [39] The defeat of the Métis and Riel's capture led to the collapse of the Provisional Government.

The Battle of Batoche was a decisive victory for the Canadian militia, with the capture of Louis Riel, and the collapse of the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan. Battle of Batoche Print by Seargent Grundy.jpg
The Battle of Batoche was a decisive victory for the Canadian militia, with the capture of Louis Riel, and the collapse of the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan.

On May 28, 1885, Major General Thomas Bland Strange brought a NWMP detachment from Calgary, Alberta, but they were unable to defeat a Cree force under Big Bear who carried the day at Frenchman's Butte at the end of May. [40]

The last armed engagement in the rebellion was during the Battle of Loon Lake. On June 3, 1885, a small detachment of North-West Mounted Police under the command of Major Sam Steele caught up to a band of Cree led by Big Bear who were moving northward after their victory at Frenchman's Butte. The Cree were almost out of ammunition, and were forced to flee after a short exchange of fire and the release of their hostages. [41]

Demoralized, defenceless, and with no hope of relief after the surrender of the Métis and Poundmaker, most of the Cree surrendered over the next few weeks. On July 2 Big Bear surrendered to the NWMP on an island in the Saskatchewan River near Fort Carlton. The government pacified the Cree and Assiniboine by sending them food and other supplies. Poundmaker and Big Bear were sentenced to prison. Eight others were hanged in the largest mass hanging in Canadian history. [42] These individuals, found guilty of killing outside of the military conflict, were Wandering Spirit, (Kapapamahchakwew) a Plains Cree war chief, Little Bear (Apaschiskoos), Walking the Sky (AKA Round the Sky), Bad Arrow, Miserable Man, Iron Body, Ika (AKA Crooked Leg) and Man Without Blood, for murders committed at Frog Lake and at Battleford (the murders of Farm instructor Payne and Battleford farmer Barney Tremont).

Aftermath

The end of the rebellion led to the trial of Louis Riel, a trial that sparked national controversy between English and French Canada. RielAtTrial.jpg
The end of the rebellion led to the trial of Louis Riel, a trial that sparked national controversy between English and French Canada.

The trial of Louis Riel occurred shortly after the rebellion, where he was found guilty of treason, and hanged. His trial sparked a national controversy between English and French Canada. [11]

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) played a key role in the government's response to the Rebellion, as it was able to transport federal troops to the area quickly. While it had taken three months to get troops to the Red River Rebellion, the government was able to move forces in nine days by train in response to events in the North-West Territories. The successful operation increased political support for the floundering and incomplete railway, which had been close to financial collapse. The government authorized enough funds to finish the line. Thus, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald was able to realize his National Dream of linking Canada across the continent.

After the fighting, new Territorial Council ridings were created in the Territories, although still only covering specific areas of concentrated settlement. The North-West Territories election of 1885 was held. The Scrip Commission was dispatched to the District of Saskatchewan and to present-day Alberta to address Métis land claims. [43] [44]

North West Canada Medal, 1885, obverse.png
North West Canada Medal, reverse.png
The obverse and reverse for the North West Canada Medal, awarded to veterans of the rebellion from the Canadian Militia, and the NWMP.

The Rebellion was Canada's first independent military action. It cost about $5 million, and lost the Conservative Party most of their support in Quebec. It guaranteed Anglophone control of the Prairies, and demonstrated the national government was capable of decisive action. [45] Those who served with the Militia and Police during the rebellion received the North West Canada Medal, established in September 1885. [46]

International reaction

While the North-West Rebellion was ongoing, the American and British press took note of the actions of both the Métis and the Canadian Government. Different newspapers, such as the Times and Guardian wrote approvingly of the actions taken by the Canadian government. [47]

Long-term consequences

The Saskatchewan Métis' requested land grants; they were all provided by the government by the end of 1887, and the government resurveyed the Métis river lots in accordance with their wishes. The Métis did not understand the long term value of their new land, however, and sold much of it to speculators who later resold it to farmers. The French language and Catholic religion faced increasing marginalisation in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as exemplified by the emerging controversy surrounding the Manitoba Schools Question. The Métis themselves were increasingly forced to live on undesirable land or in the shadow of Indian reserves (as they did not themselves have treaty status as Indians with a right to land).

