Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Back to Batoche : a cultural centre for the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan Hutton, David Adam 1996

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1996-0622.pdf [ 12.29MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0087825.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0087825-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0087825-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0087825-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0087825-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0087825-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0087825-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

A CULTURAL CENTRE FOR THE METIS NATION OF SASKATCHEWAN by DAVID ADAM HUTTON B.A., The University of Saskatchewan, 1989 B.A., Clare College, Cambridge, 1992 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Architecture We accept this thesis as .conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October,1996 © David Adam Hutton, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date t*5" O ^ T g ^ S ^ ^>^>C=> DE-6 (2/88) Abstract The village of Batoche lies at the junction of the South Saskatchwan River and the Carleton Trail, important trade routes for the North-west before the advent of the railway. French-speaking Metis from Manitoba settled the area in 1871, enjoying a high degree of political autonomy. The collapse of the plains buffalo, successive crop failures, and long-standing fears over land title's in the face of encroaching settlement led to an armed uprising in 1885. After initial success in skirmish attacks against federal troops, the outnumbered Metis were besieged at Batoche, where they were defeated after four days. Their leader Louis Riel—who had led a previous uprising in Manitoba—was captured, convicted of treason, and hanged at Regina. Gabriel Dumont received ammnesty and returned to Batoche, where he lies buried. After the uprising some reparations were paid by Ottawa and the village was rebuilt, but Batoche was abandoned in the first decades of this century. Today Batoche is a National Historic Site, a designation which once again brings the Metis Nation into conflict with federal policy. The Metis claim ownership of their ancestral capitol, and gather each summer in the tens of thousands for the Back to Batoche festival. The first priority of Parks Canada, however, is preservation of Batoche's archaeological remains. When a new national museum was built in 1985, the Metis were awarded an adjacent parcel of land which they have since been trying to develop. Chronic fiscal problems have delayed their plans for a large multi-purpose cultural facility. This design thesis proposes a strategy for development which is economi-cally sustainable and culturally appropriate, with emphasis on co-operation between Metis and museum. Precedent studies of historic parks in Saskatchewan include Wanuskewin Heritage Park and Batoche Museum. A brief cultural investigation follows the development of the Metis Nation and the history of settlement at Batoche. Three sites—alternatives to the Metis' existing land allocation—are examined as possible locations for a cultural centre. These include: Gabriel's Crossing, at Dumont's former home; Batoche East Village, site of the siege; and the historic Caron Farm, overlooking the river valley at the Park's southern boundary. An incremental building programme is proposed, including, by prior-ity: Elders' cabins, a multi-purpose meeting hall with cafe and gift-shop, a stable and corral, an outdoor amphitheatre, seasonal artists' live-work studios, and a cultural archive. The proposed design, on the Caron Farm site, responds to existing contours and vegetation. In an isolated location, it accomodates large seasonal gatherings as well as small groups. It promotes an appropri-ate building technology which revives the traditional corvee, or build-ing bee, to encourage community involvement. It complements the existing museum by providing new amenities. The completed drawings are intended to provoke discussion by Metis and Parks Canada, in the hope that increased co-operation will encourage more Canadians to come back to Batoche. ii Table of Contents Program Abstract ii Table of Contents iii Acknowledgements iv Introduction 1 1. Precedent Studies 2 i. Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon 2 (Akin Orfert Dressel Harder Bernyeat Architects, 1993) ii. Batoche Visitor Center 3 (IKOY Partnership, 1985) iii. The Politics of Preservation: 5 Metis Agenda and Parks Policy 2. Cultural Investigations 5 i. The Plains Metis to 1885 6 ii. The Built Tradition 8 iii. The Battle of Batoche 10 iv. Brothers-in-Arms: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont 12 v. Millenarism: The Religion of Resistance 12 3. Strategy: Site Analysis 14 i. Gabriel's Crossing 14 ii. East Village 15 iii. Caron Farm 17 4. Tactics: Program Synopsis 19 i. Elders' Cabins 19 ii. Stable 19 iii. Community Hall 20 iv. Amphitheater 20 v. Atelier 20 vi. Archive 21 Evaluation 5. Design Development: Drawings 22 i. Site Plan with Cart Circle 22 ii. Elders' Cabins: Plan, Section, Elevation, Perspectives 23 iii. Culural Centre: Massing Plan & Soutwest Isometric 24 iv. Cultural Centre: Plans and South Elevation 25 v. Cultural Centre: View of River Valley & Framing Study 26 vi. Cultural Centre: Views of Cafe & Community Hall, 27 North and West Elevations Views of Final Model 6. Design Development: Explanatory Notes Conclusion Appendix A: Consultation Process Appendix B: Notes on Technique Notes Bibliography 28-36 36 in Acknowledgements To Michael Ames, Curator, UBC Museum of Anthopology, for suggesting this topic; To Irwin Wilson, Curator, Batoche Museum, and to members of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan, for their interest and input; And to critics Bud Wood, Douglas Patterson, and David Vanderburgh, for their inspiration and guidance. Progressivist historians do not write much about the losers of history, because belief in progress often implies the base assumption that to lose is to have failed to grasp the evolving truth. Nevertheless, the losers existed and they are well worth reading now that we see what kind of society the winners have made. George Grant, Technology and Empire We don't need another hero IV Introduction When Esau came in from his hunting, he too made a savory dish and brought it to his father, saying, "Come, father, and eat of my venison, that you may give me your blessing." Isaac said, "Whoareyou?" "lam Esau, your elder son." Then Isaac became greatly agitated and said, "Who ivas it that hunted and brought me venison? I ate it all and I blessed him, and the blessing will stand."... Esau cried bitterly: "Had you then only one blessing, father? Bless me, too..." Then his father Isaac answered: "Your dwelling shall be far from the richness of the earth, far from the dew of heaven above. By your sivord shall you live, and you shall serve your brother; but the time will come when you will grow restive and break off his yoke from your neck." Genesis 27:30-40. The North-West Rebellion of 1885 was an effort by two indigenous prairie peoples—the Metis and their Plains Indian neighbours—to preserve a traditional lifestyle in the face of rapid development. The distinct culture of the Metis emerged in the Red River Valley in the early 19th century, sustained by the spoils of migratory buffalo hunts. As this resource dwindled and settlement increased following the creation of Manitoba in 1870, many Metis families moved further west to the Saskatchewan River Valley. By 1880 Batoche was the adminis-trative center of a community numbering several thousand, with its own laws based on time-honoured hunting traditions. In 1885, threat-ened once again by encroaching settlement, the Metis declared territo-rial independence under the leadership of Louis Riel. Troops sent West by the federal government overthrew the rebellion at Batoche, and Riel was hanged for treason after a spectacular trial. The Metis were restored to their farms with some financial reparations, but they . were extinguished as a political force on the prairies. Batoche gradu-ally dwindled until the last store burned in 1923, and the village was abandoned. The remains of the battlefield and village are now a National Historic Site, administered by Parks Canada from a small museum. The Saskatchewan Metis are experiencing a cultural revival and would like to re-establish a presence at Batoche. Although they have been allocated some adjacent land, they are hampered by geographic isolation and lack of funds. The Metis are negotiating a co-manage-ment review with Parks Canada, but because the site is archaeologi-cally sensitive, Parks Canada must weigh the Metis' development plans against its own conservation mandate. This thesis proposes a strategy for co-operation, both to identify a site which can sustain long-term development, and to develop a program which meets the Metis' needs while promoting the muse-um's commemorative efforts. Page 1 1. Precedent Studies In attempting to design for an unfamiliar ethnic group, the archi-tect's task resembles that of the anthropologist. Anthropologists disagree on the value of museums as containers for culture, but as a point of departure we will examine two Saskatchewan museums devoted to Native and Metis life. The first, Saskatoon's Wanuskewin Heritage Park, represents a radical departure from conventional eth-nography. The second, Batoche Visitor Centre, is a disappointing reminder of the status quo but is the context and counterpoint to any further study of that site. i.) Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon There's a Cree word ''e-wani-askeijiri meaning 'lost land', or 'lost place'... It's an old word, so old it has fallen into disuse... Many Native young people don't recognize it. ...Wanuskeivin is loosely translated as 'seeking peace of mind'... Cree Senator Ernest Mike Three kilometers north of Saskatoon, Tipperary Creek empties into the South Saskatchewan River. Its steep banks cut through the prairie uplands, giving year-round shelter to a wide variety of plant and animal life. The record of continuous human inhabitation here dates back more than six thousand years. When the Meewasin Valley Authority was created in 1983, Tipperary Creek figured prominently in its 100-year plan for development of the river valley. Toronto Master Planner Raymond Moriyama described his emotion on visit-^ ing one of the major archaeological finds: '"When we were adjacent to the medicine wheel, we stood still and tried to just absorb it, not talk about it... Every stone pebble seemed to have some meaning to us. We felt sure there was a wonderful human story to it... It was a magical moment, almost a religious feeling."1 As more archeological treasures were unearthed, the MVA de-cided to protect the creek as a cultural park. Wanuskewin received designation as a National Historic Site in 1986, and a major interpretive center was inaugurated in 1992. It now receives more than 150,000 visitors annually, and has become an important link between Native and non-Native people in the region. Also linking modern Natives to their prehistoric past, Wanuskewin is a model of scientific and cultural co-management. Archaeologists and anthropologists from the Uni-versity of Saskatchewan sit on the board, but the overall policy--making group is a Native non-profit corporation which includes elders from the five linguistic groups in Saskatchewan and seven district tribal councils.2 The park's designers had a dual agenda: to accurately represent Native life while preserving a wealth of archaeological resources. Planning was done in close collaboration with Native groups, which is revealed, for example, in the arrangement of exhibition spaces: Visitors move clockwise through the building, like the sun through the sky or a pipe passed round a campfire. Great care was taken to preserve richly-stratified sites, including twobuffalo jumps, a buffalo pound, tipi rings, and a 1500 year-old medicine wheel. The visitor centre, which resembles a tipi split along the cardinal axes, is built of glu-lam timbers clad with glass curtain walls and cedar shingles. A straight path leads past a gift shop and reception area toward a reconstructed buffalo pound, orientation gallery and dining room. The visit begins with a multi-media slide presentation, fol-lowed by a trip to the exhibition hall. Here, low glass cases display traditional lore: a series of teepees exhibit Native artifacts; a storytell-ing tent relates oral tradition; interactive computer stations allow interactive investigation. On leaving the hall, one passes a working field laboratory where staff archaeologists can be viewed through plate glass. An archaeological theatre explains scientific procedure and promotes respect for the park's resources. The visitor centre is perched on the lip of a prehistoric buffalo jump. Its spire can be seen from the valley floor, providing a point of reference without dominating the natural setting. Trails are themati-cally organized to provide a quantity and variety of visitor experi-ences—amphitheatre, teepee sites, medicine wheel—in keeping with the site's sacred nature. Local landscape architects have applied Xeriscape principles which emphasize the use of drought-resistant native flora. The 100-vehicle parking lot drains into a settling pond whose water is re-used for irrigation and prevented from polluting the bone-beds below. At the introductory slide show, the visitor is asked: "What does wa-mis-KE-win mean to you?" In this case, it means giving ear to our aboriginal ancestors, and seeing how cultural and natural threads are interwoven in this special place. ii.) Batoche Visitor Center Wliat can a building say about bush and battle? How can a commemorative center recall a conflict of frightened men, creeping through the woods to shoot each other? Wlwt is the essential symbol of fear? Forrest Wilson, IKOY Partnership Batoche was the nickname of Xavier Letendre, who opened a store in 1880 at the junction of the Carlton and Humboldt trails. These trails Page 3 were important trade routes, and Batoche soon became the adminis-trative centre of a Metis community stretching twenty miles from Gabriel's Crossing to the St. Laurent Mission. Batoche eventually boasted several stores, a "stopping place", fine houses, and a church and rectory. Batoche's historic importance, however, stems from its role in the North-West Rebellion. In 1985, on the centenary of the uprising, Batoche Visitor Center was inaugurated by Parks Canada. It receives 25,000 visitors annually from May through October, and features a small office block, 80-seat theatre, and exhibition hall. A glazed gallery opens onto a series of self-guided trails. These lead to three historical areas: the restored church and rectory, the Metis cemetery, and the grave of Gabriel Dumont; General Middleton's fortified encampment; and the ruined East Village where Riel was headquartered. The museum was commissioned from IKOY Partnership with two briefs in mind: to interpret the history of Metis settlement in the region and to portray the Northwest Resistance of 1885. Tectonically, IKOY seems to have responded to the latter, with a glass and steel box commemmorating the imposition of white rule by the imposition of white technology. "Nineteenth century gunsmiths often fashioned hexagonal barrels", reads a description of the glass gallery whose curtain wall was shipped from Winnipeg. "In the tube corridor the visitor spies on the church irfthe bore of"aSrjfJe and walks down it like a projectile aimed at the church... There can be no mistake. This building is not a historic aMifa^t'^lifit&is nlfcmaterial association between center and cKjttcK The center is brightiy?painted and clad in green tinted glass and corrugated silver aluminum panels associated with aerospace."3 *** ' , fy** "After the battle local wheat farmers, in a ritual killing of the site as the Romans had sown salt on the'ruins of Carthage, cut down all the trees, [sic] Tin MII today i^'bafe withia'single small Catholic church whose only, at traction is it" isolation^ T3y implementing "the essen-tial $vmbol.«>l ieai , IKON reveals i tspwn discomfort in an isolated environment I ike Middk ton's soldiers, IKOfX is unable to recognize - \ >.' *\ ! ' opportunity"- ioi camouflage or to "dig m" like the,indigenous Metis. ''- "Thctnlildinf* is \\ ideh dishkecfby' the Metis community, not only hu its appcdiajiie bui btiausc it provides so little opportunity for them to represent their U-iltuiu The exhibits give dnh/'a rudimentary i n m i e w of Metis settlement, and the gallery lacks a gift shop or i k" i • restauiant which might liitrcaieianuseum patronage. Any further <- 4 s- '•- " ^i *' / * "~~ * i development at Batoche should^ini/atrighting.this irrfbalancel \. Page 4 iii.) The Politics of Preservation: Metis Agenda and Parks Canada Policy Who controls the past controls the future; Who controls the present controls the past. George Orwell, 1984. Parks Canada's mandate for historic preservation is in conflict with the Metis' plans to re-establish a community on their homeland. Back to Batoche, their annual festival, already attracts thousands of Metis from across Western Canada. A flat, marshy area of park land has been reserved for this three-day event, which includes softball tournaments, chuck-wagon races, Red River jigging competitions, and memorial services at Gabriel Dumont's grave. Although an annual general meeting is held in November on Louis Riel Day, the summer festival is an important forum for decision-making. Little has been built so far to accommodate these diverse activities: a racetrack, some outhouses, and four ball diamonds have been set out, surrounded by new saplings. Nearby, the One Arrow Indian Band has signed a land claim settlement worth about $20 million. Embarking on a campaign of land purchase, it is planning to expand westwards towards the highway adjoining the Back to Batoche site. A water-line right-of-way has been extended from the grid road to the valley floor. There is talk of a casino or other profitable enterprise. The Metis want to develop their land in a similar way, but because of poor financial controls, their operating grants have been frozen by the government [for 1993]. Murray Hamilton of the Batoche Planning Committee claims that "a major conference centre" is being commis-sioned from Douglas Cardinal, but has been unwilling to provide any specific information. Such sweeping plans have been tabled since the mid-1980's, when Batoche Visitor Center was conceived. Although Parks Canada policy encourages co-operative events like Back-to Batoche, more substantial development is hampered by conservation guidelines, as outlined below: To a degree unforeseen even ten years ago, historic sites are increasingly viewed as an integral part of the human environment, rather than as enclaves where the past is separated from the present.... Special programs and events offer important opportunities to integrate the presentation of cultural resources at national historic sites with related activities in their surrounding communities and to develop partnership with others.5 [However]... in the interest of long-term public benefit, new uses' that threaten cultural resources of national historic significance will not be considered, and existing uses which threaten them will be discontinued or modified to remove the threat.6 These conflicting standards explain why the Metis Land Area has been pushed to the edge of the site. Its further development is considered incompatible with preservation of archaeological resources. A compromise much be reached before the Metis can re-settle Batoche. 