This Week in History
The Battle of Frenchman Butte
For the week of Monday May 27, 2002
On May 28, 1885, Major-General T. B. Strange attacked Big Bear's band of Cree near Frenchman Butte in Saskatchewan, sparking one of the last armed struggles of the Northwest Resistance.
With the failure of Big Bear's peaceful approach to negotiating with the government, young warriors, led by Wandering Spirit and Imasees, adopted more radical means to protest against the broken promises. On April 2, 1885, the warriors went to Frog Lake in search of provisions and, once there, pillaged the Hudson's Bay Company store and took hostages. Despite Big Bear's calls for peace, nine people were killed. Two weeks later, the Cree warriors seized Fort Pitt.
Big Bear surrendered at Fort Carlton in early July. Despite his efforts to contain the violence of his compatriots, he was held responsible and sentenced to three years in prison for treason. Released after two years because of failing health, he died shortly after in January 1888. Misto-ha-a-musqua (Big Bear), Indian Treaty No. 6, Frenchman Butte and Fort Pitt have been designated respectively as a person, an event and sites of national historic significance.
- Date Modified: