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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History


Canadian Military History: An Overview
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Northwest Campaign
Personal Stories

The Participants -- Autobiography, Biography and Reminiscence: The Indians and Their Hostages

The Indian participants in the 1885 Campaign have left almost no account of themselves beyond the testimony at the trials of the leaders. Inevitably, their story has been told through the eyes of their captives and, equally inevitably, the treatment has not always been sympathetic. William Bleasdell Cameron in The war trail of Big Bear and Theresa Gowanlock in Two months in the camp of Big Bear have provided very critical accounts of the Indians' actions. Robert Jefferson's Fifty years on the Saskatchewan is more balanced.

Hugh Dempsey's Big Bear and Norma Sluman's Poundmaker are impressive biographies which both make clear the limited authority the chiefs had once the bands determined to oppose the government with force. Sylvia Van Kirk's entry on Wandering Spirit in the Dictionary of Canadian biography is the only account of the life of a war chief. The reader should consult Loyal till death, by Blair Stonechild and Bill Waiser, mentioned earlier (see The Métis and Indians).

Cameron, William Bleasdell. - The war trail of Big Bear : being the story of the connection of Big Bear and other Cree Indian chiefs and their followers with the Canadian North-West Rebellion of 1885, the Frog Lake Massacre and events leading up to and following it and of two months imprisonment in the camp of the hostiles. - London : Duckworth, 1926. - 256 p.

  • This work was published in three editions 1926-1930, and a revised edition was published in 1950 as Blood red the sun (Calgary : Kenway Pub. Co., 1950), 225 p.

* Charette, Guillaume. - L'espace de Louis Goulet. - Winnipeg : Éditions Bois-Brûlés, 1976. - 204 p. - Publié aussi en anglais sous le titre : Vanishing spaces (memoires of a Prairie Métis)

  • Louis Goulet was a Métis prisoner of Big Bear's Cree.

Dempsey, Hugh A. - Big Bear : the end of freedom. - Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, 1984. - 227 p.

* _____ . - "P_tikwahanapiw_yin (Poundmaker)". - Dictionary of Canadian biography. - Volume XI: 1881 to 1890. - Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1982. - P. 695-697. - Also published in French under the title: Dictionnaire biographique du Canada..

[Gowanlock, Theresa]. - Two months in the camp of Big Bear : the life and adventures of Theresa Gowanlock and Theresa Delaney. Parkdale, Ont. : Times Office, 1885. - 141 p. -- Reproduced in microform format: CIHM microfiche series, no. 30360, 30361, 30362

Jefferson, Robert. - Fifty years on the Saskatchewan. - Battleford, Sask. : Canadian Northwest Historical Society, 1929. - 160 p. - (Canadian Northwest Historical Society, vol. 1, no. 5)

Julien, Jacques. -- Big Bear, la révolte  -  Montréal : Triptyique, 2004, -- 230 p.

Sluman, Norma. - Poundmaker. - Toronto : Ryerson Press, 1967. - 301 p.

* Van Kirk, Sylvia M. - "Kapapamahchakwew (Papamahchakwayo, Wandering Spirit, occasionally known as Esprit Errant)". - Dictionary of Canadian biography. - Volume XI: 1881 to 1890. - Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1982. - P. 459-460. - Also published in French under the title: Dictionnaire biographique du Canada.

* Wiebe, Rudy. - "Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear, known in French as Gros Ours)". - Dictionary of Canadian biography. - Volume XI: 1881 to 1890. - Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1982. - P. 597-601. - Also published in French under the title: Dictionnaire biographique du Canada.

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