Riel's trial and Macdonald's refusal to commute his sentence caused lasting upset in Quebec, and led to a fundamental francophone distrust of Anglophone politicians. French Canada felt it had been unfairly targeted. [48]

Memory

In the spring of 2008, Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Christine Tell proclaimed in Duck Lake, that "the 125th commemoration, in 2010, of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion is an excellent opportunity to tell the story of the prairie Métis and First Nations peoples' struggle with Government forces and how it has shaped Canada today." [49]

BATOCHE. In 1872, Xavier Letendre dit Batoche founded a village at this site where Métis freighters crossed the South Saskatchewan River. About 50 families had claimed the river lots in the area by 1884. Widespread anxiety regarding land claims and a changing economy provoked a resistance against the Canadian Government. Here, 300 Métis and Indians led by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont fought a force of 800 men commanded by Major-General Middleton between May 9 and 12, 1885. The resistance failed but the battle did not mean the end of the community of Batoche.

Historic Sites and Monuments board of Canada. [50]

Batoche, where a Métis Provisional Government had been formed, has been declared a National Historic Site. Batoche marks the site of Gabriel Dumont's grave site, Albert Caron's House, Batoche school, Batoche cemetery, Letendre store, Dumont's river crossing, Gariépy's crossing, Batoche crossing, St. Antoine de Padoue Church, Métis rifle pits, and RNWMP battle camp. [51] [52]

Fort Carlton Provincial Historic site has been rebuilt as it had been ravaged by three separate fires. Big Bear (Mistahimaskwa) had used the site in his initial negotiations for Treaty Six in about 1884, and finally, the following year he surrendered here after his engagement at Steele Narrows. [53] [54] The Prince Albert blockhouse was employed by the North-West Mounted Police on evacuating from Fort Carlton after the first fire. [55] Duck Lake is home to the Duck Lake Historical Museum and the Duck Lake Regional Interpretive Centre, and murals which reflect the history of the Rebellion in the area. The Battle of Duck Lake, the Duck Lake Massacre, and a buffalo jump are all located here. The "First Shots Cairn" was erected on Saskatchewan Highway 212 as a landmark commemorating the scene of the first shots in the Battle of Duck Lake. The Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine at St. Laurent north of Duck Lake is a local pilgrimage site. [56] [57] [58] [59] The Battle of Fish Creek National Historic Site, the name has been changed to Tourond's Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site to preserve the battlefield of April 24, 1885, at la coulée des Tourond, Madame Tourond's home, early Red River cart Fish Creek Trail and the site of Middleton's camp and graveyard. [60]

A cairn commemoriating the Frog Lake massacre is located in the cemetery with the graves of those killed. Frog Lake National Historic Site.JPG
A cairn commemoriating the Frog Lake massacre is located in the cemetery with the graves of those killed.

The Marr Residence is a municipal heritage property of Saskatoon which served as a field hospital for wounded soldiers of the rebellion. [61] [62] [63] Fort Otter was constructed at Battleford's government house located at the capital of the North-West Territories. Poundmaker was arrested at Fort Battleford and sentenced to a prison term. Eight First Nations men were hanged, five due to participation in the Frog Lake Massacre, two for murders in the Battleford area, and one for the killing of a Mountie at Fort Pitt on April 15. [64] Fort Battleford has been declared a National Historic site of Canada to commemorate its role as military base of operations for Cut Knife Hill, Fort Pitt, as a refuge for 500 area settlers and its role in the Siege of Battleford. [55] [65] [66] [67] Fort Pitt, the scene of the Battle of Fort Pitt, is a Provincial Park and National Historic site where a National Historic Sites and Monuments plaque designates where Treaty Six was signed. [68] [69] [70] Frog Lake Massacre National Historic Site of Canada, at Frog Lake, Alberta, is the location of a Cree uprising that occurred in the District of Saskatchewan North-west Territories. [71] Frenchman Butte is a National Historic Site of Canada. It is the location of an 1885 battle between Cree and Canadian troops. [72] [73]

