claimed much of the Canadian West and Northwest as its own property. The Indians and mixed-bloods were the most skilled scouts and made it possible for the non-Indian traders to find their wat through the wilderness. Many of the later fur traders were Scots, and they too mixed with the Cree. As a result, some of the M tis were Cree-Scots. Like the Cree-French, the Cree-Scots knew how � to live off the land Indian-style, but this group practiced Protestantism, not Catholicism. THE SECOND RIEL REBELLION: The Cree were involved in one of the few Canadian Indian wars, which occured in
Saskatchewan late in the 1800s during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Along with the railroad came more and more white settlers who wanted Indian lands. The western Cree joined up with their M tis relatives in the � Second Riel Rebellion to protect their land rights. The chiefs Poundmaker and Big Bear led warriors against two different forces: the North-West Mounted Police (also known as the Mounties), who patroled the western wilderness; and the North-West Field Force, an army sent from the East to put down the uprising. In an Indian council at Duck Lake in 1884, Big Bear said, "I have been trying to seize the promises the whites made to me. I have been grasping but I cannot find them. What they have promised to me straight away, I have not yet seen the half of it." Poundmaker and some 200 warriors attacked the settlement of Battleford in March 1885, and Big Bear plus the same approximate number of warriors took the settlement at Frog Lake the following April. Government troops pursued the two renegade bands. They caught up with Poundmaker's warriors at Cut Knife Creek in April, but the Indians counterattacked, then escaped. Big Bear's men outflanked their enemy at Frenchmen's Butte in May and again at Loon Lake in June. Neither Cree chief was captured in the field. But because the M tis had given up the � fight, the Cree leaders also eventually surrendered. They were imprisoned for two years. Both Poundmaker and Big Bear died shortly after their release from
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- Fall '15
- History, Quebec, Hudson's Bay Company, Cree