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Where the buffalo roamed : the story of Western Canada told for the young Marsh, E. L. (Edith Louise), -1960 1908

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The Story  of Western Canada Told   for the  Young
With Introduction by
R. G. MacBETH, M.A.
Author of "The Selkirk Settlers in Real
Life," and " The Making of the Canadian Weit. *
With Illustrations from Paintings by PAUL KANE,
and from photographs and drawings.
J mm
Copyright, Canada, 1908,
A request has come to me from the Publisher to
write an introduction to Miss Marsh's book, "Where
the Buffalo Kpamed." The title of the book leads one
to expect large elements of romance, pathos and tragedy,
and this expectation will not be disappointed.
We have here the history of the Great New West of
Canada, in the form of a series of sketches. They begin
with the fascinating chapter which describes the country when it was a land primeval in which there lived
in solitary grandeur the lordly Indian—
" Free as when Nature first made man,
Ere the base laws of servitude began."
With the Indian, in a sort of comradeship, there dwelt
in that land the buffalo and the deer, and all the tribes
of the animal world whose haunts had not yet been
broken into by the crack of the white man's rifle, and
whose lives were not spent in constant effort to elude
the cruelty of men who hunt the innocent for sport.
Here and there throughout the book we find touches
that reveal to us the lover of nature and the friend of
the dumb creatures of God.    This special feature has iv INTEODUCTION
no doubt entered into the work out of the heart of the
writer of the book; but it is a particularly good feature
in view of the fact that the work is written primarily
for children and young people. History is an absorbing study for most of us, but for children who have not
yet been seized with the importance of it, there is need
for putting historical facts into an attractive form. A
story always appeals to them, and they are naturally
sympathetic towards animals; hence, a book that contains these features will convey to them abundant information under its sugar-coating of narrative and description, In all this Miss Marsh has succeeded so well that
even grown-up children who are anxious to get hold of
the history of the West will find in her book great
pleasure and profit.
The book is, of course, of special interest to me
because it takes me delightfully over familiar ground.
The West is the land of my birth, and from childhood I
knew the life which Miss Marsh so well depicts. The
story of the earliest explorers comes to me as one which
I have frequently read in other works, but the leading
features in the old life of the West and the period of
transition to the new life are within my own ken. My
father was one of the famous band known as the Selkirk
Settlers, concerning whose amazing difficulties and final
triumph Miss Marsh writes, perhaps, the best of all
her chapters. Here and there I can see evidences that
the authoress was not part of the life she depicts, but INTRODUCTION v
on that account her uniform correctness is the more
surprising. It must be the result of protracted and
painstaking study in connection with the subject.
The kind of life described in these chapters can
never be reproduced in actuality, for the West is the
last corner of the habitable earth where such scenes
were possible. The heroism of explorers like Radisson, .
Yerendrye, Hearne, Mackenzie, and the rest, can have
no duplicate, because communication and travel have
been made easy by the progress of science and invention. The Arcadia of the Selkirk Settlement on the Red
River can never again be found in the world, because
the isolation in which it existed would now be impossible, even though the lofty character of the settlers is
capable of imitation.
There are no limits to be placed upon Western possibilities now. To me it seems that the Canadian West,
for weal or woe, will be the largest national factor in
the future destiny of the world, and it is hoped that the
youth of our land will acquaint themselves with the
genesis and development of its wonderful history.
R. G. MacBeth.
November 10, 1908. "*l CONTENTS
No Man's Land   -       -       -       -       -       - 11
Henry Hudson    -       - 15
The Finding op the West 20
Radisson and Groseilliers in the North-
West    ------- 26
The Founding of the Hudson's Bay Company      ------- 33
Pierre de la Verendrye 37
Samuel Hearne  ------ 49
The Discovery of the Mackenzie River  - 61
Alexander Mackenzie Crosses the Continent      ------- 70
Explorers on the Pacific -       -       - 79
The Selkirk Settlers         -       -        -        - 92
Two Explorers and an Artist -       -       - 110
Early Days in British Columbia       -       - 126
The Fur-Traders         -       -       -       -       - 142
The Missionaries         -       -       -       -       - 149
Trouble at Red River       -       -       -       - 163
The White Man's Progress        -        -        - 174
Treaties with the Indians         -       -       - 184
The Saskatchewan Rebellion    -       -       - 193
A    Journey    through   the    North-West
To-day  ------- 216
vii *«SS»
Author and publisher unite in grateful acknowledgment of
assistance rendered in securing illustrations for this volume.
Especially do they thank E. B. Osier, Esq., M.P., for permission, to reproduce a number of valuable paintings by Paul
Kane, the celebrated Canadian artist ; Mr. Edmund Morris,
son of the late Hon. Alex. Morris, for the painting of the
scene at Fort Carlton in 1876, when the Treaty with the Indians
was signed ; Mr. J. Watson Bain, B.Sc, for material from the
splendid library of Canadiana accumulated by his father, the
late Librarian of the Toronto Public Library ; and Mr. M. O.
Hammond, of the Toronto Globe, and the publishers of the
Ccvnadicm Magazine, for interesting photographs lent for
Half-Breeds Running Buffalo        -       Frontispiece
Baby Moose       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       - 12
A Beaver Dam -        -        -        -        -        -        -        - 12
Landing of Henry Hudson's Ship, the " Half-Moon" 18
Fort Prince of Wales    -        -       -       -       -       - 18
The Lake of the Woods ------ 40
Indian Trappers         -       - 40
Group of Indian Children       -       -       -       -        - 56
Group of Eskimo Children       ----- 56
Seven Famous Explorers -       -       -       -       - 78
Paul Kane         -        -        -        -        -        -       -        - 120
Flathead Woman and Child    -        -        -        -        - 124
Return of Indian War Party         -        -       -        - 132
Visit to an Indian Encampment       -        -        -        - 144
A Fur Brigade          -       -       -       -       -       -       - 144
Seven Famous Missionaries       -       -       -       -       - 154
The Red River Settlement      -        -        -        -        - 163
Poundmaker's Last Buffalo Corral        -       -       - 178
Signing of the Indian Treaty at Fort Carlton, 1876 188
Half-Breeds Travelling  193
The Surrender of Poundmaker       -       -       -       - 210
Cree Indians Travelling           -       -        -       -       -. 216
An Historic Red River Cart ----- 224
Troopers of the North-West Mounted Police      - 224 Where the Buffalo Roamed.
No Man's Land.
There was a time when the Indians and the wild
animals had a great country all to themselves. They
had millions of acres of land, covered with long grass
and beautiful flowers, stretching out far beyond the
sight. They had huge mountain ranges, with peaks
so high that they reached up to the clouds and were
always tipped with snow. They had great lakes and
mighty rivers, little ponds of water-lilies, and rippling
streams. Thousands and thousands of square miles
were theirs, and over all that vast region they might
roam at their will.
The busy beavers could cut down the trees wherever
they chose, and build their log houses out in the water,
plaster them with mud and carpet them with moss.
They could build dams to keep the water back and to
make ponds for whole villages of their houses. There
were baby badgers rubbing their heads against the trees
in fun. There were families of little otters sliding down
steep banks. There were splashing muskrats, sly foxes,
and long-eared bunnies.
In that land lived the pretty deer and the ugly moose.
It was also the home of such countless thousands of
buffaloes that when they set out for a run over their
prairie playground—larger than from one end of England to the other—the earth trembled, the dust rose in
clouds, and the sound of their running was like thunder.
This did not frighten the other animals. They knew
it was only the buffaloes taking exercise, but they were
careful to keep out of the way. There were also bears
and wolves in that country. Ear in the north, where
there is plenty of snow and ice, lived the white bear
and the soft-coated seal that you have all seen in pictures.
Though there were so many animals in that land, not
one had ever seen a steel trap or heard the sound of a
gun. The Indians would hunt the animals for food
and clothing for themselves, but they knew nothing of
other countries, so furs were not sent away; and as they
had only bows and arrows to hunt with, the animals
did not have to hide all the time, like the wild animals
we hear of now.
The Indians were dark-colored people, quick and
active, strong and brave. They had bright, black eyes
that could see ever so far, and ears that could hear
clearly sounds that you would never notice. They knew
more of the woods and the animals than the white men
have ever learned. They wore feathers in their hair
instead of hats, were dressed in clothing of soft, warm
skins, and for houses had log huts or cozy wigwams
made out of poles and skins. The Indian babies had
the branches of the trees for cradles and were rocked m%%^mmwmmmmmmm
by the winds. They needed no one to sing them to
sleep, because with them this prettiest of all lullabies
came true:
"Rock-a-by baby In the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall,
Down comes baby, cradle and all."
In the evenings the Indians would gather about the
wigwam fires, listening to the winds rustling among
the trees or the. prairie grasses, and to the night-calls^^
the animals. They believed that some of these rustling
sounds were spirits talking to them—the good spirits
that guided.and cared for them.
They built their wigwams here and there in the great
country, and moved them whenever they wished. There
were no laws to say they must stay here or go there,
no white people to build big houses in straight rows, no
strains that shrieked or boats that whistled. None of
the white man's things were there. On the lakes and
rivers were only the silent canoes of the Indians, and
no sounds were heard but the voices of the wild fowl
or the splish-splash when some animal dived after a
fish or plunged in for a swim. This may sound like a
fairy story, but it is all true.
When the white man first went to that country he
thought it very dreary and lonely. He called it the
" Great Lone Land " and " No Man's Land." But he
was glad to take away some of the pretty fur coats the
wild animals wore. For years the white man thought
of it only as a country where he could get warm furs in
plenty. To-day that great country is neither a " Great
Lone Land " nor " No Man's Land." The Indians and
the wild animals no longer have it to themselves.
People from almost every country under the sun have
made it their home. Towns and cities have been
built, railways run from place to place, and where the
buffaloes' playground used to be are vast stretches of
rich harvest-fields.
That country is our Canadian North-West.
But what made this great change, and how did it
come about? Did the Indians move their wigwams
away to make room for the white man's houses ? And
-^pfcat did the buffalo, the beaver and the moose think
of it all? And how did the white man find his way
there in the first place? Every change has a story,
and one of the best stories ever told is of this great
country. So let us begin at the beginning. You cannot
know the end, for "the end is not yet," but you shall
. read of wonderful things which have happened up to
the present day. CHAPTER II.
Henry   Hudson.
In the years gone by, before the white men made their
way to the North-West or had travelled far into the
New World, as they called the newly-discovered country
of America, they thought that this great continent w^,
only a narrow strip of land. They felt sure there mum
be a water passage leading through the land to the sea
beyond, and they wanted to find it so that they might
sail through America to this western sea. Such a
passage would give the trading vessels from Europe a
shorter route to India and China than the one they had
at that time, which was around the Cape of Good Hope,
to the south of Africa.
Explorers had no idea then that in the North-West
was a greater country than the Canada they knew. It
never occurred to them that Indians and the wild animals could have such a great land all to themselves.
But though these travellers came to more lakes and
rivers, more hills and plains, more Indians and animals,
they found no sea. They could get deeper and deeper
into the New World, but they could not get across it.
One great explorer, named Henry Hudson, sailed
along the coast of North America in a boat called the
Half Moon, searching for this north-west passage.
After sailing into a number of inlets, which he found
to be only bays, and so did not lead to the Western Sea,
he went home again. He was not discouraged by this
failure, but made up his mind that the water passage
must be farther north than he had sailed.
It was about this time that Henry Hudson had two
dreams; one came to him when he was asleep at night,
and the other when he was wide awake, in broad daylight. In his night dream he saw a ship, that had been
returning through the northern passage, wrecked, and
the goods it carried from the rich, warm countries drifting about in the homes of the seals and the polar bears.
The bears were burning their tongues on the spices, and
the seals were getting tangled up in the silks. In his
day dream the ship was not wrecked, but came safely
through the polar sea full sail from India. The
commander of that ship was himself!
It was the day dream Henry Hudson said he would
make come true. He declared that he would now discover something worth while. Then he set out with his
son in a new boat, which he called the Discovery.
Crossing the Atlantic, he sailed northward through
a narrow strait, and entered that great bay in the north
which is named for him. On the shores of this bay he
and his men spent the cold, dreary winter. When they
found their ship completely frozen in, and knew they
must stay there for many months, they began to wonder how long their food would last. They had no idea
whether they would be able to get any game, nor did
they have any idea how long and terribly cold the winter
would be. In speaking of this time one man wrote:
" But now we were in, it behoved us to have a care of
what we had, for that we were sure of, but what we
had not was uncertain."    Of the cold he said: " To
speak of all our trouble in this time of winter (which
was so cold that it lamed most of our company, and I
myself do yet feel it) would be too tedious."
It happened, however, that through the coldest
weather they had food, for beautiful white ptarmigan
stayed about in such numbers that the men said they
killed "above an hundred dozen." Before the spring
the ptarmigan flew away, and swans, geese and ducks
came. Hudson hoped these birds would nest there, so
that the men would have food while waiting for the ice
to break up. But the birds were going to spend the
summer farther north, and were soon away again.
Then the hard times came, and it was all the men could
do to keep from starving*. Often they would go ashore
to hunt for frogs, which they were very glad to get
(though they called them loathsome as toads). When
no frogs were to be had they gathered moss, which they
boiled and tried to eat.
Before the ice melted away, an Indian crossed over to
the ship—probably, as one of the men said, "to see
and be seen." The lonely men gladly welcomed him to
their ship, for he was the first Indian they had met with
in all this time. Though he could not speak their language, they understood him by the signs he made.
Hudson gave him a knife, a looking-glass, and some
buttons. He was delighted with the presents, and after
a long look at himself in the looking-glass, made signs
that when he had slept (his way of saying the next day)
he would come again.
True to his word, the Indian came the next day, this
time drawing a sled on which he had two deerskins
and two beaverskins.    The white men watched him to
see what he would do. He pulled the things which
Hudson had given him out of a bag or pocket under his
arm, and then laid the knife on one beaverskin and the
glass and buttons on the other. This was to show that
the skins were in return for the presents. Then he gave
the beaverskins to Hudson and put his own things back
where they were before. Hudson traded him a hatchet
for the deerskins. Before the Indian left he made
signs that his people lived some distance to the south,
and that after a certain number of " sleeps " he would
come back and bring others with him. But the white
men never saw him again.
At last the long, cold winter came to an end, and the
ship was released from the ice which had so long impris-"
oned her. The men were tired of the North and wanted
to go home, but Hudson told them that after having
come so far he could not think of turning back without
searching for the passage he had set out to find. At this
the men broke out in a rage, and said if he would not
go home they would go without him. And they did so.
They put Henry Hudson, his son, and a few of the
sailors who were ill, adrift in a small open boat. Then
tbey sailed away, and left them at the mercy of the cold
Arctic winds and the wild northern waves.
The men who did this wicked act had a miserable
time before their vessel reached home. Many of them
died. Some kept themselves alive by eating the skins
that had been left from the birds they had shot and
eaten long before, and sea-weed fried in. candle ends.
The few who did reach home were so ill and spent with
. hunger that people pitied them even in spite of their
■:••-." ft--- j■■';*'K;/ i^-Stk-!Ifi
Poor Henry Hudson was never heard of afterwards.
We only know that his grave is somewhere under the
waves or on the shore of the great bay that is named
for him. Hudson Bay is both his monument and his
" Open the Bay which Hudson—doubly crowned
By fame—to science and to history gave.
This was his limit, this his utmost bound—
Here, all unwittingly, he sailed and found,
At once, a path of empire and a grave.
"Open the Bay!    What cared that seaman grim,
For towering iceberg or the crashing floe?
He sped at noonday or at midnight dim,
A man! and, hence, there was a way for him,
And where he went a thousand ships can go."
—Charles Mair. CHAPTER III.
The Finding of the West.
After Hudson's voyage, men still searched for a
water passage through the new continent. Besides the
explorers, the good missionaries were following the
Indians farther back into the country. Father Jogues
had a mission as far west as Sault Ste. Marie, and a
man called Jean Nicolet, who was not a missionary, had
gone through the Straits of Mackinaw. But what was
beyond that no white man knew. The Indians and the
animals still had the great North-West all to themselves.
But they were not to have it alone much longer. Pierre
Radisson, the first white man to enter their country,
was at this time a boy living at Three Rivers, a place
between Montreal and Quebec. He was born in France,
in the little seaport town of St. Malo, but his father
moved to Canada while he was still a boy.
Pierre was happy in the new country, for he loved
adventure and was not afraid of danger. There was
plenty of danger then. The Iroquois Indians had been
at war with the Hurons and Algonquins for years.
Because the French helped the Hurons and Algonquins
fight against the Iroquois, this great tribe declared they
would have their revenge, and were now trying to kill
all the white people, as well as their Indian enemies.
It was not a peaceful time for the young Pierre to live
in Canada. All this does not concern the history of the
North-West, but it will make you better acquainted
with the man who was to find it.
Many times the young people at Three Rivers were
told not to venture outside the fort, for the Iroquois
were in hiding all about, ready to capture any stray
Frenchman. In spite of this warning, one fine day
Pierre went out with two of his friends to hunt. Before
they had gone far they met a settler who told them
that he had seen hundreds of heads out among the hills,
and warned them not to go on. Upon hearing this the
two friends turned back, but Pierre went on alone. All
through his life he was just the same, going on and
on and on, no matter what the dangers were.
He had good fortune with his hunting that day, and
at last he started back with a string of wild ducks and
geese over his shoulders. Near the place where he had
left his companions he sat down to rest. Then the brave
hunter began to have strange nervous feelings, and
though he saw nothing, it seemed to him that he was
not alone. To reassure himself that there was no danger, and to shake off this nervous feeling, he began to
shoot at the wild fowl. " Surely," he thought, " there
can be no one about, or ducks would not come down to
the water." Moving on for a better shot, he stumbled
over something. To his horror and amazement he saw
that it was the dead body of one of his companions.
Pierre Radisson knew too well what had happened.
He tried to hide, but the dark heads of the Iroquois
seemed in an instant to surround him. They had been
hiding among the rushes and behind the trees watching
for him. They captured him, but spared his life because
he was so brave that they wanted him to be one of them-
selves. They adopted him into one of their families.
They dressed him up in their own way, painted his face,
and put feathers in his hair; then, when they thought
they had made him look very grand, they gave him a
looking-glass that he too might admire himself. Poor
Radisson said afterward that he looked " all in a pickle."
But he was pleased when they gave him firearms, for
nowhere could he learn to be a great hunter better than
with the Indians.
For over a year he was with them. During that time
he became wise in the ways of the Indians and learned
to love the wilderness. Often when he lay asleep beside
the camp-fire he would dream of journeying through
new lands where no white man had been before. When,
at last, he got away from the Indians, he fled to New
York, took a boat for France, and from there sailed
back to Three Rivers.
While Pierre was away his eldest sister, Marguerite,
married a man named Groseilliers, who, like himself,
wished to explore unknown lands. Groseilliers told him
that some Indians had been at Three Rivers and had
told the white men of a wide country beyond the Great
Lakes that was rich in furs. They also told them that
away to the north of this country was salt water. Sixty
canoes of Frenchmen had set out to find this land, but
they became discouraged and turned back. Groseilliers,
with one of the priests, had gone farther and heard
more from the Indians about this country. He now
wanted Radisson to go with him to find that land.
Radisson was delighted at the prospect, and, though he
had been home only a few weeks, wanted to start at
once, and said he "longed to see himself in a boat." THE FINDING OF THE WEST 23
The brave men soon had a chance to set out for the
unknown land. It happened that about this time (the
summer of 1658) some Algonquins from far away came
down to Three Rivers to trade their furs. Thinking
it a good chance to be guided to the distant country,
Radisson, Groseilliers, and quite a party of their countrymen, started back with them. The trip was so dangerous that Radisson and Groseilliers were the only
white men to go all the way.
The Algonquins had traded their furs for guns, the
first they had ever possessed, and were so delighted with
them that they were continually firing them off. Radisson said, " Don't do so much shooting, or the Iroquois
will hear you; and, above all things, keep the canoes
together, so that if we are attacked we can defend ourselves." The Indians would not listen. Before they
had gone far an Indian came out of the woods and
shouted to them. He called them brothers, and said,
"I would save you; your enemies are spread up and
down. They have heard your noise, and wait for you.
Keep your hatchets sharp, build a fort, and make haste!"
The foolish Algonquins would not take warning, for
had they not their new guns? Because Radisson and
Groseilliers told them that even with their guns they
needed to be careful when such crowds of Iroquois were
about, they said these men were " timid squaws." They
called the Indian who warned them a hen and a dog.
In spite of their bravado, however, they showed some
caution. They did not land that night, but tied their
canoes among the rushes in the river, where they were
safely hidden.
In the morning they set out before davlight, while 24  WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
there was still a fog to hide them. As they glided on,
the sound of rushing water told them that they had
come to a Waterfall. A still more alarming sound
reached their ears. It was the war-cry of the Iroquois
and the crash of their guns. This frightened them so
that they hardly knew what they were doing. They ran
into the woods and, as Radisson says, "got themselves
all in a heap like ducks that see the eagle come to them."
All day they remained in hiding. When darkness came
they crept back to their canoes. The Indians were now
thoroughly frightened and declared they would make a
dash past the falls, but that they could not help the
white men nor carry any of their things.
By this time the young Frenchmen who were with
Radisson and Groseilliers, knowing they would not be
able to keep up, decided to turn back. These two said
they would finish the journey or die by the way.
Once past this band of Iroquois they travelled only
at night, lying hidden under the trees during the day.
As they were afraid to let their guns be heard, they
dare not shoot at the wild fowl, but lived on boiled moss
and berries. It was well for the bear in the berry patch
that they dare not fire at him. In spite of the slow
work of paddling up stream and portaging their canoes,
they reached Lake Nipissing in good time. Then they
passed down French River to Georgian Bay, made their
way around its northern shores, past Manitoulin Island,
on through the Straits of Mackinaw, and up Lake
Michigan, exploring the country to the south.
The next year (1659) they turned northward and
during the winter travelled day after day on snowshoes
over the crisp, hard snow.    On this journey they heard THE FINDING OF THE WEST
some wonderful news. The Indians they met told them
about a great bay in the north, and from their description the Frenchmen knew it must be the one Henry
Hudson had discovered. They heard whereabouts it
was, and learned for a certainty that one could get to
it from Canada by land.
In the spring of the following year they were ready
to go back with some fine furs and carrying news of the
great country they had found. But the Indians had
reasons for not wishing to guide them back. They
wanted the white men to stay with them, because they
had done so much for them; and besides, the Indians
were afraid to take the journey, for they had heard the
Iroquois were lying in wait for them. One old chief
made a speech in which he said:
"Brothers, the Iroquois will destroy you and carry
you away captive. Will you have the brethren that
love you slain? Stay till next year; then you may
go freely."
Radisson took a beaverskin that one of the Indians
had on his shoulder, and throwing it at the chief, replied
in this way:
"How can you defend yourselves without getting
arms from the French ? If you try to fight the Iroquois
with beaver pelts instead of guns you will make your
children slaves. But do as you like; we can get along
without you."
That speech settled the matter. The Indians were
too proud to stand such talk, so they guided the white
men back. CHAPTER IV.
Radisson and Groseilliers in the North-West.
Upon the return of the two daring explorers the
greatest interest was taken in their journey. Everyone
wanted to know whether they had heard anything of
the North-west Passage or the Western Sea. But they
were careful not to tell what they had heard of the great
bay, for fear someone would start off and get there
before them and have all the glory of finding it.
In spite of their care people did hear about it.
Radisson was surprised when some men told him they
were preparing to start for the great bay in the north
and asl^ed him to go along as guide. The man who had
braved the dangers of a first journey into that unknown
land, and had found the way, declined to act as a guide
for others. Then he talked with Groseilliers, and they
made up their minds to be off at once ani get there
before the others.
Now, there was one difficulty in the way. At this
time no one in Canada was allowed to trade in furs
without a license, that is, permission from the Governor. When Radisson and Groseilliers asked for a
license the Governor refused to grant it unless they
would agree to give him half the furs and take two of
his servants along to see that he received his full share?
The men who were going to take this long journey
and risk their lives in making great discoveries for their
country were indignant. Radisson says: "We made
the Governor slight answer, and told him that for our
part we knew what we were, discoverers before governors. If the wild men came down the way for them
as for us, we should be glad to have the honor of his
company, but not that of his servants, and that we were
both masters and servants."
The Governor was angry, and said they should not
go. He forbade them to leave Three Rivers. They sent
him word that they would go, and then stole away in
the night. Meanwhile, the Indians who were going to
guide them grew tired of waiting and went on. Radisson and Groseilliers had to paddle day and night to
catch up with them.
Then the real hardships of the journey began. More
than once they drove away lurking bands of Iroquois.
Game was so scarce that sometimes they nearly starved.
But the Indians, Radisson tells us, were "as kind as
Christians." Often, while gathering berries along the
shore, some of them would call to him to come and
share in a good place they had found. Once, in a
time of gr^at scarcity, an Indian in the boat with
Radisson, seeing a beaver put its head above the
water, jumped in, went down to the bottom after it, and
brought it up in his arms. He was much too hungry
to fear being bitten.
In October they came to Lake Superior, where they
had plenty of fish and game. After having some good
meals beside their camp-fires on the beach, they coasted
round the south shore to the west, and from the west
to the north.
When journeying north-west from the lake they met
some Indians of the Cree tribe, who lived in the North-
West. These Indians were delighted to see them, and
at once invited the white strangers to visit them. When
Radisson and Groseilliers accepted the invitation, the
Crees went away to bring some of their people back to
carry the strangers' baggage and conduct them to their
village. As the Indians had a long journey home, the
white men built a little fort to rest in while they waited
for their return. It is not supposed that this fort was
within the Canadian North-West, but the North-West
Indians came to it. It was the place where they first
traded with the white man. The queer little beginning
of what was to become a great fur trade was just a tiny
log hut beside a river, with a bright fire burning in the
middle, log beds on one side, and a log table on the other.
You may rest assured that when you are in the land
of the Indians, though you see no signs of them, they
know where you are and what you are doing. So they
learned the little hut was there and came to visit it.
But the visits were always friendly ones, made to
welcome the strangers.
Before long they were coming so often and staying
so late that the white men could not sleep. Radisson
put a stop to that. He was wise enough to know that
if he could impress them with the greatness of the
white man he would keep them at a respectful distance.
What he did do was to cut birch bark in narrow strips
and roll gunpowder in it at regular distances; then
stretch it round the hut and set it on fire. When the
Indians saw the circle of fire, with one little explosion
after another, they were amazed. They declared the
white men were wonderful beings, and were careful not RADISSON AND GROSEILLIERS        29
to offend them, nor to come oftener than they were
wanted. So Radisson and Groseilliers lived there in
peace until the Crees came back to take them to their
The Crees looked up to the explorers as if they were
gods. They shouted and danced for them, carried all
their things, and were blissfully happy if they got a
brass' awl, a ring, or a needle. The first white men to
travel in the North-West were, as Radisson said,
" Caesars with none to contradict them." When nearing
the Cree village with their white visitors, the Indians
sent their swiftest runners on to tell that they were
coming. In the morning they entered the village in
grand style.
The Indians were so pleased with their white visitors
and the presents they received from them that they got
down on the ground to show that they would be their
slaves. Some even threw themselves backwards upon
the ground, which was their way of showing friendship
and welcome. Afterwards they gave a grand feast and
danced for their guests.
Living in the land of the Indians was very pleasant
for a time, but when winter came Radisson and Groseilliers saw some of the red man's troubles. As the season
advanced the snow began to fall. Clouds of great white
flakes came down, changing the daylight into darkness.
The wild creatures hurried away to their shelters and
not a living thing could be found. The Indian hunters
came home empty-handed.