"Cut Knife Battlefield. Named after Chief Cut Knife of the Sarcee in an historic battle with the Cree. On 2nd May 1885, Lt. Col. W. D. Otter led 325 troops composed of North-West Mounted Police, "B" Battery, "C" Company, Foot Guards, Queen's Own and Battleford Rifles, against Cree and Assiniboine under Poundmaker and Fine Day. After an engagement of six hours, the troops retreated to Battleford."

National Historic Sites and Monuments Board [74]

At Cutknife is the world's largest tomahawk, the Poundmaker Historical Centre and Big Bear monument erected by cairn erected by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. There is also now, correctly located, a cairn erected upon Cut Knife Hill the look site of the Poundmaker Battle site and Battle River valley. [75] [76] [77] [78] The Narrows between Makwa Lake and Sanderson Bay, in the Makwa Lake Provincial Park, was the site of the last engagement of the rebellion. Steele Narrows Provincial Historic Park conserves the lookout point of a Cree burial ground. [79] [80] The Royal Canadian Mounted Police training depot at Regina was established in 1874, and still survives. The RCMP chapel, a frame building built in 1885, is still standing. It was used to jail Indian prisoners. One of three Territorial Government Buildings remains on Dewdney Avenue in the provincial capital city of Regina which was the site of the Trial of Louis Riel, where the drama the Trial of Louis Riel is still performed. Following the May trial, Louis Riel was hanged November 16, 1885. The RCMP Heritage Centre, in Regina, opened in May 2007. [81] [82] [83] The Métis brought his body to Saint-Vital, his mother's home, now the Riel House National Historic Site, and then interred it at the Saint-Boniface Basilica in Manitoba, his birthplace, for burial. [84] [85] Highway 11, stretching from Regina to just south of Prince Albert, has been named Louis Riel Trail by the province; the roadway passes near locations of the 1885 rebellion. [86]

The North-West Rebellion Memorial at Queen's Park, Toronto. The monument commemorates militiamen that served in the conflict. North-West Rebellion Monument.jpg
The North-West Rebellion Memorial at Queen's Park, Toronto. The monument commemorates militiamen that served in the conflict.

The members of the Canadian Militia are commemorated through a number of memorials in Canada, including the North-West Rebellion Monument in Queen's Park, in Toronto, Ontario, and The Volunteer Monument in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A statue for Wm. B. Osgoode and John Rogers, who fell in action at Cutknife Hill, also stands at the Cartier Square Drill Hall, in Ottawa, Ontario.

However, the militiamen who died during the 1885 North-West Rebellion are not commemorated in either the Books of Remembrance in the Memorial Chamber of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa or in Canada's Virtual War Memorial, both of which are administered by Veterans Affairs Canada. [87] North-West Mounted Police members who lost their lives during 1885 are commemorated in the RCMP Book of Remembrance. The 1885 North-West Canada casualties are the only group of service-members who died in the service of Canada since Confederation not memorialized in this way.

In fiction

See also

Related Research Articles

1885 in Canada Canada-related events during the year of 1885

Events from the year 1885 in Canada.

Battle of Cut Knife battle

The Battle of Cut Knife, fought on May 2, 1885, occurred when a flying column of mounted police, militia, and Canadian army regular army units attacked a Cree and Assiniboine teepee settlement near Battleford, Saskatchewan. First Nations fighters forced the Canadian forces to retreat, with losses on both sides.

