Violence on Poundmaker Reserve After Rations Refused


A young man on the Poundmaker reserve assaulted a Farming Instructor after being refused rations. Because a Sun Dance (Dewdney also uses the term Thirst Dance) was also taking place on the reserve at the time, the young man was able to arouse significant sympathy for his complaint, and many band members rose up against Indian Affairs officials. The Police were dispatched to help quell the conflict.


J.M. Rae, the Indian Agent on Poundmaker's Reserve reported that, "In May Big Bear and his party came down from Pitt, and Lucky Man's people began to leave their work. Kamanitowas, the headman, however, said be wished to leave his chief and join Little Pine. There was not much trouble with those who now remained on the reserve, until a Thirst Dance was begun, when even Little Pine and his people left their work for a short time, and the affair nearly ended in a riot, as one of the Indians struck Instructor Craig, and when the police attempted to arrest the man, they at first refused to give him up. After the prisoner had been arrested and held for trial, Big Bear and party wanted me to give them provisions to take them to their reserve at Pitt. This I did, and they started for their destination. Since then Instructor Craig has had no trouble. The Indians seem to like him, and he has brought them on admirably." pg 195. --------------- Edgar Dewdney writes about the same event, "At Poundmaker's, the disturbance was caused by an assault being made on one of our farming instructors, by an Indian who had been refused rations, as he had not performed his day's work. As a Sun Dance was going on at the time, a large number of Indians had gathered to take part in it, and on the Police attempting to make the arrest, they were defied by the Indians, who were worked up to a great state of excitement, as is generally the case while taking part in a dance" Pg 290.