According to the Indian custom in days of famine,
all the food was now kept for the men, that they might
have strength to hunt. The women and children were
3 n
eating only dried skins. As time passed and no trace
of game could be found, the skins, or soup made out of
bark, was all they had for anyone. To keep from starving they even boiled the bones that had been left from
the time of plenty. As the ground was frozen, and
covered with iive or six feet of snow, it was only with
the greatest difficulty that they could get roots.
When the spring came and the snow and ice melted,
the animals came out again, and food was plentiful.
Then the white men prepared to travel on. After they
had made a visit to the Indians a little to the south, the
Crees offered to take them to the great bay of the north,
which Radisson and Groseilliers had come to find.
Radisson had sprained his ankle, but he was a true
explorer and would not stop on that account. For two
days he limped along with the others. Then, as he
could keep up no longer, they gave him a little food
and went on without him.
Groseilliers was hunting at the time, and did not know
that his companion was left behind. For a few more
days poor Radisson crept along on the trail of the others.
When, at last, he came to an empty wigwam, he was so
weary and ill that he built a little fire and went to sleep.
A great light and a crackling noise awakened him. The
wigwam was on fire. He threw .out his snowshoes,
crawled out himself, and watched it burn to the ground.
He had no shelter^now, and was cold and hungry, and
his foot was so sore that he could not walk. Far away
there were sounds—the baying of wolves, he felt sure—
and there in the cold and darkness he wondered how
much longer he would have to live. But the brave
explorer was being cared for.   When Groseilliers joined RADISSON AND GROSEILLIERS
the others after his hunting and learned what had happened to his comrade, he sent Indians back for him.
The sounds that Radisson took to be the howling of
wolves were the shouts of these Indians. They soon
found him and took him safely on to the others.
After a time they came to rivers that flowed north
to the great bay, and travelled by canoe again. But so
far north were they now that they found the rivers still
full of floating ice. Radisson wrote of this canoe trip,
"We were in danger to perish a thousand times from
ice jam."
Whether or not these explorers really spent the summer on the shores of the Hudson Bay is still a disputed
point. But there can be no doubt that they were the
first white men to find the way to it overland and to sail
on the rivers that emptied into that great bay.
They could tell many curious stories of the Indians
they found far in the north. One of these stories was
about an Indian to whom they showed the image of the
flight of Joseph and the Virgin Mary with the child
Jesus. The Indian at once began to weep and tear his
hair. He said that the white men must know everything, for that was his wife and child who had been
taken away by another tribe four years before. Pointing to Joseph, he said, " There am I with my long robe,
seeking for my wife and child."
In the spring of 1663 the explorers started for home.
They reached there with rich furs just at a time when
the Governor needed money. He cared nothing for the
hardships and dangers they had met with in finding
new lands where there was a wealth of furs for their
country, nor for what Radisson had endured when he 32  WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
tramped for days with a sprained ankle to find a great
bay. Nor did he care that many a time they had almost
starved. But he did care about the money their canoe-
loads of furs would bring, and to get that money he
fined the explorers because they had slipped away in
the night without his permission. The fine amounted
to almost as much as the value of the furs they had
brought back, and they were left poor men. He gave
them no honor for their service to the country, but
instead tried his best to bring disgrace upon them. CHAPTER V.
The Founding of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Radisson and Groseilliers, as you have seen, were
unjustly treated in New France. They therefore
resolved to cross the ocean and seek justice in Old
France. But* Old France would pay no attention to
them. Then an Englishman, who saw how unfairly
they had been used, said, " Have no more to do with
your own country, but come to England. You will be
better treated there." After trying in vain to make
some arrangement in France by which they could go
back to Hudson Bay and trade, they decided to take
the Englishman's advice. They went to England, just
three years after their return from the north.
Upon their arrival in the city of London, Radisson
and Groseilliers were kindly received by King Charles.
He was much interested in what they told him of the
Hudson Bay fur trade, but he was busy with a war
just then and they were kept waiting. However, he had
a cousin, Prince Rupert, who wanted to make some
money and who talked much with the French explorers
of the wealth which they said was to be gained from
the beaverskins of the New World.
Prince Rupert's interest had so much influence that
by the spring of   1668 a company of  men advanced
money enough to send two ships to the Hudson Bay.
Radisson sailed in one and Groseilliers in the other.
The vessel Radisson was in was driven back by storms,
but Groseilliers, in Captain Gillam's ship, reached
Hudson Bay in safety. After sailing southward they
came to a river which Groseilliers named Rupert in
honor of Prince Rupert. Here they built a fort and
called it Fort Charles, after the King of England. The
Indians were delighted to have the fort there. They
brought all their furs to the white men, and promised
to come again with more.
When winter set in it was just as cold and dark and
dreary to these white men as it had been to poor Henry
Hudson and his men over fifty years before. Captain
Gillam wrote in his journal: " The earth seemed frozen
to death." It did not seem to him that spring could
ever come. But it did. The weather became warm,
then hot. The Englishmen were astonished at the
sudden change, and began to think it possible for the
fur-traders to live on Hudson Bay.
When the ice broke up they sailed back to England
with a load of rich furs. Meanwhile Radisson had not
wasted his winter, but had been talking much about
Hudson Bay and the fur trade. Prince Rupert had
been talking, too. The result was that when the ship
came back, and all could see the beautiful furs from
Hudson Bay, a company was formed. It was called
the Honourable Hudson's Bay Company, or Company
of Adventurers Trading into the Hudson Bay. It is
the same great company that we have to-day. ,
The Royal Charter was granted to the Company in
May, 1670. By this charter the members of the Company were given the sole right to the fur trade, and
dominion over all the northern land.    Their territory THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY
was called Rupert's Land, after Prince Rupert, who
was their first governor. At this time even the members of the Company had no idea of the extent of the
land they had been given, and it was years before they
knew the real value of their charter.
Other trading-posts besides Fort Charles were built
on the shores of Hudson Bay. These forts were all
little log buildings with high protecting walls about
them. The men who were sent out to take charge of
them had lonely times, with nothing to break the dullness of the long years but the Indians bringing in the
furs and the English ships that came and went every
summer when the bay was clear of ice. The ships
brought the blue beads, looking-glasses, bright handkerchiefs, knives, needles, guns, powder and shot used to
trade with the Indians, and carried back loads of the
pretty furs. Better still for the lonely fur-trader, they
brought him letters from home, and carried away his
messages to friends across the ocean.
The traders could not talk about pounds or dollars
to the Indians, who knew nothing of the white man's
money, so beaverskins were taken instead. The Indians
always understood when told how many beaverskins
an article was worth, or how many beaverskins' worth
of goods their piles of furs would bring.
As more and more of the Indians heard of the forts,
they came there to trade their furs. The animals soon
learned the meaning of the guns and steel traps which
the Indians were getting from the forts. The wild
creatures living close to Hudson Bay were kept busy
teaching their babies how careful they must be to
escape the horrible new dangers that had come to them. r*
But as the country was so great, there were still hundreds and thousands of animals that had never yet
heard a gun or been hunted for any other purpose than
to feed or clothe the Indian.
Radisson and Groseilliers did not stay long with the
Hudson's Bay Company, but went to the north-land
again under the French flag. Their own countrymen
had learned their mistake in turning them away, and
had at last made them a fair offer. Afterwards the
explorers left France and again served the Hudson's
Bay Company. Radisson could not be happy unless
he was exploring, and in order to have a chance to go
again and again to the " Great Lone Land," he served
first one country and then another. For this reason,
before his work was over, both France and England
called him disloyal, and accused him of being a deserter.
But nothing can take from Radisson and Groseilliers
the fame of the discovery of the Canadian North-West, CHAPTER VI.
Pierre de la Verendrye.
While the English were building their forts on the
shores of Hudson Bay, the French from Canada were
trading with the Indians between Lake Superior and
the Ottawa River. They were also pushing their way
on to the land Radisson and Groseilliers had discovered,
and were thinking and talking of the North-west Passage to the Western Sea.
Far away on Lake Nepigon, in charge of the lonely
fort, was a man named Pierre Verendrye, who came
from Three Rivers and, like Radisson, wished to explore
the unknown land. When the Indians came in with
furs they related great stories of the country they had
travelled through. These tales kept his mind busy
until they came again. Verendrye did not believe all
they told him, for in a letter to a friend he said, " These
people are great liars, but now and then they do tell
the truth."
He thought there might be some truth in a story one
old chief told him about a great lake out of which a
river flowed to the west. The chief said he himself
went down this river in his canoe until he dame to a
place where the water ebbed and flowed. Thinking this
was caused by some evil spirit, he turned back in fear.
On his way home he met with Indians, who told him
of a great stretch of salt water beyond the river. The
chief drew for Verendrye a map of it all on birch-bark.
Other Indians who heard the chief's story said they
knew it was true.
Verendrye studied the map and questioned all the
Indians he knew. They could tell him little more,
except that to reach this strange place one must go
through a nat, almost treeless country, where there
were great herds of big wild animals like cattle. This
was the buffalo's prairie playground of which Verendrye was hearing.
Three times he dreamed he had found the Northwest Passage and the Western Sea. No wonder he
could not stay at the quiet little fort. He made up his
mind he would go through the flat country and search
for the Western Sea. Taking the old chief's map, he
hurried down to Quebec, hoping the Governor could
induce the French King to give him the needed supplies.
The King would give nothing, but fortunately the
Governor did the best he could for Verendrye by allowing him to have all the fur trade in the country he was
going to explore.
Verendrye soon found merchants who were willing
to advance all the supplies he needed, and who promised to await their pay until he sent back the furs.
Then he prepared for the journey. On the 8th of June,
1731, he started away. Besides his Canadian voyageurs
to manage the canoes, and his Indian interpreters to
talk to the strange red men they were going to visit, he
took with him his nephew, De la Jemmeraie, and his
three sons, young men of sixteen, seventeen and eighteen
years of age.
When out of hearing of the farewell chimes of the PIERRE DE LA VERENDRYE
church-bells, the voyageurs sang their boat-songs to
drive away the homesick feeling and the dread of
unknown dangers. But with all their gaiety they were
not careless. They read the streaks of foam as you
would read a book, and learned from them where were
the rapids and the rocks. Many a time a single dip of
the paddle saved a canoe. When the rough places were
passed what a rest it must have been to them to hoist
a blanket and sail before the wind. Still better was the
rest at night when sleeping on the shore under a starry
•On the well-known fur-traders' route they met with
but few difficulties, and reached the post called Fort
Michilimackinac in good time. But on Lake Superior
they were delayed by stormy weather, and it was late
in August before they reached Kaministiquia, the most
distant post. Thoughts of a lonely winter in a lonely
land made the men homesick, and they urged Verendrye
to turn back. However, half of them were persuaded
to go on with his nephew and his son Jean, while the
others remained at Lake Superior with Verendrye.
Jean and his cousin went on to Rainy Lake and built a
fort there, which they named Fort St. Pierre.
On the 8th of June, 1732, just one year from the
day he had left home, Verendrye made his way from the
old fort to the new fort which his son had built and
named for him. The bright uniforms of some of his
men won the admiration of the Indians gathered about
the gateway. Verendrye gave ammunition to the chiefs,
who in return presented him with fifty of their brightest-colored canoes, and offered to guide him on to
the Lake of the Woods.    Though Verendrye had just
tJ ^■■■■■^^^^^■^i^^Mi*^^*^"^"^^^-*^-*^
arrived and his men were tired, he could not miss such
a chance, so he and his men set out at once. When at
last they reached the Lake of the Woods, they stopped
to build a fort, which they named Fort St. Charles.
Here they waited for Jean and his cousin, who had
gone to Michilimackinac for supplies.
Days and weeks went by. October came, and the
Indians went off to their hunting-grounds. November
came. The lake was covered with ice, and the snow
was deep in the forest. They were out of provisions.
The fish which they caught through holes in the ice
were their only food. They feared some accident must
have happened their friends, on whose return everything depended. One day when all were feeling gloomy,
discouraged, and hungry, they were aroused by the
shouts of their long-looked-for friends, coming on
snowshoes, and carrying goods in packs on their backs.
After a short rest Jean went on to build a fort on
Lake Winnipeg, which the explorers had heard of from
the Indians, and which Verendrye thought might be
near the Western Sea. To his cousin was given a
journey in the opposite direction. He must go down
to Montreal and see the merchants about sending more
goods. On his return he reported that the merchants
were annoyed because more furs had not come to them,
and declared that, instead of sending furs to those he
owed, Verendrye was keeping them and secretly enriching himself. They refused to send him more goods
until they received more furs.
Poor Verendrye knew that the Indians would not
bring him furs or guide him to the Western Sea unless
he had beads, hatchets, or guns to give them; so he LAKE  OF THE WOODS.
decided to go himself to Quebec and explain matters.
Upon reaching there he found that the traders near
home were jealous, and had been trying to injure him
by telling falsehoods about him. By the time he was
able to convince the merchants that he was doing his
best, and had, persuaded them to send more goods, it
was too late to return that season.
He set out as early as possible the next year (1735).
Regretting that during four years he had accomplished
so little, he hurried on ahead of the supplies. Travelling so rapidly, with very little rest, must have been
wearying to Father Aulneau, the chaplain of the expedition, who was taking his first journey into that country. But they all had a good rest at Fort Charles, on
the Lake of the Woods, where they waited for the
arrival of the supplies.
Meanwhile two of Verendrye's sons and their cousin
started from Fort Maurepas, on Lake Winnipeg, to
come down to him. On the way occurred one of the
saddest incidents that can happen on those lonely journeys. There in the wilds, hundreds of miles from home,
the cousin died. Jean and his brother wrapped the
body in a hunter's robe and made a grave beside a
lonely stream, marking the spot with a wooden cross.
Thus did one white man lose his life in exploring the
home of the animals and the Indians.
" One midst the forest of the West
By a dark stream is laid;
The Indian knows his place of rest
Far in the cedar shade."
This sad death was a great shock to Verendrye, but 42      WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
he would not give up, though he knew the same fate
might befall them all. Other troubles followed thick
and fast. The goods had not arrived, and the Indians
would soon be coming in with furs and meat to trade.
After thinking it all over, Jean Verendrye and Father
Aulneau said they would go with some of the men to
Fort Michilimackinac to hurry on the supplies that
certainly must have reached there by this time. They
set out on the 8th of June, but this was the year 1736,
five years since they first left home.
The little party stopped on a pretty island for the
night, and all went soundly to sleep, little dreaming that
sly red men were creeping about their resting-place.
These were the Sioux, sometimes called "tigers of the
plain," the most cruel and warlike of all the North-
West Indians. Just why they were spying about that
night is a little story in itself. It seems that once
when some Cree Indians had new guns and wanted to
have a little fun with them, they fired at some Sioux
I Who fire ?" asked the Sioux.
Thinking it would be a good joke to try to pass for
the French, now that they had French guns, the Crees
laughed and shouted back:
" The French."
The trouble was, they did pass for the French. The
Sioux were angry, and said they would kill the first
white man they found. So they watched this little band
while they slept, and the next morning followed them
on among the islands until they knew by the smoke of
their camp-fire that they had stopped for breakfast.
Then, without the slightest warning, the savages sprang PIERRE DE LA VERENDRYE
upon the unsuspecting Frenchmen, and not one was left
Just nine days after that ill-fated little company set
out, the supplies they were going for arrived. Three
days later, friendly Indians, who had found the bodies
of the Frenchmen, came to tell Verendrye what had
happened. Father Aulneau was kneeling, they said,
as if at morning prayer, when struck dead.
This Lake of the Woods tragedy was a terrible blow
to poor Verendrye, and it was with a sad heart that in
February, the coldest month of the cold northern winter, he set out for the little Fort Maurepas, the last
fort that poor Jean had built. Across the cold, white,
lonely land he tried to march with some pomp and
order. The French flag was carried ahead, a few
Frenchmen followed in bright soldiers' uniforms, and
behind were some hundreds of Crees in their best fur
clothes. For seventeen days they travelled in this way,
and at night they slept on pine boughs round a camp-
The bunnies and foxes that ventured out those cold
days did not know what to make of it all. The fur-
robed Indians they understood, and would be careful
not to come too near to them; but the bright uniforms
of the soldiers and that flag were entirely new. What
had come to their land? They would scurry off, then
pop up their heads to look at them again, and hurry
away only to stop and look back once more. They
could not unravel the mystery.
At last Verendrye came to Fort Maurepas. Like all
the other forts, it was a small, low building of rough
logs, the cracks filled with mud, and the roof made of
J -fH
branches covered with moss and clay. With a warm
fire in the centre, and soft furs for blankets and rugs,
it was a welcome refuge for the tired men. As Verendrye rested there he must often have thought of his
unfortunate son.
The Indians soon came to visit him, and learning
that he was on a journey through their land, were all
anxious to draw maps on birchbark and tell him about
their travels. The one at whose map he looked the
longest was a great hero among them. Some told him
of the motion of the water in a lake farther on. It was
really caused by the wind, but Verendrye, with the
Western Sea on his mind, thought it might be the ebb
and flow of the tide, and wanted to hurry on and see
for himself.
Alas, for his hopes! The merchants in Montreal
would not send him the goods he needed, and he had
nothing to trade with the Indians. As soon as the ice
was away in the spring he had to take the furs to
Montreal himself. Then the merchants were so pleased
with the fourteen canoe-loads he brought them that they
gave him the supplies he wanted at once and started
him off for more. By September he was back at Fort
Maurepas preparing to set out for the junction of the
Red and Assiniboine rivers, of which the Indians had
told him.
Instead of the city of Winnipeg and the stretches of
golden grain beyond, which one sees there now, Verendrye beheld the soft brown shades of the prairie grass,
the herds of buffalo strolling about their playground,
and the quaint wigwams of the picturesque red men.
Indeed  the  Indians  and  the  animals  had  quite  as
beautiful a country then as the white men have now.
The Crees living there called Verendrye " Father,"
and told him how glad they were to have him come to
them. They also gave him food, and talked about his
son Jean, whom they had known. One chief in his
speech said, " Our hearts are sick for thy son who came
the first to build a fort on our lands. We loved him
much; have once already been at war to avenge him.
I have destroyed only ten huts of Sioux, which is not
enough to satisfy ms; but now our father has ordered
us to keep quiet, and we will do so." This last he said
because Verendrye, knowing the wisdom of keeping
peace among the red men, had told him he should not
fight the Sioux, even though they had killed Jean. At
the very spot which is now a part of Winnipeg, the
explorer built another little fort, which he named Fort
Rouge (rouge being the French word for red). The
Indians called the river the Red River because of the
reddish color of the water and the red clay banks.
This part of Winnipeg is still called Fort Rouge in
memory of Verendrye's fort.
The Indians still told stories of a sea far to the west,
and Verendrye determined to go in search of the sea,
even though the cold winter would soon be upon him.
The Indians begged him to stay with them until spring.
They said the Assiniboine was low now, and so full of
sand bars that he would be sure to break his canoes.
They also told him that he would go among Indians who
did not know how to kill a beaver, and who were so
stupid that they would not know the French when they"
saw them.    None of these things made the slightest
4 46
difference to Verendrye. The end of his rainbow was
westward, and westward he would go.
Up the river he found game in great abundance, and
wood in plenty for their camp-fires. After travelling
for six days they came to the portage leading to what
Verendrye called Lake of the Prairies. As it was impossible to travel farther by canoes, he stopped here and
built Fort de la Reine, on the site of the present town
of Portage la Prairie.
One day he met with some Assiniboines who were
busy building an oven. He talked with them and gave
them tobacco, axes, knives and awls. They received
him with great pleasure, shed tears of joy, and promised to do wonderful things for him. They could tell
him nothing of the Western Sea, but said the Mandan
Indians, living farther south, knew of it. So what did
Verendrye do but set out with his two sons and his
men to visit the Mandans.
Though in a hurry, he could not travel as fast he
wished, because the guides chose to go a roundabout
way, visiting their friends and making long stops for
which the white men could not see the reason. Almost
at the very beginning of the journey, Verendrye was
invited to visit a village of forty huts, and, as it would
never do to offend the Indians, he was obliged to go and
attend their feast and listen to their long speeches
before he could travel on. So many pleasant autumn
days were wasted that it was nearly December before
he came to the Mandan villages.
The Mandans were very happy to receive him, and
insisted upon carrying him into their village. In writing of this Verendrye said, " The Mandans would not
^s. *JT
let me walk, but offered to carry me, to which I had to
consent, being requested by the Assiniboines, who told
me I would displease them greatly if I refused."
Having plenty to eat, they made a grand feast, after
which he smoked the peace-pipe with them. But of the
Western Sea, of which Verendrye most wished to hear,
they could tell him nothing, except that they knew of
other tribes far west that lived beside a great water
which was bitter to the taste.
The sea was still beyond his reach, and in the cold
month of December he marched back to Fort de la
Reine, travelling through the day over cold, bleak
prairies, and sleeping at night on the snow. During
this long return journey he was ill, and suffered greatly
from cold and fatigue.
Discouragements came to him from all sides. Down
in Montreal and Quebec his enemies said he owed them
for goods, and that certainly he must be getting many
furs and making himself rich instead of paying his
debts. Finally those who had sent him a few cheap
things to trade said they would seize everything he had,
even the forts he had risked his life to build. Poor
Verendrye had to go all the way back to Montreal to
defend himself against his envious countrymen.
While he was in Montreal his sons travelled up the
Saskatchewan River. Finding this was not going to
take them to the sea, they took the long trip back to the
Mandans, hoping to find guides to conduct them to that
body of water which was " bitter to drink," and which
they still thought might be the coveted Western Sea.
They had some good meals there with the Mandans,
and smoked many peace-pipes, but the Indians were 48      WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
afraid of meeting their enemies and would not go with
them. However, after a series of peace-pipes and more
meals, they consented to guide them part of the way.
After a weary journey of many days they came to
the Rocky Mountains, within what is now the United
States. Young Pierre Verendrye meant to climb over
the mountains and find the sea, little dreaming that
hundreds of miles lay between him and the water that
was " bitter to the taste." But his guides would go no
farther, so he was obliged to turn back.
Meanwhile, in spite of all Verendrye could do in
Montreal, the people would not believe him, and still
persisted that he was a dishonest man. Another man
was sent to fill his place. They might have saved themselves the trouble, for the new man could not get along
with the Indians. They would not call him " Father,"
as they had called Verendrye, but disliked him and
tried to drive him away.
The Governor had never really believed the stories
told about Verendrye, and seeing no one else could
fill the position so well, gave him permission to return.
But that was not to be. Weary journeys, disappointments and discouragements had worn out the great
explorer. Early in December, 1749, he died suddenly
at Montreal while preparing to go again in search of
the Western Sea. His enemies refused to give his sons
the opportunity of carrying on their father's explorations, so his great work was left until others should take
it up. Pierre Verendrye never found the end of his
rainbow, but he was the first white man to travel over
much of the wide North-West. CHAPTER VII.
Samuel  Hearne.
Far away on the shores of Hudson Bay the Great
Company had been trading with the red men since
Radisson's day,* but of their Rupert's Land they knew
little more than when they first received their charter.
As the Indians had always come to the forts, the Company had not considered it necessary to send their men
out to smoke the peace-pipe in the tepee homes, or to
build trading-posts on the distant hunting-grounds, but
let them sleep at the lonely Hudson Bay forts until the
furs came in.
Such an easy way of keeping the right to the fur
trade could not last. Now that the great explorer had
led the way, French traders were going from Lake
Superior inland, and Indians who had taken furs north
to the Hudson's Bay Company were taking them south
to the French.
When this condition of affairs was made known in
England, many complained that the Company had not
even tried to travel through their territory, nor had
they made the slightest attempt to find the North-west
Passage, which the French had never ceased to search
for, and would certainly find first unless something were
done. Besides, they said the Company had promised
to try to make the Indians Christians, but so far had
1 :-
only sent them a few prayer-books.   The poor red men,
seeing no use in books of prayers which they could not
read, and which were addressed to the white man's God,
of whom they knew nothing, were trading them off for
sharp knives with which to scalp their enemies.
At last, upon hearing that there was some danger of
their charter being taken away from them if they did
not accomplish more, the Company awoke to action.
No longer did they let their men sleep on the shores
of the Hudson Bay, waiting for the Indians to come to
them. New orders were sent across the ocean to Prince
of Wales Fort, orders which made quite a commotion
there on the summer day of 1769 when the boat arrived
with mail from England. The Governor of the Fort
was to send his bravest man out to smoke the peace-pipe
with the Indians, to search for the North-west Passage,
to explore a distant river, called " Far-off-metal River,"
and to discover the copper mine which the Indians said
was to be found on the banks of that river.
All now was excitement at the little fort. The men
were studying the Indians' birchbark maps, and asking
of any Indians who happened in question after question about that "Far-off-metal River." One man
studied the maps more intently than the others. His
name was Samuel Hearne. It was he who had been
chosen to go.
Hearne well knew the risks he ran in taking such a
journey. He might starve in that unknown land, or
be frozen to death when he reached the cold Arctic
regions. Wolves might attack him when he was cold
and hungry and could not fight them, or he might be
hugged too tight by the great white Polar bear.    On SAMUEL HEARNE 51
the other hand, he might make the whole journey in
safety, find the Far-off-metal River and the Northwest Passage, make the great Company that he served
worthy of the name of the Honourable Hudson's Bay
Company, and find himself hailed as a hero.
Scarcely had day dawned on the cold, frosty 6th of
November when the fort gates opened and Hearne with
his two Indian guides and his hunters marched out,
while the great cannon thundered a noisy good-bye.
Away they went, facing the cold north wind, the Husky
or Eskimo dogs drawing the heavy load on the long
toboggan sleigh, while the bells jingled merrily.
Where there was not snow enough to pile up about
them to keep the wind off at night, they would roll up
in their blankets and sleep in the shelter of their
sleigh, which they turned on edge. When they came
to that great stretch of country called the " Barren
Lands " there was nothing to stop the sweep of the cold
wind over the frozen plain. Hearne and his men could
get but little game, and scarcely wood enough to cook
their meals. This tract of land was given its name
because food is so scarce there that even the wild animals
avoid it. The Indians call it " Little Sticks," because
only small dwarf trees grow there.
Hearne's position was made more unpleasant by the
conduct of the Indians, who were beginning to show
that they did not wish to go on. Instead of hunting
they were frightening what game there was away, so
that he would be starved out of that cold land and have
to turn back. They did worse than that. One morning he awoke just in time to see them going off with his
guns, powder and shot, and hatchets.    He called to
1 I
them. They made the woods ring with their laughter,
but would not come back.
Without such things one cannot travel in a wilderness. Hearne, therefore, was obliged to go back to the
Fort, snaring ptarmigan as he went to keep from starving. He arrived there on the 11th of December. Now,
what was to be done? If he was to reach the Arctic
regions in the summer—in which season only he could
see something besides snow and ice—he must leave the
Fort in the winter and run the risk of being frozen or
starved on the way.   He was not afraid to take the risk.
Late in February of 1770 he set out again with live
men. This time the cannon were covered with snow;
so was the wall, which they walked over on their snow-
shoes. All the shrubs were under the snow; only here
and there a branch was stretching out through the
drifts. It was no easy matter at night after their day's
tramp to dig down, down, down to the moss which made
both their fire and their bed.
When the snow became soft and heavy, travelling
was very hard, and, as they were in the Barren Lands,
they were often hungry. For days they had nothing
to eat but cranberries. When at last they got a thin
musk-ox, a rain came on and put out their fire, so that
they could not cook it. The Indians ate it raw, but
Hearne did not relish it that way.
There were other troubles besides hunger. The
guides wanted to go back, declaring it was too late to
reach the copper mine that summer; and all the Indians
he happened to meet with worried him for something.
