Fort Battleford National Historic Site and its collection

Fort Battleford National Historic Site

Fort Battleford was the sixth North-West Mounted Police fort to be established in the North-West Territories of Canada , and played a central role in the events of the North-West Rebellion of 1885. It was here Chief Poundmaker was arrested, and where six Cree and two Stoney men were hanged for murders committed in the Frog Lake Massacre and the Looting of Battleford . In reference to the hanging, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald said in a letter that "the executions... ought to convince the Red Man that the White Man governs." Its location near the confluence of the North Saskatchewan and the Battle rivers offered access to fresh water, as it was many years before an on-site well was made available; and offered an alternative means of transportation to the Red River cart . As the site was on a plateau, the fort was easily defensible, and offered clear lines of sight for the surrounding area and to Government Ridge – thus providing warning against possible attacks. The fort sheltered around 500 people, and they helped to fortify Battleford. Battleford being designated capital of the North-West Territories played a substantial role in the decision to locate the fort there. The government's belief was that the presence of the NWMP would act as a civilizing influence on the First Nations in the area and help them to transition from their nomadic lifestyle to a more stationary one, modelled on European societies. They also hoped that the NWMP would assist settlers in their homesteading efforts and their presence in the area would encourage the people to respect the law. The difficulties that had plagued Native American –government relations in the United States , along with the high Aboriginal population in the Battleford area, further prompted the federal government to establish a strong NWMP presence. Both the Canadian government and the First Nations were quite aware of what had transpired south of the " Medicine Line " and sought to follow a different path. The original Canadian Pacific Railway route was also to pass through Battleford, along the Qu'Appelle route, but it was eventually built on a more southerly route, which resulted in the moving of the capital of the North-West Territories from Battleford to Regina , then known as Pile o' Bones.

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ENFort Battleford

History & Anthropology  History & Anthropology

Fort Battleford National Historic Site
Central ave
SK S0M 0E0 Battleford

Visitor information Fort Battleford National Historic Site

Opening hours

Closed for the season. Please check website for the re-opening schedule.


Commercial Group, per personCA$3.75


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Location & Map

Central ave, Battleford

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