North-West Rebellion
Gabriel Dumont
The Return of Riel
Battle of Duck Lake
Battle of Batoche
Execution of Riel
The North-West Rebellion
 The promise of a French-Canadian
home in Manitoba was already at
an end
 New settlers had arrived pushing
the Metis out
 The Metis had gone to
Saskatchewan as the buffalo were
 The Metis had no clear title to the
land they settled and the surveyors
had moved in
 The Plains People were also
suffering the Cree, Blackfoot and
the Sioux
The Return of Louis Riel
 The other settlers were angry as
 The harvest was poor and the
prices low
 The worse most settlers had taken
land along the northern rail route
 The railway had taken the
southern route
 By 1884 the North-West was ripe
for rebellion
 “Only one man can help us now
 Gabriel Dumont was sent to get
Riel is in Montana
 Gabriel Dumont legendary hunter
and master sharpshooter led the
Metis to find Riel
 Dumont was an expert horseman
who spoke 6 different native
languages as well as French and
some English
 With the buffalo gone Dumont had
settled in Batoche he operated a
ferry and ran a general store
 It was Dumont who asked Riel to
Lead his People to Freedom
 Louis Riel was now teaching in
Montana it had been 15 years
since the Red River Rebellion but
the Metis still remembered
 Louis Riel was not the same
person he had suffered a series of
emotional breakdowns and had
spent several years in asylums
 Louis Riel was convinced he was
the “prophet of the grasslands”
 He had begun to call himself
 and when the “avenging angel”
Gabriel had asked him to return
the hand of “God” was present
Louis and John
 Riel sent Macdonald a petition on
behalf of the residents of the
region asking for provincial status
 An elected government and
control of natural resources
 “Old Tomorrow” Macdonald
 Riel and the Metis grew impatient
 Louis Riel declared a provisional
government in the village of
 On March 19, 1885 the NorthWest Rebellion began
“Fire! In the name of the Father! In the name of the
Son! In the name of the Holy Spirit! Fire!
At Duck Lake the North-West
Mounted Police and the Metis under
the command of Gabriel Dumont
Dumont won the battle sending the
Mounties into retreat 12 officers and
men died
Dumont wanted to pursue and kill
them all but Riel would not let him
“If you are going to give them the
advantage like that, we cannot win!”
Dumont complained
By this time Riel’s religious delusions
had resurfaced
Dumont’s brother Isidore was killed in
this battle
 2 breakaway bands of Cree
warriors along with some Sioux
and Assiniboine did join the
 Big Bear who had earlier resisted
the call to the reserves and
Poundmaker the adopted son of
Crowfoot lead the revolt
 Big Bear’s warriors under
Wandering Spirit attacked the
settlement at Frog Lake and killed
9 settlers
 Poundmaker attacked Battleford,
the settlers fled
Big Bear
 With the buffalo gone, the
nomadic Cree were starving
 The Cree warriors and the Metis
did not co-ordinate their attacks
 In effect they were 2 rebellions 1
of the Metis and the other Cree
 The settlers who had supported
Louis Riel at the beginning left
with the rebellion
 Complain “yes” fight “no”
 Big Bear wanted no part of the
violence, but with his people
starving he could not stop events
CPR to the Rescue!
 The reaction to the rebellion was
 In 1870 it had taken the army 3
hard months to get to Manitoba
 In 1885 the CPR had reached the
 Within 10 days the first troops had
arrived within the month more
than 5000 soldiers were in place
 The army Mounties and militia
were under the command of
General Frederick Middleton
 Louis Riel saved John A’s CPR
General Middleton
 Before the rebellion the railway
had been next to bankruptcy
 With the outbreak of the rebellion
parliament gave the extra money
and the troops moved westward
 General Middleton divided his
forces into 3 columns and used the
main line of the CPR as their base
 Column 1 under Major-General
Thomas Strange moved north
from Calgary against Big Bear
 Column 3 under General
Middleton left Qu’Appelle and
headed for Batoche
Battle of Batoche
 Column 2 under Colonel William
Otter moved north from Swift
Current to relieve Battleford and
capture Poundermaker
 The Metis and the Cree were now
on the defensive
 At Fish Creek south of Batoche
General Middleton marched his
troops into an ambush
 A small force of Metis under
Gabriel Dumont fought Middleton
to a standstill
 However, the odds were against
the Metis
“In a minute. I want to kill another
Englishman.” last words of Joseph Ouellette
 Middleton had more men and
supplies and the latest in warfare
technology, an American Gatling
 Middleton and his men attacked
the village of Batoche on May 9,
 The fighting lasted for 4 days
 When the army finally stormed the
defenses Gabriel Dumont almost
single-handedly held them off for
an hour so the others could escape
 21 Metis died at Batoche including
93 Joseph Ouellette
Death of a Rebellion
 Dumont and Riel became
separated in the escape
 On May 15, 1885 Louis Riel the
“prophet of the grasslands”
surrendered to the Canadian Army
 11 days later Poundermaker also
 Big Bear held out for another
month and a half before he too
 Gabriel Dumont escaped to the
United States were he joined
“Buffalo Bill’s Wild West
Show”as “the Hero of the HalfBreed Rebellion”
The Trial of the Century
 Poundermaker and Big Bear were
sent to prison
 8 Cree warriors including
Wandering Spirit were sentenced
to public hangings
 Riel refused to plead insanity
 He was tried in Regina and found
guilty of treason
 The jury recommended mercy,
Quebec warned that if Riel was
executed it was “a declaration of
war against Quebec”
 John A refused to intervene
Riel Must Die!
 As John A. said “He will hang,
though every dog in Quebec barks
in his favour.”
 John A. refused to pardon Louis
Riel, Riel did lead an armed
rebellion against the government
that caused the death of more than
200 people
 At this time the penalty for such
crimes was death
 John A. Macdonald had built his
political career on an alliance
between English and FrenchCanadians
“The Old Man, the Old Flag,
and the Old Policy”
 Like John A. Macdonald Louis
Riel has become all things to all
people, “a prophet, a traitor, a
madman, a hero”
 On November 7, 1885 Donald
Smith drove home the last spike
for the CPR
 On November 17, 1885 Louis Riel
climbed the steps to the gallows
 In 1891 John A. Macdonald fought
his last campaign and won
 On June 6, 1891 John A.
Macdonald died
The End of Riel and
What now for Canada?

North-West Rebellion 1