2. Cultural Investigations Webster's Third Dictionary defines hybrid as " 1 : an offspring of two animals or plants of different races, breeds, varieties, species, or Page 5 genera...; 2: a person or group produced by the blending of two diverse cultures or traditions..." Implicit in this definition is the theory of heterosis: "a greater vigour or capacity for growth frequently displayed by crossbred animals or plants as compared with those resulting from inbreeding". A successful hybrid is expected to exhibit the best • characteristics of both parents. Can this explain the Metis' remarkable adaptiveness, and their strong sense of identity?. In an effort to answer this question and to develop a more meaningful program, conven-tional design theory has been eschewed in favour of cultural investi-gation. Although drawn from published sources, it is essential to a thorough understanding of the original work to follow. i.) The Plains Metis to 1885 Then Abraham fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying- "As for me, behold, My covenant is ivith you, and you shall be a father of many nations..• r • ' Also I give to you and your descendants after you the landt in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession;Mid { „ will beltheir God , // -\ 4 A | :f<3enesisl7 :4^J, . / . X V x ^ £$**" \&\:* 'J government of New France, faced with an over supply of furs, recalled its coureurs de hois from the back country.9 Many of them refused to return, gradually migrating toward the prairies where they fathered French-speaking Catholic Metis descendants by their Cree wives along the Red River. From the beginning, Metis character was marked by this fiercely independent spirit. The Red River Metis were sustained by buffalo hunting, freight, and the sale of pemmican to canoe brigades. Systematic farming of the valley began after the Selkirk colonists arrived in 1812.10 The Metis' emerging sense of identity, sparked by friction with these colonists, caught fire at the battle of Seven Oaks where Governor Robert Semple was killed in 1816." The Red River system stretched from Lake Winnipeg to the Mississippi near St Paul. Three versions of Manifest Destiny were }j operating on this crucial watershed: a British colonization movement A thrusting down from Hudson's Bay; strong trade routes from Mon-£" treal fanning out into thefer^est; ana Aittericarrter-ritqjial aspirations p i>- * -to the south AThe Metis, thanks to their unique inheritance, were ideal cally to a distinct Npfth-^West society with-its*own-culture and-ecoi^ *i-f ""±. \ •"-•>' ' ' : «?&& ki& '• 'I - • \ tHu 3&i?t yr .\. - /? nomic traditions.?'Biologically, wefrssfl£ertas,gone,on*since the,earji<" European cpntact>^amag>.-ap/agon dupaysz^m^mponm^or % £ £ ' £ & < • , \ > ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ' A W ^ & ' t : i > k i f e operatiye strategy, between Natives and non^Nafives on the frontier.- ,!^**? ; - • ? ' • •V t r^'P^t^%4--^K<hm^H00^^ ^ ' K':-%^1 Metissage t o o k o n a, character of mstitution •'aite'r^ 169^,''when <the'" "v / - .£ . . *"''•. , k 'CS-£ •.*" P i M 3 r^ /*V" „ £&\/>- •? ' ' ' " \ ' . ' ^ t ! Page 6 Annual hunting expeditions into Sioux territory were organized with para-military discipline. Outriders and dogs accompanied hun-dreds of covered carts which traveled in rows of four so that they could instantly be wheeled into a defensive quadrangle in case of attack. At night, these carrachetehoiines would be drawn up in a circle, lashed wheel-to-wheel with the cart-poles pointing upwards. The bristling enclosure provided shelter behind which whole families could cook their meals of meat, tea, and a special bread called a galette. A tent heaped with wildflowers would be set up by the missionary whose bell would summon everyone to evening adoration of the Virgin. Daily marches were animated by displays of trick-riding and skill with the cabresse, or lasso. When buffalo were sighted, any slaughter was followed by a skinning bee. Hides would be scraped and meat pounded into pemmican, until the carts were fully stocked with this essential food. r* /<i*i/iW//7jf/'ii filvmii •^eylniirlt nt i>l I nircnl ; These buffalo hunts sharpened the Metis' fighting skills and established their code of justice. The hunting council's authority was absolute, but its punishments surprisingly lenient: for a first trespass, the offender to have his saddle cut up; for the second offense, the offender to have his coat cut up; for the third, the offender to be flogged. "Reliance seems to have been placed on the moral effect of public ridicule among a proud people who found losing face more difficult to endure than losing possessions."13 The Metis' success as hunters contributed to the sudden collapse of the buffalo population—their use of wheeled carts instead of travois, for example, enabled them to harvest many more buffalo than subsistence required. Louis Goulet recalled that "the disappearance of the buffalo from the Red River Valley in 1868 resulted in nothing less than a complete revolution in the life and economy of our country. The Metis turned their dreams for the future, and their energies, to cultivat-ing the soil. They did it readily, though some of the less enterprising were not very happy about it."14 The St. Laurent settlement was founded in 1871 to promote this sedentary lifestyle. At St. Laurent, a system of self-government was established under Gabriel Dumont, with its own laws and constitution based on the old rules of the buffalo hunt. The North West Mounted Police would not arrive until 1875, and the local territorial council ruled in name alone, so the first Metis of Saskatchewan enjoyed a degree of independence denied them further east. The hundreds of Metis families emigrating from Manitoba be-came increasingly dependent on agriculture. They planted potatoes, Page 7 carrots, cabbage, turnips, and onions. They cultivated small fruit trees, including Saskatoon berries and currants. Most families had a cereal crop, although this was seldom a full-time occupation. Some of the wealthier Metis had upwards of 50 head of cattle. "Batoche" Letendre was one of the richest men in the North-West and owned one of its finest houses. Traditional Metis dwellings and attendant technology, then, are the next subject to examine. ii.) The Built Tradition "I always thought the Red River Cart was a magnificent invention. It was a good wagon and didn't cost anything. Any man could make one in a week ... All he had to do was walk into the bush and get to work." Louis Goulet. BEN: Why, boys, when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. He laughs. And by God I was rich! Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, Act One. Metis technology relied on a wealth natural resources, perhaps best illustrated by the Red River cart. Originating in both French and Scottish traditions, this cart was ideally suited to prairie conditions. It was constructed entirely of wood and was tied together with rawhide. Two shafts were strapped to a single pony or ox. Its two deeply-dished wheels made it exceptionally stable. It was strong enough to carry thousand-pound loads, yet buoyant enough to be floated across streams.15 If no other timber were available, it could be dismantled and transformed into a dwelling, becoming the frame and ridge-pole for a tent or dugout. Although any adult male could repair a cart, its construction was usually the fruit of group effort. Work parties of ten or twenty men would gather around an experienced cartwright to pool their re-sources and share their skills. White poplars were felled, squared on two parallel faces, and sawed into three-foot logs. Each log was then shaped with an adze, yielding a curved timber four inches thick and thirty inches long. These were then sawed into thin strips, each pierced with an augur and fitted with a tenon. The curved strips were joined by spokes to an eighteen-inch hub, mounted on an axle, and lashed with leather thongs Unlike European wheels, these ones were saucer-shaped to accommodate the side-to-side gait of an ox. The dished wheels would not fail on rough terrain or under shifting loads.16 With few tools and materials, the Metis were able to transform existing technology into something specific to their needs. Page 8 Before the advent of milled lumber, White settlers on the open prairie were often obliged to live in sod huts. The Metis' riverbank settlements, on the other hand, guaranteed a good supply of timber, so log cabins were the first dwellings at Batoche. Poplar logs were squared by hand and joined at the corners with dovetails. The joists of the plancher de haut ran right through the walls. Even the best-cut logs would let in drafts, so the joints were caulked with moss or buffalo hair. As additional insulation, the houses were "mudded" each winter: diagonal lathes of diamond willow were fastened to the exterior and plastered with a mixture of mud and fibre. When the wall dried, it was whitewashed. The first roofs were thatched, but these were later replaced by spruce shingles, with thatch being confined to stables and outbuildings. These early cabins were more durable than the balloon-frame houses of White settlers. Many are still standing at Batoche, in surprisingly good repair. More elaborate buildings were the work of skilled tradesmen. By 1885, Xavier Letendre's commercial buildings and neo-gothic house were "the most finished you could find in all the \'orlh-Wesl".17 His carpenters were skilled artisans building in the -»l) le of the "Rod Rj\ er i Frame".. ThK was.a variation ol I'olmiix en iVii//'-v construction imported11rom France in the mid-17th Ivnturv. - "the teihnique. consists of dropping tenoned horizontal planks'into aperies otgrdoved vertical-Dosts.,iIiightfe'eton''^enter, these squared posts staridfon'a dovetaile i bo'ttpmjplafe which is" often .strengthened^at^he"corners with wrought ironr 'The-bents are raised? joined with'a top''plate, and the squaTi ;dmnl%lankTare"slkl into place and secured with wpoden I ''-$ \*r' ,.,^£ ' *'*"~ — " •c^.'/.-t-',--' pegs. At? BatbeheVftie'se Buildif^werej isual ly olacl with clapboard siding, bMat "nearby Foj^GarlforfMicl-EdstMountain House the'infill mdividu^al|impr_0V4sa„T.., . _ . , B a f ^ h a v e > e M 5 e f u 1 f ^ Page 9 Gothic arch. The shrine's century-old log church, however—recently destroyed by fire—is being rebuilt stick-f or-stick as a reminder that the old ways may be gone, but not forgotten. » ** iv.) The Battle of Batoche " ''l If we must die by violence, let us do it quickly. a Cree Proverb Crops failed at Batoche in 1882 and 18M i aiding great hardship since even poor Metis no longer lived entiielx oft the hunt Govern-ment surveys about this time rekindled their apprehensions of losing title to land, although efforts were made to appease the-* I oar s In the fall of 1884, a secret assembly was convened under Gabriel I Himoiil to consider a plan of action. Dumont possessed tough leadership skilU, but the Metis needed a more eloquent spokesman to negotiate with Ottawa. "The problem right now", Charles Nohn said, 'is that we'ii like a cart with only one wheel. If we war t In get mm ing v\ e'll lux e to go find the other one we need."20 Louis Riel, hi'dihg in Montana for his role in the Manitoba uprising, was secretly recalledij *>";-' i* * • \, Riel was a demagogue of eastern education sand ^unorthodox religious views. Although his initial agitations were peaceful, urging all dissatisfied people in the region to unite, his religious fanaticism brought opposition from local Church authorities The.'Ios'spf their support, along with silence from Ottawa, led to lrjcreased exaspera-tion. In March of 1885, convinced that God was directing him and proclaiming himself "Prophet of the New World", Riel seized control M/r Af=-re-?~ ^ii-fepPAMpr (_t>r e-n-."5 of the parish church at Batoche, forming a provisional government and demanding the surrender of Fort Carlton.21 Dumont was asked to lead the armed Metis, who won an early skirmish with police at Duck Lake. If Dumont had hoped by this to win easy political concessions, he had not reckoned on the intransigence of both Ottawa and Riel. In less than a month, the government placed 5000 troops under the command of Frederick Middleton, who marched them north from the railway in three columns. Riel, meanwhile, ordered that Batoche be fortified in preparation for a siege. Encouraged by the Duck Lake victory, militant plains Indians joined the conflict and besieged Fort Battlef ord and Fort Pitt. Middleton Page 10 detailed troops to relieve these forts, but his own advance was stopped by a Metis ambush at Fish Creek. Dumont and Riel could not agree on where to make their next stand. Dumont advocated a more forward position, but Riel demanded that the Metis await divine assistance in a final confrontation at Batoche. The ensuing battle was an uneven match between a large, cumbersome attacker and a more mobile but hopelessly-outnumbered defender. Unaware that his opponents were critically short of ammunition, Middleton staged ineffective diver-sions in an attempt to outflank the entrenched Metis. On the morning of 9 May, the steamer Northcote—which had been fitted out as an improvised gunboat—was deployed to create the second front of a two-pronged attack. The Northcote drew heavy fire from the Metis, who finally toppled her smokestacks by lowering the ferry cable. She sailed too early, however, and passed Batoche before Middleton could reach the village overland. His 900 troops were repelled from Mission Ridge when the Metis regrouped. Middleton's troops fired on the rectory, but a white flag revealed that it sheltered only non-combatant priests. — , - - _ _ ^.^^^^ I ho Metis wcio well concealed by vegetation and a senes-of-rifle „ ' ' " *. *•« pit- behind v\ Inch thev could mowfwith ease. In the early afternoon r ' ?r •**.<•••& ?>€'sx^X } -- --''J. a rush u as organized uVaiuattemptto*drive the Metis from their pits', but tin- Jailed The Metis, in their turn, set a grass fire and attempted, undei the cover of its smoke, to cut Middleton off from his supply train This too tailt d, hut topJRU»c.t m"> •>"p plies Middleton ordered a letrodl The rest ol the day was sp\nt urcling 160 wagons into^'a ?m ('.'•At* defensn e /.neh.i u Iud\jprovi^ed{fcove*r that night. r.. 1 he second day's fighliftg'Was limited to sporadic shootirig,-but on the 11 May Middleton identified a weakness in the. Metis' defense': Their pits were so thinly-mcinrie'd that a reconnaissance expedition eastward'past Jolie Prairie drew much of their strength away from Mission Ridge. Middleton plan tied.a. feigned attack for the next morning. J-"! ' ' '* f l/-'jl?^**' *On;12 May, Middk-.on Jed a second diyersion tVJolietpraine. His main'forces were to attack the weakened southern flank upon hearing gunfirejbut due to a stn-ng wind this wasljiaudible and the troops did hot advance. Middleton was furious and^efxeafei back"to his original position. By this time, liciwever/lhe^Met^Pammunition was ex-hausted—they were shootrngstones and nails fronvtheir Winchesters. f t ^ Upon thjs. discovery the North West Volunteer "Field force led an unplanned charge through .the weakened Metis lilies, causing a rout and the capture of the east village.22 Riel's 350 men scattered, although only a handful were killed. Dumont sought political asylum in the United States, where he would later join Sitting Bull and other tragic heroes in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Page 11 Show. Riel was eventually captured. Although he was hanged for treason, other Metis were treated more leniently. A policy of appease-ment followed the battle: Restitution was paid to those non-combat-ants who had;suffered financial loss; riverlot farms were restored; arid their legitimate title registration was encouraged. Their rights as an indigenous people to more extensive guarantees of land, however, jwefe traded away in exchange for scrip.!'.