They would ask for guns, powder, shot, tobacco and
medicine.    They seemed to think he was a walking SAMUEL HEARNE
trading-post. When they found he had nothing for
them they called him a " poor servant," not like the
Governor at the Factory, who always gave them something; others offered him furs, as if he would think of
increasing his load by carrying extra skins to the
copper mines!
Sometimes they would meet with a poor starving
Indian wandering on those barren plains. Hearne's
Indians always made the unfortunate stranger welcome, sharing their food with him, no matter how little
it was.
They had plenty of food when they began to meet
the caribou on their spring march from the woods
across the Barren Lands. Many Indian hunters then
joined the travellers, and together they secured a good
supply of meat. As the snow was now gone they could
get plenty of moss for the fires to cook it.
Though Hearne had now no anxiety as to where his
meals would come from, he was not without other
troubles. About this time a serious accident happened.
One day, when called to his dinner, he left his quadrant standing that he might learn more correctly what
latitude he was in. A sudden gust of wind blew it
over and it was broken by the fall. It was useless to
go on with no instrument to take observations and to
tell him where he was, so again he turned back. He
had a hard journey home, for he was already so far
north that the winter snows had begun. In one of the
worst snowstorms he almost ran into Mattonabbae, an
Indian chief, the Hudson's Bay Company's messenger
to distant tribes, who was now on his way to Prince of
Wales Fort.    That night when they had piled the
dog-sleighs up to keep the wind off, and were able to
talk, he told HeanJe that he had failed because he had
taken no women along. He said squaws were always
needed on a long journey, to bring in the game that
had been shot, and to attend to the camping and cooking, and that Hearne, being a white man, did not understand how much the Indian women could do. He himself was travelling with many squaws to drive the dog-
sleighs and do the work.
When Hearne gave the chief some good tobacco he
talked on, and finally told the white man he would guide
him to the Far-off-metal River. Hearne was delighted
that there was, at last, some chance of success. Without waiting for Mattonabbae, he hurried on ahead to
the Fort that he might make ready for another start.
With all his haste he did not reach there until late in
November. In less than two weeks after his arrival
at Prince of Wales Fort he made a third start. This
time Mattonabbae led the way, and there were squaws
among the Indians that went with him.
One little incident that happened before they had
gone far taught Hearne something of the Indian customs. When Mattonabbae was out before, he had
cached—that is, left in a safe place—some food, which
he now wanted for the journey, but upon reaching the
place where he had left it he found it gone. To
Hearne's surprise the chief was not at all annoyed,
but said that some starving hunter must have taken it
—which to him was quite right, for Indians look upon
food as common property.
On they went day after day, even though the time
came when they had nothing to eat, and only snow SAMUEL HEARNE 55
water to drink. All Christmas day, and for three days
before, they were without food. But the Indians never
once complained.. On and on they went, travelling over
the Barren Lands and facing the midwinter winds.
Just while Hearne was wondering whether he could
stand the cold and hunger much longer, the Indians
saw something that cheered them. Caught here and
there in the branches of the shrubs were hairs which
told the red men that game was not far away. The deer
were now leaving their shelter in the woods, and it was
not long before they were able to secure meat enough
for the journey.
At last they came to the home of the Copper Indians,
and Hearne, as he had been told to do, smoked the
peace-pipe with them. These Indians were greatly
interested in his journey. They lent him canoes and
wanted to go with him. He was the first white man
they had ever seen, and they came flocking round, examining him from head to foot; but they did not admire
his white skin or consider him as good looking as themselves. "His hair," they said, "was like the stained
hair of a buffalo's tail, and his eyes, being light, were
like those of a gull." When he combed his hair they
crowded about in hope of getting the hairs that came
off on the comb, which they would wrap up carefully,
saying, " White man, when I see you again I shall see
your hair."
Farther on the Indians, choosing a favorable spot,
left the women to make camp while they guided Hearne
to the mouth of the river. As they travelled, Hearne
noticed that in many places the earth had been turned
over like ploughed land, and asked the Indians whether 56      WHERE  THE BUFFALO ROAMED
it was caused by lightning. " No," they said, " we
never have lightning here; the bears have done that
hunting the ground for squirrels." Afterwards he saw
huge stones which had been overturned by bears looking for a meal of these little animals.
The farther north they travelled the shorter the
nights became, until, on the 21st of June, when the sun
remained in view all night, Hearne knew that he had
come within the Arctic Circle. There was much snow
and ice, and the weather was cold, with a heavy fog.
A few weeks later they came to the " Far-off-metal
River." Though a little after midnight when they
reached there, it was bright as mid-day, and Hearne
could see all about him.
He soon learned that this river did not lead to any
north-west passage; but he had no time to think of this
disappointment, for his attention was drawn to the
Indians, who were busy painting their faces, red and
black, and making queer-looking figures on their shields.
Some said they were drawing the sun; others said the
moon or some bird or beast of prey. Their works of
art looked all about the same to Hearne, but these warlike preparations were arousing his suspicions. He
begged them not to harm the Eskimos, whose homes on
the Arctic coast they were nearing. They would not
listen to him, however, but sent spies on ahead to see
where the Eskimos' homes were. Finding they were
near to them, they took off all their heavy clothing, and
those who wore sleeves cut them out. Again Hearne
begged them not to make an attack. They pushed him
aside as one might a small dog. Some told him that he
had better stay behind.   This he would not do.    Choos- GROUP OF INDIAN  CHILDREN.
(From a photo by J. W. Tyrrell.)  SAMUEL HEARNE 57
ing low ground, where they would be hidden by the
rocks, they went on noiselessly like stealthy cats when
hunting mice. In this way they neared the round-
topped Eskimo tents.
Hearne saw the alarm birds flying back and forth
from Indians to Eskimos, and hoped the Eskimos would
know by this that enemies were approaching and take
warning. But they either did not know the habit of
this bird or were sleeping and did not hear the shrill
Sounding the war-cry, the Indians dashed forward
like savage wolves. The Eskimos, hearing them at the
last moment, rushed out. Surprised and unarmed,
they were surrounded. With their guns and spears
the Indians killed all but a few who managed to get
into their little skin kyacks (canoes), push them off
with their double-bladed paddles, and thus make their
Other tents were on the opposite side of the river,
but as the Indians had left their canoes behind, they
had to content themselves with firing across at them.
The Eskimos had never seen firearms before, and instead
of running away at once, stopped to pick up the bullets,
not knowing they would harm them, until one was shot
in the leg. Then they scrambled into their kyacks and
paddled swiftly away. After the Indians had destroyed
the Eskimos' homes, and had a good meal of salmon,
followed by a long sleep, they turned their attention to
the white man again, and announced that they were
ready to go with him to the copper mines.
Poor Hearne was filled with grief and horror. He
had wanted to meet the Eskimos, to become acquainted
with them, and to talk with them; but, more than all,
he had been anxious that no blood should be shed on
this his first journey to their land. He was too sorry
now to care that on that bright July morning he was
the first white man to stand on the shores of the Arctic
Ocean; that he had taken possession of all the Arctic
region for his Company, and had made himself a hero
whose deeds would be told through all the years to
come. At that moment he would have given up all the
glory of his journey, and remained a commonplace
trader in the sleepy little fort on Hudson Bay, rather
than that such a dreadful calamity should have fallen
upon those innocent people.
Nothing, however, could be undone now, so the next
best thing was to go with the Indians to find the mine.
After following the narrow winding Coppermine River
(the Far-off-metal River), they came to the much-talked-
of spot where the Indians got the bright metal. The
red men told Hearne their legend which gave the reason
why the copper was under the ground instead of lying
on the surface, as they said they found it years before.
According to this story it was an Indian woman who
found the metal first, and who guided the other Indians
back and forth when they wanted copper for their
knives and hatchets. One day they made her angry,
so when they had loaded themselves she refused to return
with them, saying she would sit upon the mine until
she sank into the ground, and that all the copper would
sink in with her. When they came the next year she
had sunk to her waist, but was still alive. She talked
freely to them, still declaring she would take all the
copper into the ground.   By the next year she had quite *■!
disappeared, and sure enough, most of the metal had
gone in with her. Instead of great heaps, as before,
only a few small pieces were found above ground. The
Indians also believed that every lump of copper taken
from the mine looked like some bird or beast. •
Leaving the copper mines, they travelled at a rapid
pace. When at last the smoke of moss fires told of the
women's camps, the Indians stopped to take a kind
of Turkish bath, which they made by covering over a
little pond of water and throwing red-hot stones into it.
In this each Indian bathed. They knew they had done
wrong by killing the Eskimos, and they thought by
making themselves very clean they would wash away
the stain of that crime and be good again before they
went to see their wives.
After joining the women the party prepared to start
for home. They returned by way of the Athabasca
country, thus enabling Hearne to do more exploring.
Christmas they spent on the shore of Lake Athabasca.
It was cold there, but they had plenty to eat, for it was
the home of the buffalo, the beaver and the moose.
They had, therefore, a very different Christmas from
the one before, when they were starving on the Barren
On the shore of the lake called Athapapuskou they
came upon a little hut where an Indian woman lived
alone. Her companions had been killed, she told them,
and she had not seen a soul for seven moons. All that
time she had kept herself alive by hunting. How glad
she must have been to see them! What strange hardships sometimes come upon these people in the wilderness! 60  WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
Before leaving Athabasca, Hearne secured some fine
furs and had rich loads to take back to Hudson Bay
in the spring. On the last day of June he reached
Prince of Wales Fort. This time he had been away
travelling with the Indians for a year and a half. He
had found the copper mines, and had smoked the peace-
pipe with the Indians. Though he had failed to find
the North-west Passage, yet his journey accomplished
much, for it gave men a better idea of the extent of
Rupert's Land. The members of the Hudson's Bay
Company Were pleased with his success, and very soon
made him governor of Fort Prince of Wales. He is
known to fame as the discoverer of the Coppermine
The Discovery of the Mackenzie River.
Far away, on a river flowing out of Lake Athabasca
—which, you will remember, Samuel Hearne passed
on his journey home from the Coppermine—a white
man was travelling north. The river was rough and
swollen, and many times he came to rapids which his
men could not cross in their canoes, but were forced to
land, unload, and carry their things past.
Before they had gone far they came to a fall, and
again prepared to land. One canoe was whirled past
the others. The squaw who was managing it alone did
-not notice the current until she was caught in its
tide. Just in time she jumped out into the deep, cold
water. A line was thrown to her and by means of it
she saved herself; but the canoe was swept over the
falls and dashed to pieces on a-rock, and its valuable
load of the white man's goods sank to the bottom of
the river.
No one worried over the misfortune. The danger
and wetting were nothing to the squaw, who was soon
busy helping to carry another canoe. Though to the
white man the loss was serious enough, he spent no
time in lamenting, but was very glad that it was the
goods, and not himself, that went to the bottom. He
started his Indians on again as if nothing had happened. The red men were continually wanting to lie
5 07!
on the shore, or to spend a few days hunting and a few
in feasting. When he hurried them on they complained
to him, saying, " It is hard, white man, it is hard."
Though it was only the fourth day of June, and the
whole bright northern summer was before him, there
was a reason for the white man's hurry. For many
years explorers had been travelling in the land of the
animals and Indians, but they had not yet found out
how large it was, and this traveller had no idea how
far he was going. The day before he had left his little
trading-post to explore a great river of which he had
heard. Where it would take him he did not know, so
it was wise to waste no time.
He was exploring for the North-West Company, and
had charge of their trading-post, Fort Chipewyan, on
Lake Athabasca. This Company, composed of Montreal merchants, was formed in 1784, over thirty years
after Verendrye's death.
A change had taken place in Canada since Verendrye's day. A great battle between the French and
British had been fought at Quebec. The British were
victorious, and Canada has ever since been a British
colony. The members and traders of the North-West
Company were Scotch or English, but most of the men
who took the furs down to the St. Lawrence were the
jolly French voyageurs.
The young man who lost the canoe, almost at the
beginning of his long journey, was a Scotchman named
Alexander Mackenzie. A few years before he had been
sent to take charge of the dull little fort of Chipewyan.
Trading with the Indians when they came in, shipping
the furs away, sleeping, eating, writing letters,  and
m*> iJf
reading between times, was too quiet a life for him.
What he most wanted was to explore the wild, unknown
country. Now it happened that near the Fort were
two great rivers. One came from the west, but just
where he did not know. The other he did know flowed
to a large lake north of Lake Athabasca; but out of
that lake flowed a river, and where it went no one
knew. It might lead to the North-west Passage! Mackenzie determined to follow the river to its mouth and
see if this were so. The North-West Company were
at this time too busy trying to get more furs than the
Hudson's Bay Company to give him much help, but
this did not prevent his journey.
By the month of June (1789) the Indians had
finished their trading for the season and had gone back
to their homes. The furs had been shipped away, and
Mackenzie had the summer before him. This was the
time he chose to start upon his journey. He took with
him four Canadian voyageurs to manage the canoes,
a few Indians to act as interpreters and to procure game, and a North-West Company clerk as his
assistant. One of the Indians was called " English
Chief." This was because he had done so much for the
English and their interests at Hudson Bay. The chief
insisted on taking two of his wives, and some of the
voyageurs also had their Indian wives with them.
It was a slow, tiresome journey up the river to the
lake, and they had many accidents besides the one at
the fall where the canoe was lost. The men grew weary
of the dangerous rocks and rapids, but as the hunters
were fortunate in always getting plenty of game, they
were sure of a refreshing supper when they landed for 64  WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
the night. They must have been glad of the smoke
from their camp-fire, for this gave them a little peace
from the mosquitos that swarm in the northland during the summer. As early as two or three o'clock in
the morning it was light enough to set out again, and
Mackenzie never failed to waken them all. No wonder
the Indians grumbled at such travelling!
Upon reaching the lake they found it still so full of
ice that they were obliged to wait for it to break up.
While waiting there Mackenzie and his men caught
plenty of fish. Wild fowl, too, were numerous; great
flocks of beautiful swans, geese and ducks were flying
all about them. Although there was so much ice in the
lake, they found ripe berries and wild onions, which
made a pleasant change from fish and meat. Mackenzie
pleased his Indian visitors by telling them that the
white man would come again to build a fort, and would
stay always to trade with them.
This lake is called Great Slave Lake, and the river
by which they came to it is the Slave River. This
name was given the lake because one time, in days gone
by, when red men in the North were at war, a tribe was
defeated by other tribes and driven near its shores. In
scorn the conquerors called them Slavi, meaning Slave.
This name still clings to them, though they declare their
name to be Tenni, meaning the people. From the
Indians living along the shore the name Slave passed
to the lake and river.
About the 21st of June the ice had broken up so that
they were able to start on their canoe journey across
the lake. On one of the small islands they saw a herd
of reindeer that had come over on the ice; as the ice jr
was now gone, the wolves could not get at them, sO it
was a safe place to keep their baby reindeer. One of
the men called it Isle de Carrebceuf, and so Mackenzie
gave the island that name. It was near here that he
sat up through the night to see the sun set and rise.
He found that it was out of sight for exactly four
hours and twenty minutes.
Mackenzie had some trouble in finding his way out
of the lake and into the river he had come to explore.
An Indian of the Red Knife tribe had been engaged
to guide them, but, having a poor idea of the way, took
them to the north-east side of the lake, and ran the
canoe into the rushes on the shore before they found
no river was there. English Chief was so angry at the
Red Knife Indian for trying to guide them, when he
did not know the way himself, that he said he would
murder him. But the Red Knife Indian declared he
had come to that very place through the woods from
the river, and that they could not be far from the mouth
of the latter. So they started again, going now in a
south-westerly direction, and in time reached the river
into which the Slave Lake empties. Down this great
stream they turned their canoes. English Chief was
so happy now that he forgot his threat to murder the
Indian guide.
On and on they travelled, farther and farther into
the northern homes of the red men. Sometimes when
they landed for the night they would be caught in a
rainstorm and soaked before they could get any shelter.
They were always expecting to come to falls, of which
they had heard from the Indians, and were continually
on the lookout. At times they even imagined they
could hear the roaring of falling water on ahead. QQ      WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
* Farther down the river they came to some Indians
who were terrified and ran away at the sight of the
white men. But there were a few who did not get
away in time, and Mackenzie's Indians told them not
to be afraid, and gave them beads, knives, hatchets and
rings. Mackenzie presented them with tobacco, and
taught them how to smoke. After this they were not so
terror-stricken, and were persuaded to tell what they
knew about the river.
Their story was not encouraging. They said it was
so far to the river mouth that they would all be old
before they could get there; that they would come to
two impassable falls, and that they would meet with
all sorts of dangerous monsters. They even described
an island where they said a spirit lived waiting to
swallow anyone who went by. They entertained the
white men with a dance, which was like hopping about
to an accompaniment of two or three notes which they
considered singing. Each performer held a bone over
his head, and beat time by moving it about.
These Indians were dressed in the skins of moose
or reindeer, and were decorated with bracelets of wood,
horn or bone. Most of them wore their hair long, but
a few who tried to be very fine let only part of it hang
down their backs and wore the rest of it short round
the sides of their heads. Mackenzie thought they were
very ugly and dirty. They lived in rude tepees, built
so that one faced another and a fire between would do
for both. Their axes were made out of a kind of grey
stone. They made their dishes out of wood and horn,
and boiled water by throwing red-hot stones into it.
They kindled their fires by striking together a piece of
iron pyrites and a piece of flint stone over lightwood.
These things they carried with them as we do matches,
and so could make a fire at any time. The iron for their
knives they got by trading furs with other Indians.
They had very small bark canoes, but the paddles they
used were large and strong.
Mackenzie was not alarmed by the stories the
Indians told him of the river, but the guide he brought
with him from Slave Lake was greatly frightened and
declared he would turn back. As they could not do
without him, they 'took him along by force. They also
got one of the Indians living there to go with them, as
he knew something of the river and the Indians they
might meet. To induce him to go they had to give him
a kettle, a knife, and an axe, but even then he did not
stay with them for any length of time. Mackenzie
soon found out he would have to get a new guide from
almost every band of Indians he came to, as he could
never keep the same one long.
As they travelled on and on, day after day, down the
great river, and found no sea, the men became discouraged. Mackenzie had to promise that if they did not
come to salt water in seven days he would turn back.
Even then, to keep English Chief content, he had to give
him one of his best coats, and to the guide he gave a
mooseskin. In spite of this, however, it was not long
before the guide went off in the night; but he was so
honest as to leave the mooseskin, which he knew he
had not yet earned.
After such proof of their honesty, Mackenzie was
much surprised one night, when he sat up to write by
the midnight sun, to find that he had to watch the
Indians to keep them away from the meat he was boil- WHEEE THE BUFFALO EOAMED
ing for breakfast. He learned in time that to them
this was not stealing, for they considered food common
property. According to their ideas, his pot of meat
belonged to anyone who happened to be hungry.
As they travelled on, the Indians they met with
talked differently, but as English Chief could understand them, they knew that all languages spoken in that
part were somewhat alike. Usually when the natives
saw them coming they would hurry the women and
children away to the woods, hide all their things, and
have their bows and arrows ready. Mackenzie always
gave them presents, and made them understand he had
come in peace, and did not mean to carry off their
treasures or their babies. He found that the presents
they liked best were the big blue beads. Sometimes they
were afraid of his gun, but his Indians told them he
used it only to shoot game, and had no intention of
hurting them with it.
Though the current was so strong that they were
going at the rate of sixty or seventy miles a day, the
river was becoming broad like a lake. Would they come
to a lake, with other Unknown,rivers beyond? Would
the winter, the cold northern winter, be upon them
before they could reach the sea, or were they coming
to it now? Anxiously they watched as they paddled
farther and farther into the north, where the summer
sun shines bright at midnight. One of the men, waking
up in the middle of the night, forgot where he was,
and thinking that because the sun was shining it was
morning, he called the others up to breakfast. The
sleepy men were angry at having their short rest disturbed, and saw that he was not allowed to call them
the next morning. DISCOVERY OF MACKENZIE RIVER    69
For several days early in July they fancied they
could smell salt water. One evening they went to bed
as usual on dry ground. In the night they made the
discovery that the ground was covered with water and
the baggage was floating upon it. Hurriedly, but with
glad hearts, they moved back from the rising tide.
They had come at last to the Arctic Ocean!
A little farther on they saw the whales swimming
about. Never stopping to think that the whales could
easily smash their little canoes, they went after them,
but fortunately they could not catch up to the big sea
monsters. On the shore they erected a large post with
the date, July 14th, 1789, and under it carved the
names of all who had made the trip.
Mackenzie wished very much to see the Eskimos, but
as none could be found, his Indians said they were probably all away hunting whales; so he had to content
himself with looking at their village of vacant huts.
Both Mackenzie and Hearne, the first white men to
reach the Arctic coast, were unfortunate in not becoming acquainted with these people.
Though the travellers were only six weeks in reaching the Arctic coast, it took them eight weeks to return,
for they were now going against the current of the
river. In many places they had to " track " with the
tow-lines, and in walking along the shore often sank to
their waists in the moss of the beaver-meadows. It
was the 12th of September when Mackenzie got back
to Fort Chipewyan. He knew now where the river
flowed. He had traced it to its mouth, and proved that
it did not lead to a passage to the Western Sea. In
honor of his discovery the great river was named for
him, and it will ever perpetuate his memory..
Alexander Mackenzie Crosses the Continent.
Though Alexander Mackenzie had won the right to
be called a great explorer, the North-West Company
had as yet taken little notice of him or his discovery.
Nor could he arouse them to take much interest in
another long journey of his dreams. They had other
things to think of. For some years the Hudson's Bay
Company, now thoroughly wide awake, had been extending their trade inland from Hudson Bay. A little west
of the northern shore of Lake Winnipeg they had built
a large central trading-post, called Fort Cumberland,
and far west, on the Saskatchewan River, was their
Edmonton House, where every year load upon load
of furs was traded from the Indian hunters. By this
time the North-West Company and the Hudson's Bay
Company were fighting each other, not with guns and
tomahawks, but with trading-posts, fur-traders, and
the goods the Indians liked best.
They fought this way: The North-West Company
would build a fort on the route the Indians took to a
Hudson's Bay Company post. There they would watch
for the passing Indians, and coax them to trade with
them. They would tell them how much better their
blue beads and red handkerchiefs were; that they could
shoot straighter with their guns, and that they would
get so much more for a beaverskin than they would
from the Hudson's Bay Company. The Hudson's Bay
Company would learn of this, and straightway build
a fort a little beyond the North-West Company's trading-post, where they could meet the Indians first and
tell them very much the same sort of story. Both
companies did worse than this. Both gave them
whiskey to keep their trade, although they knew how
injurious it was to the Indians, and how dangerous it
made them.
However, in spite of the rivalry, Alexander Mackenzie managed to 'have someone else placed in charge
of Fort Chipewyan, while he went over to England to
study surveying. He wanted also to secure new instruments, that he might be better able to take correct observations to show the latitude and longitude of the places
he travelled through. Upon his return he prepared for
his western journey. No one had yet crossed the continent to the Western Sea, nor even climbed over the
great mountains to find what was beyond. They did
know by this time that America was no narrow strip
of land. They were quite over their surprise at the
extent of the red man's country, but sometimes, when
not too busy with the fur trade, they wondered how
wide the New World really was, and how far it could
be across to the Western Sea. Alexander Mackenzie
said he would go and find out. In the fall of the year
1792 he began his journey by ascending the great Peace
River, of which he had been thinking for so long. He
went up this river past the most westerly fur post, and
spent the winter there so that he might make an early
start in the spring. On the 9th of May he set out upon
his travels into the unknown West.    He was accom- 72  WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
panied by his assistant, Alexander McKay, six Canadians, two Indians, and his dog. They took only one
canoe, which, though twenty-five feet long, was so light
that it could be easily carried over portages or past
rapids and dangerous rocks*
During the long and difficult journey Mackenzie
had much to interest him. Often he met Indians who
told him something -f the country ahead. He was able
also to study the habits of the wild animals of that
lonely land. He says they passed acres and acres where
the large poplar trees had been cut down by the beavers
to build their dams and lodges. The charming scenery
through which they were passing was a constant delight.
The most magnificent sight that met their eyes was the
great mountain range with its snowy summits gleaming
in the sun.
Among those mountains the travellers met with their
greatest dangers. They were often in great peril when
towing their canoes up the rough, rocky stream. In
some places, between the precipice and the deep water,
there was only a narrow slippery ledge for the men to
walk upon, and bits of rock were falling all about them.
Mackenzie wrote of that part of the journey: " One
false step of those who were attached to the line, or the
breaking of the line itself, would at once have consigned the canoe, and everything it contained, to instant
destruction. . . . For stones both small and great
were constantly rolling from the bank, rendering
the situation of those who were dragging the canoe
beneath it extremely perilous." No wonder they
thought of the stories the Indians had told about the
spirits whispering with the wind in the night, and
throwing stones down at them if they ventured to pass. MACKENZIE CROSSES THE CONTINENT   73
In some places even this mode of travelling was
impossible, and canoe and baggage were carried. Climbing rocks and struggling up hills with loads on their
backs tired the men, wore out their moccasins, and
hurt their feet. For one long stretch the way was so
rough that someone had to go ahead and cut down the
trees and branches to clear a road. It was Mackenzie
who did the most of this, for the men were tired and
grumbled much over their difficulties. It was so cold
among the snow-capped mountains that frequently they
shivered beside a fire while taking their suppers. Their
night's rest was always welcome, although they awoke
stiff and chilly in the morning.
When past the mountains they had a long weary
tramp. On their way they met bands of Indians, who
were frightened at first and ran away, but were usually
induced to come to Mackenzie for the presents he
offered. At last the travellers came to a large river,
which Mackenzie decided to follow, hoping it would
take him to the sea. The rocks and rapids they had to
pass discouraged the men, but Mackenzie did his best
to keep up their spirits. Before they had gone far they
saw Indians on the banks, flourishing their arrows as
if they thought the white men were enemies. After
the interpreters had talked to them, however, and Mackenzie had given them beads and a looking-glass, and
the children some sugar, they became quite friendly,
and two of them went with him as guides. Soon they
came to other Indians, who were most friendly after
they learned Mackenzie would not harm them. They
were much interested in his gun, and to show it off and
to entertain them he shot a duck which was flying near. !
Farther on, at the home of other Indians, Mackenzie
was able to get some information about the river. An
old man drew a sketch on a piece of birch-bark, showing dangerous cataracts and falls ahead. He told of a
route, across the land to the sea, which began a short
distance back, and was a much shorter and easier way
than following the rough, winding river. Mackenzie
could not make up his mind what was best to do. Nearly
all night he lay awake thinking about it. In the morning he began to ask more questions, when to his surprise the Indian said, " Why are you asking so many
questions? Do not white people know everything?"
Now, the more a white man knows the more an Indian
thinks of him, and Mackenzie was a little puzzled how
to answer and keep the good opinion of this Indian.
At last he replied by saying that he knew where he was,
and where the sea was, but he was not sure of the easiest
way to reach it.
Mackenzie finally decided to take the old man's advice
and go back to the trail which led across the country.
As soon as the guide heard this he proposed to take a
short route overland to his home, that he might have
more time to prepare for the journey. Mackenzie let
him go, but he thought it safer to send McKay and two
of the men with him. By the time Mackenzie had
travelled up the river to the camp where the Indians
had been so friendly when he passed through there
before, none were to be seen, not even the guide.
McKay and the two men appeared alone, with terror-
stricken faces. They stated that the guide had taken
them along at a terrible pace, and that at the camp they MACKENZIE CROSSES THE CONTINENT   75
had found the huts empty and things lying about as
if the Indians had gone off in a panic. The guide had
at once rushed into the woods after the others. Upon
hearing this the men were frightened, for they thought
the Indians must be preparing to attack them. They
wanted to turn back, and, as Mackenzie said, their cry
was, " Let us re-embark and be gone." But their brave
leader, who had no intention of returning yet, ordered
them to unload the canoe.