Battle of Frenchmans Butte

The Battle of Frenchman's Butte, fought on May 28, 1885, occurred when a force of Cree, dug in on a hillside near Frenchman's Butte, was unsuccessfully attacked by the Alberta Field Force. It was fought in what was then the District of Saskatchewan of the Northwest Territories.

Batoche, Saskatchewan National Historic Site of Canada in Saskatchewan

Batoche, Saskatchewan was the site of the historic Battle of Batoche during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. The battle resulted in the defeat of Louis Riel and his Métis forces by Major General Frederick Middleton and his Northwest Field Force. At the time it was a small village of some 500 residents. It has since become depopulated and now has few residents. The 1885 church building and a few other historic buildings have been preserved and the site is a National Historic Site.

Poundmaker Cree headman

Poundmaker, also known as Pîhtokahanapiwiyin, was a Plains Cree chief known as a peacemaker and defender of his people.

Battle of Duck Lake

The Battle of Duck Lake was an infantry skirmish 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) outside Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, between North-West Mounted Police forces of the Government of Canada, and the Métis militia of Louis Riel's newly established Provisional Government of Saskatchewan. The skirmish lasted approximately 30 minutes, after which Superintendent Leif Newry Fitzroy Crozier of the NWMP, his forces having endured fierce fire with twelve killed and eleven wounded, called for a general retreat. The battle is considered the initial engagement of the North-West Rebellion. Although Louis Riel proved to be victorious at Duck Lake, the general agreement among historians is that the battle was strategically a disappointment to his cause.

Battle of Fish Creek major Métis victory over the Canadian forces attempting to quell Louis Riels North-West Rebellion

The Battle of Fish Creek, fought April 24, 1885 at Fish Creek, Saskatchewan, was a major Métis victory over the Canadian forces attempting to quell Louis Riel's North-West Rebellion. Although the reversal was not decisive enough to alter the ultimate outcome of the conflict, it was convincing enough to persuade Major General Frederick Middleton to temporarily halt his advance on Batoche, where the Métis would later make their final stand.

Battle of Batoche

The Battle of Batoche was the decisive battle of the North-West Rebellion, which pitted the Canadian authorities against a force of indigenous and Métis people. Fought from May 9 to 12, 1885, at the ad hoc Provisional Government of Saskatchewan capital of Batoche, the greater numbers and superior firepower of General Frederick Middleton's force could not be successfully countered by the Métis, as had happened at the earlier Battle of Fish Creek, and the town was eventually captured. The defeat of the Métis led to the surrender of Louis Riel on May 15 and the collapse of the Provisional Government. Poundmaker surrendered on May 26. Cree fighters and families under Big Bear held out the longest, fighting off Canadian troops pursuing them in the Battle of Frenchman's Butte and Battle of Loon Lake, and, gradually dwindling in number, staying on the move until Big Bear eventually turned himself in to Mounties at Fort Carlton in early July.

Frederick Dobson Middleton British Army general

General Sir Frederick Dobson Middleton was a British general noted for his service throughout the Empire and particularly in the North-West Rebellion.

Fort Battleford building in Saskatchewan, Canada

Fort Battleford was the sixth North-West Mounted Police fort to be established in the Northwest Territories of Canada, and played a central role in the events of the North-West Rebellion / Resistance of 1885. It was there when Chief Poundmaker was arrested, and when six Cree and two Stoney men were hanged for their participation in the Frog Lake Massacre and other killings. In reference to the hanging, then Prime Minister John A. Macdonald remarked in a letter that, "the executions... ought to convince the Red Man that the White Man governs."

Southbranch Settlement

Southbranch Settlement was the name ascribed to a series of French Métis settlements on the Canadian prairies in the 19th Century, in what is today the province of Saskatchewan. Métis settlers began making homes here in the 1860s and 1870s, many of them fleeing economic and social dislocation from Red River, Manitoba. The settlements became the centre of Métis resistance during the North-West Rebellion when in March 1885, Louis Riel, Gabriel Dumont, Honoré Jackson, and others set up the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan with their headquarters at Batoche.