-Scrip certificates entitled every family to 240 acres of land or $240. In the economic chaos following their defeat, many Metis opted for cash, concluding too late "tha't they had notireceivedtheir due and that their birth";right was sold for a mess of potage."23 % iv.) Brothers in Arms—Dumont and Riel And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. Exodus 13: 21. By entrenching themselves at Batoche rather than relying on their superior mobility and local knowledge, the Metis sowed the seeds of their own defeat. In later life, Dumont admitted that if he had not followed Riel's orders, he mighthave led his men to victory. "We were 350 men all told, of whom 200 were armed. I proposed we go ahead of the troops, harass them by night, and above all prevent them from sleeping... But Riel did not agree, saying that this was too much like the Indians..."24 Ambivalent strategy reveals something of the Metis leaders' conflicting characters. . '-'t~\ Dumont was an illiterate but charismatic leader, the natural man par excellence. His little government at St. Laurent was established on the precedent of the buffalo hunt, and'as long as the hunt endured, his people were in full command of their world. - ; Riel, by contrast, was a;classically-trained scholar and eloquent politician, alienated from-wilderness1 life.,-He know thai traditional self-government could not endure in the face of encroaching settle-ment, but was convinced that within the constraints of political con-- yention, it might-preservethe^splendid ffeedombf the prairie." . -Dumont's lack of political acumen obliged him to defer to Riel, but he knew that total victory was impossible even if he prevailed over Middleton. Instead,- Dum'pnt hopedjto force a'as Jo bargain with the government from a position of strength. Riel, on the other hand, was essentially a pacifist forced by government intransi-gence into crossing the Rubicon. Once war was declared, however, he made no plans for escape or retreat. His religious convictions, outlined below, persuaded him that defeat was impossible. v.) Millenarism—The Religion of Resistance The same spirit that appeared to Moses in the midst of clouds of flame appeared to me in the same manner. I was astonished. I was dumbfounded. It was said to me: 'Rise, Louis David Riel, you have a mission to accomplish for the benefit of humanity.... I received my divine notification with uplifted arms and bowed head. Louis Riel, 1875. Page 12 Millenarism is an extremist religious attitude which often arises among repressed minorities. In Christian theology, the "millennium" refers-to the thousand-,y,ear period;of perfect happiness associated with the return of Christ to Earth.2SXAccording to the Book of Revela-Hon/Satan will be bound for these thousand years, until the Last Judgment ends history altogether. Unlike traditional Christianity, which stresses individual salva-tion in the after-life, millenarian salvation is 'imminent, total, ultimate, tliis-worldly, and collectiveX27 Salvation is expected in the foreseeable future, on earth, by ah entire'cemmunity of-elect. This had special appeal on the frontiers of the New World. Christian millenarists argued that the apostolic mission had failed in Europe and that Jesus would'^e'stablish his earthlykinedom in America. I-Lbuis Riel was no more?an?"anomaly as prophet';6n the plains thanfwasithe Mormon patriarch in Salt Lake City.-" '** : -'- ":'•.••£"-\ ' * Riel had been confined to a lunatic asylum for his extreme reli-gious views, which were an exaggerated version of French-Canadian Catholicism: , , > 4 3?4 , ' J |-- *tij,: ; : ; "Wtg&rj "The message was that a' new era had-"dawned'ifTl 876 jvhen he began his prophetic mission^ It,"was the third-ancflast epoch of the] Kingdom of God. Spiritual leadership had passed from Rome to the new World. Montreal would be the first residence of,the Holy Spirit in America, followed aft'er'457 yearsby St. Boniface. The metis would be redeemed from their present state of, ' " • ' " / " " - f'A''*'^ ' * ":>%'•".'.' • ••;?'i?) French immigration, they vvoulddominated Manitoba, which would; become the leading state in a confederation of new nations in the North-West... As the culmination of these happy events, Christ would return to earth after 457 plus 1876 years."28 He sometimes signed his name "Louis 'David' Riel: Prophet, Priest-King, Infallible Pontiff." He felt a special attachment to the biblical King David—from whom Christ, too, was descended—and subscribed to a popular belief that the American Indians were actually descended from a lost tribe of Israel. "By the Indian blood which flows in your veins, you are Jewish", he wrote of himself.29 By assuring poor Metis of their divine right to victory in the Promised Land, Riel ensured their total allegiance. When victory eluded him, he surrendered himself to execution and eventually recanted his "new religion". However: by sacrificing his life, he transcended the pontificate to gain the status of a martyr. Woodcock suggests thatbothheroes and martyrs succeed through their power of shaming other men, of making them lose face with themselves. Loss of face is the Metis' legacy; shame was their salva-tion. Riel's execution resulted in widespread public outrage and a sense of national guilt which the government tried to assuage by conceding to many of the Metis' demands. If Dumont had fought the government to a stalemate, history might have been less sympathetic. The Metis' rule of the prairie endured less than the span of a single life, doomed by a Canadian version of manifest destiny. If it were not for our shame over the outcome of the North-West Rebellion, Batoche might today be just another abandoned village, instead of a valuable historic preserve. Page 13 3. Strategy: Site Analysis The art of war is usually divided into two parts—strategy and tactics.... Broadly speaking... strategy is concerned with the movemen t of troops before they come into actual collision, while tactics deal with the leading of troops in battle, or when battle is imminent. Strategy, moreover, seeks to derive from victory greater advantage tlmn is to be obtained simply from defeating the enemy; it tries to place the victor in a position before the battle to gain the greatest effect possible from his tactical success when won. Lieutenant Colonel Walter H. James, 1903. Over a century since its capitulation, Batoche is still a battle-ground. Military analogy is harmful if it carries implications of cultural control; that the weaker of two interests must succumb to the stronger; that preservation and development are irreconcilable man-dates. On a battlefield site, however, a comparison of strategy and tactics to architecture is inevitable : the best site strategy ensures that maneuvers are deployed from the strongest position, to greatest effect. Three sites were investigated in an effort to intervene close to disputed territory without bringing the antagonists into direct confrontation. i) Gabriel's Crossing Gabriel Dumont's house ivas reached about noon. It is a double affair, two comfortable storey and a lialf houses being connected by a short passage.... The front of the house is painted blue, but this is about the only mark of bad taste shown. Across the road is the store, and therein the first object to attract attention was a well-worn pool table.... Here as elsewhere the observers were impressed with the substantial comfort of the habitations of these mixed bloods. Among the articles taken away from Dumont's were a couple of violins, a concertina and a well-thumbed copy of Shakespeare... Reporter E.R. Johnston, St. Paul Pioneer-Press, 1885. Gabriel's Crossing • \ ^ tin. ' . • ^ > X? SCALE MIL! S • X5, '- <r ! Maps from Payment (op. cit.) & Wiebe (op.cit.) Page 14 Gabriel's Crossing is the first major landmark on the highway to Batoche, near the southern boundary of riverlot settlement. Estab-lished by Dumont in 1880, it was a working ferry until the middle of this century when it was replaced by a steel bridge—painted blue. A steep descent to the river valley establishes dramatic tension between the bridge and its levee, where a ruined cabin approximates the site of Dumont's original house. The land is owned by one of his descendants, a teacher in British Columbia who has offered to donate it should suitable development be proposed. The riverbend site is emotionally appealing, historically rich, and publicly accessible. The powerful presence of ferry and bridge would enrich any architectural program. Gabriel's Crossing is fifteen minutes' drive south of Batoche, however, and this distance is its greatest weakness. General Middleton built his zareba at Batoche to avoid retreating this far each night. The Metis, too, would see development here as a retreat of sorts: the site is too far south to complement either the existing museum or current festival site. Mr. Hamilton discouraged use of the crossing, proposing instead an equally-historic site nearer Batoche: the East Village. ii) East Village Three years ago, a young man wrapped himself inside a steaming hot skin he had just taken from the animal he had killed, when he realized that he would perish. The poor chap had notforseen that, once the skin had frozen on him, he woxdd be entombed within it, unable ever to get out of it. Father Belcourt, Metis Missionary, 1857. The East Village was Riel's headquarters and the primary built area at Batoche. The Carlton and Humboldt trails merged here at a crossing operated by Xavier Letendre, whose substantial house and Page 15 store stood nearby. Like the blacksmith's shop and "stopping place", their remains are invisible today, protected by fenced enclosures adjoining heavily-wooded trails. The West Village across the river can only be reached after freeze-up, when the museum is closed, so its trails are almost unused. The East Village is not visually connected to either museum or highway, both twenty-five minutes' walk away. Motor vehicles are served by a gravel road and independent parking lot. Initially, this grassy riverside site seems ideal for development: it is culturally symbolic, historically rich, and immediately accessible to the Metis' land. A wide range of uses recommend themselves: meaningful presentation of archaeological resources; a reconstructed ferry cross-ing; period transportation improving public access to the museum— co-operative strategies which would showcase traditional Metis skills. Museum director Irwin Wilson, however, discourages these plans. The site is hard to reach