At about midnight of the second day after their
return to this place, a noise was heard that greatly
alarmed the men, especially as the dog kept barking and
running back and forth in the edge of the woods. A
little later the sentinel said a man seemed to be creeping about on his hands and feet not far from them.
This increased their alarm, as they felt sure he was an
Indian spy who had come to learn where they were, so
that the whole band might fall upon them. Mackenzie
tried in vain to make them believe it was a bear.
When daylight came they found only a poor old
blind, gray-headed Indian, who, unable to get away
with the others, had been hiding near until that night,
when he crawled out in search of something to eat. He
trembled with fright when Mackenzie touched him.
They led him to their fire and gave him food, and when
at last they persuaded him to talk, he said that some
Indians had told them that the white men were dangerous enemies, and that when his people saw the white
strangers coming back so soon, after informing them
they were going down the river and would not return
for many moons, they ran away in terror, thinking
the travellers were surely enemies and had come back 76  WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
to take them unawares and kill them with their wonderful guns. Mackenzie was sorry now that he had fired
off the gun for them, and made up his mind that he
would not entertain strange Indians that way again. So
it happened that both Indians and white men had been
afraid and thought it necessary to be on the watch.
Resuming their journey, they travelled on some distance, till they came to the mouth of a small river which
seemed to be the place where the Indians took the trail
through the woods. But what could they do without
a guide ? They might lose their way, or, with no one
to tell they were friendly white men, they might be
killed by the next Indians they met. As they were wondering what they were going to do, they saw two canoes
coming towards them, and were delighted to find that
it was the guide returning with some of his friends. He
was so gay in a gaudily-painted beaver-robe that they
all believed him when he said he had been getting ready
for the journey. As a reward for coming back, Mackenzie gave him a bright handkerchief and a jacket.
They now left the canoe and everything they could do
without, and with packs on their backs started on their
overland journey. The Indians they met with gave
them much help by supplying guides from among their
young men to take them on from one encampment to
another. There was one great trouble with the Indian
guides; they were inclined to run off in the night, leaving the poor white men with no one to introduce them
; at the next village. Mackenzie made up his mind one
day that he would put a stop to this by sleeping under
the same covering with his guide. This one happened
to be a very stylish Indian, and, in accordance with the MACKENZIE CROSSES THE CONTINENT   77
latest fashion, had his body thickly smeared with red
earth and his hair thick and sticky with fish oil. Poor
Mackenzie found it quite impossible to go to sleep beside
him! However, he thought it better to be kept awake
by the odor of the Indian's finery than to be left without
a guide in the morning.
Fish were very plentiful in all the streams and rivers,
and so the Indians they met had plenty to eat. Some of
them would not hunt the animals for food, and when
they saw one of Mackenzie's men throw a bone into the
river, a young brave went in and brought it out, for they
were afraid the sight of the bone would drive the fish
away. They caught the fish by placing large traps,
made of split wood, in the river. Each trap had a small
opening, and was made in such a way that when the fish
were once in they could not get out.
At one village an axe disappeared. The Indians pretended to know nothing about it until Mackenzie sat
down and made signs that he would not go on until he
got it. It was then pulled out from under the chief's
canoe. After leaving another village they missed the
dog. Though they called and called he did not come,
and they feared they would never see him again.
By this time they were going down a river in an
Indian canoe and nearing the ocean. They saw the seagulls, the porpoises, and the beautiful sea-otters; and
at last they beheld the ebb and flow of the tide of that
Western Sea, the Pacific Ocean, which Verendrye had
spent his life in seeking.
On the coast the travellers found the Indians by no
means friendly. One young Indian was particularly
troublesome, and kept hanging about, calling out to the
white men that he had once been shot at by men of their
color, and acting as if he wished to do them some
injury. He persisted in getting into the canoe with
Mackenzie, and he tried to get his hat, handkerchief,
and everything else he saw.   Later the guide heard that
I the natives were going to attack them with spears.   His
story terrified the men, and they wanted to turn back.
But though they had to take refuge on a rock all night,
Mackenzie would not leave until he had taken observations to find out what latitude and longitude he was in.
Before leaving the Pacific the explorer mixed some vermilion with grease and wrote in large letters, on a rock
overhanging the sea, "Alexander Mackenzie, from
Canada by land, the twenty-second of July, One
thousand seven hundred and ninety-three."
You will be glad to know that on the way back they
found the dog. The poor creature acted as if he were
crazy when they first came to him, but after they had
given him food and patted him he knew them again,
and jumped about, wagging his tail in the greatest
delight. The Indians from the village near where they
had lost him said he had been howling about ever since
they had passed there.
When Mackenzie's name is praised in many lands,
and histories keep afresh in our minds the story of his
great deeds, surely the children will give a little glory
to the dog that did all a dog could do to help. He
cheered the men, warned them of danger, barked all
Hone night because he knew a wolf was near, and, though
tired and footsore, followed his master on the long journey, through hardships and dangers, to find the path
across the great continent, the long-talked-of passage
to the Western Sea. CAPTAIN  COOK.
Explorers on the Pacific.
Though Alexander Mackenzie was the first white
man to reach the Pacific coast of North America by
land, he was not the first white man to see that shore.
Daring sailors, by a long ocean voyage, had reached it
before him. For many years the Spaniards had been
on the Pacific coast of America. They sailed to the
Isthmus of Panama, and crossed on a narrow neck of
land between North and South America. On the
Isthmus they built a stronghold to keep other nations
back, and felt quite sure that in this way they could
have the whole Pacific coast to themselves. They had
ports all along the coast, and ships to carry home the
gold and silver from the mines.
In the year 1577 a young man named Francis Drake
set out from England with &ve vessels bound for the
Pacific coast, determined to show Spain that England,
too, would sail that sea. Queen Elizabeth, who ruled
in England then, presented him with a sword on which
were the words, "Who striketh thee, Drake, striketh
us," and with that he sailed away, straight to the south
of South America.
Strong westerly winds were blowing, and dangerous
waves filled the Strait of Magellan.    But Drake was
determined to  reach the  Pacific by this route,  and
through the stormy strait he went.   Of the iive ships
that started, only three reached the strait and only the
one that he was in, the Golden Hind, passed through in
Drake then sailed north along the Pacific coast. A
Spanish vessel saw him coming, and, thinking him a
messenger from Spain, was preparing to give him a
grand reception, when he sailed up and captured the
ship. On he went, capturing other ships and seizing
the silver and gold from the Spaniards before they
could get over their surprise at seeing an English
vessel on the sea they claimed as their own.
When ready to go home he dare not turn about and
sail down that coast, for he knew they would not let
him pass them again. So he sailed north, past all the !
Spanish possessions, up along the Pacific coast to what
is now the United States; then westward through the
Pacific and Indian oceans, round the Cape of Good
Hope, and back to England.
Drake was a great hero then, for he had sailed round
the world, and had been on the Pacific coast farther
north than the Spaniards. Queen Elizabeth dined on
his ship, and made him one of her knights. Throughout all England was heard the name and fame of Sir
Francis Drake, who had sailed round the world.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, a man crossed
from Russia to the Pacific coast of America. If you
look at the map of the world you will see how near Asia
comes to America, and that the part which so nearly
touches the new continent is the north-eastern coast of
Russia.    At St.  Petersburg,  the capital of   Russia^ EXPLORERS ON THE PACIFIC        81
strange stories had-been told of driftwood that had never
grown in Asia, but which had been picked up on that
north-eastern coast; and of whales that had been found
there with weapons in them that had not been made in
Asia. The Russians had no idea that America stretched
north-east so near their own country, but thought that
between Asia and the America they had heard of there
must be some unknown land from which these things
had drifted, and they began to call it Gamoland.
Though no one had found this Gamoland, they put it
on their maps. They then sent a man named Vitus
Bering, a stout-hearted Danish navigator, out from St.
Petersburg to cross over from Asia and explore this
part of the world.
Poor Bering, what a journey he had! Before he
could reach the shore and start out in his ships he had
to travel six thousand miles by land, much of that distance through cold, dreary Siberia. He and his men
were years going over that trackless country, climbing the mountain ranges and crossing the rivers.
Horses, dogs, and even men, died from the hardships.
Crowds of timber-wolves followed at their heels waiting to devour them. But Bering kept bravely on until
he reached Kamchatka, where Asia borders on the
From Kamchatka he set out with two boats to learn
what really lay between Asia and America. As you
know, they found no Gamoland, but they did find the
coast-line of America. Bering passed the great snowcapped mountain of St. Elias, saw the bright light
from volcanoes, and gazed on the huge icebergs that in
the sunset were all aglow with brilliant hues.    They
<J 82
anchored by an island. Provisions were running short
and many of the men were ill, so Bering ordered them
to steer homeward.
They were now skirting the Peninsula of Alaska,
of which they had never heard, and they could not
make out where they were and why they .did not get
away from the coast-line. The breakers roared. Storms
drove them on. The fog fell, and they could not see
where they were going. Still the ship sped on—but
where ? They could only hope that they were nearing
Kamchatka. Days went drearily by. The sky cleared,
and the cheery cry rang out, " Land ahead!" Even
those who were ill crawled on deck to look. Alas!
it was not Kamchatka, but an island. As they had
no idea how near they were to the home shore, and as
winter was coming, they prepared to spend the long,
cold, dreary season there. Sea-cows gazed up from
their sea-weed in amazement, and hungry foxes
swarmed round. Man was still a stranger to them,
and they had no fear. Soon the winds began to roar,
blowing such hurricanes that when on shore the men
had to crawl on their hands and feet. One breaker
washed their boat away. They could only look on in
horror, while thoughts of a life-time on that dreary
island flashed through every mind; but, fortunately,
another wave drove the boat high and dry on the land.
Deep down in the sand the men dug pits, which they
roofed over with peat, branches and sand. Poor Bering
was ill with scurvy. His men wrapped him in fur and
put him in the deepest, warmest pit. Here the sand
caved in about him, pressing the fur covering closer
and keeping out the cold.   As the season advanced he EXPLORERS ON THE PACIFIC        83
grew worse, and in the cold month of December he
died in his cheerless sand-pit. Sadly the men buried
the body of their leader on the lonely island. Before
starting home in the spring they placed a wooden cross
above his grave. To this day a cross like it is kept
upon that spot, and the island bears his name.
Bering had learned there was no Gamoland, and no
open-water passage north of America. He had discovered the North Pacific coast of that new continent,
and his name was given to the sea and strait between
Asia and America.
But these honors did not come to his name at once.
The Russians, who had never seen America, nor the
Pacific coast, declared that Bering, who had lost his
life in discovery, was all wrong. They said that what
he took to be the coast-line must have been islands;
that the fog was too heavy for him to find the water
passage to the Atlantic; that he was too homesick and
ill with scurvy to search as he should have done for
the North-west Passage. Other countries had much
the same opinion. Even England offered a prize for
its discovery.
The Pacific coast of Canada was first explored by
an Englishman. While Verendrye at his lonely trading-post was studying birch-bark maps and dreaming
of the Western Sea, a little boy named James Cook lived
in a tiny thatch-roofed cottage in England. As the
family was large, and the father a poor man- James
could not be sent to school until he was over twelve
years old. He learned so quickly then that he soon
passed the others and became head of the school.
At this time all England was talking of the Northwest Passage and the mystery of the unexplored seas,
and the boy heard stories of roaring waves, of burning
mountains, of sea-cows, and of beautiful sea-otters,
until he longed with all his heart to be a sailor. But,
like Columbus, another profession was chosen for him.
His father sent him to a shop to learn to be an ordinary shop-keeper. James never meant to stay there. It
is said that in less than two years he was out of the
shop working on a coal-boat, and so grimy and black
that his own people would not have known him. But
what did that matter?   He was working his way up.
Years went by. The English still talked of the
North-west Passage and the Pacific coast, and Drake's
voyage was not forgotten. At last came a time when
they- decided to send out an expedition to explore the
north-west coast of America, to search for the Northwest Passage and to find out for a certainty how the
coast-line lay. The commander chosen for this important expedition was Captain James Cook, once the boy
on the grimy coal-boat, but now one of the most highly
honored sea-captains in England.
In the summer of 1776 Cook set out upon his journey and sailed round the Cape of Good Hope. He
could not go direct to America, for he had a load of
sheep, pigs, and goats to put off at New Zealand, and
it was almost two years before he reached the new continent. During that time he made up his mind to try
for the twenty thousand pounds' reward which Eng- r
land had offered for the discovery of the open-water
passage through America.
In the month of March, 1778, Captain Cook began
to see signs of the new land. He meant first to explore
the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which he named after the
Greek pilot who had lived years before and had declared
that he had discovered such a strait; but he was too far
out to find the opening, and a storm drove him northward. When the sky cleared he saw the shore of what
is now Vancouver Island.
Discovering a calm bay, the navigator turned in.
Indians came out m canoes to meet him, scattering
white feathers in the air as a sign of peace, and singing
a song of welcome as they slowly advanced. One
Indian, whom Cook took to be the chief, was most
elaborately painted; his hair was decorated with many
feathers, and on his canoe was carved an enormous
head. He made a long speech during which he shook
a rattle in each hand. The white men did not understand a word he said, for, coming by sea as they did,
they had had no chance to get interpreters. However,
they took his speech to be an invitation to land.
Cook did not know that he had come to a great
island which would afterwards be called Vancouver,
but thought he was on the shore of the mainland. He
learned that the Indians" called the bay Nootka, after
their tribe, a name it still bears.
Though the Indians showed but little surprise at
the white strangers, some stayed beside the big boat all
night. They all wished to trade with the white men,
but what they wanted most was any kind of metal.
They were glad to give the sailors beaverskins for the 86  WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
brass buttons on their clothes. These buttons they
would at once use to decorate their noses and ears.
When the white men began to repair their boat, they
came crowding about to bargain for the old rusty nails,
and Cook and his men soon had a valuable pile of
beaverskins that would make them rich in other lands,
though very few had any buttons left to wear home to
England, and not an old rusty nail was to be found
about the ship!
These Indians had elaborate costumes. Most of them
wore caps made of matting, shaped like a flower-pot
turned upside down, and garments trimmed at the
upper edge with fur and at the lower edge with fringe.
Over this, when it was not too hot, they wore their bear
or sea-otter robes. Some had bracelets of sea-shells, and
all had feathers in their hair.
They did much singing for their visitors, keeping
time with their paddles or their hands. Their voices
were soft and sweet, and the singing was like church
music. They gave the white men no trouble, except
that a few of the weaker ones could not resist the temptation of trying to steal the wonderful things on the
big boat.
Cook was delighted to see that two of the Indians
had spoons which white men had made. They wore
these spoons as ornaments strung about their necks.
It never occurred to him that they might get the spoons
from the Spaniards to the south, or from the Russian
traders who had followed Bering to the north; but he
felt sure they had got them from the Hudson Bay
traders whom they had reached by means of a water passage.    He hurried on the repairs of the boat that he
**«*« ^s
might search for that passage. Going ashore for wood
was pleasure as-well as work for the men. They were
never tired of wandering through the magnificent
forests, or of gazing at the hills covered with evergreen
Before the 1st of May Cook was ready to start
northward and continue his exploring. Indians crowded
round to say good-bye and to give and receive presents. The chief who had welcomed him on his arrival
there was among the last to leave the ship. As a parting gift he gave Cook his new beaverskin robe, and was
made perfectly ha]3py when Cook in return presented
him with his broadsword.
Had Cook known how truly the porpoises could
foretell bad weather he would have listened to their
warning and stayed in port longer. No sooner was he
fairly started than a storm came up, and he did not see
land again for several days. Far north he sailed now,
where Bering had been. He saw the great snow-capped
mount of St. Elias reaching up to the clouds, and the
bright lights from the burning volcanoes which Bering
had gazed upon. He saw the rocks and icebergs and
heard the breakers roar.
Though there were no lighthouses to warn him of the
dangerous coast in foggy weather, he was not shipwrecked, for the walruses were there, lying upon the
ice or rocks in herds of many hundreds. Their roaring
could be heard at a great distance, and at night, or in
a heavy fog, the sailors knew by that noise when they
were near dangerous rocks. Some of the walruses were
always on the watch, and if a boat came near would
waken those beside them, and in that way the alarm
J r
was passed along. They thus served as fog-horns for
the Indians and the early explorers.
If you look at the map of Alaska you will see Cook's
Inlet. It was there that he thought he had come to a
water passage through the continent. He sailed up the
inlet until he found to his disappointment that it ended
in a river. Afterwards he went through Bering Sea and
Bering Strait and learned that Bering was right when
he declared that there was no water passage which
would take ships through to the Atlantic.
He then turned his course from these cold regions
of fogs, storms and icebergs toward the warm Sandwich Islands. Poor Cook never reached England again.
He had not been wise in his treatment of the natives
of the Sandwich Islands, and was killed by them while
stopping there on his way home.
The search for rich furs brought many Spanish and
Russian fur-traders to the west coast of America, and
after Cook's voyage there was some trouble at Nootka.
The Spaniards seized the ship and little fort of Captain
Meares, an English fur-trader. The English became
alarmed, fearing that Spain and Russia would have all
the coast, and that in spite of Cook's discovery England
would be left with no foothold on that coast.
Captain George Vancouver was then sent to this
western coast to look after the rights of England. He
was also to search for the water passage, for Cook's
report that there was none had met with much the same
fate as Bering's. People said Cook could not find it
because he was too busy trading rusty nails for furs.
Captain Vancouver had been with Cook, and knew
that he was right; so when he found that he was to go
again, he declared that he would explore the North-
West so thoroughly that all the world would have to
admit there was no open-water passage.
In the spring of 1791 he reached the western coast
of America. First he explored Juan de Fuca Strait,
and learned for himself that it was between the mainland and a great island. The huge mountain peak,
which in clear weather is seen from many miles out at
sea, he named Mount Baker, after his lieutenant, who
was first to catch sight of it. They also discovered
Puget Sound, and named it for one of the men.
Afterwards he went round to Nootka to meet the
Spaniard, Don Quadra. Indians came in their painted
and carved canoes to see him off. On his way he passed
some of their villages of square log houses, built in
rows as straight as a white man's street. As he neared
Nootka his vessel and Don Quadra's saluted each other
with a great roar of guns. Vancouver then sent Don
Quadra an invitation to breakfast with him on his ship,
the Discovery.
Now the great Indian chief Maquinna had been
watching what was going on, and made up his mind
that he was not going to have white men come to his
country and give breakfasts without inviting him. He
went out in his canoe and climbed aboard the Discovery.
As it was a warm day, he was not wearing his sea-otter
robe, or his gay paint and feathers, and the sailors who
saw him coming had no idea he was the chief, but supposing him to be only some ordinary, inquisitive Indian,
tumbled him overboard.    Maquinna was now doubly 90      WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
insulted, and made sure that the " white chiefs " should
hear what had happened and how he felt about it.
" It will never do to offend the Indians," thought
the white men. So when Don Quadra gave a dinner
for the English, a special invitation was sent Maquinna.
Afterwards Vancouver and Don Quadra visited his
village, and Don Quadra gave a dinner there and took
the chief's daughter to the feast. Maquinna was flattered by the attention and forgot the incident of the
morning. Later he returned the visit in the most
amiable manner. Indeed he and his family came to
see the white men so often, and stayed so late, that
Vancouver became very tired of them, for they were
great beggars. They wanted everything they took a
fancy to, and if told they could not have the particular
object they had set their hearts upon, they would pretend to be greatly offended. But as soon as they saw
something else they wanted they would come back and
beg again.
Vancouver and Don Quadra gave their names to the
great island, but the Spanish part of the name was soon
dropped, and it has ever since been known as Vancouver Island. With regard to the international agreement
between England and Spain, the opinions of the two
men differed so widely that all they could do was to
send messages home for instructions.
Vancouver then began to explore the coast. He
worked northward from New Spain, and when fall
came went to the Sandwich Islands for the winter. In
the spring he sailed north and worked towards the
south until he came to the same place where he had
left off when exploring northward.   Amidst loud cheers 1
they named that spot Point Conclusion. The work was
finished now. He had carefully explored the west
coast.   Every bay and inlet had been tried.
That night Vancouver gave his men a grand dinner
on board the ship in honor of having at least obtained
sure proof that no one could ever sail through America.
By taking home such correct charts of the country that
everyone had to admit there was no open-water passage
through the continent, Vancouver accomplished the task
he had undertaken.
The Selkirk Settlers.
You have all heard the story of King Bruce and the
spider, the spider that tried nine times before it succeeded in reaching its web, and that never once during
its many tumbles stopped for a moment to crawl into
a crack for a rest, or to grumble to the other spiders
about the hard time it was having. When King Bruce
saw it at last reach its web, he, too,
" Tried once more, as he tried before,
And that time he did not fail."
Now, this is not the story of a spider, nor yet of a
king, but of a colony of people whose best efforts fell
quite as flat as the spider's, and just as many times, but
who kept on trying until they, like it, won their way to
success. That success was the settling of a country
much larger than King Bruce's lands.
Far away in Scotland and Ireland lived many people
who had only small farms, not much larger than a garden, and others who had no farms at all. A good man,
Lord Selkirk, seeing what a hard time they had to earn
a living, made up his mind to give these poor men each
a whole farm in the land of animals and Indians, where
there was plenty of room. This colony, or settlement
of people, he decided to establish at the junction of the
Red and Assiniboine rivers, near where La Verendrye
built Fort Rouge.
Some people laughed, and said the idea was ridiculous, as it was too cold there for people to live and raise
crops, and any who tried it would certainly be frozen
out or driven away by the Indians. Others were unkind
enough to say Lord Selkirk was doing it in order to
make something for himself. Such talk made no difference in his lordship's plans. He looked forward to seeing the poor people happy and golden grain growing
on the prairie along the banks of these rivers.
The first thing was to get the land; for, as we know,
the spot chosen by Lord Selkirk was in Rupert's Land
and belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company. Fortunately for his scheme, this great company was pleased
to have a settlement there. They saw that the wild
animals were being driven farther back, and knew that
if they disappeared from that part, food and clothing
could not be had unless someone worked the land and
raised wheat, barley and flax, and kept cattle and sheep.
Besides, a colony would be a place where the officers of
the Hudson's Bay Company could live in comfort without leaving Rupert's Land. So they were ready to be
interested in Lord Selkirk's colony, and willingly sold
him for that purpose over one hundred thousand square
miles of land.
Now that the first step had been taken, the next
thing was to place the people there. This is why one
gray day, in a Scotch village called Helmsdale, a little
band was waiting for a vessel that was to take them
away to the great new country. Life had not been easy
for them, and some had recently been turned off their
tiny farms; yet it was their homeland, and they might
never see it again. Sadly they bade a last good-bye to
their native hills and vales and lovely glens. Among
them were children too young to understand what it
all meant, and who were delighted at the prospect of a
long boat-ride. Many were hugging in their arms the
treasures of their childhood, and here and there were
boys tugging at the collars of the faithful collie dogs
they would not leave behind.
A tall, pleasant-faced man was going about among
them, and, in the Gaelic tongue they spoke and loved so
well, was telling them of the new country and promising to do all he could to help them make a start, assuring them that he would visit them soon in their new
prairie homes. This tall man was Lord Selkirk, who
had come to see his people safely off.
At last the boat arrived and all was ready for the
start. As they were slowly taken out from the shores
of their beloved Scotland they sang the familiar psalms
which they had sung so often in the village church.
On the shore, watching until they were out of sight, was
a group of sorrowing friends and relatives. In their
midst stood Lord Selkirk. His great enterprise was
now begun.
On the coast of Ireland they were joined by their
Irish companions who were going with them to find
new homes. The whole company was under the direction of Captain Macdonell, who had been chosen by
Lord Selkirk as leader.
The route taken to Red River at that time was by
way of Hudson Bay, So the little vessel, dependent
upon wind and weather, was sixty days in crossing THE SELKIRK SETTLERS 95
the ocean. The children who had wanted a long boat-
ride had their wish, and more than their wish, for they
had never dreamed of such huge icebergs as they saw
when sailing towards the great bay in the north.
The rivers were already frozen when they reached
York Factory, on Hudson Bay, where they found
shelter until houses could be built for them, and in
which they might remain till the ice broke up in the
spring. Here the boys who had brought their dogs had
a lively time keeping them out of fights with the wild
I Husky " dogs that lived about the fort. The men were
kept busy getting .wood for fuel. The intense cold
of that first winter was the beginning of all their hardships.
Directly after New Year's they began to make flat-
bottomed boats for the journey up the river and across
Lake Winnipeg to their new homes. It was the 1st of
July before the ice was away so that they could set out.
To the poor people, travelling in a way entirely new
to them, the boats seemed very heavy, and it was difficult to get them over the many portages and rapids.
Though very tired when they reached Red River, they
had only a few hours to rest before their first misfortune befell them..
The North-West Company had heard of their coming
and were greatly displeased. They thought a colony
would help their rival, the Hudson's Bay Company,
to grow and prosper, and would drive the wild animals
away so that they would have to move their trading-
posts farther back. Moreover, they considered the Hud- ,
son's Bay Company had no right to the land they had
sold Lord Selkirk, because the North-West Company,
following Verendrye, had reached the Red River first.
Declaring that Lord Selkirk should start no colony
there, they hired a band of half-breeds—or Metis, as
they were called—to drive his colonists away.
After painting their faces and putting feathers in
their hair to make them look like savage Indians, the
Metis appeared on the scene a few hours after the tired
colonists had reached their destination, and told them
they must go away at once or else be driven off with
guns and tomahawks. The colonists were terrified,
especially as they could not understand the mixture of
Indian and French the Metis spoke. However, after
much talking and sign-making, they learned that these
people were willing to guide them to Pembina, a Hud-
■■£ ■ ill son's Bay Company post seventy miles away.
The Metis offered to carry the children, but for doing
so wanted everything which took their fancy. Before
they could set out, the men parted with their guns and
the women with their wedding-rings. One little girl
had brought her only toy, a tiny sheep, which she kept
tied to a string about her neck. The half-breed who
took her up on his horse wanted that sheep. Putting
his ugly painted face and feathered head very near to
hers, he made signs that he would run away with her
if he did not get it. Her mother told her to give it to
him. He held it up and laughed, and then put the
string about his own neck, but the little girl cried when
she saw her poor sheep dangling there. He soon gave
it back to her.   It may be that he never meant to keep
Kit, or perhaps he had a kind heart and did not wish to
make her unhappy.
It was a strange procession that started off that day. THE SELKIRK SETTLERS
The savages of the wilderness were riding on fine horses,
and the white people were trudging along behind like
servants. Sometimes a mischievous half-breed, wanting
a little fun, would ride out of sight with one of the
children, and the mother, fearing he would take her
darling away to his lodge, would run screaming after
him. However, no harm was done the little ones.
Though it was a terrible tramp over the rough ground,
they all reached Pembina in safety. There they spent
the winter, living in tents like the Indians. Being as
yet unable to hunt# or drive dog-sleighs, they had to
take what they were given to eat, and in return bring
wood and water for the Indians and half-breeds.
Early in May they went back to the Red River to
make a beginning.    That year both fish and berries
: were scarce, and often they had nothing to eat but the
tasteless wild parsnips or boiled nettles.    But hopes
were high when the grain began to grow.   Long before
; it was ready to harvest, hungry blackbirds came in great
| flocks, and though all sorts of startling scarecrows were
made, men, women and children had to watch from
morning till night while the precious little crop was
Though their seed wheat yielded abundantly, they
I had not raised enough both for food and seed for another
| crop; so in the fall they went again to Pembina to spend
! the winter with the friendly Indians and half-breeds.
