Batoche National Historic Site of Canada

Batoche After 1885

The Rebellion failed but the Métis community at Batoche was not destroyed in 1885. The settlement recovered. There was relative prosperity in the area during the 1890s. In 1900, scrip was granted and many young Métis settled on farms around Batoche and had a certain success. Others worked as interpreters, scouts and labourers for the North-West Mounted Police, who establish barracks there in 1888.

What happened to Batoche? The community experienced many economic and social difficulties. The northern branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway bypassed the Métis settlement in favour of proposed white immigrant areas. Other reason were more subtle. To many they were still the Métis rebels and the government gave them little economic or social consideration.

By 1915 only one store remained in the village of Batoche. Increasing settlement from eastern Canada, Europe and the United States further isolated the Métis and many chose to move further north. Tuberculosis took a heavy toll and jobs became more difficult for both men and women who worked mainly as labourers or domestics. In a society now dominated by English Canadians, the Métis found little opportunity for their children to maintain their Cree-French Metichis language and pass on their cultural traditions. The "new nation" had become a minority group, "les gens libres" a dependent people.