by school groups and casual museum visitors. It cannot be seen from the highway, in fact, and would be a poor location for a gift shop or restaurant. If these were to be run independ-ently by the Metis, moreover, park security would exclude their use outside of museum hours. Period transportation, too, while a long-term museum goal, poses a dilemma: although horse and carriage rides might attract more visitors, the high insurance premiums re-quired by Parks Canada would outstrip any profits. Finally, since the East Village lot is surrounded by undocumented archaeological re-sources, its long-range development would always be hampered by conservation policy. Page 16 iii) Caron Farm Then Moses went up from the plains ofMoab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land ofGilead as far as Dan, all Napthali and the land ofEphraim and Manasseh, all the land ofjudah as far as the "Western Sea, the Southand the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of'the palm trees, as far asZoar. Then the Lord said to him, "This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying: 'I will give it to your descendants.' I Imve caused you to see it with your own eyes, but you shall not cross over it there." Deuteoronomy 34:1-4 The Caron Farm site is a sliver of land between river and highway, outside the park on the main approach from Saskatoon. Middleton's troops first sighted Batoche here on their march north from Fish Creek. They set up their forward encampment hereand first exchanged shots with the entrenched Metis. Although poetic justice is served in suggesting that the Metis recapture Batoche from Middleton's fox-holes, historic association is less important than this site's outstanding natural attributes. The river runs nearer the highway here than anywhere else on the site, but one drives by without noticing. Not only is one's attention distracted by a series of ruined Metis dwellings to the east, but to the west a screen of poplars shelters the river from view. A dirt track winds through this band of trees, which opens onto a Pisgah view of incomparable beauty: from hundred-foot cliffs, so nearly overlooked, one overlooks the whole of the Metis domain, from Gabriel's Crossing to St. Laurent, from Gabriel's grave to Batoche itself. Although the Caron Farm is as far from the church and museum as is the East Village, its position offers several advantages. Firstly, it is near the highway on the main museum approach. The public will certainly notice any building here; in fact, to the casual visitor, this site may be more accessible than the museum itself. Secondly, the Caron Farm is visually linked to the park's major features. The museum, church, and graveyard can all be seen in the distance along the Humboldt Trail. The restored Caron House—one of only three period buildings at Batoche—occupies the middle distance. All of these "-(- - P ^ P * ^ Page 17 would become stations on an itinerary anchored by development of this south site. Thirdly, the Caron Farm is suited to the automobile. It can accommodate three dozen vehicles without requiring the public to cross the highway to reach the museum. Seasonal overflow during Back to Batoche could easily be absorbed by the church parking lot across the road. Proximity to this little-used Metis church could establish dramatic tension between permanent southerly settlement •£-A.f*-^*4 l*t>l> G-*^-and seasonal leisure development to the north. In fact, the site has already been earmarked for development. The One Arrow Indian Band is negotiating to buy land opposite. They have leased a water-line along the provincial grid road leading to their land. WhentheOneArrowBanddoesbuild,itmaybehere. TheCaron Farm site may become Batoche's new crossroads, a threshold forthree cultures. vie-uj <>,» .fri-re, f-t-*rJ\ -r^aejc. Page 18 4. Tactics: Program Synopsis The houses were a series of rooms stuck together, built one after the other. Justine Caron, Batoche, 1981. The Metis have little money with which to build, and it is unlikely that they can afford a single, all-encompassing "cultural centre". Traditional Metis farms grew incrementally, as need required and resources permitted. Programmatic investigations will proceed on that model, in hopes that the whole may grow to exceed the sum of its parts. Their three most urgent requirements are: small cabins for elders' use, a large meeting hall, and a horse barn, all needed at the summer festival. A further three facilities would prolong residency on-site and promote wider public use: an amphitheater, artists' live-work studios, and an archive. The first three projects—hut, hall, and barn—will be designed as independent objets types for several reasons: firstly, to explore appro-priate building technologies from the onset of design; secondly, to offer a solid vocabulary of forms to the Metis community, who may deploy them where they choose; thirdly, to build a strong armature for later design moves. i.) Elders' Cabins Sleeping in a tent on the wide open prairie has charms and pleasures the ' average person.knows nothing about. A night in open, unspoiled nature is bustling with life, so much so that anyone who isn't used to it has trouble getting to sleep. Prick up your ears, listen to the night:... Hoiu can I describe the song flung back and forth between two whippoorwills? Louis Goulet. This warm-up exercise will explore the prairie dwelling in its most basic form: a cabin. While primarily intended for use by Metis elders during Back to Batoche, these cabins might also be used as a ski chalets if Batoche develops a winter sports area. It should be easy to build, since its construction will likely involve the free labour of students from Saskatoon. The cabins may stand alone or in a cluster, but in both situations should exhibit the simple elegance of traditional Metis dwellings. ii.) Stable Farmers no longer build barns.... Barns turned into garages when farm animals were traded in for combustion engines. Today's barn equivalent is the all-metal" Butler Building". This is a metal mechanical shed tlmt serves as protection and repair shop for farm machinery. No working farmer has built a heavy timber barn for the past half century. IKOY Partnership. The second project will house horses, which are still kept by many Metis in the region. Horsemanship is one of their proudest traditions, which may explain why the first thing they have re-built at Batoche is Page 19 a racetrack. This barn, needed now to stable horses at the festival, may become a base for revenue-generating period transportation at the museum. The barn should include a dozen twin stalls, hayloft, tack room, workshop, and space for at least two drays. iii.) Community Hall If the house had a wood floor, it would be creaking under the steady rhythm of dancing feet. If there was no floor, as was usually the case with those winter houses, thebare ground tookall the stampingfromour moccasins and the spectators were forced out many times in the evening for a breath of air because the dust inside would be suffocating.... They sat on the ground all around the room with their backs to the wall, almost completely invisible because of the dust and pipe smoke.... I often think the Red River Jig was invented on evenings like that when sometimes the only instrument was an Indian drum. Louis Goulet. The elder's cabin housese an individual and could realized by a single craftsman. The hall will house a large group and will be realized by a corvee. The Metis have a tradition of communal building, of coming together to raise large structures without the aid of heavy equipment. Heavy frame construction is especially suited to this, since stiff, prefabricated bents can be raised by group effort, "to be furnished as time allows". Finished, a building's frame is the reflection of community involvement, lending poetry of execution to any prosaic activities it may later accommodate. In this instance, provision will be made for a. foyer, kitchen, storage, and conference room. The hall may occasionally function as a cafe or as a winter sports station. The hall should seat about three hundred people. iv.) Amphitheatre Now I must ask you to concede reality, to be a momentary bird above those men and to watch their filings gather round the rumour of a conference until magnetic grapevines bind them close. From a low angle the Army looks oval, whitish centred, split at one end, prised slightly open, and, opposite to the opening, Achilles (whom they had come to hear) with hard-faced veterans on either side, lance butts struck down, and here and there a flag. Christopher Logue, Pax: A Retelling of Book VI of the Iliad., 1969. The Stations of the Cross at St. Laurent culminate in a devotional grotto which opens onto the river. The worship space is now sheltered by a steel shed, but is still primarily an outdoor space. Many Metis make an annual pilgrimage to this grotto, which they would like to recreate in more secular form at Batoche. This amphitheatre might sometimes be used for outdoor masses. It should serve both a large groups and more intimate gatherings. Like Hadrian's Maritime Amphitheatre, it should be a hinge around which other buildings revolve. v) Atelier: The Artifact as Idea Material culture does not just