Battle of Fort Pitt Battle of the North-West Rebellion

The Battle of Fort Pitt was part of a Cree uprising coinciding with the Métis revolt that started the North-West Rebellion in 1885. Cree warriors began attacking Canadian settlements on April 2. On April 15, they captured Fort Pitt from a detachment of North-West Mounted Police.

Battle of Loon Lake

The Battle of Loon Lake concluded the North-West Rebellion on June 3, 1885 and was the last battle fought on Canadian soil. It was fought in what was then the District of Saskatchewan of the Northwest Territories, at what is now known as Steele Narrows, in Saskatchewan's Makwa Lake Provincial Park.

Exovedate is the name coined by Métis leader Louis Riel and given by him to his council of the Provisional Government of Saskatchewan during the North-West Rebellion in Canada. Ten years prior to this date on December 8, 1875 after attending a mass in Washington, D. C., Riel had a religious vision where God spoke to him in Latin. Riel believed that God had chosen him to be the divine leader of the Métis and that he had been given the mission to lead them to their promised land similar to how God had chosen Moses to lead the Jews. From this point onward Louis took the middle name "David" and called himself "the prophet of the new world."

The Prince Albert Volunteers is the name of two historical infantry units headquartered in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The unit was first raised in 1885 during the North-West Rebellion and disbanded after hostilities ceased. In the 20th century, the unit was operational from 1913 to 1936 and 1941 to 1946.

Frog Lake Massacre

The Frog Lake Massacre was part of the Cree uprising during the North-West Rebellion in western Canada. Led by Wandering Spirit, young Cree men attacked officials, clergy and settlers in the small settlement of Frog Lake in the District of Saskatchewan in the Northwest Territories on 2 April 1885. Nine settlers were killed in the incident.

Provisional Government of Saskatchewan

The Provisional Government of Saskatchewan was an independent state declared during the North-West Rebellion of 1885 in the District of Saskatchewan of the Northwest Territories. It included parts of the present-day Canadian provinces of Alberta. Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The name was given by Louis Riel. Although Riel initially hoped to rally the Countryborn, Cree and European settlers of the Saskatchewan Valley to his banner, this did not occur. The government, with the exception of Honoré Jaxon and Chief White Cap, had an entirely French-speaking and Métis leadership. Gabriel Dumont was proclaimed adjutant general in which capacity he became supreme military commander, although Riel could, and did, override his tactical decisions. The Provisional Government was declared by Riel on March 19, 1885. It ceased to exist following the defeat of the Métis militarily during the Battle of Batoche, which concluded on May 20, 1885. During its existence the government only exercised authority over the Southbranch Settlements along the South Saskatchewan River. Other major centres in the area such as Prince Albert, Saskatoon, and most First Nations reserves remained outside of its control.

Duck Lake, Saskatchewan Town in Saskatchewan, Canada

Duck Lake is a town in the boreal forest of central Saskatchewan, Canada. Its location is 88 km (55 mi) north of Saskatoon and 44 km (27 mi) south of Prince Albert on highway 11, in the rural municipality of Duck Lake. Immediately to the north of Duck Lake is the south block of the Nisbet Provincial Forest.

Looting of Battleford looting

The Looting of Battleford began at the end of March, 1885, during the North-West Rebellion, in the town of Battleford, Saskatchewan, then a part of the Northwest Territories.

North-West Mounted Police during the North-West Rebellion

The North-West Mounted Police played a significant role during the North-West Rebellion in Canada in 1885. The North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) suffered early reverses and, although they supported the relief force sent to the region under the command of Major-General Frederick Middleton, their performance was heavily criticised. Commissioner Irvine resigned from his command of the police as a result.

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Further reading

Historiography