MAY 2, 1885

BATTLE OF CUT KNIFE–CREE & ASSINIBOINE DEFEAT CANADIAN MILITIA

In early 1885, the Métis in the District of Saskatchewan formed a provisional government under Louis Riel, taking control of the area around Batoche.  The government feared that what would become the North-West Rebellion would spread to the First Nations.  In April, the Cree under Poundmaker went to Battleford to get needed food from the agent.  When he refused to meet them, the natives left.  Who looted the town is still unanswered.   After relieving Battleford, Col. W.D. Otter and a flying column of 305 men advanced on Poundmaker’s reserve at Cut Knife where the Cree and Assiniboine bands of Battleford Agency were gathered. The surprise attack failed.  Otter lost 6 men with 14 wounded. After 6 hours of fighting Otter’s troops retreated to Battleford.  On Poundmaker’s orders the Indians declined pursuit but, convinced of white hostility, moved to join Riel at Batoche. When word came of the Métis defeat there, Poundmaker and his bands surrendered at Battleford on May 26.

Source: “Battle of Cut Knife Hill National Historic Site of Canada,” Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada.  Retrieved 2/28/2020, https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/page_nhs_eng.aspx?id=737
Lithograph:  Fred Curzon (1862-1890), 1885. Public Domain.   

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