exist. It is made by someone. It is produced to do something. Therefore it does not passively reflect society— rather, it creates society through the actions of individuals. Ian Hodder: "The Active Individual", from Reading the Past Page 20 The remaining two projects—"atelier" and "archive"—will focus on two aspects of culture: its material production and mnemonic preservation. Although it may be argued that Metis culture is not defined by material artifacts, a built object such as the Red River Cart is culturally significant in its evolution, manufacture, and use. Museums are increasingly aware of their responsibility not only to exhibit material artifacts, but to encourage their production. "Re-enactment", "reproduction", and "re-creation" are all sustained by a mimetic process of manufacture. Batoche museum lacks a gift-shop, losing an opportunity for the Metis to display their traditional handiwork: snowshoes, saddles, moccasins, ceintures flechees. Contemporary artwork can be added to this list. A healthy re-settlement strategy should allot space not only for the sale of such items, but also for their manufacture. Two or three ateliers, near a building yard and retail space, could accommodate artists-in-residence. As part of the process, this project will examine the production of a specific artifact—a cart-wheel, for example—so as to integrate space for its manufacture into a wider scheme of develop-ment. vi) Archive: The Idea as Artifact It's a poor sort of memory that only luorks backwards. Lewis Caroll, Through the Looking Glass. An archive is devoted less to the dissemination of knowledge than to its preservation in material form. It houses collective experience and embodies cultural memory. To a young nation in particular, memory is essential to self-definition. (The Mormons, for example, maintain their huge genealogical archive in Salt Lake City as a religious duty.) Historians such as Diane Payment advocate a central collection of Metis manuscripts, which are now widely scattered. She gives exam-ples: Museum of Civilization, Ottawa: recordings of Metis songs, 1957. Canadian Archives, Ottawa: The Laws of St. Laurent, 1873. Societe historique de Saint-Boniface, Winnipeg: Louis Riel papers. Many papers remain in private hands, awaiting a suitable reposi-tory. A small archive at Batoche would house permanent staff and provide facilities for the acquisition, storage and retrieval of historical materials: compact shelving, darkroom, bindery, consultation and display areas. Since it is a workshop of sorts, "archive" is program-matically related to "atelier", and should enter into a dialictic relation-ship with it. \ * r :•:-• *', t •••• f r -f ••'.'ff'j? • :«• jvjifA'jj'. -v"?<.••;'•'"'"':!'•;*• Page 21 E L D E R ' S C A B I N '-Jy -m^-'- ' . / " • ' ' / , - • ' ; ' B » - u -Mil™ nwm "A,, • .\: .1, ••(, ' _ " •^'I7:^ ' • ; " ; ; / , ' , & , L O W E R F L O O R P L A N WeWoiim fneedanbt HemHWrM S O U T H - W E S T I S O M E T R I C SCALE: V - B Parking Stable Hayloft Commnunity Hall Seminar Space Speaker's Rostrum Covered Picnic Area Lookout Cafe Gift Shop Ateliers Archive Below Scented Garden Sunken Garden Amphitheatre Outdoor Stage 3 2 Vv Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 6. Design Development: Explanatory Notes i.) Elders' Cabins These little cabins were the subject of a week-long charrette which envisaged several floor plans and lot configurations. Cabins were arranged, for example, around an informal couryard, or flanking an assembly ground. Finally, it was decided to arrange them along an existing dirt track leading from the ball-diamonds to the racetrack. Each cabin is actually a duplex, with bedroom, bath, sitting room, and kitchenette. A rolling barn door separates the two sitting rooms, allowing them to open up for extended family gatherings or dances. Each bedroom gives onto a sleeping porch for comfort in summer. The structure is made of rough-sawn sandwich trusses 6' on center, over either sonotube foorings or a strip foundation with crawlspace. Stock double-hung windows are ganged to maximize the view while providing a traditional feel to the place. In retrospect, these little cabins suffer from formal preoccupations with symmetry and bay width. The screen porch is too narrow for comfort, and its corners are consumed by poorly-placed doors. Any sleeping porch in Saskatchewan would really have to be screened. The bathroom needs a roll-in shower, not a tub. In fact, to improve access by disabled elders, the whole cabin should by slab-on-grade, without the bumps and steps. A note for sticklers: sandwich-truss construc-tion would not use a continuous ridge-plate, as shown. Live and learn. ii.) Stable The designs of the hall and stable were undertaken before final site selection. The small study model shown above is typical of the kind of "toys" produced while indulging in structural investigations. The result was often quite dry, despite the best intentions of occupying the 'ruins' of these structures with later design moves. Once the river-bank site was chosen, the design proceeded more conventionally, with greater attention paid to subtleties of contour. The stable was finally placed in response to the proximity of an existing parking lot near the small church across the highway, which would provide overflow parking on busy days. The corral adjoins the highway so that tourists, especially children, would notice the horses as they were driving by. The southern wing of the stable block screens the parking lot from the existing grove of trees to the north. Wagons or sleighs arriving from the park would drive through the hay-loft, turn in the yard to collect passengers, and return north again along the existing dirt track. Cars in the gravel yard are plainly visible from the highway—as appropriate to this remote setting—but discrete from the more natural elements of landscape. Page 36 iii.) Community Hall The hall is a slightly-raised extrusion of the adjoining barn, per-pendicular to a cafe and gift shop which forms the west side of the yard. It is designed to seat three hundred—at a pinch. The hall's role as foyer is emphasized by two large hearths, placed formally on the long and short axes of the space. Behind the western hearth is a servery, kitchen, and pantry. The cafe to the south is designed to act as a lobby for the hall, and as a self-contained gathering space for visitors when the hall is not in use. Its small coffee-bar overlooks the valley. The eastern wall behind the dining booths is infill masonry with slit windows, a clin d'oeuil to the defensive gun-loops of the past. The western wall, on the other hand, is fully glazed, provinding a pleasant surprise to visitors whose view has, until now, been screened. More kitchen, storage, and washroom space is required than has been shown. Visiting critics commented that the main hall not clearly differen-tiated from the rest of the project, concealing its identity as a ceremo-nial space. iv.) Amphitheatre The amphitheatre is designed to exploit a natural fold in the countours, stepping down a full two storeys without requiring an inordinately high retaining wall. The geometry of the building breaks at this point, at the transition from the man-made to the natural world. The amphitheatre is loosely modeled after a racetrack grandstand, with a combination of open and covered seating. The north wing is an covered picnic shelter, with a large barbeque at the west end. A cascade of platforms, alcoves, and terraces leads to a raised sage-grass lawn. The variety of spaces is provided to help choreograph events of different sizes., Visualizing specific social scenarios was an important part of the design process. Imagine a situation—from many hundreds at an outdoor mass to a few people waxing skis. By planning for the imagined situation, one builds the potential for an even wider variety of activities. v.) Atelier Two artists' live-work studios mark the southern boundary of the gravel yard. Because the studios are intended for seasonal use, shared living accomodations are envisaged, with a small kitchen, lavatory, and living room. A skylit corridor leads to two upstairs bedrooms, each with ensuite bath and screened sleeping porch. The studios are arranged along an arbor which acts as a circulation spine and screen, so that the artisans' work spaces are visible to the public, but the living areas are screened from view. The studios are placed near the gift shop so that their relationship as place of manufacture and place of sale is apparent. The arbor leads across the built-up roof of the archive, to a balustrade from which the view can be enjoyed. Page 37 vi.) Archive The cultural archive is a series of interlocking volumes set within the earth. Physically, these mediate between the main building and the terraced amphitheatre. Metaphorically, they refer to the cthonic realm of memory—the underworld springs of Mnemosyne and Lethe. As one descends along its inhabited corridor, one passes a gallery and seminar space, a curator's office with enclosed garden, a study carrel overlooking the valley, arriving at a main hall with open stacks end reference desk. The archive vault, not shown in plan, is behind the reference desk. The main hall gives onto the southern