Friday, May 10, 2013

Battle of Batoche May 9 - 12, 1885

The Battle of Batoche ended the North-West Resistance – one consequence being Louis Riel’s surrender to General Middleton. Any summary has its limitations but in order to give a fuller picture than the one everyone might more likely see on the Canadian Encyclopedia website, I suggest having a look at Our Legacy

Kurt Boyer writes:
Impacts from the North-West Resistance were felt throughout Canada and linger on to this day. The influences from the Resistance were multifaceted and served to progress and repress multiple interests. It provided a rational to finish the railway, served as a political tool in Quebec, and materialised as a “common enemy” to placate settler dissent in Manitoba. The most severe and long lasting effects were felt by the generations of Métis and First Nations in Saskatchewan, who following the Resistance were subject to increased marginalisation which today still permeates in Saskatchewan.

And reading about a military event in someone’s own words is even better. The great scholar of western Canada, George Stanley, annotates a rare transcription of Gabriel Dumont’s own account of the Battle of Batoche as well as the earlier Duck Lake and Fish Creek battles in Canadian Historical Review 30 (1949), "Gabriel Dumont's Account of the North-West Rebellion 1885." Canadian Historical Review   

Another account from the Back to Batoche Virtual Museum of Canada is at is at here.

And then there is art, which can capture the truth and reality in other ways altogether. Here is the Regina poet Bruce Rice reading at “Regina City Council (Saskatchewan Canada) for National Poetry Month. This is part of a Mayor to Mayor challenge to have a poet read at the start of the local council meeting; 33 cities across Canada took part. The poem was written for the national retrospective of Regina artist and scupltor, Joe Fafard. It's in my [Bruce Rice’s] book, Life in the Canopy (Hagios Press 2009). The sculpture is from one of the Metis killed at the Battle of Batoche in 1885, which ended the Riel Rebellion.”  See the video and Joe Fafard's sculpture here 
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