North-West/Riel Resistance


The fighting began at around eight o’clock on the morning of May 9. The smokestacks of the Northcote were destroyed, rendering it useless. The Métis took the offensive on this day, attempting to push back the Canadian troops but various offensive maneuvers failed to overrun the Canadian positions. May 10 was taken as a day off to allow colonial troops to rest. It also allowed Middleton to engage in reconnaissance and create a plan of action. Some limited artillery and gun fire was exchanged between both sides. On May 11th began with Middleton undertaking more reconnaissance. On May 12, Middleton initiated a firm plan of action. The Canadian Army attacked and Middleton’s forces overran the Métis’ initial position. Nearly out of ammunition, they surrendered and the defeat signified the end of the Provisional Government. Immediately following the battle, Métis participants were disarmed and allowed to return home, while those identified as members of Riel’s council were arrested. Louis Riel surrendered to the Canadian authorities on May 15, 1885. Riel among many other leaders including Poundmaker, Big Bear, and Crowfoot who were implicated in the Resistance were put on trial in Canadian courts. Some were imprisoned, but Riel was hung for his leadership in the resistance and prosecuted for Treason under Canadian laws.

Middleton's success at Batoche would make way for a new economic and sociopolitical landscape on the prairies. The leaders the Canadian Government associated with the Resistance would be tried, unjustly, some being sentenced to death and others imprisoned.

Metropolitan Toronto Library. Diary of Staff-Sergeant Walter Stewart.

Beal, Bob, and Macleod, R. C. Prairie Fire: The 1885 North-West Rebellion. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1994. 263-276.

Payment, Diane. The Free People = Li Gens Libres: A History of the Métis Community of Batoche, Saskatchewan. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2009. 139.

Stonechild, Blair, and Waiser, Bill. Loyal till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion. Calgary: Fifth House, 1997. 162-164.

Archibald-Barber, Jesse Rae. Kisiskâciwan: Indigenous Voices from Where the River Flows Swiftly Regina: University of Regina Press, 2018. 49-55.

Sub Event
Battle of Batoche