1 The following spring they returned to labor on their
farms.   They had no trees to cut down before they could
plant their crops, but neither had they horses nor oxen
yet, and sowing and reaping by hand was slow work.
The Indians would sometimes walk about the settle- 98      WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
ment to see how their white neighbors were getting
along, and were always ready to tell them how much
easier it was to live by hunting.
As the first crops were not large enough to support
the settlers, Governor Macdonell issued a proclamation—that is, sent out an order—that no one should
send fish or game away from Lord Selkirk's colony.
Upon hearing this, the North-West Company, who considered the territory their own to do with as they
wished, again determined to put an end to the colony.
First they coaxed a large number of the colonists
to go away by telling them how much easier they would
have it in some other parts of the country. To those
who would not be coaxed they issued a proclamation
ordering " all settlers to retire immediately from the
river, and no appearance of a colony to remain."
Because the settlers would not heed this, they drove
them away, spoiled their crops, and burned their houses.
The poor people took refuge at Norway House, the
Hudson's Bay Company's post north of Lake Winnipeg-
Soon after, a man whom Lord Selkirk had sent out
to help them brought them back tired and wretched,
but, like the spider, not discouraged by the fall. To
make matters worse, others arrived just at this time.*
All through the weary journey the new-comers had been
looking forward to a good rest and a long talk round the
hearth-fires of their friends, whom they now found
homeless and more miserable than themselves. There
could be no rest for anyone at Red River yet. Once
more all must go away for the winter.
Early the next spring they were back toiling from THE SELKIRK SETTLERS
morning till night to get the seed into the ground at
the proper time, and to make the most of the short
season. One evening, when most of the work was over,
some women and children saw a party of men, hideous
with paint and feathers, and armed with guns, tomahawks, and bows and arrows, coming toward the settlement on horseback. Though they looked like Indians
on the war-path, even the children knew they were the
Nor'-Westers and their Metis, and rushed everywhere
giving warning.
When the boy in the watch-tower of Fort Douglas,
the Hudson's Bay Company's post at Red River, gave
the alarm, Governor Semple at once looked through
a spy-glass, and seeing the painted and feathered band
of men approaching, gathered together about twenty
of his best men and marched out, armed, to meet them,
hoping to arrange for the safety of the settlers. The
Nor'-Westers circled round his little band asking what
he wanted. He replied by asking what they wanted.
In some way a shot was fired, and in the noise and
confusion and the war-whoops of the Nor'-Westers that
followed, no one knew just who fired first—but it was
supposed to be one of the Nor'-Westers. The Governor
and many of his men were killed, and the rest taken
prisoners. This engagement is known in history as the
battle or skirmish of Seven Oaks. As none were now
left to defend the settlers, the Nor'-Westers soon drove
them off in any way they liked and burned the few huts
that had been put up since their last raid. They then
took possession of all that was left of Fort Douglas.
But help was coming. Far away in Scotland Lord
Selkirk had heard of the treatment his colony was
receiving, and was now on his way to them. He was
already in Canada when news of this last outrage
reached him. With well-armed soldiers he started at
once for Red River. On his way he took possession of
Fort William, the North-West Company's headquarters,
arrested some who had been leaders in abusing his
colony, and sent them to Montreal for trial.
At Fort William Lord Selkirk was obliged to wait
till the ice cleared away in the spring before he could
go on to his poor people. He then brought them back
from Norway House, gathered them all together, talked
with them, and made plans for their future welfare.
He assured them a Scotch minister would be sent to
them. " Here," he said to them at one meeting, " you
shall build your church," and on that spot they soon
after built St. John's church. He laid out sites for
schoolhouses, roads, mills and bridges; and to that
first settlement in all Rupert's Land he gave the name
Kildonan, a name taken from their old Scottish home,
and very dear to them.
Lord Selkirk also had a meeting with the Indians,
and smoked the peace-pipe with them. Though he had
bought the land from the Hudson's Bay Company, it
had really belonged to the Indians first. As they had a
rightful claim to the country, and must be kept on
friendly terms, he made a treaty with them. By this
treaty Lord Selkirk promised to give each of the two
tribes having a claim on that territory one hundred
pounds of tobacco each year, and they in return were to
give up the right to the land. Like all grown-up white
people's agreements, it was written in so many large
words that it was difficult to understand.    Of course \r
it was carefully explained to the Indians, who thought
it a fine bit of writing, and all said, "Ho! Ho!" to the
part about the tobacco.
Lord Selkirk wrote his name on the treaty papers,
but the iive chiefs signed theirs in a different way.
Instead of writing his name each made his mark,—that
is, he drew a picture of the animal or bird which was
his family crest, or totem, as Indians say. When you
see the long hard names the chiefs had, you will think
that the drawings were much easier to put down, even
if the Indians could have written them. They were:
Mache Wheseab, Mechkaddewikonaie, Kayajiskebinoa,
Pegowis, and Ouckedoat.
Delighted with the " Silver Chief," as they called
Lord Selkirk, the Indians made their finest speeches
for him. They were glad of a chance to tell him
they were friendly to his people. Chief Pegowis
said in his speech:
"At the arrival of the settlers we were frequently
solicited by the North-West Company to frighten
them away, but we were pleased to see that our Great
Father had sent some of his white children to live
among us, and we refused to do or say anything
against them. . . . We refused to acknowledge
the speeches they wished to put into our mouths. We
are informed that they told a tale that it was the
Indians who drove them away and murdered the
children of our Great Father, but it is a falsehood."
Others expressed themselves in much the same way.
One said, among other things: "We have often been
told you were our enemy; but to-day we have the hap- 102    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
piness to hear from your own mouth the words of a
true friend."
Mechkaddewikonaie in his speech said: " I am happy
to see here our father. Clouds have overwhelmed me.
I was a long time in doubt and difficulty, but now I
begin to see clearly. We have reason to be thankful
this day. We know the dangers you must have encountered to come this far. The truth you have
spoken pleases us. There seems an end to our distress, and it is you who have relieved us."
By this time, you may be sure, the members of the
North-West Company were not feeling friendly towards
Lord Selkirk, and while the settlers and Indians were
receiving him so kindly they were making him all the
trouble they could. In Montreal even those who had
done the most to send the Metis against the colony
were declaring it was the Indians who had driven away
the settlers, and that Lord Selkirk had no right to
arrest their men. Though they knew they were telling
falsehoods, they kept on talking until the bad men who
had been arrested at Fort William for causing the
trouble were let go free, and the good Lord Selkirk
had to hurry away to defend himself.
Meanwhile the settlers must make a fresh start on
the long, steep road to success; but this time Lord
Selkirk's visit made it much easier to be like the
spider, when
" Up, up it ran, not a second it stayed,
To utter the least complaint."
They returned from Norway House so late in the
spring that they could get but little grain in, and were THE SELKIRK SETTLERS 103
obliged to go again to Pembina for the winter and
fetch the water and keep the fires going for the
Indians, who thought it very fine to have " palefaces "
for their servants.
In the spring (1818) they were back in time to
sow all their grain and make a splendid beginning,
and it did seem as if no misfortune could befall
them this time. But you remember the spider had
more than four tumbles, and so had they. The next
one came in July, when everything was looking its
best. The corn was in ear, the barley almost ripe,
the wheat a more abundant crop than ever before,
and visions of roasted corn, barley soup, and of fresh
bread were beginning to rise before the eyes of the
But these visions were rudely broken. About -&ve
o'clock one afternoon it became unusually dark. Fearing a bad storm, they looked anxiously at the sky. A
huge cloud was moving towards them from the west.
A few moments later it looked like a snowstorm, but
as it came nearer they saw that the snowflakes were
alive! It was a storm, truly, but a storm of grasshoppers, millions and millions and millions of them.
They covered the land and devoured every green blade.
The settlers were helpless. They could only look on
while their hard-earned crops disappeared. In the
morning nothing was left but a few heads of barley
that had been missed by the grasshoppers. These the
women carefully gathered in their aprons.
Once more the fruit of their weary labors was
lost. This time they were not at all like the spider,
but   like   King   Bruce, completely   discouraged,  and 104    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
"flung themselves down in a lonely mood," not "to
think," but to weep, the men as well as the women
and children. So it happened that they did not give
up Pembina, as they had hoped to be able to do, but
again took that long, weary journey of seventy miles
to spend another winter.
The next summer was no better for them. The
grasshoppers of the summer before had laid their eggs
in the sod of the grassy plains, and the young ones were
now hatching. As early as the middle of June they
over-ran the harvest-fields in greater numbers than in
the summer before. Nothing could grow. Dozens of
hungry grasshoppers were waiting to devour each green
blade as soon as it appeared. A little later dead grasshoppers lay in heaps along the river banks, making
both air and water impure.
Again the settlers were quite like King Bruce, and
declared they would never try again. Now the Indians
said: " Come buffalo-hunting with us, and you will be
much happier." By this time they had learned to
hunt better, to walk on snowshoes, and to manage dog-
sleighs, and so had a happier winter at Pembina than
they had ever spent before. But the Indians could
all tell of days of famine, and the settlers well knew
that at such a time, if without crops, they must go
hungry, and perhaps starve miserably, as many Indians
had done; besides, living the life of the Indians would
not please the good Lord Selkirk. So when spring
came they returned to their farms.
To get seed wheat they must go so far south that,
though the men started off on snowshoes, they brought
it back in June in flat-bottomed boats.    Fortunately THE  SELKIRK SETTLERS 105
growth is so rapid in that western country that some
of the grain ripened, and never again were they without seed wheat.
About this time Lord Selkirk sent out a windmill;
but as no one at Red River knew how to set it working, it stood idle till a millwright from Scotland set it
going ten years later. By that time the crops were so
much larger that they were greatly in need of this
means of getting help from the Red River winds.
The windmill was one of Lord Selkirk's last gifts
to the colonists. In 1820 he died. A few years
later the Hudson's Bay Company bought back the
country. In the year 1821 the Hudson's Bay Company and the North-West Company were united. The
colonists then were no longer troubled by the Nor'-
Westers, and days of peace and prosperity followed.
New settlers came. Better houses were put up. Cattle
were brought in until all had cows and oxen for the
farm work.
Indians, gay and ugly in their paint and feathers,
would come from their wild haunts and wander about
the settlement, watching everything that was going on;
perhaps telling the colonists that they would not drudge
that way, nor give up buffalo-hunting for all the civilization in the world. But what did the colonists care?
This was the seventh time they had climbed up, and
they were feeling much like the spider when only "a
foot from his cobweb door." They had no idea they
were so near another fall.
The cause of the next disaster began in the month
of December, when a heavy snowstorm came. For
several days the snow fell steadily, making the day
almost as dark as the night. Now it happened that
those who were living like Indians, hunting the buffalo,
had gone to the plains. Of course the animals felt
the storm long before it came, and made off to their
hidden shelters. But the hunters, not having the same
instinct, were overtaken by great clouds of snowflakes
that seemed to pour from the sky. No food could then
be found for man or beast.
News reached the colony that the hunters were
starving. Though many miles away, and dog-sleighs
the only means of reaching them, the colonists gladly
gave them what help they could. The poor hunters
who were found alive had eaten their horses, their
dogs, and even their moccasins, to keep from starving,
and were crawling along miserably through the snow.
Some were saved from starvation by the few mouth-
fuls of bread the rescuers could give them. A man
and woman with their three children were dug out of the
snow, where they had been buried for three days and
three nights. The woman and two of the children lived.
Little did the colonists think, when saving the lives
of the poor hunters, who were mostly half-breeds, that
their own homes would soon be swept away.
In the spring, when the ice was breaking up and the
great depth of snow was melting, the Red River began
to rise. It went up nine feet in twenty-four hours. It
overflowed the banks, and spread over the fields till
even the Indian braves looked at it with amazement
and exclaimed: "Yea, ho! Yea, ho! 1 What does it
mean, what does it mean?"
By the 5th of May, when in other years the dry
clay on the river banks was gleaming in the sun, the *■
water became so deep in the settlement that the colonists had to leave their homes and escape to higher
ground, leaving their property behind them. Every
boat in the settlement was out, and the men of the
Hudson's Bay Company were doing their best in helping to save lives and property. Screaming children
were taken to any dry spot that could be found. Cattle
were hurriedly driven through the water out of danger,
while the dogs had to save themselves by swimming
or by jumping on floating pieces of furniture. Most
of the houses were being carried along by the flood*
Others were broken down by floating ice and trees
that crashed against them. In some of the floating
houses poor dogs were howling; in others cats were
crawling about; on the roofs of others a few chickens
were perched.
Though many were the narrow escapes, only one
person was drowned. A writer of these times tells us
that a man who had no boat tied his oxen together and
put his wife and children on their backs, hoping, as
indeed proved the case, that the frightened animals
would swim or wade out of danger. One man, in his
hurry to get out of his already moving house, overturned a light and set the house on fire. It floated
along after the others, one half under water, the other
half in flames.
The colonists were almost discouraged enough by
this seventh misfortune to leave Red River forever,
but when at last the water lowered they took heart
again and went back to their land, which was now as
bare as when they first went to it. However, the hard
times coming after this misfortune were followed by
iL /■■
better days than ever. The people began to build
larger houses out of stone and mortar, with glass
windows, and these were much brighter and pleasanter
than the dull little places they had lived in before.
Churches and schoolhouses, too, were built. In 1831,
the Hudson's Bay Company erected a stronghold which
was to be a place of safety if the water should rise
again, or if they should be attacked by an enemy.
There were now two parts to the village, called Upper
and Lower Fort Garry.
Though the colony was becoming so much larger,
it was only a tiny spot in the country of the Indians.
The white man may call them " savages," yet it must
be remembered that they never harmed the settlers,
whom they could easily have wiped out of existence
had they so wished. Instead, they watched the colony
stretch back from the Red River, taking in more and
more of their land. They moved back to give the
white man room, but they did him no injury.
Everything went well at Red River until the spring
of 1852. It was now twenty-six years since the great
flood, and they were hoping never to have another.
But one night in May many of the settlers were
awakened by the sound of splashing water in their
rooms. In the darkness those who could reach their
boats hurried into them to escape to the high land, or to
the stronghold of Fort Garry. Those who were without
boats were in serious danger. Many waited on the housetops for help, while others climbed trees and clung
there until a boat came or daylight showed them some
way of escape.
It was a worse flood than the one in 1826. The
channel of the river had become choked with floating THE SELKIRK SETTLERS
ice, causing the water to rise with great rapidity, at
one time going up at the rate of seven feet an hour.
For a distance of fourteen miles the water spread out
for six miles on each side of the river. Fences, houses
and barns floated off much as they had done twenty-
six years before, the only difference being that there
were so many more to be carried away. Carts, boxes
and cupboards, chairs, tables and feather beds were
seen floating on the water.
So quickly did the river rise that many of the cattle,
pigs, and even horses, were drowned. One pig was
known to swim for two days and two nights, and was
then caught alive'and taken in a boat to dry ground.
Over the fields where cattle had grazed and wheat had
grown, fish swam and boats sailed, while down the
river to Lake Winnipeg floated the labor of twenty-
six years. The poor people, who the day before had
been happy in their cozy homes, were now huddled on
dry spots of land, with the cattle and goods they had
saved beside them. All were cold and wet, and every bit
of their firewood had floated away. One man burned up
his plough to keep his little girl from perishing. Not
until the 12th of June could the settlers go back to
their desolate homes.
This was the last disaster that befell the Selkirk
settlers. Like the spider, they had come to their
last fall, and were now on the sure way to success.
What that success has been may be learned by a trip
to-day, not only through Manitoba, but far beyond.
The Selkirk Colony was the beginning of all settlements in the great North-West. Surely those who
read its history will say with King Bruce, "Bravo,
bravo! AU honor to those who try."
Two Explorers and an Artist.
Simon Feasee.
One bright day, early in the summer of 1808, a
young fur-trader, named Simon Fraser, was starting
down the great river of rocks and rapids that Mackenzie had followed until he left it to take the overland
trail to the western coast. His orders were to follow
the river to the sea. As yet, no one had dared to venture down that treacherous current. So little was
known of the river that it was supposed to be the
Columbia. Men from the United States had found
the mouth of the Columbia and were claiming the
territory about it. Fraser's trip was to explore the
river for the North-West Company, and see if it would
give them a canoe route to and from the coast.
The accounts of the river which he and his men
could gather from the Indians were not encouraging.
However, before they had gone far they heard of an
Indian who had come from near the sea, and had him
brought to them, hoping he might tell a more favorable
story. Fraser spread an oilcloth on the ground and
made signs to him to draw a map of the river. This
Indian did not seem to know very much about it, but
another Indian stood beside him and told him how
to draw the map. When finished it showed all the
dangerous places of which the white men had heard.
After looking at the map, Fraser hinted to the
Indians that some day his people would come and
build a fort, and they would then all be able to get
such guns as they had seen him fire off. The Indians
were delighted with the prospect, and the chief, wishing to please the white men, said that he and the Indian
from near the sea would go along to guide them down
the river.
In a short time they came to a terrible rapid about
two miles long. On each side were steep banks, which
in some places were only forty or fifty yards apart.
Through that narrow space the water dashed in a whirl
of angry, foaming waves. The chief said that the
rapid would overpower any Indians and swallow their
canoes, but that as white men were so great, perhaps
they could cross it in safety. Five of the best men
embarked in a canoe, but lost power over it and were
dashed against a rock. The men saved themselves by
springing to the rock, but their comrades had great
difficulty in getting them ashore and saving the canoe.
The bank was so steep that in going down they had to
plunge their daggers in to keep from slipping and falling headfirst into the river. Of the trouble they had
in landing the canoe Fraser wrote:
" We cut steps in the declivity; fastened a line to the
front of the canoe, with which some of the men ascended
in order to haul it up while the others supported it
upon their arms. In this manner our situation was
most precarious. Our lives hung, as it were, upon a
thread, as the failure of the line or a false step of one 112    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
of the men might have hurled the whole of us into
eternity. However, we fortunately cleared the bank
before dark."
After this experience they met with Indians who
assured them that for some distance the river was so
rough they could not possibly go down by canoe, and
told them of an overland trail which would take them
past the rapids and down to that part of the river where
.it was smooth sailing on to the sea. But Fraser said
his orders were to follow the river, and he would tafe
no other route.
To make matters worse, the river was rising. When
it went up eight feet in twenty-four hours one of the
lieutenants proposed that they should try going along
the bank with pack-horses. They succeeded in getting
four horses from the Indians, but found that way of
travelling almost as bad as by canoe. The path was
so narrow and the precipice so steep that one of the
horses fell over and was lost, and a man who was carrying a heavy pack, taking a misstep, got into such a
dangerous position that he dare not move until Fraser
crawled out and loosened his load. The load dropped
into the river and was washed away, but the man, free
of his burden, was able to save himself.
When travelling by canoe again they were continually
coming to rocks, whirlpools, and foaming cascades. In
toiling over the portages they had to climb up and down
steep rocky precipices where their moccasins wore out
in less than a day and their feet were cut by the sharp
Farther on the channel narrowed to about forty yards.
On each side towered great rocks, bending toward each TWO EXPLORERS AND AN ARTIST   113
other, thus making the opening narrower above than
below. Through this passage the boiling water rushed
with terrific force, and, as Fraser said, " had a frightful
appearance." To carry the canoes past by land was
out of the question. There was nothing to do but take
their chances on that awful tide. Of this experience
Fraser wrote in his journal: " Thus skimming along
fast as lightning, the crews, cool and determined, followed each other in awful silence, and when we arrived,
at the end we stood gazing at each other in silent congratulation at our narrow escape from total destruction."
They now hoped the worst was over, but Indians told
them they could mot proceed by way of the river, and
drew a map showing more cascades, rapids and whirlpools ahead. Instead of a beach or shore, there were
mountains and precipices on each side which they could
not climb up and down without the aid of rope-ladders.
However, Fraser and his men struggled on, travelling
sometimes by canoe and sometimes on foot, until at
last they came upon Indians who said the sea was only
ten nights from their village. One old brave declared
he had been to the sea, and had seen white men there
who were very proud. lie put his hands on his hips
and strode about with an air of great importance, saying
to Fraser, " This is the way they go." It was good news
to the tired explorers, and they hurried on, grudging
even the time they had to spend in shaking hands with
the natives. One of the longest delays was where a chief
invited Fraser across the river and then took him by
the arm and led him to the camp, where about twelve
hundred Indians were sitting in rows waiting to shake
hands with him! 114    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
Toward the end of the journey another canoe was
needed. So far, when they had broken their canoes,
they had been able to trade their night-robes to the
natives for new ones, but the Indian from whom they
now tried to get one would not let them have it at any
price. They took it by force, and he followed, sobbing,
and begging them to come back lest they should be
killed by warlike Indians at the coast. Near the mouth
of the river they found that his warning was well
founded. The natives there, who had seen "proud"
white men from foreign trading vessels, were not
friendly, like the Indians of the interior, and instead
of coming up to shake hands, flourished weapons and
tried to upset the canoes of the white men.
As nothing was to be gained by stopping there and
running the risk of an attack, Fraser turned back. By
this time he knew that the river he had explored was
not the Columbia, for he had found that it emptied
into the Pacific several degrees of latitude north of
the mouth of the Columbia. It has ever since been
called the Fraser River in honor of the man who defied
its treacherous rocks and angry rapids and followed it
to the sea.
Sie John Feanexin.
Somewhere in the snow and ice of the cold northland
is a lonely grave. The story of Sir John Franklin,
who lies buried there, is one of the saddest in our
country's history. He lost his life while exploring in
search of the long-talked-of North-west Passage. Until
his travels, little was known of the Arctic regions. Over
all   that northern coast hung a mist which had  been fl
lifted only twice; once when Hearne reached the Coppermine, and again when Mackenzie followed to the
sea the great river to which his name was afterwards
given. The Arctic coast-line between these two rivers
and beyond was still a blank on the white man's map.
But even to that day some were still dreaming poor
Henry Hudson's dream of an open Polar Sea.
On his first journey Franklin was directed to sail
to America, travel overland to the Arctic Ocean, and
sketch that unknown coast-line from the Coppermine
River eastward, marking the position of the capes, bays
and rivers which, he passed. He left England in the
month of May, and by the end of August was at York
Factory, on Hudson Bay. From there he set out across
the country, and late in the winter reached Fort Chipewyan, Mackenzie's old post. In his journal of that
winter trip are found such entries as: " The depth of
snow made the task of beating the track for the dogs
so very fatiguing that each of the men took the lead in
turn for an hour and a half." ..." We were
constantly rubbing the exposed parts of the skin to prevent their being frozen, but some of the party suffered
in spite of every precaution." ..." Provisions
becoming scarce; dogs without food except a little burnt
leather; ... tea froze in the tin teapot before we
could drink it."
In the spring Franklin continued his journey, but so
great were his difficulties in securing guides and supplies that he did not reach the coast that summer, and
was obliged to winter at Fort Enterprise. Of that
dreary season he wrote: " The trees froze to their very
centres, and became as hard as stone and more difficult 116    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
to cut. Some of the axes were broken daily, and by
the end of the month we had only one left that was fit
for felling trees." . '. . "A thermometer hung in
our bedroom, at a distance of sixteen feet from the fire,
stood even in the daytime occasionally at fifteen degrees
below zero." . . . " It is half-past eleven before he
[the sun] peeps over a small ridge of hills opposite to
the house, and he sinks in the horizon at half-past two."
At last the long winter was over and they set out
upon their long journey to the coast, dragging their
canoes and carrying their small store of provisions. In
July they reached the Arctic Ocean. You will remember that Mackenzie did not find the Eskimos at home,
and Hearne could not talk with those he saw, owing to
their being killed before his eyes by his Indian escort.
Franklin's party, however, met with some of these
people. Those near the Coppermine were afraid of the
white men, and all ran away except one old man who
was too lame to run. He was terrified at first, but when
they treated him kindly and gave him presents, he gave
them some of his dried meat and talked with the interpreter. Among other things, he said that in the summer
his people went there to fish, but when winter came
they moved farther down the coast and built their snow
houses. Not far away Franklin had found broken
skulls lying about, and so concluded that he was meeting the old Eskimo near the very spot where, fifty
years before, Hearne's Indian party had massacred the
Eskimo band.
The explorers now travelled eastward along the coast,
skirting the rocky capes and bays and learning all they
could of that northern sea.    Often they came upon a TWO EXPLORERS AND AN ARTIST   117
seal or a polar bear taking her cubs for a swim, and
when on shore they startled many an unsuspecting reindeer or musk-ox. As they advanced they met with
more and more floating ice, and the winds became
colder. Owing to the distance they must go before they
could gain a place of shelter for the winter, which
would soon set in, they were obliged to turn back as
early as the 18th of August. The point where the
return journey began was named Point Turnagain.
Before reaching Fort Enterprise the party had the
most terrible experiences. Some died from the hardships they encountered, and the others were nearly
starved to death. At one time they were so weak from
hunger that when the reindeer passed near they were
unable to shoot them. Indians arrived with meat just
in time to save their lives.
The sufferings of that toilsome journey did not prevent Franklin from going again. Three years later
he set out determined to clear away the mist in the
northland. This time he travelled overland from eastern Canada to the mouth of the Mackenzie River. At
the lonely spot where the great river empties into the
ocean, he unfurled a silken Union Jack which his wife
had worked and given him to display when he reached
the Polar Sea. Then, at last, that symbol of British
rule waved proudly over the far-away home of the
Eskimos and polar bears. As it was August and the
northern summer almost over, Franklin had barely time
to explore the coast near the mouth of the river before
returning to Fort Franklin, on Great Bear Lake, for
the winter.
In the spring, when again on the Arctic coast, he 118    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
divided his men. One party, under Dr. Richardson, set
out to survey the coast to the Coppermine River, where
Franklin's last exploration had begun; and the other,
under Franklin himself, went westward along the coast
from the Mackenzie River. In this way they hoped to
make a thorough search for the North-west Passage.
The party which travelled east reached the Coppermine,
but the others were detained so often by fogs and ice
that they were able to follow the coast-line only three
hundred and seventy-four miles west of the Mackenzie,
about half as far as Franklin had hoped to go. They
were then obliged to turn back, for, though it was but
little more than the middle of August, the dread Arctic
winter would soon be setting in. Both parties met at
Fort Franklin, where another winter was spent. In
the summer they returned to England.
Over twenty years after, another expedition was sent
out to trace the still unexplored portion of the Arctic
coast, and to find out for a certainty whether the Northwest Passage led from the Polar Sea. Sir John Franklin, though nearly sixty years of age, gladly took the
post as leader. " No service," he said, " is nearer my
heart." With every hope of success he and his men
prepared for the voyage. They were so sure of finding
the North-west Passage and sailing across to Asia,
that one of his captains left instructions for his letters
to be sent by way of St. Petersburg to Kamchatka.
Leaving England, May 26th, 1845, in two ships,
named the Erebus and the Terror, they sailed across the
ocean, all in the best of spirits, and then turned northward through Baffin Bay and Lancaster Sound. Soon
their progress was stopped by ice.    Summer was over TWO EXPLORERS AND AN ARTIST   119
and new ice was forming thick and fast. In a sheltered
harbor of Beechey Island they prepared to spend the
winter. There three of their number died. Five years
later, when men came to search for the missing explorers, they found the headstones over the graves of these
three men and knew the party had wintered there.
It was supposed that the next summer the explorers
tried to push on, but that the ships were frozen in
for a second long winter, and that the following summer
ice still blocked their way. Two successive winters of
cold and hardships had proved too much for the strength
of Sir John Franklin. He became ill, and in the»month
of June he died. After this every effort to release the
ships must have been in vain. They probably drifted
about helplessly in the grip of the ice-pack. From the
stories afterwards told by the Eskimos, and the skeletons found, it is known that the following spring the
men abandoned their ships and died in an attempt to
travel southward overland.
