Famous 1885 Battle Site Gains New Name
BATOCHE, SASKATCHEWAN, NOVEMBER 17, 2007–On behalf of Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird, Mr. Brad Trost, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon–Humboldt, today announced the new designation name of Battle of Tourond’s Coulee/Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada formally named the Battle of Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada. This change better reflects the complete history of the site. The announcement was made as part of the Gabriel Dumont Institute’s “Louis Riel Day and Tribute to Métis Veterans” activities and celebration held at Batoche National Historic Site.”Now a tranquil and peaceful prairie landscape, this national historic site was the location of one of the many famous battles of the 1885 armed conflict that shaped the development of the west,” said Mr. Trost. “The site, however, was much more than simply a battle site. This cultural landmark was also the home to the Tourond family, a Métis family that settled there before the outbreak of the 1885 conflict. The story of the site is as much about the contribution of the Métis community to the development of Canada as it is about the battle.”
Designated a national historic site in 1923 on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the site was formerly named Battle of Fish Creek National Historic Site and has now been renamed the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee/Fish Creek National Historic Site. The site comprises thirty-six hectares of the battle site and the Tourond homestead. An additional seventeen hectares to the northwest, which include Middleton’s camp and several militia burials, also form part of this nationally significant place.
On April 24, 1885, Métis led by Gabriel Dumont, and Cree and Dakota First Nations, held back the advancing North West Field Force led by Major-General Frederick Middleton. It was the first time the Métis encountered the Canadian military. Greatly outnumbered, and despite losing the element of surprise, the Métis, Cree and Dakota stopped Middleton’s progress on Batoche. Exhausted from the day’s battle, both forces withdrew. Middleton’s advance on Batoche would be delayed for two weeks while they reorganized and tended to the wounded. For Dumont and the Métis people, the battle was a victory that gave them time to prepare for the defense of Batoche.
“History is complex and complicated. To tell the entire story, we must recognize and tell all facets,” continued Mr. Trost. “The stage was being set for the final battle at Batoche and at this site, lives were lost and military tactics rethought. Today, visitors can discover the reasons and outcomes of the battle and why this place is important for all Canadians.”
The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee/Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada is part of a system of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas that is recognized as one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected areas in the world. Parks Canada works to ensure Canada’s cultural and natural heritage are presented and protected for the enjoyment, education and appreciation of all Canadians, today and in the future.
Communications, Visitor Services, Heritage Presentation Coordinator
Batoche National Historic Site of Canada