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SAS #12: BATTLE OF DUCK LAKE

A cache by SK Archaeology Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 07/28/2013
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Terrain:
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:


Saskatchewan Archaeological Society

The Saskatchewan Archaeological Society (SAS), founded in 1963, is one of the most active and effective volunteer-based archaeological organizations on the continent. We educate the public, promote research and advocate for heritage preservation and protection. Our members include professional archaeologists, avocational archaeologists and members of the general public that are curious about our province's first peoples and other cultures.

What does the SAS do?

  • Offers all ages fieldschools, hands-on workshops, annual meeting and conference, annual bus tour, special tours and regional chapters across the province.
  • Offers teaching and educational resources such as artefact replicas, "archaeo-kits", "Kiwetinohk"
  • travelling rock art exhibit, videos, an extensive library of books, journals, theses, maps and photos, a quaterly newsletter on archaeology, history, natural history, geology and palaeontology news and publications for sale.
  • Provides funding to individuals or groups for research projects and the annual Zenon Pohorecky Memorial Bursary to university students.

How do I join?

Contact the SAS!

#1-1730 Quebec Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7K 1V9
Ph: (306) 664-4124
Fax: (306) 665-1928
Email: saskarchsoc@sasktel.net
Web: www.saskarchsoc.ca

During 2013, the SAS is celebrating its 50th Anniversary of the Annual Gathering and are placing a number of geocaches at archaeological and historically significant sites throughout the province.

SAS #12: BATTLE OF DUCK LAKE

The Battle of Duck Lake features prominently at the beginning of the 1885 Resistance. After a particularly difficult winter and increasing frustration at government inaction, settlers (European, Métis and First Nations) in the Saskatchewan Valley region were restless.  Louis Riel felt that the best course of action was to set up a provisional government that brought all three groups together to speak as one.  Gabriel Dumont was charged with creating an army to patrol the region. 

Between the provisional government seat at Batoche and the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) post at Fort Carlton lay the settlement of Duck Lake.  In the settlement was Hillyard Mitchell’s store, which provided foodstuffs, ammunition, etc. to settlers in the area.  Control of the store was sought both by the Resistance and by the NWMP.  On March 25th, 1885 the Métis gained control of Duck Lake.  On March 26th, the NWMP leader, Superintendent Leif Crozier, marched out from Fort Carlton to pick up the supplies left in Mitchell’s store unaware that Dumont’s Métis had taken the settlement.

Accounts vary from this point as to whether the skirmish between the NWMP and Dumont’s Métis occurred once Crozier’s force neared Duck Lake or if taunts were called after the NWMP retreated to Fort Carlton only to leave again after being shamed for leaving Duck Lake to the Métis (Russell 1971; Weber 1998).  Regardless, at some point Crozier left Fort Carlton with a small force and a field gun and set up across the road from the Métis just outside of Duck Lake.  A parley took place between Crozier, his interpreter, Joe McKay, a Cree man called Asiwiyin and Isidore Dumont but quickly deteriorated after McKay shot both Asiwiyan and Dumont (Weber 1998).  From this point, firing began from the NWMP side and was countered by firing from the Métis side.  After approximately 30 minutes of battle, the NWMP force retreated due to heavy losses and injuries.  They abandoned their field gun and fled back to Fort Carlton. Since it was considered more important to protect the settlers at Prince Albert than to hold Fort Carlton, the combined force made good their retreat to Prince Albert on the following day.  In the excitement of leaving, a fire was started accidentally and much of the post was burned (Russell 1971).

**A cairn with information on the Battle of Duck Lake can be found approximately 3 miles west of Duck Lake on Highway 212.

References:

Russell, Ralph C.
1971   The Carlton Trail. Prairie Books Service: Saskatoon, SK.

Weber, Bob
1998    Saskatchewan History Along the Highway: A Traveler’s Guide to the Fascinating Facts, Intriguing Incidents and Lively Legends in Saskatchewan’s Past. Red Deer College Press: Red Deer, AB.

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