In England great anxiety was felt when two years
passed without bringing any news of Sir John's party.
-Hoping that the whaling vessels that went to Baffin Bay
might find some trace of the missing men, large rewards
were offered by the British Government and by Lady
Franklin for news of the Erebus and the Terror. But
the reward brought no tidings, and expeditions were
sent out to search. One of these ships chanced to pass
Beechey Island. The men saw the headstones of the
three lonely graves, but of the ships that had been sheltered there they could find no trace. Four years later
Dr. Rae, one of the searchers, met a young Eskimo who
told him that in the spring of 1850 about forty white 120    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
men were seen dragging a boat southward. They had
bought a seal from some Eskimo hunters, to whom they
said they were going to a land where they could shoot
deer. Some of the other Eskimos showed Dr. Rae silver
spoons and forks which undoubtedly had belonged to
Franklin's party.
Captain McClintock, the leader of another expedition sent out by Lady Franklin, heard more Eskimo
stories and got some pieces of silverplate on which
was Sir John Franklin's family crest. They also
came upon a human skeleton lying face downwards,
which showed there might be some truth in the story
that the white men had " fallen as they walked."
Such traces of the lost expedition are all that were
ever found, except that a paper enclosed in a bottle was
picked up, which must have been dropped by Franklin's men the year he died. It stated where they had
wintered, and in several different languages the request
was written that whoever found it should forward it
to the Secretary of the Admiralty. Round the margin
was a notice of Sir John Franklin's death, with the
date, June 11th, 1847. Now at last the fate of the
brave explorer was known.
Of the sad funeral in the Arctic nothing has ever
been learned. But one thing is certain, our hero was
buried by the men who loved him, while the good old
Union Jack, under which he had served so long, fluttered at half-mast from the solitary ships imprisoned in
that sea of ice.
It remained for a gallant Norwegian, Captain
Amundsen, following the Franklin route, to make his
way through the entire passage to the Western Sea,  **<«■. NT
} which he did in 1904-06. And we now know that had
Sir John Franklin been able to work his ships only
j ninety miles farther westward he would have sailed into
the Western Sea, and have reached home to enjoy his
> well-earned honors.
Paul Kane.
Nearly forty years after Fraser's famous voyage, a
young artist from Toronto was travelling through the
North-West and past the great mountains. Though he
was not searching for a north-west passage, nor tracing
an unknown river to the sea, he deserves a place in
history with the bravest of our explorers. Paul Kane,
the artist, had grown up with one ambition. This was
to make a series of paintings of the Indians which
should live when the country had passed away from
them and they no longer would pitch their tents in the
forests and on the plains.
In those days, to travel through the country with
canvas and paints was not an easy matter, and Kane
had no money to fit out canoes and hire men. However,
a way opened. After working for some time among
the Indians near his home in Ontario, he showed his
sketches to Sir George Simpson, the Governor of the
Hudson's Bay Company, and told him of his desire to
paint pictures descriptive of the habits and customs of
the Indians of the North-West. Sir George was pleased
with the idea, and to help the ambitious young man,
offered him a passage with him in the spring brigade
of canoes. The following May the delighted artist set
out with the Governor to meet the canoes at Sault Ste.
At Mackinaw Paul Kane met with his first misfortune. As the Captain told him that the boat would not
leave until nine the next morning, he went ashore to
paint a sunset and to sleep on land. Coming down at
the hour next morning, he found to his great dismay
that the steamer had gone twenty minutes before. This
was indeed a bad beginning. The Governor, he knew,
was always in a hurry, and would remain only one night
at the Sault. Unless he could find some way of getting
there by the next morning, he would lose his passage
with the canoe brigade. As he walked along the shore
wondering what to do, his eyes fell upon a small skiff.
He hired it at once.
With three boys for a crew, a blanket for a sail, and
a loaf of bread and some tea for breakfast, dinner and
supper, he started, though Indians and voyageurs who
had often taken that trip said it was a wild-goose chase,
for he could never get there in time. After sailing
forty-five miles across the lake, they reached the St.
Mary river at sunset. Now, if they were going to
overtake the Governor at the Sault by morning, they
must go forty-five miles up that river in one dark night.
The river was dotted with small islands, and the current
was strong. Moreover, the boys had never sailed there
As they ate their bread and drank their tea the
voyagers counted the difficulties in the way. Even to"
their hopeful minds the chances were small. But they
started in good spirits and made fair progress for
a time. As it grew darker they bumped into islands,
and lost time in backing out. Floating brushwood
struck-the boat, and in places the current almost forced *J-
them back. Many times they gave up in despair, but
always took courage and pushed on again. It was the
hardest night Paul Kane had ever spent, but he had his
reward. When day dawned he saw the Governor's
steamer just ahead.
Throughout all his long journey he was willing to
work as hard for success as he did that night. No
amount of discomfort could discourage him. He travelled through districts where the air was so thick with
mosquitos that he had to wear a veil day and night.
He went through swamps where he had to strain every
drop of water he drank, because there were poisonous
insects in it that could cause death to both man and
beast. He travelled on snowshoes, and learned what
it was to go for days without food in the depth of winter, and he crossed rivers by plunging through their
icy current.
Though he was used to all manner of bed-fellows, he
was startled when one morning before daybreak he was
awakened by something cold and clammy, and discovered that a snake had curled up and slept at his side.
Paul Kane's paintings were a wonder to the Indians.
They thought the Great Spirit helped him to make them,
and they would put their hands over their faces and look
at them through their fingers, which was the way they
always looked at those whom the Great Spirit had taken
to the Happy Hunting Ground. They thought he must
be a great medicine-man to make such pictures, and he
was very glad that they had that idea, for it meant
that his sketches and painting materials would be safe
among them.
Often he found it hard to persuade the Indians to
J jmm
sit for him, as they were afraid the " second self," as
they called a portrait, would have some evil influence
over them. Paul Kane found that a good way was to
go into a tepee and begin work without saying, a word,
for the Indians would then pretend not to see him, and
he could usually finish his painting. Once, when among
a very superstitious tribe, an Indian annoyed him by
following him about, telling all the Indians he met not
to let the artist sketch them, for it would bring them
ill-luck. As Kane could get no models, he made up his
mind he would put a stop to this. With pencil and
paper in his hand he looked closely at the troublesome
Indian. The man asked him what he was doing. He
replied: "Because you have kept your people from
sitting for me I am going to draw your picture whether
you like it or not." Then the Indian was frightened,
and promised the artist that he would never again
interfere if he would only stop making his "second
self." Another man, who consented to have his portrait
painted, was so sorry afterwards that he followed Paul
Kane about begging him to destroy it. To satisfy him
the artist made a copy of the picture, which he tore up
before the eyes of the relieved Indian.
Nor were the wild animals more willing to pose as
models. Once when he had settled down to paint a
buffalo it made a sudden dash at him, and he had just
time to mount his horse and get away, leaving the
partly finished sketch in the possession of the enraged
A medicine-man who one day chanced to look at his
collection of paintings greatly admired them, and offered
to help him on his way by giving him three days' fair
II #
(From a painting by Paul Kane, by permission.  m
deem it.    We are gL   d
new life ahead for t
wife. ™s
Told in diary forngr
son's wife, it has wf
fects  of  the  technic^en
too often one wishes^-
away   from   the   m*
Because of tne mei
very little  direct  acan
Ross has ably handh
subject of portraying
of an overstressed iits
One of the finest E
work is the imager,
the author. Origne
and finely chosen-
that is indigenous
prairie life in a si
Advanced hdian Relics donated To Museum
Material Gathered
By Artist Almost
100 Years Ago
An unparalled collection of North
American Indian work and relics,
gathered almost 100 years ago by
the artist, Paul Kane, has been
received by the Manitoba museum.
The collection consists of S3
items, all Indian, except for two
pieces of Eskimo origin. They were
gathered by Paul Kane during his
wanderings across the prairies and
along the Pacific coast between
May, 1846, and October, 1848.
Given as Memorial       ^
The artist was commissioned by !
Hon. G. W. Allan, Toronto, (father
of the late G. W. Allan, K.C., Winnipeg), to travel, paint pictures and
collect material. Most of the pictures are now in the National Art
Gallery at Ottawa, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery
at Toronto.
The material now aonated to the
Manitoba Museum, and exhibited
in case 8, section C (ground floor,
west wing), was for many years
kept by the late Mr. and Mrs. G.
W. Allan at their summer camp at
Kenora. It was given to the
museum as j& memorial by their
children, Mrs. R. D. Pakerr Mrs.
R. M. Macdonald, William Allan,
A, C. Allan and Edmund Allan.
Unspoiled Culture
It is much the most valuable
single donation received by the
museum to date, according to L.
T. S. Norris-Elye, director, and
one that any museum would take
the utmost pains to obtain. It has,
for the most part, been wonderfully well preserved.
Many of the items are mentioned
in Kane's book, Wanderings of an
Artist, dedicated to Hon. G. W.
Allan and published in 1859; some
are illustrated in his paintings.
They were collected at a time when
the white man's influence upon
Indian culture was negligible, so
that these represent the natives as
they were originally except for a
little bead-work, cloth and metal
decoration such as brass bells. Anyone who has read his journal will
have gained some idea of the grave
dangers from Indians, starvation,
the elements and the constant risks
involved on rivers and lakes, all of
which had to be faced and often
narrowly overcome from start to
Little   Preserved
Material of this period is very
scarce anywhere because collectors hardly existed in those days;
of the material preserved at that
time much has been destroyed by
fire, insects and neglect. Even the
Hudson's Bay Company has preserved but little.
The items include three scalp
shirts   with   loggings,   one   without
PAUL KANE COLLECTION: Gathered about 100
years ago by the artist, Paul Kane, a unique collection of
North American Indian pieces (shown above), which includes several examples of the superb quill-work of the
Plains Indians, is now on display in the Manitoba Museum.
The artist^ was commissioned to collect the material by Hon.
,G. W. Allan, Toronto, father of the late G. W. Allan, K.C.,
land the work has been presented to the museum by the
Allan family..	
of these with fine quill-work by
Plain Indians, a superb quill-work
panel for a dress in narrow strips
with rosettes at the angles, ear
ornaments of dentalium shells,
some medicine men's rattles, a
necklace of 54 grizzly bear's claws,
Flathead woman's cedar bark fibre
summer skirt, quill-work saddle
with crupper <the latter with ornamental   panels'',   war   clubs,   pipes.
,11    ninn-st
corated with quills and scalp-locks,
Pacific Coast basket work, bow,
quiver and arrows, a fine bison's
head mounted, a blanket made of
cedar bark fibre and hair from
dogs bred especially for the purpose, Eskimo two-man kayak
(model), birch-bark canoe (model)
and the original edition of Wanderings of an Artist containing eight
colored plates and thirteen woodcuts. >^a aaxiwri Nui^av-
wind; but in return he asked for a pound of tobacco.
The artist bargained with him until he promised six
days' fair wind for a small plug. The tobacco was
handed over, and it is to be hoped the winds were favorable for the promised length of time.
After an absence of over two years, Paul Kane
reached his home in Toronto with a large number of
paintings. Among those he valued most was one of
the back view of a chief's head which showed his war-
cap and a little bag containing the bones and hair of
his departed relatives. Another was of a Flathead
woman and her child, with its head strapped to a board
to make it grow flat. Other sketches were of various
chiefs and of Indians travelling, fishing, and dancing.
The hopes and desires of boyhood days had now been
realized. The pictures he had painted under such hardships and difficulties, and carried over the mountains
and plains of the wilderness, show how the Indian
appeared when he roamed the land at his own sweet
will. To-day they are of the greatest value to students
of the red man's history. Paul Kane will be remembered as the first artist to put on canvas the picturesque
Indians of the Canadian West.
Early Days in British Columbia.
There was no Lord Selkirk to establish a colony in
the country west of the Rocky Mountains, but something was there which has never failed to draw men
from all over the world. Back along the river-banks
Indians had found gold, no one knows how long ago.
The red men had no idea of its value, but thought it a
bright, pretty metal to use for their ornaments. As
time went by, white men saw these ornaments and
learned that gold was there. The news soon spread
far and wide, and people came hurrying to that country
in great crowds that would have amazed the Selkirk
settlers had they been there to see.
This was not the beginning of the history of British
Columbia. The work which the white men were doing
there before they saw the gold must not be passed by.
After the voyages of Cook and Vancouver, the whaling
vessels and sea-otter hunters came to the Pacific coast;
and after the long journey of Alexander Mackenzie,
the Hudson's Bay Company built their forts on the
lakes and rivers west of the mountains. On Vancouver
Island, James Douglas, a chief factor of the Hudson's
Bay Company, chose a beautiful spot for a fort, and
men were set to work to build it. They erected a small
tower, cottages, buildings.for the men to sleep in and
126 *"
to eat in, a carpenter's shop, and a blacksmith's shop.
Surrounding it all were high palisades. In the building of the whole fort not a single.iron nail was used;
the logs were held together with pegs made of wood.
When finished the fort was named Fort Victoria, after
the Queen, and has always been an important place on
the Pacific.
The Indians looked on with curious interest during
the building of the fort, and all went well until the
white men brought some cattle in their boats to the
island. The cattle were frightened when first landed,
and rushed into the woods with head and tail in the air.
However, in time they grew accustomed to their new
home, and became useful in ploughing and drawing
logs. Of this the Indians did not approve. To them
it was pure waste to work animals that made such good
food when, from their standpoint, the Indian women
could do the work; and so, to change this absurd condition of affairs, they dined one day on roast beef. When
the fort builders went to get the oxen to draw more logs
they found they were missing. They promptly told the
Indians to either pay for the cattle they had taken or
to send the thieves over to them. The chief replied:
1 What! these animals yours ? Did you make them ? I
consider them all the property of nature, and whatever
nature sends I slay and eat."
The white men explained that the cattle came from
beyond the sea and did not belong to the Indians, and
that unless they made up for what they had done the
fort gates would be closed against them.
The Indians angrily replied: " Close your gates and
we will batter them down.    Think you we did not live 128    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
before the white man came ? And think you we should
die were he swept away from these shores ?"
Then the Indians gathered round the fort and fired
upon it, but as the white men would neither surrender
nor fight, they stopped shooting, not caring to waste
their powder and shot. When the white men showed
them their big gun they decided to give furs for the
cattle they had killed. Afterwards they all smoked
the peace-pipe together, and so the first battle ended
without bloodshed.
Another difficulty was also settled without fighting.
An Indian tribe was very angry with John Tod, a
Hudson's Bay Company officer in charge of a fort on
the mainland, and three hundred of their warriors were
preparing to stealthily swoop down upon the fort and
rob and murder the white men. The officer heard of
it. He knew what a serious time the Indians had when
smallpox broke out among them, and he determined
to make their dread of this disease his means of escape.
He at once called for his swiftest horse and rode to
their camp. Galloping into their midst, he threw his
rifle and pistol to the ground, and before the amazed
warriors realized who he was, he announced that he had
brought an important message. He then told them
that smallpox was coming to them, and that he had
hurried out to reach them first with medicine which
would save them. The Indians believed it all, and
allowed him to vaccinate them, which he did, making
their right arms so sore that for a time at least they
could not have used their weapons against him. However, they had no wish to do so now, for as smallpox
did not come to them, they looked upon him as their
deliverer. I*#
The early settlers and fur-traders in British Columbia had greater trouble with white men than with the
Indians. The chief difficulty was over the boundary
of the colony. According to agreement, British Columbia had the coast-line from the mouth of Columbia River
north to the Russian territory. But the United States
people began to claim the coast as far up as the Russian possessions, about 54 degrees 40 minutes north
latitude. This would leave the British colony on the
Pacific with no Pacific coast at all. When their southern neighbors took up the warlike cry, " Fifty-four forty
or fight!" the British Government knew that they were
in earnest, and began to make preparations for war.
However, there was no fighting; the matter was settled
in 1846 by an agreement, called the Treaty of Oregon,
which made the 49th parallel the boundary between the
two countries.
JSTow, in this treaty it was not definitely stated that
the British should own the little island of San Juan,
though of course they claimed it as their right, for the
Hudson's Bay Company had occupied it since 1843.
Ten years after the Treaty of Oregon was signed trouble
began over this island. Settlers had gone there from
the United States, claiming it as their own. These
" squatters," as they were called, went so far as to put
up their flag. As the British were careful to keep the
Union Jack flying, two flags were then floating over
the little island.
At this time lived the pig that became famous by
almost causing war. One of the United States squatters
had a potato patch partly enclosed. A British pig,
living under the British flag, wandered out of its pen
one night and had a midnight feast on the United States
squatter's potatoes. After its stolen meal it went to
sleep in a cool woods near by, and was found there
next morning by the angry squatter. It happened that
he owned a gun, and so piggie never awoke from his
sleep. When the owner learned what had happened he '
demanded pay for his pig, but the squatter refused,
claiming that the island and the pigs on it belonged to
the United States.
Much trouble followed. The United States sent
soldiers out, and British warships came to the island.
However, it was finally decided to settle the dispute
without war, and the case was laid before the Emperor
of Germany, who acted as arbitrator. In spite of the
British having held the island for so long, he decided
in favor of the United States, though it was not until
the year 1872 that his decision was made known.
In the year 1849 an important bit of information
came to the white men on Vancouver Island. One day,
towards the end of the year, an old Nanaimo chief from
another part of the island visited Fort Victoria, and
while there went into a shop to have his gun mended.
As he stood waiting he watched the men put fresh coal
upon the fire. Picking up a lump, he looked closely at
it and said to them: "There is plenty of stone like
that where I live." The men told him that if he would
bring them some of it they would charge him nothing
for repairing the gun, and, in addition, would give him
a bottle of rum. Promising to do this the Indian
departed. But upon his return home he became ill, and
it was spring before he came down to Victoria with his
canoe-load of " black stone," which was, in fact, found EARLY DAYS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA   131
to be coal. He got his bottle of rum and guided the
white men back to what became one of the richest mines
of the country. Soon a fort was built there. That was
the beginning of the city of Nanaimo, which to this day
is famous for its coal.
About seven years after the white men found the
Nanaimo coal-mine, the greatest discovery of all was
made known. The Hudson's Bay Company traders
had seen Indians with bits of gold, and for some time
had known that the precious metal was to be found in
the country, but little was said of it until 1857. About
that time a trader at Kamloops got enough from the
Indians to send three hundred ounces to Victoria; and
two United States prospectors also found the precious
metal on the Thompson River, and carried some of it
to their country. Other miners sent samples of gold-
dust home to San Francisco in letters. By the next
summer news of gold along the Thompson and Fraser
rivers spread far and wide, and people from all parts of
the continent were hurrying there. Nearly the entire
population of San Francisco were trying to sell out and
go to the new gold-fields.
Neither houses nor tents could be put up quickly
enough for the crowds that rushed to Victoria, where
the Governor granted the permits, or mining licenses.
Shanties and tents of all shapes and sizes were to be
seen, and yet many had to sleep with only the sky for
a roof. The little trading-post soon had inhabitants
enough for a city. The newcomers all wanted to hurry
on to the mainland, but there were not nearly enough
boats, and some set out in little skiffs they had made
for themselves.
On the mainland other difficulties arose. There were
no roads to the mines, and no supplies had been taken
up the rivers. The miners had to depend upon the food
they could carry on that rough, pathless journey, or the
hunting they could do by the way. Later, when a
supply of food was taken to the gold-fields, it sold there
at enormous prices. At one time a pound of beans
could not be bought for less than a dollar, and other
things, if to be had at all, were equally dear.
Though the country was rich in gold, all did not succeed in finding it. Some, after enduring all manner
of hardships, gave up and left in despair. One man,
who had been digging for months, went away tired, discouraged and poor. Another, who passed that spot soon
after, went on with the digging at the same place. In
a few days he came to gold enough to make him one of
the richest men in the country.
Many times it was through the Indians that the valuable discoveries were made. One day a man who had
been toiling with pick and shovel far up on the Fraser
was resting a few moments, wondering whether he could
ever get enough gold to pay him for his trouble. A
young Indian passed by, and seeing the gold-dust in the
pan, said he knew of a place where there was a great
quantity of the yellow metal. He drew a rough map
in the sand, and told the white man that if he would
meet him after sixteen days at a certain place, which he
had marked on the map, he would take him to the
'yellow metal. At the appointed time and place they
met. The Indian, who was the son of a Kamloops chief,
guided the white man to what was afterwards known
as the Horse Fly mine, one of the most famous in the
country. ti   %
! g W"
■ I
i ± 4^—■■*
It was chiefly men from across the border who flocked
to the gold-mines during those first years. The Canadians in the East had heard the good news, but they
could not reach British Columbia as easily as the people
from the Western States. However, hundreds of miles
of prairie and the great barrier of the Rocky Mountains
were not enough to keep them back long.
In the year 1862 a little company started out from
Ontario and Quebec to cross the continent to the goldmines. Their journey was full of adventure. They
reached the Red River in time to take passage to Fort
Garry on the first steamer that ever plied on that river.
Before they had gone far it was evident that the boat
would not answer her helm properly, for at every bend
of the river she ran into the shore and had to be shoved
off. Progress was so slow that in order to make the
provisions last, the passengers were allowed only two
meals a day.
At Fort Garry the travellers got oxen and Red River
carts, flour and pemmican, and set out across the prairie.
Dozens of times they stopped to bridge rivers, each
bridge causing a long delay. When they had to leave
the carts behind, the oxen objected to carrying packs on
their backs, and some of the men knew so little about
either fastening the packs or managing the oxen that
as soon as they thought they had them ready to start,
the animals would kick their heels in the air and send
the loads flying. One man was foolish enough to try
to hold his ox by the horns. He was knocked down and
badly hurt. They had a terrible time crossing the
mountains and going down the Fraser River, but
though many were the narrow escapes, only a few lives
were lost.
Among those who took this long journey were three
little children, who reached the gold-fields happy and
well and in time learned to prospect like their fathers.
Most of the party afterwards became wealthy in the
gold-fields of British Columbia, and helped to build up
the country.
When crowds rush to a gold-field there is always,
danger of trouble. Some are sure to be the worst class
of men, who expect to do as they please back in the
lonely places where there are no policemen or law courts
to keep them in order. At the beginning of the gold
rush in British Columbia the miners sometimes took
the law into their own hands. They did this once
during their first summer at the mines, when a man
took a boat-load of whiskey up the river and began
trading it off to the Indians. It made the poor red
men crazy, and the lives of the miners were not safe.
To prevent the Indians from getting it they offered to
buy it all, but the owner liked the fun of making the
Indians drunk, and would not sell to the miners. The
miners marched down to the boat with their guns loaded.
Some stood guard over the owner while the others
broke the whiskey kegs. Then they ordered the man
to go home, and he was only too glad to make his escape
from the array of firearms pointed so dangerously at
his head.
But the Indians were angry. Having had a taste
of whiskey, they wanted the rest of it. One took a pick
from a miner, and the miner broke a shovel over his
head. Then the Indians gathered excitedly together.
The chief got on a stump and made a regular stump
speech, urging his braves to massacre the whites.   The te#
few poor miners armed themselves as well as they could
and wondered how much longer they had to live. Just
then a barge came in sight round the bend of the
river. It was the good Governor, James Douglas,
arriving in time to save them. He knew that the best
way to manage Indians was to treat them like children,
so he persuaded them to go away to Fort Yale, and there
gave them such a grand feast of hard-tack and molasses
that they forgot about the whiskey and were willing to
leave the white men alone.
Besides soothing the ruffled feelings of the Indians,
the Governor gave help and encouragement to his people.
He arranged to Have roads and portages made between
the lakes, and he appointed justices of the peace back
among the mines to see that the laws were kept.
You last heard of James Douglas when, as chief
factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, he chose the site
of Victoria. Soon after there came a higher office for
him to fill. It happened that a governor was needed,
first for Vancouver Island, and then for British Columbia. After Victoria was built, the members of the
Hudson's Bay Company were given a grant of Vancouver Island, on condition that they should settle it
within five years. James Douglas was made Governor
under the Hudson's Bay Company. However, the Company did not settle the island, and by the time of the
gold rush only a few hundred acres of land were being
tilled. Then the British Government took the control
of the island away from the Hudson's Bay Company,
and New Caledonia, as the mainland west of the Rockies
was called, was made the Colony of British Columbia.
The next thing was to appoint a governor. The choice
fell upon James Douglas.
There was a reason why he was chosen. When a
boy he was told, as most small boys are, that " a thing
worth doing is worth doing well." He must have heard
the old saying very often, for all through life he put
it in practice. He rose in power because he did everything as carefully as he had done the choosing of the
site of Fort Victoria. It was because he had shown
himself worthy that he was given the highest office in
the colony. For governing the country so wisely diiring
the inrush of miners, and guiding it safely through
the boundary troubles, he was knighted by good Queen
Victoria. Sir James Douglas is called the " Father of
British Columbia."
Another man who took an important part in the
building up of British Columbia was the Chief Justice,
Sir Matthew Begbie. With such care did he see that
the laws of the country were kept, that miners grew
afraid to settle their quarrels with knives and revolvers,
and many lawless characters became good men and
valuable citizens. The Indians had great respect for
him, for he was always just with them. They knew
that if a white man broke the laws and wronged an
Indian he went to jail just as surely as if he had
wronged a white man. It was due to Sir James
Douglas and Sir Matthew Begbie that throughout
British Columbia travellers needed n6 weapons except
those necessary to protect themselves from the wild
There is a little story told about New Westminster,
the first capital of British Columbia.    It seems that n4T
the fort first decided upon was thought by some to be
on the wrong side of the river, and Colonel Moody, who
had been sent out to survey, chose another site. As
Captain Grant, who was to have the honor of making
the first cut in one of the trees growing on the spot, was
in the very act of swinging his axe, he stopped suddenly
and told the Colonel that he could not be the one to
start the capital there, for he felt that it was not the
best place. A site farther down the river, he said, could
be more easily defended, and large vessels could come
up to it. They listened to him, rowed down the river,
made the first cut in one of the trees there, and named
the place Queensborough. As miners were flocking
into the country, it was not long before there were hundreds of wooden buildings standing where that tree and
its forest companions had grown.
Now, the people of Victoria strongly objected to the
name of the new capital. " Our city has the Queen's
name; why have another Queen city ?" they said. The
name Queensborough caused so much trouble that the
matter was taken up by the Government in England,
and Queen Victoria chose the name New Westminster.
New Westminster was not long the capital. Seven years
later Vancouver Island was made part of British
Columbia, and Victoria was chosen as the capital.
In the beautiful country west of the mountains,
where game and fish were plentiful and the climate
was mild, the Indians had time to sit about the camp-
fires watching the evening shadows grow deeper, and
wondering where the moon rose from, where the sun
went to, and why the wind blew. At such times the old
Indians would tell the legends or stories which had ;
been told about the camp-fires of their tribe for many
These legends the busy miners and fur-traders never
heard. The Indians talked to them about their furs,
their game, the angry rapids down the river, or the
storms that raged about the mountain peaks, but not
of the stories which had come down from their grandfathers. Though the Indians lived wild, savage lives,
and were cruel and stealthy in their warfare, they had
their finer feelings, and did not talk to everyone of those
things which were nearest and dearest to them. Their
legends were too sacred for all ears. But as time went
by, men came to their country who had time to win
their friendship, and when the Indians Ijad learned to
love and trust these men, they told them many of their
quaint old legends.
On a night when the wind swept down from the mountain peaks and whistled in the forest, the white men
heard this story of the lad who caught the wind: " Long
ago the wind did much harm. It blew violently over
the country and killed many people, and blew away
their homes. Now, it happened that there was an
Indian boy who was always trying to do great things.
One night he said, (I am going to catch the wind.'