end of the amphitheatre so that it may be used as a staging area for outdoor ceremonies. The hall is illuminated by diffused skylight. Windows are placed so that readers may enjoy the south-west view without suffer-ing from harsh afternoon glare. The roof garden above the hall is planted with, sage, juniper, and other aromatic prairie flora to empha-size the archive's subterranean quality and to perfume the air on the terrace above, since Smell is perhaps the sense most closely associated with memory. Conclusion The project was well-received, in general, by visiting critics Larry Macfarland, Raymond Pradinuk, and—in preview—Fumihiko Maki. On the other hand, the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan, when contacted by telephone following final review, did not seem interested in receiv-ing copies of the finished drawings. This may be due to the author's lack of dialogue with the commnuity in the preliminary research and program development—dialogue which was sorely missed. It is hoped that the proposed design, though inadequate, will be accepted in apology, and that this thesis will promote the kind of enthusiastic discussion which made its preparation so rewarding. Page 38 Appendix A: Notes on Consultation Process There were two societies who treated together; one was small, but in its smallness it had its rights. The other was great, but by its greatness it Iwd no greater rights than the rights of the small. Louis Riel, 1885. In order not to rely too heavily on previously-published material, both site selection and program development evolved in response to several live interviews. The research topic was kindly suggested by Dr. Michael Ames, curator of the UBC Museum of Anthropology. Parks Canada in Winnipeg provided both topographic and policy information. Museum director Irwin Wilson outlined the shortcom-ings of Parks Canada policy while sharing his own hopes for sustain-able development at Batoche. The Metis Nation's Batoche Planning Committee was represented by Murray Hamilton, who is negotiating the co-management review. It must be recorded, however, that Mr. Hamilton failed to disclose the Metis' master plan despite repeated promises of assistance. Lorna Dawkin, a great-grand-daughter of Gabriel Dumont, was more helpful; the program brief was developed in great part thanks to her suggestions. Two site visits were made, once in autumn, and once again later in mid-winter. Unfortunately, the author did not attend the Back to Batoche festival—missing important opportunities for community con-sultation—because it takes place just after spring thesis reviews. Appendix B: Notes on Technique The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the . Lord, and set me down in the midst of the vally; and it was full of bones...and indeed they were very dry. He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord: Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will pu I sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know I am the Lord. Sol prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as'Iooked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, andihe skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them... Ezekiel 37:1-8 Drawings are on AO sheets of lOOg vellum. Most of the linework was done with disposable Rotring technical pens. The finer pens wear out quickly, giving an 'antiqued' look to the hatching lines. Because the sheets were substantially reduced for publication, even professionally made laser copies dropped dropped lines. This is also due to the double screening of digital photocopier and greyscale PMT. The PMTs, however, faithfully reproduced the toned underlays used on the site plan. These are solvent transfers—using ordinary bond copies, a light dusting of spray mount, and a blender marker from the UBC bookstore. In some cases, photocopies on either buff trace paper or white bond were applied directly to the back of the sheets. Titles are also solvent-transfers, not sticky-back. The perspective drawings and isometric projections were traced from pen-plots of an AutoCad.wireframe. By investing time making the Cad model, I was much more productive in the days before final review—laying out and drawing one sheet per evening. Page 39 A word to the wise: Don't experiment with markers or watercol-our the night before hand-in! The trusses for the small study model are built on paper jigs. Coat each jig with spray-mount to tack down the sticks before applying glue at the joints. Give the truss a few minutes to dry, and lift carefully with a scalpel. Repeat ad nauseam. The base for the big model is hollow. It is built up from strips of the cheapest beaver-board, purchased at Coe Lumber and carried to school on the bus. White glue and weights were used to assemble the strips. Beaver-board captures fairly well the, feeling of the sandy substrate around Batoche. (Painted modelling paste would not have been suitable.) The contours were smoothed out in a few hours with a coarse rasp and elbow grease, and built up with a thin coating of plaster. Grass was done model-railroad style, with spray mount, sawdust, and fines herbes. The trees are crummy. Try to pick yarrow in the fall—before the rains come—or find a cheap willow broom at a dime store. Neither were on hand when needed at the eleventh hour. Roofs:. Scored card with powdered graphite and paper varnish Gravel: White sand-blast ballast mixed with graphite Siding: Corrugated basswood or McDonalds burger-box liners To the right are examples of AutoCad wireframe models: an interior view and an isometric projection of the bend in the river valley near the site. Crude tools, but effective. Notes "A Hidden Treasure Uncovered", Saskatoon Star Pheonix, June 23 1992, p. C4. "A Project That Grew and Grew", Saskatoon Star Pheonix, June 23 1992, p. C16. Wilson, pp. 57-59. Forrest Wilson with Ron Keenberg and William Loerke, "Batoche National Historic Site", Architecture: Fundamental Issues, (New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990) ,p.57. Parks Canada, "Cultural Resource Management Policy", chapter 3.5, p. 114. ibid., p. 104 Canadian Encylopedia, (Edmonton, Hurtig Publishers, 1988), p. 1343. Diane Paulette Payment, The Free People—Otimemisiwak: Batoche, Saskatcheiuan 1870-1930 (Parks Canada, 1990), p. 19. George Woodcock, Gabriel Dumont: The Metis Chief and His Lost World. (Edmonton: Hurtig Pulishers, 1975),.p. 21. Canadian Encyclopedia, p. 1836. ibid,p. 1344. Woodcock, p.35. Guillaume Charette, Vanishing Spaces: Memoirs of a Prairie Metis. Ray EUenwood, translator. (Winnipeg: Editions Bois-Brules, 1976), p. 15. 15 Canadian Encyclopedia, p. 1836. 16 Charette, pp. 77-78. 17 Payment, p. 212. 18 Maurice J. Clayton, Canadian Housing in Wood, (Ottawa: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1990), p. 75. 19 Charrette, p. 4. 20 Charrette, p. 111. 21 Canadian Encyclopedia, p. 1871. 22 Walter Hildebrandt, The Battle of Batoche: British Small Warfare and the Entrenched Metis (Parks Canada, 1985), p. 40. 23 Payment, p. 200. 24 Gabriel Dumont as cited in The Other Natives: The Metis, ed. Antoine S. Lussier.and D. Bruce Sealey, authors T.J. Brasser et al. (Winnipeg: Manitoba Metis Federation Press, 1978-), vol. 1, p. 157. 25 Woodcock, p. 12. . 26 Thomas Flanagan, Louis 'David' Riel: 'Prophet of the New World' (Tornonto: University of Toronto Press, 1979),.p. 178. 27 Yonina Talmon, 'Millenarism', International'Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1968) vol.10, p. 349. 28 Flanagan, p. 181. 29 Flanagan, p.76. Page 41 Bibliography The Canadian Encyclopedia, Second Edition. Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1988. Charette, Guillaume. Vanishing Spaces: Memoirs of a Prairie Metis. Ray Ellenwood, translator. Winnipeg: Editions Bois-Briiles, 1976. Clayton, Maurice J. Canadian Housing in Wood: An Historical Perspec-tive. Ottawa: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1990. Crosby, Rob. "Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatchewan: Six Thou-sand Years of Prairie Culture." Revue d'architecture de pay sage, mars 1992, pp. 12-13. Fieguth, Menno and Deanna Christensen. Historic Saskatchewan. To-ronto: Oxford University Press, 1986. Flanagan, Thomas. Louis 'David' Riel: 'Prophet of the New World'. Tornonto: University of Toronto Press, 1979. Hildebrandt, Walter. The Battle ofBatoche: British Small Warfare and the Entrenched Metis. Environment Canada Parks Service, 1985. Parks Canada, Ottawa. "National Historic Sites Policy", pp. 67-78; "Cultural Resource Management Policy", pp. 99-118. "Passage Through History" Architectural Record, May 1987, pp. 128-129. Payment, Diane Paulette. The Free People—Otipemisiwak: Batoche, Saskatchewan 1870-1930. Environment Canada Parks Service, 1990. Warden, Kathryn, and Peter Wilson. "Voices of Wanuskewin" The Star Pheonix, Saskatoon: June 23 1992, Section C. Wiebe, Rudy and Bob Beal, eds. War in the West: Voices of the 1885 Rebellion. Wilson, Forrest, with Ron Keenberg and William Loerke. Architecture: Fundamental Issues. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990. Woodcock, George. Gabriel Dumont: The Metis Chief and His Lost World. Edmonton: Hurtig Pulishers, 1975. Page 42 


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items