Frenchman Butte was named after a French man who was killed by Indians. It is not known why or how he was killed but the area was named after him. This is the site of the Battle of Frenchman Butte, where Chief Big Bear and his band of Cree fought over a small ravine.
The Cree captured Fort Pitt, desperate for food and supplies. After the fort was theirs, they divided into two groups under the guidance of Wandering Spirit and Little Poplar. The Cree lead by Wandering Spirit traversed Frenchman Butte and prepared for the attack.
Some Canadian troops tried to cross the valley, but they found the bottom covered in muskeg. As well, there was a steep, open hillside in front of the Cree, making any frontal assault suicidal. Eventually, General Strange ordered Major Sam Steele to lead the NWMP north and outflank the Cree. The Cree saw this, and Wandering Spirit led a group of warriors along the tops of the hills, parallel to Steele, and occasionally opened fire. This caused the NWMP to believe that the Cree's lines were much longer than they actually were, so Steele turned back.
The battle was a victory for the Cree, It bought them time to escape from Strange, but the resistance was useless. The Métis had been defeated at the Battle of Batoche three weeks earlier, Poundmaker's joint Cree-Assiniboine force had been forced to surrender, and the Big Bear band fell apart during the retreat to the north.
Métis display at Museum
Weekends beginning Victoria Day Weekend
Daily beginning July 1 - Sept. 5.
Hours of operation: 9:00am - 6:00pm
For off season admission, we are open by appointment only.
$5.00 per person, children under 12 free.
Frenchman Butte Sk
Ph: (306) 344-4478
Frenchman Butte Museum