They all laughed at him. However, after trying several
nights, he snared the wind and got it into his blanket
and took it home. To show that it was really there, he
opened the blanket the least little bit and let the wind
blow some. When it nearly blew the lodge over, his
people begged him to tie it up again, which he did. At
last he let it go, on condition that it would never blow EARLY DAYS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA   139
strongly enough to hurt people in the Indian country."
This promise they believe the wind has kept.
At another time they told how the grizzly bear was
responsible for the chipmunk's striped back. One day
the bear found a log burning. He tried to put the fire
out by scraping up earth with his paws and throwing
it on the log. A chipmunk came along and began throwing sticks on the fire to make it burn up. The bear
could not put it out, and became so angry that he threw
earth at the chipmunk. The chipmunk threw wood-
dust at the bear and then ran away. The grizzly chased
it, and just as it was going into a hollow log, made a
stroke at it with his paw and tore the skin off its back
in stripes. Ever since chipmunks have had striped
These Indians believed that in the beginning of the
world their people were without fire, and as nothing
would burn, a cheery camp-fire was unknown among
them. One cool night, when they were gathered about a
bright blaze, they told the white man how their ancestors
came to have their first fire.   This is the legend:
" One day two young braves said they would learn
where fire could be found, so they sent the swift swallow
flying over the country to search. At last the swallow
came back with the news that fire was in the possession
of a family living some distance away. Then these
braves said they would find a way to get some. One
changed himself into a beaver, and the other changed
himself into an eagle. The eagle sailed away through
the air and found a clam-shell. The beaver started off,
and, travelling by land and water, came to the place
where the people had the fire.   In the morning the girl
who went to the creek for water ran back with the
news that a beaver was at the watering-place. A young
man went out with bow and arrow, shot the beaver, took
him to the lodge, and began to skin him.
" \ Oh, my elder brother, the eagle, he is long in
coming; I am nearly gone,' thought the beaver.
a Just then the eagle perched on the top of the ladder
and attracted the attention of the people. They forgot
about the beaver and tried to shoot the eagle. But
though they fired many arrows, they could not kill
•him. While this was going on the beaver caused the
water to come up and flood the house. The people
became so excited at this that the eagle had a chance to
drop his clam-shell unnoticed into the fire. The beaver,
who was watching for it, filled it with fire, put it under
his arm, and put off in the water. The eagle followed,
and together they spread the fire over all their country.
They put a little into all the grass and sticks and trees,
everything that nowadays can burn; the beaver putting
it in the low parts, and the eagle doing the same in
the high tree-tops. Ever after all that tribe could have
This is the reason why they see a woman's face in
the moon: " The moon," they say, " used to be an
Indian, and at one time had a face as bright as the sun.
He would be just as bright now, but a younger sister
sits on his face and darkens it. When the moon was a
handsome white-faced Indian the stars were his friends.
Once he invited all the stars to visit him. Only the
Pleiades came, yet the house was quite crowded. When
the moon's younger sister came in with the water she
had gone for, there was no place left for her to sit, so
the moon said, j Sit here on my face, for there is no a
room elsewhere.'   She
did so, and s
ie may st
ill be
sitting on her brother'
9 face, holdin
g her wa
thus making the moon
darker than
the sun.
From the
day the Pleiades gathe
red in the moon's house
formed a cluster and t
ravelled together."
The Indians in that
country still
say that
it is
going to snow or rain 1
;he moon bui
ds a hous
e for
self.   This house is t]
ie halo you s
ee when
a storm is
coming.   Thev also think the clouds
are the smoke
has been clear
the moon's pipe.    If
the weather
clouds arise, they will
declare it is
the moon
to smoke.
The   Fur-Traders.
Fab away in distant parts, where the country was
still "No Man's Land," the Hudson's Bay Company
had their trading-posts. These "forts," as they were
called, were small log buildings, much like those which
were built on Hudson Bay when the Company was first
formed. Over each floated the flag of the Company,
a red flag on which were the letters H. B. C. and
the Union Jack. It was a flag the Indians had learned
to know and respect, and that they were glad to welcome to their land.
In charge of these forts were the traders, solitary
(white men, leading a lonely existence in that great
land. Through the dreary winters, when the Indians
were away in distant hunting-grounds, the traders at
many of the forts saw no living thing except the wild
animals which wandered past. But early in the spring,
when the snow and ice showed signs of melting, the
Indian hunters came bringing in their furs on dog-
sleighs. The loads were heavy, for besides the furs
the Indians carried along their household goods. Piled
on the hunter's sleigh might be seen his dried meat,
the skin covering of his tepee, his battered copper kettle,
and the little puppy dogs too young to follow. But
the baby in the moss-bag was carried on its mother's
142 m
back, and the little children of four or five years walked
on snowshoes like their mother and father. To reach
the fort they had toiled on day after day, at night making camp in the snow and sleeping wrapped in furs
about the fire. But they were happy through it all,
for they were thinking of the wonderful things they
were soon to get from the white man. The visit to
the fort was the great event of the season.
At the fort they sat about on the floor, resting and
waiting their turn to do their trading, while the blazing logs in the fire-place brightened up the room and
shed a glow over their dusky faces. As each Indian's
turn came, the trader looked over his furs to see how
many beaverskins the pile was worth, and then the
Indian and his squaw chose what they wished from
the store-room in exchange for them. Powder and shot
came first, for the Indian must hunt if he and his
family were to live. Tobacco was usually the next
thing he thought of, for all Indians are great smokers.
After this they got a little tea and sugar and some
flour, which they tied up in an old cloth; then, perhaps,
if there were furs enough, a blanket-coat for the little
boy. By this time the squaw was sure to have caught
sight of a bright-colored handkerchief. It was what
she wanted more than anything else for herself and the
baby papoose in the moss-bag. It may be that she had
kept back a skin for just such a handkerchief, and if
so she was made the proudest and happiest squaw in
the north. When the visit to the fort was over, they
shook hands with the trader and cheerfully went back
to the woods or the plains for another season of
What a pile of furs they had to give for those things!
But the price in furs for a cup of tea, sweetened with
sugar, and for flour enough to give the Indians a treat
of pancakes, is not to be wondered at when one remembers that these supplies were taken across lakes and up
and down streams in canoes, and carried past rapids
and through the woods by men or dogs, and loaded and
unloaded dozens of times, before they could make some
red man happy in his wigwam.
The work the trader was doing far away in that
lonely land was a joy to the Indians. A gun, a little
tea and sugar, a red cotton handkerchief, were worth
living for. But surely the trader was not adding to
the comfort of the animals ? Many a little sable's soft,
warm coat went for a cotton handkerchief, and often
the busy ermine's white fur paid for the Indian's pipe
of tobacco. Much the same fate was befalling all the
other animals. The poor beaver, since his coat became
dollars and cents for the Indians and the trader, had
difficulty in finding a safe place to dam a stream and
build his house.
Not only the traders of the Hudson's Bay Company, but foreigners, too, were on the Pacific coast,
and sea-otters were being killed when storms drove
them ashore. Such high prices were paid for their
beautiful skins that traders lost sight of the fact that,
if they were not careful, a day would come when no
sea-otters could be found. On that same coast vessels
were wrecked that might have sailed home in safety
had the walrus been left in peace to sound his warning.
Some trading-posts were so far north that the Eskimos visited them.    It was a red-letter day to those I
(From an old print.)
people when they took their furs to the white man and
got some of the wonderful things he had. Their odd
ways amused the trader. One of their queer customs
was to rub the articles they got all over with their
tongues, much as a baby might do with a piece of taffy.
Even needles they treated in this way. It was their
manner of showing that the things then belonged to
At a trading-post among the distant Eskimos and
Indians, Donald Smith (now Lord Strathcona) began
his work in Canada. At the age of eighteen he left his
home in Scotland to become a Hudson's Bay Company
trader in bleak Labrador, where in summer the air is
thick with mosquitos and the winters are long and cold
and dark. There he remained for many years. His
spare time was spent in writing, reading, and studying,
all the while slowly gaining the knowledge of the
country which in after years enabled him to give so
much help to the North-West, of which you will read
Another name well known in the annals of the Hudson's Bay Company is that of Sir George Simpson,
who became governor of the great Company just after
the North-West Company united with it. He held
that office for some thirty-nine years. Under his wise
leadership a successful trade was carried on and
many new forts were built. He never failed to take
his yearly journey across the continent to visit the
different trading-posts. As he had great distances to
travel, it is little wonder that he was always in a
hurry. It is said that one day, when he had been
persistently urging on his canoe-men, one big voya- 146    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
geur ducked him in the water to teach him to keep
quiet when they were all doing their best. Sir
George was wise enough to know that in spite of
his hurry he must take time to make an impression.
He always entered a fort in grand style, to the
strains of the bagpipes, and with his men dressed
in their best. He made his dog an object of wonder
to the Indians by fastening to its collar a music-box,
which he wound up when he came to a fort or an
Indian village. In amazement, the red men called
him " the White Chief with the dog that sings."
Apart from the "dog that sang" and the bagpipes,
the Indians looked up to the "White Chief" for the
same reason that they did to the flag and the Company's traders. It was because the great Company
always dealt fairly with them. The traders did not
take advantage of their ignorance of the value of goods
to cheat them, but gave them the worth of their furs,
and were always ready to help them. No Indian was
•ever turned away empty-handed and hungry. Those
who had been unsuccessful in the hunt, and had no
furs to bring, were given goods on credit. The
Indians, in return, were just as honest with the traders,
always coming back with furs enough to pay their
One reason why the Indians on the coast were
found to be so treacherous was because men from
foreign trading-vessels had cheated and ill-used them.
In the far north, where the Indians had been reached
only by the Hudson's Bay Company traders, they
were so honest that white men had no need to lock
their doors, even though the store-room was full of #■
flour, tea, sugar, tobacco, and powder and shot, and
hungry  Indians were passing every day.
A writer who travelled across the North-West told
the following story of an honest Indian at Hudson's
Hope, a northern trading-post:
One spring an Indian brought his furs from far
away in the wilderness to a little trading-post on the
Peace River. At the end of his long journey he found
the fort closed. The trader in charge had not yet
come up the river from the trading-post where he had
spent the winter. Only a bit of parchment covered
the window, and the Indian could look in and see
great piles of the things he most wanted. A keg of
powder and many bags of shot were there, tobacco
more than any Indian could smoke in a life-time, and
the spotted cotton handkerchiefs that would have so
pleased his wife. He looked at these things and he
looked at his furs, then he sat    down and thought.
He might easily have helped himself, but he never
dreamed of doing so. He just waited and waited.
The days went by and the trader did not come. Now,
what was to be done ? The Indian had a long journey
ahead of him, and he knew if he did not start soon
the snow would be gone before he could reach home.
But he was out of powder and shot, and unless he
could get some at the fort he could not supply himself with food. Still he waited. The snow was
becoming soft, and travelling would be harder. He
would soon be too weak from hunger to hunt. Something must be done. After a last weary look for the
expected trader, he climbed through the parchment
window.   He took three skins' worth of powder, plac- 148    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
ing the skins on the keg. He measured out three
skins' worth of shot, and placed the skins beside the
bag. A little tobacco he paid for in the same way.
After hanging up the rest of his skins to go to the
credit of his account, he took his departure, almost
afraid that he had done wrong.
"Oh, red man of the woods, the credit of your
twenty skins hanging to the rafters of Hudson's Hope
is not a large one, but surely there is a hope somewhere else, where your account is kept in golden
letters, even though nothing but the clouds had baptized you, no missionary had cast water on your head,
and God only knows who taught you to be honest." CHAPTER XV.
The   Missionaries.
" The voyageur smiles as lie listens
To the sound that grows apace;
Well he knows the vesper ringing
Of the bells of St. Boniface.
" The bells of the Roman Mission,
That call from their turrets twain,
To the boatman on the river,
To the hunter on the plain."
The plain in this little poem was the buffalo's
home, and the river the famous Red River. The
vesper bells that rang out at eventide and were heard
by the hunter far away on the silent plain, and by
the boatman on the river, were the bells of the Cathedral of St. Boniface, the first Roman Catholic church
in the North-West.
The mission work of St. Boniface began in the
early days of the Selkirk colony. It was the old picturesque cathedral with its "turrets twain" that the
first half-breed settlers and many of the voyageurs
and hunters attended, and it was there that many an
Indian first heard of the white man's religion. In
1853, the year after the second disastrous flood at
Red River, the priest who began the work at St.
Boniface died, and Bishop Tache took his place. The
young bishop, who had already travelled much among
the Indians, worked earnestly, not only for the success of the church, but also for the welfare of the new
Though the Selkirk settlers were mostly Presbyterians, and had been promised a minister of their own
Church by Lord Selkirk, it was a Church of England
clergyman, Rev. Mr. West, who was first sent to the
little church of St. John's that they had built on the
spot chosen by Lord Selkirk. He could not speak
their beloved Gaelic, and they were not accustomed
to his prayer-book. But he was their only minister,
so differences were for the most part put aside, and
for several years he labored among them and won
their sincere regard.
Among the first settlers so many nationalities were
represented that this first clergyman distributed
Bibles in English, French, Gaelic, German, Danish
and Italian. Upon his leaving Red River his place
was filled by the Rev. D. T. Jones, and he in turn
was succeeded by the Rev. William Cockran, who
spent the remainder of his life among the early settlers,
voyageurs and Indians of Rupert's Land. Just after
his death the good Bishop Machray arrived at Red
River and began his invaluable work for the Wesi.
After attending the Church of England services
for nearly forty years, the Presbyterian settlers were
overjoyed to hear that a minister of their own Church
was at last coming to them. The Rev. John Black, who
had been sent out by the Presbyterian Church of Canada, reached the settlement on the 19th of September,
1851. About three hundred Presbyterians who had
been attending St. John's Church now went to hear ijr
their own minister. The Kildonan church was not
yet finished, and for a time services were held in the
manse. Rev. John Black remained at Red River until
his death. He was always a warm friend to his
people, and was greatly beloved by them. He was
much interested in missions, and gladly did what he
could to encourage mission work among the Indians.
Not only in the settlements were the missionaries
found, but back in the wilds among the red men.
They had been following the fur-traders far into the
country to carry the Gospel to the Indians. At their
missions they tried to form little schools where Indian
children could learn to read the Bible.
In their work the missionaries' met with the same
trials and dangers as the explorers, and often more
discouragements. Many of the Indians did not wish
to become Christians and go to a heaven where they
could not make war. They would say: "White man's
religion not good for Indians." The medicine-men,
who were found in every tribe, worked against the
missionaries. They saw that when Indians became
Christians, they no longer believed that disease was
caused by evil spirits which could be driven away by
the singing and blowing of medicine-men. So they
tried to persuade their people to drive the missionaries away. However, in spite of these things, many
Indians were glad to hear the Gospel, and tried to live
better lives. The Bible stories were wonderful to
them. To listen to the missionaries they would sometimes travel hundreds of miles in the coldest weather,
and stand upon the frozen prairie while he preached
to them.    Christianity made them less cruel in war,
§ M*mm
more refined in their homes, and taught the men how
wrong it was to leave all the hard work to be done by
the women.
The Indians found it difficult to believe they would
not need their warm furs, their pipes, their weapons
and their dogs in the white man's heaven. Some said
they would not join the white man's church unless
they might be buried with their warm robes about
them, for they feared they would be cold in the white
man's happy hunting-grounds. One day, when a missionary was resting at the door of his little log mission
house, an Indian, who had just joined the church,
appeared carrying a black dog which was ill. He
astonished the missionary by asking him to baptize it.
The missionary tried to explain that he could not do
so. The Indian turned away saying, " If my dog
cannot go to white man's heaven, neither shall I. We
both go to Indian's happy hunting-ground." Then
he made his way back into the forest, and for months
would not come again to the mission church.
Though the Indians were bright and quick, it was
difficult to keep them at school long enough to teach
them to read. The children did not want to sit still
and study, but preferred to follow their fathers to the
hunt, and very few of the older Indians ever had
time to study.
James Evans, a Methodist missionary, found a way
to overcome this difficulty. The Indians about Norway House, where he worked at the time, really
wanted to learn to read the Bibles he gave them, but
before they had mastered more than a few words they
would hear that moose-tracks had been seen, perhaps THE MISSIONARIES
many miles away. Off they would go, and it might
be months before they would return to Norway House.
Now, one day when the Indians had hurried off
suddenly in the midst of their study, an easy way of
teaching them came to him. For some time he had
been carefully studying the Cree language. He had
found that the whole language consisted of only about
thirty-six syllabic sounds, and that the words were
simply combinations of these sounds. His method
was to make a character to stand for each sound, and
then to write the Cree words with these characters.
For instance, for a word of three syllables, or sounds,
he made the three characters which stood for those
sounds, placing' them in the order in which the sounds
came in the word. It was a sort of easy shorthand of
the Cree language which he had invented. By this
method, all he needed to do was to teach the Indians
which character stood for each sound.
The missionary's invention proved a great success.
The Indians were all delighted to learn to read without first learning to spell, and called the passages,
which he wrote on birchbark, "bark which could
talk." They came for passages of the Bible and
hymns faster than Mr. Evans could write them out.
Even though some of the Indians were soon able to
help him, he was kept busy copying hymns and scripture texts.
A little later Mr. Evans made himself a kind of
printing-press. He whittled his first type from blocks
of wood, mixing soot out of the chimney with a little
water to make ink for printing. Birchbark was his
paper.   He afterwards made a better type out of old 154    WHEEE THE BUFFALO EOAMED
bullets and lead from the tea-chests. With his homemade printing-press he made some birchbark books
which greatly delighted the Indians. They soon
learned to sing the hymns in their soft, sweet voices.
Here is a stanza of one of their favorite hymns in the
Cree syllables as Mr. Evans printed it in his homemade type:
"<]°,   L'lJ'Cdr"  <rf>*,
Cdr°  OPL°;
<i'V-<r6 co ru,
LLo  o-b-TC*.
Joy to the world! the Lord is cornel
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.
By means of Mr. Evans' Cree syllabic alphabet, a
clever Indian could learn to read in a few days. Indeed, there have been Indians who began to study
in the morning and could read before sunset of the
same day. Many missionaries have since made use
of this system to help them in their work among the
Far through the country, even near the Rocky
Mountains, missionaries travelled, not in the parlor-
cars which now go through the country, but by following the hunter's path to the camp, or the pack-trail
from one fort to another; and often, on the trackless
plain, guided only by the sun, or the moon and the
stars. No bridges spanned the rivers in those days.
Some missionaries were known to send their goods *,*■
over in a boat made by putting an oilcloth over a large
hoop. They crossed over themselves by holding to their
horses' tails while the horses swam through the water.
Prince Albert, on the Saskatchewan, was founded
by Rev. James Nisbet, one of the ministers who worked
far beyond the settled parts of the country. Two
well-known missionaries who travelled near the Rocky
Mountains were Father Lacombe and Rev. George
McDougall, the former of whom is still living. No
matter how swollen the rivers, or how rough the
track, these men tried to reach each camp at the
promised time, so that the Indians might have perfect
faith in them. The Indians called them " Men of one
word," their way of denoting men who kept their
word. One of these missionaries, in journeying from
one mission to another, swam, waded or forded thirty
rivers. Often on their long journeys they were overtaken by storms and lost their way on the pathless
plains, and towards spring they were always in danger
of snow-blindness.
There were other dangers than these. When Radisson, Verendrye and other early fur-traders went into
the country, the Indians were delighted to have
the white men among them. But when so many came
to settle in their country, and game became scarce,
their welcome to the white man was not always a warm
one. At one time a missionary was busy skinning
buffalo on the prairie. Now, Indians in their moc-
casined feet glide so quietly along, and their graceful
movements are so like the swaying of the prairie
grass, that they can come very near without being
noticed.     The missionary saw no one until he was
IIM mmmmm
startled by a terrific war-whoop, and almost instantly
he was surrounded by angry Indians ready to kill
him because the white men were taking their buffaloes. He told them that if they fought it would
grieve the Great Spirit, who had made them friends
and brothers. Then they laid down their weapons
and sat about peacefully listening to him talk. The
red men were always reverential when the Great Spirit
was mentioned.
Some of the Indians were always ready to believe
the medicine-men when they said the missionaries had
induced bad spirits to spread the smallpox, and when
it broke out among them they wanted to kill the missionaries. At one time, when a minister's family were
at work in the garden, Indians who had come to kill
them were hidden all about in the long grass, yet not
a shot was fired. Possibly, when they looked at the
innocent faces of their white friends, they could not
believe they had tried to bring them disease. The
Indians themselves said, " The Great Spirit will not
let us shoot."
West of the Rocky Mountains many of the Indians
welcomed the missionaries to their lodges, and were
glad to hear of the white man's God. Strange to say,
among some tribes in that country, missionaries heard
legends which were not unlike parts of the white man's
Bible. One, which had been told from grandfather
to father, and from father to son, for no one knows
how long, was a story of a flood which makes us
think of Noah. According to this Jcitchi-a-tesolca, or
great tale, ages ago the water flowed over the whole
earth, and all the Indians perished but one family, THE MISSIONARIES 157
who got into a great canoe and took with them all the
different kinds of animals. After floating about a
long time, one little muskrat became so tired of being
in a canoe that it could stand it no longer, and dived
into the water. It soon reappeared with a mouthful
of earth, which it placed upon the water. From this
mouthful of earth the new world grew. Little Indian
papooses play with tiny canoes and animals cut out
of wood just as white children play with their Noah's
Other Indians told a different story of the Flood.
They said that when the water flowed over the earth
it did not quite cover the mountain-tops. Some of
the Indians climbed to the high peaks and were saved.
Others got into their canoes and drifted in all directions. When the water went down again the canoes
were left on dry ground, where they had been driven
by the flood. That is why Indians are scattered over
the different parts of the country, but all are the same
people, and all have much the same customs.
Another tradition was that the world was once a
fluid mass, all in darkness, with no living thing upon
it. Then the Great Spirit came down in the form
of a huge bird, and, spreading its wings over the
earth, made land and water as they now are, and
created the sun and moon and all living things upon
the earth.
Some missionaries found Indians anxious to belong
to the white man's church until they were told that in
order to do so they must give up their cruel customs,.
their wars, and their gambling. They would then
lose their interest in religion and go off to fight their
enemies. But this was not always the case. One
particularly successful missionary in the early days
of British Columbia was Mr. Duncan. His work was
among the Tsimpsean tribe, a wild and savage race of
Indians, who were easily made angry, and when
aroused to wrath were never content until they had
committed some cruel act. One of the first things
he saw at their camp was some of these savages ill-
using and murdering a slave. Though they had many
medicine-men, who in cases of illness were continually
singing, dancing, and shaking their rattles, and declaring they could cure all diseases, and though most of
their young braves spent their days in gambling, yet
they were glad to see the missionary and give him a
place by their camp-fire.
Shortly after Mr. Duncan went there, the discovery
of gold brought in the rush of miners, and with that
the Indians began to get "fire-water," which made
them more dangerous, their homes more miserable,
and the missionary's work a hundred times harder. In
spite of his difficulties, Mr. Duncan opened a little
school in the home of the chief, and twenty-six children
came to it. Before the end of the year jive times as
many children were attending, and twice that number
of Older Indians.
In a few years the mission had grown so that Mr.
Duncan decided to establish a mission village where
the Indian village of Metlahkatlah had been. On the
day when he invited the Indians to come with him
and live as Christians in the mission village, all the
red men came out of their lodges to watch what was
going on.   They sat in a half-circle, perfectly motion- -55BSPq
less, their cloaks about them, their chins resting upon
their knees. One after another the Indians rose and
stood beside the missionary, until there were about
fifty, who in six canoes paddled to Metlahkatlah.
Others joined them from day to day, and when the
Bishop came to visit them, so many wanted to be baptized that he was kept busy from eight in the morning
until one o'clock the next morning, and the little lamp
was quite burned out. So anxious were the Indians
that they all forgot that sundown was their bed-time.
Before Mr. Duncan's mission had been long established, there were one thousand Indians in the village.
All of these had promised to stop gambling and drinking and painting their faces. These pledges were by
no means easy for a coast Indian to keep. They also
promised to rest and go to church on Sunday.
One old chief who visited the mission some years
after was greatly pleased, and asked that a missionary
might be sent to his people. In speaking of it he said:
"A rope has been thrown out from Metlahkatlah which
is encircling and drawing together all the Indian tribes
into one common brotherhood."
Mr. Duncan taught the Indians to live in a more
comfortable way, and to provide for the future. They
had dwelt in miserable huts before, but he showed
them how to make comfortable houses. Some even
had an upstairs, with a guest-chamber in their new
homes. He taught them to make gardens and to raise
vegetables, and encouraged them in their weaving of
baskets of rushes, and mats of cedar bark, and in carving, an art in which they were particularly skilful.
Many  of  them   were   able   to   carve   almost   perfect 160    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
beavers out of wood, or model them in silver. In time
they built a very fine church and had an Indian band.
The young people in the school learned to read and
write in the English language. Though their expression at first seems very curious, we can readily understand them. Here are some notes from a letter and
diary of one of the pupils:
"April 4th.—Please, Sir, I want to speak to you.
I wish I had some powder for my gun. All done shot.
All done for me. What for you want to shoot ducks?
Because it is very sweet. Please, Sir, Mr. Duncan,
will you give me a little powder and a little shot ? If
you will give me any powder, then I will be happy."
"April 10th.—I could not sleep last night. I must
work hard last night. I could not be lazy last night.
No good lazy—very bad. We must learn to make all
things. When we understand reading and writing
then it will be very easy. Perhaps two years, then we
"May 17th.—I do not understand some prayers—
only a few prayers I understand, not all I understand,
no.    I wish to understand all prayers."
When the Indians came to be well acquainted with
their missionary, they talked to him more freely about
themselves. Perhaps you would like to hear their
description of the landing of the first white man along
their coast. Many children say they " just died laughing." These Indians, as you will read, " died" from
"A large canoe of Indians were busy catching halibut in one of the channels, when a thick' mist enveloped
them.     Suddenly they heard a noise as if   a large THE MISSIONARIES
animal were striking through the water. Immediately
they concluded that a monster from the deep was in
pursuit of them. With all speed they hauled up their
fishing-lines and strained every nerve to reach the
shore. Still the plunging noise came nearer. Every
minute they expected to be engulfed within the jaws
of some large creature. However, they reached the
land. Soon a boat filled with strange-looking men
emerged from the mist. The pulling of oars caused
the strange noise.
"The strangers landed and beckoned to the Indians
to bring them some fish. One of them had over his
shoulder what was supposed to be only a stick. Presently he pointed it at a bird that was flying. A
violent 'poo' went forth. Down came the bird to the
ground.    The Indians died.
"When they revived, the whites were making signs
for a fire to be'lighted. The Indians began as usual,
rubbing two sticks together. The strangers laughed,
and one of them snatched up a handful of dry grass,
struck a spark into a little powder placed under it.
Instantly another [ poo' and a blaze.   The Indians died.
"After this the newcomers wanted some fish boiled.
The Indians put the fish and water into one of their
square wooden buckets, and set some stones on the fire,
intending, when they were hot, to cast them into the
vessel and thus boil the food. The whites were not
satisfied with this way. One of them fetched a tin
kettle out of the boat, put the fish and some water into
it, and then, strange to say, put it on the fire. The
Indians looked on with astonishment.    However, the 162    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
kettle did not burn up. The water did not run into
the fire.    Then again the Indians died.
1 The Indians' turn had now come to make the white
strangers die. They dressed their heads and painted
their faces. Nok-nok, or the wonder-working spirit,
possessed them. They came along slowly and solemnly,
seated themselves before the whites, and suddenly lifted
up their heads and stared. Their reddened eyes had
the desired effect—the white men died."
Before the Indians really understood the white
man's religion, they were likely to mix it with their
own belief. Once a white man was travelling with some
Indians in a canoe when a thunderstorm came up.
At every peal the Indians, who believed thunder was
the voice of the Great Spirit, rested on their paddles
and said a long prayer which had been taught them by
some missionary. The rain came down in torrents,
but that did not matter. Each time the prayer must
be finished before they went on. All were soaked,
and the white man was very angry, but the Indians
were happy, for they believed they had pleased the
Great Spirit by saying all the prayers they knew when
spoken to in that voice of thunder. I-J"
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Trouble at Red River.
In the fall of 1869 Fort Garry was all in confusion.
The people there were busy preparing for a new governor, but all were not doing so in the same way.
Some were making ready to welcome his arrival, but
the half-breeds were angry and said they would not
allow the governor to enter the settlement. Taking
their weapons with them, they marched out and built
a fence across the road by which he would come, and
waited beside if, threatening to shoot anyone who tried
to pull it down.
You will remember that, after Lord Selkirk's death,
the Hudson's Bay Company bought back his territory
and ruled over the settlement. Now, the governor of
the Company was there at this time, lying ill in his
home at Fort Garry. Why another governor was sent,
and why the half-breeds did not want him, is a long
story. To understand it all, one must go back to a great
event that occurred in 1867. Until that year the provinces of Canada were not united. There was no
Dominion, and consequently no Dominion Day. But
on the 1st of July, 1867, an Act of the British Parliament, called the British North America Act, came
into force and joined the scattered provinces into the
Dominion of Canada. The 1st of July then became
Dominion Day, our great national holiday.
The Selkirk settlement did not come into the
Dominion at that time, but remained under the control of the Hudson's Bay Company. However, in the
year 1869, the Hudson's Bay Company agreed to give
up to Canada the possession of Rupert's Land in
return for the sum of £300,000, and a piece of land
near each trading-post, and one-twentieth of the land
in what was called the " Fertile Belt"—that is, the
territory between Lake Winnipeg and the Rocky
Mountains. These arrangements were to come into
effect on the 1st of January, 1870, when the colony
was to become a part of the Dominion and to have a
lieutenant-governor of its own.
During the summer of 1869, the Dominion Government sent surveyors out to Red River to measure the
land into square lots. Now, the half-breed settlers
living there had taken up farms of any shape they
liked, mostly in long, narrow strips, running back from
the river, so that they might each have a little of the
iriver front and build their houses near together on
the river-bank. They had not been consulted about
the change which was to be made. It had not even
been explained to them, so it is no wonder, when they
saw strange men driving stakes here and there on their
land, that they feared their long narrow farms were
to be changed into square ones, or that the land was
going to be taken away from them.
About this time William Macdougall, who was to
be governor when the new arrangements came into
force, decided to go west and be ready for his duties.
To see the surveyors at work was bad enough, but when
the half-breeds heard that a governor was coming to
rule over those square farms they were greatly excited, TROUBLE AT RED RIVER
and thought the country would be made into something altogether different. They felt much as the
animals did when they saw the white men coming into
their land with guns and steel traps. Among the
French half-breeds was a man of some ability, named
Louis Riel, who had studied at Laval University, in
Montreal, and was better educated than most of the
others. He was a clever speaker, and soon made
himself the leader of his people and urged them to
rebel against the new change. This is the reason a
fence was built across the road and closely watched
by the angry half-breeds.
When Governor Macdougall with his family was near-
ing the end of his journey, he found, instead of a welcome, a carefully guarded fence across his way. His
order to remove it met with such prompt refusal and
show of arms that he was obliged to go back to Pembina
and spend the winter there at the fort, where Lord
Selkirk's colonists had so often taken refuge. It was
by no means a pleasant time for him, as he had not
been expected at Pembina, and no warm house was
ready for him.
Meanwhile, as winter was approaching, the people
guarding the fence found it rather cold there and
moved into Fort Garry. Riel took possession of the
quarters that had been prepared for the governor. He
talked wildly of what he would do for his people, and
soon had the poor French half-breeds looking upon him
as their protector. It was an anxious time for the
loyal settlers, for they had no idea what this excited
man might do; and as he had possession of the stronghold, they knew he could not easily be put down.
Wishing to frighten these loyalists, Riel first had
a number of them, who had gathered at the home of
Dr. Schultz, taken prisoners by his half-breeds. They
were crowded into such a small room that to keep from
suffocating they had to break a pane of glass, and were
then nearly frozen by the cold wind blowing into the
tireless prison. Throughout their imprisonment they
were most uncomfortable, as they were not allowed
proper food, nor warmth enough for winter weather.
Dr. Schultz was placed in a cold room by himself.
Kind friends, knowing his condition, often sent him
in delicacies. One day a pudding was sent, and deep
down in the centre he found a knife and a gimlet.
With the knife he cut the buffalo robe he slept upon
into long strips, and tied these together to form a rope.
To add to its length, he cut up some of his clothes.
When night came and all was quiet, he fastened one
end of the rope through a hole that he had made with
the gimlet in the window casing, and let himself down.
His.rope did not reach to the ground, and at the end
of it he had a long jump. Though hurt, he managed
to get to the house of a friend in Kildonan, who, regardless of Riel's displeasure, gladly gave him shelter.
But Dr. Schultz could not remain there long, as
Riel's men were soon out searching for him. When he
learned that they had orders to shoot him on sight, he
set out at once, with a faithful half-breed guide, upon
the long journey across the country to Fort William.
After tramping five hundred miles in midwinter
weather, he reached his destination in safety. It may
be interesting to the reader to know that Mr. MacBeth,
the writer of the Introduction to this book, is a son of ■.r
the Kildonan settler in whose house Dr. Schultz found
refuge after escaping from the fort.
Riel's actions continued to alarm the loyalists. He
forced open the doors of the Hudson's Bay Company's
warehouses, and took from them whatever he wished.
Their cattle were killed to supply his men with meat.
He raised a rebel flag, and the governor of the Hudson's Bay Co'mpany was powerless to prevent it, though
he told a friend that when he saw it from his bedroom
window he almost choked with mortification. Riel
even placed a guard in the governor's house to prevent
the visits of his friends. Friends of the prisoners were
not allowed to visit them unless a guard was sent in
to hear what was being said. All mail coming or going
passed through Riel's hands, and as there was no telegraph line, the loyalists had no sure means of communication with the outside world.
When the Canadian Government heard. of these
serious troubles they sent messages to Fort Garry to
quiet the half-breeds. They Were sent by a special
commissioner who was to explain matters to the people
and do all he could to bring peace to the Red River
settlement. The man chosen for this important mission
was Donald A. Smith (now Lord Strathcona), who
for many years, as we have seen, had been a fur-trader
and knew the country welL
Now, Riel's followers were many, and in their
excited condition the slightest thing might cause an
outbreak of violence. There was always danger, too,
that they might get the Indians to join them. The
loyalists had no way of protecting themselves. Miles
and miles of deep snow and frozen lakes and rivers 168    WHERE  THE BUFFALO ROAMED
lay between the little colony and military help. For
Mr. Smith to take a message from the Government at
such a time was like carrying a lighted match through
a dark place full of gunpowder. If carried aright it
would show the way out, while a slight misstep might
cause a terrible explosion. But a wise man had been
chosen to guide the people in this time of danger,
and the light he was given to carry was the brightest
he could have, for it was the message from the
Dominion Government, and another from Queen Victoria, telling the people to be good, for she was their
Queen and no injustice should be done them.
Upon reaching Fort Garry, Mr. Smith's first difficulty was to get a chance to read the messages to the
people without making Riel angry and thus exploding
the powder. The wily leader did not wish the messages
read, fearing the people would be won over to the
loyalists' side. However, when he saw they were deter- -
mined to see what was in those papers, he consented
to a meeting being held on the 19 th of January for
the purpose of having them read. Messengers were
sent far and wide to call the people together. So many
came that no building in Fort Garry was large enough
to hold them, and the meeting, which lasted &ve hours,
was held out of doors, with the thermometer 20 degrees
below zero. Mr. Smith refused to read his papers
under Riel's rebel flag, so it was pulled down and the
messages from the Government and Queen were read
under the Union Jack. This did much toward quieting the people and making them reasonable.
Afterwards a bill of rights was drawn up and delegates were chosen to go to the Canadian Government TROUBLE AT RED RIVER
th most wanted,
nto communication with
el and his council con-
soners were set free, and
oothed over
rfit b(
at Ottawa. This is whal
because it would bring the
the Government. Though
tinued to rule, many of the
it was hoped that matter
and peace restored.
Meanwhile,, at Portage la Prairie, friends of the
prisoners had heard that they were shut up in a cold,
draughty place, with no fire, with midwinter winds
blowing through the cracks, and only the cold floor
to sleep upon. As Riel had seized the mails, they
knew little of what was being done, so they gathered
together a band of men to march to Fort Garry to try
to have the prisoners released. Major Boulton, who
had come west with the surveying party, was chosen
as their leader. After a march of sixty miles through
deep snow, they took up their quarters in the church
and school at Kildonan. Here they were joined by
others, and a cannon was drawn up to the church by
four oxen.
Towards evening an unfortunate circumstance
occurred. A young man, suspected of being a spy of
Riel's, was taken prisoner. He soon made his escape,
and in doing so seized a gun lying on one of the sleighs.
Meeting a young man named Sutherland riding towards
Kildonan, he took aim and shot him. Sutherland was
carried to the Kildonan manse, and died soon after.
The young man who had shot him was wounded in
being captured again, and died in about a month.
The men from Portage la Prairie afterwards sent
messages to Riel demanding the release of the prisoners.   Efforts to have them set free were made by others, 1^
and soon they were all liberated. Having accomplished their mission, those from Portage la Prairie
then began their return march, travelling with difficulty through the deep snow. When they were opposite
the fort, men rode out with a message saying that Riel
wished to see them. To this they objected, as they
had a long journey ahead. However, poorly armed
and up to their waists in snow, they saw it would be
useless to resist double their number, and so decided
to accept Riel's invitation.
Once inside the fort, the gates were swung to and
they were prisoners. Major Boulton was placed alone
in a cold room, below freezing point, with his legs
chained. The others were equally miserable. When
the Major rattled the chains in taking off his wet
stockings to wring out the melted snow, the sergeant
in charge routed up all the guards and crowded
them into his room to see if he were trying to escape.
Later the door opened and Riel put his head in, saying, "Major Boulton, you prepare to die to-morrow
at twelve o'clock."
Major Boulton said, "Very well." Then the door
closed, and he was alone again.
Though the Major's friends went to Riel begging
that his life might be spared, it was not until Mrs.
Sutherland, mother of the young man who had been
killed near Kildonan, went to him, that Riel granted
the request. He then promised to give her Major
Boulton's life for that of her son.
But Riel was determined to show his power, so he
made up his mind to put to death another prisoner,
a young man named Thomas Scott.    Nothing could J-
turn him from his purpose this time. On the night
of March 3rd, he had his men hold a sort of trial.
Scott was guilty of nothing but loyalty to his Queen;
nevertheless, when morning came he was told he must
die at twelve o'clock that day. The best efforts of
Donald A. Smith, Rev. George Young, Archbishop
Machray, an<J many others, were useless. When Riel
entered Major Boulton's room, about an hour before
Scott's death, the Major made the most effective remark
he could think of when he said, " Don't you think you
are doing the most imprudent thing for your own
" I did not come here to talk to you about that," was
all the reply he got.
Scott barely had time to write home, and to say
good-bye to his fellow-prisoners, when he was led out
into the snow under the walls of Fort Garry and shot.
Riel even refused to let his friends have the body, and
no one knows where the unfortunate man was buried.
A grave was dug in the courtyard, but as it was afterwards learned that only a sham burial took place.
Scott's body was not placed there.
Riel had gone too far. By his cruelty to others he
had injured himself. Many of his people, as greatly
horrified as the loyalists at his actions, turned against:
him. When the news reached Canada, the country
was roused to its real danger, and troops under Colonel
Wolseley were at once sent to Red River. But at that
season travelling over the fur-traders' route was especially difficult, and it was weeks before they reached
Fort Garry.
This delay in the arrival of the troops made but 172    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
little difference, for the good Bishop Tache, of St.
Boniface, had returned from his visit to Rome. The
Bishop had great influence over his people, and soon
made those who still looked to Riel for guidance understand that his course was wrong, and that the Government would give them all their rights. In his sermon
on the first Sunday after his return, he told them that
he was much grieved by acts committed by some of
his people during his absence, and showed how much
trouble might be saved if they would but be charitable. The only way to build up a country, he said,
was to put aside all differences and work together for
the common welfare. This sermon did an immense
amount of good. It so quieted the half-breeds that
Riel could no longer lead them. Upon seeing the
forces under Col. Wolseley approaching, Riel fled in
haste and escaped into the United States. So it hap- .
pened that when the troops marched up to the Fort
they found no one there to oppose them.
It was owing to the tact of Donald A. Smith and
others, including the ministers of the different churches,
that only one man was shot, instead of hundreds. Had
the loyalists risen against Riel, or angered him while he
and his men were in possession of the stronghold and
the ammunition, there would undoubtedly have been
much bloodshed. For his invaluable services to the
country at that time of danger, and later important service, Donald A. Smith was knighted.
While the troops were on their way to Fort Garry
the Manitoba Act was passed, making that country a
province of the Dominion. To the new province the
name of Manitoba was given.    This name comes from *jr
two Indian words which mean, " The straits or narrows
of the Great Spirit." Fort Garry, the capital, was
named Winnipeg, another Indian word.
Adams G. Archibald was sent out as lieutenant-
governor in the place of William Macdougall, who
had not been allowed to enter the country. The province was divided into twenty-four districts, and each
district elected, a member to the provincial legislature.
The half-breeds now understood the new form of
government, and were satisfied when, by the Manitoba Act, a large tract of land was set apart for them.
Troubles and misunderstandings had at last come to
an end. The people of Manitoba settled down to their
occupations, and the young province was soon on the
way to prosperity.
The White Man's Progress.
When the first steamboat which plied on the Red
River reached Fort Garry, people hurried to the shore,
while bells pealed and cannon roared in honor of the
event. Domestic animals, taking it for a pursuing
monster, ran off in fright, and for days some of the
cows did not venture to return to their homes by the
river. The children, who had never seen a steamer
before, called it "a big barge with a windmill on its
stern." The first telegraph line, a few years later, was
another surprise to most of the children. They delighted
in trying to shoot the wire with their arrows, and were
always wondering what effect a good shot would have on
a passing message. But they soon became used to steamboats, to all kinds of mills, and to telegraph and telephone lines, for white men were now streaming into
the country, bringing with them the latest inventions.
Bishop Tache was right when he said of the first steamer
at Fort Garry, "Each turn of the engine is bringing
us nearer the civilized world."
The first legislature of Manitoba also brought the
new province more in touch with other parts of the
Dominion. Her people were now governed in the same
way as the provinces in the East, and the representatives
they sent to Ottawa voiced their wishes at the Dominion
capital and helped the members from the other provinces
to make laws for the welfare of Canada. At that time
there were over six times as many half-breeds as white
people in Manitoba, and few of them had ever been
out of their native land. The new system of government was a great change to those who had seen only the
wild life of the plains. The very dress of the members
of that first legislature showed the mingling of the
new life with the old. Some wore broadcloth and linen,
while others wore red flannel and buckskin and the
picturesque sash of the plains.
As Manitoba was but a small part of the great country, arrangements were made for the government of the
territory lying .beyond the new province, by placing
it under the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba and
a council of eleven members. Something more had
to be done before the lonely West would be a safe
place for settlers. Bad men, who had learned the weakness of the Indians for " fire-water," and who knew they
would sell all their possessions for it, were taking whiskey into the North-West. Now, Indians who would
come and shake hands in the friendliest way with the
lonely settler in his shack were just as likely, when
drunk, to murder him and burn his little house to the
ground. To save the Indians from ruin, and protect
the white men in that country, laws were made prohibiting the sale of liquor to the Indians. As laws alone
were useless to prevent evil-doing hundreds and hundreds of miles from policemen and law courts, the
Government sent out about two hundred Mounted
Police to travel over the country and see that the laws
were kept.
Up to this time British Columbia, beyond the great fS
mountains, had little in common with the Dominion.
The people living in that colony on the Pacific seemed
very far away from those in the eastern provinces, for
they could not visit any part of the Dominion without
climbing the mountains. And then, to reach the provinces, they must travel over the plains on horseback or
in waggons; and though they had some of the best fish
and lumber in the world, pack-horses and "prairie
schooners" could not take these to the markets in
Eastern Canada, or even to Manitoba and the North-
West Territories. The great ranges of the Rocky Mountains were as a stone wall shutting out British Columbia.
But this could not last. The day came when the white
man set about making a gateway through the wall
which the Indians had scaled for generations.
An important event led to the making of this gateway. The very year after Manitoba became a province,
confederation was being considered in British Columbia.
Some living there thought they were too far from
Eastern Canada, and shut out by too high a wall, for
the union to be of any advantage to them. Others were
anxious for the change, and thought that because they
were beyond the Rockies and just across the border from
the United States, this was all the more reason why they
should have the protection of the Dominion. All had
the welfare of British Columbia at heart, but they
could not all agree as to what was best to be done.
However, after a debate which lasted for days, terms
were agreed upon, and British Columbia became a province of the Dominion, with a lieutenant-governor and
legislature similar to Manitoba, and was allowed to
send senators and members to the Dominion Parliament THE WHITE MAN'S PROGRESS      177
at Ottawa to give the people of British Columbia a voice
in the governing of the Dominion. The most important
condition of the union was the promise of the Dominion
Government to overcome the disadvantage of the distance from British Columbia to Eastern Canada by
building a railway across the continent to the Pacific
coast. This railway was to be the gateway through
the wall.
When the first Dominion Day was celebrated in the
new province, scarcely a child lived there who did not
spend part of the holiday talking of a future trip on
the railway through the mountains, across the continent
and down to Ottawa, the Dominion capital. However,
they grew to be men and women before they were able
to take this journey. The Dominion Government had
promised to begin the railway in two years, and to
finish it within ten; but though survey parties were
sent out at once to find the best place for the steel to
be laid, the work was not finished so soon. Building a
railway across thousands of miles of unsettled country
and through a mountain wall was a greater undertaking
than anyone had realized at the time, and it was fifteen
years instead of ten before it was completed.
Not long after British Columbia became a province
the North-West Territory was given a governor and
council of its own. Four districts were formed, under
the names of Alberta, Assiniboia, Athabasca, and Saskatchewan. Battleford, in Saskatchewan, was the first
capital of the North-West Territories, but in a few years
the capital was moved to Regina, in Assiniboia, as the
railway was to pass through that place. The new capital
was at that time only a small village of wooden build- 178    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
ings in the midst of an unsettled plain. It had not
always been called Regina. Years before, the Indians
had named the place Okanse, meaning a pile of bones,
because the ground there was covered with bones. No
Indian war had laid them there. It is said that at
a time of terrible famine among the buffaloes many
thousands died at that spot. Indians passing by long
after, when the bones of the poor buffaloes were bleaching in the sun, called the place Okanse, and so it became
known by that name. Loads and loads of these bones
were shipped away when the railway came through, but
many remained strewn over the ground. Though the
place was still a pile of bones, people became tired of
calling it Okanse, and gave it the greatest name they
could have chosen, Regina, which is the Latin word
for Queen.
Many new names were given to localities as years
went by, for the white men were pushing their way on
through the country, and settlements and villages were
springing up far from Fort Garry. Frequently the
Indian names for the lakes, rivers, and valleys were
kept, and that is why Indian stories are told about so
many names in the West. The pretty name Qu'Appelle,
a French word, comes from an Indian legend. According to the story, on a clear night an Indian brave was
paddling in his canoe near the shore of a beautiful lake
when he heard his name called softly. He answered,
" Who calls ?" No reply came. Three times his name
was spoken, and each time he shouted, "Who calls?"
But only the echoes came back to him. Upon returning home he learned that at the very hour when far
away on the lake shore he had heard his name, his bride
L kf
in their tepee home had died calling his name. French
voyageurs who heard the story named the valley and tne
lake Qu'Appelle, meaning, "Who calls?" In these
lines from a little poem on the legend of Qu'Appelle,
Pauline Johnson, our Indian poet, pictures the red man
thus giving voice to his grief :
" Among the lonely lakes I go no more,
For she who made their beauty is not there;
The paleface rears his tepee on the shore
And says the vale is fairest of the fair.
Full many years have vanished since, yet still
The voyageurs beside the campfire tell
How, when the moonrise tips the distant hill,
They hear strange voices through the silence swell.
The paleface loves the haunted lakes, they say,
And journeys far to watch their beauty spread
Before his vision; but to me the day,
The night, the hour, the seasons all are dead.
I listen, heartsick, while the hunters tell
Why white men named the valley The Qu'Appelle."
The lonely settlers far out on the prairies sometimes
saw a solitary horseman pass, and knew by the uniform
that he was a member of the Mounted Police force.
Because he rode over the plains they felt safe in their
distant homes, and the Indians lived in peace. The
work of the Mounted Police was an important factor in
the progress of the West. Their task of keeping order
over that va4stcountry was a difficult one. Far and near
lived the Indians, ignorant of the white man's laws.
Lawless men, who well knew that liquor was prohibited,
were trying to get it into the country by some untrav-
elled route, so that they could enrich themselves at the
expense of the poor Indians. The Mounted Police
had their orders to prevent this, and also to make the
Indians understand that they could not go on horsestealing excursions, or wage war whenever they wanted
to, for the Queen across the ocean was their Great
Mother, and they must obey her laws.
Often a single Mounted Policeman would ride into
a camp of Indians and explain what the Government
expected of them. If, months after, he heard that some
of those braves had been stealing horses, he would ride
back and fearlessly pass among the armed and painted
red men until he came to the chief's tent. There he
would lecture the Indians on the sin of breaking the
laws of the country, and end by demanding that the
thieves should be handed over. So carefully had the
Indians been taught that the Government never failed
to search out the law-breakers, that they would listen
respectfully, and usually would hand over their thieves
to the courageous representative of the Queen.
The life the Mounted Police were obliged to live was
sometimes as hard and dreary as that of an exile. Many
were their long, hard rides in all kinds of weather.
When evening came, and the horse was tethered on the
edge of some stream, there was nothing to do but lie
down and watch the stars or dream of home. Sometimes the dreams were rudely disturbed by unwelcome
storms. One night some Mounted Police, who were
camping far out on the plains, were awakened by a
tornado and lightning. One of them afterward described
their experiences in this way:
" The rain came down in bucketfuls. We were compelled to rise and roll up our blankets and hold on to THE WHITE MAN'S PROGRESS      181
the pole and skirts of the tent to prevent it being blown
away. The level space outside was soon changed into a
lake, and with every flash we could see our poor horses
standing in this sheet of water, with their backs humped
up and turned towards the pitiless storm. Morning
brought no improvement. Every inch of horizon was
walled in with black masses of loaded clouds.
" Our breakfast and dinner consisted of soaked biscuits, nothing else. There was no appearance of any
break at one o'clock, so it was decided we should resume
our march. We struck camp, loaded our waggons, and
saddled our shivering horses amid the downpour and
terrible wind."
Far from home and shut out from human companionship, these men become greatly attached to their horses,
and give a kindly welcome to homeless dogs. A member of the Mounted Police force once said, "No dog
was ever refused admittance to the dreary barracks if
he but pled with eyes of sorrow and tail reversed."
The same man wrote of the little horse he had ridden
over the plains: " He was a game little fellow, and many
a lonely winter's ride we had together over the prairie.
You could rein him by the neck, or you could turn him
in a circle with either leg. If he were at a full gallop
he would stop if you drew the reins. His head was as
pretty as a deer's, and he was intelligent and docile to
perfection. He used to lift his foreleg the moment you
asked him to shake hands, and no distance and no continued hard riding would play him out. After a rest
he would start again as fresh as ever.
"Poor little Bummer, where are you now? Have
you been ' cast,' I wonder, and sold to some sordid moss- 182    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
back ? Or has your brave little heart given way at last,
and do your bones bleach on those great dreary plains
you knew so well, and has your flesh formed food for
the cowardly coyotes? Wherever you may be, 'Waes
Carefully the Indians watched the change which was
taking place as the Mounted Police rode over the country and more and more settlers came. Some of the
white man's ways were very strange to them. One thing
they could not understand was why each white man
worked for himself and the rich did not share with the
poor. Nor could they see the reason why one should
go hungry, simply because he had no money, when there
was food in plenty at the store. But they admired much
of the white man's work, and always liked ^o watch
what was* going on.
Indians did not consider it rude to go into a house
without rapping, and many a woman in a lonely prairie
home had her doorway suddenly darkened by Indians
who would enter uninvited, shake hands with her, and
sit round on the floor, leaving her scarcely room to move
about. When they saw her sew they wondered why she
cut the cloth into pieces and then stitched it together.
They knew any sensible Indian would let it fall in graceful folds instead of going to the trouble of cutting and
sewing. Another thing they did not approve of was her
husband's stiff black hat. The braves preferred women's
hats, because they were trimmed. Indians who did wear
men's hats trimmed them with feathers and cut out the
crowns to keep their heads cool, for they were not used
to wearing a head-covering for warmth.
Though the Indians had no wish to give up hunting THE WHITE MAN'S PROGRESS
and become fanners, they soon learned to raise potatoes.
It was not always that their first crops had a chance to
grow, for when their store of food gave out they were
very likely to dig up the pieces they had planted and
cook them for dinner. So, while the Indians were
amused at the white men's ways, the white men could
also laugh at the ways of the Indians. CHAPTER XVIII.
Treaties with the Indians.
Do you wonder how the Indians felt when they saw
so many white people coming, and watched them slowly
turning their hunting-grounds into wheatfields ? Surely
you will not be surprised to hear that a day came when
the red men living nearest the settlements became
alarmed. They realized that soon they could no longer
have the forest and prairie to themselves, but must live
as the white man lived, or else die. In Manitoba they
became uneasy directly after the change of government, for their Selkirk treaty was then useless. They
wondered who would pay them their tobacco, and
whether there would be a spot of ground left where
they might pitch their tents and smoke their pipes.
They were not left long in this unhappy frame of
mind, for the Government found a way to provide for
them. Between 1871 and 1877 seven treaties were
made with the Indians. The first of these was with the
Chippewas, and the last with the Blackfoot tribe, so
that all the Indians from Lake Superior to the Rocky
Mountains were included in the treaties.
The treaties were not exactly like Lord Selkirk's,
and though each of the seven differed slightly from the
others, they were all alike in the following terms:
The Indians, in return for giving up their right to the
land, were given reserves of land consisting of six
hundred and forty acres for each five Indians. They
also retained the privilege of fishing and hunting all
over the country, except those parts which were taken
up by the settlers. Every year the Government was to
pay to each Indian man, woman and child the sum of
five dollars, and to each chief twenty-five dollars, and to
each councillor, or head man of a chief, fifteen dollars.
In order to make the chiefs and their councillors feel
that in a sense they were officers of the Crown, and
shared in the responsibility of helping on the welfare
of the country, the Government promised to give to
each an official suit of clothing, and to every chief a
British flag and a silver medal. The Government also
promised to give each year to the Indians who came
into the treaties, powder, shot and twine, and to give
to those who wished to farm, seed grain, oxen, dairy
cattle and implements, such as ploughs, spades and
rakes. Schools were to be established for Indian children, and no intoxicating liquors were to be sold on
the reserves.
At each meeting, when a treaty was to be signed,
the Governor was careful to see that the chiefs thoroughly understood the terms before putting down their
marks. He explained the treaty to them, and assured
them that it was all written down so that it could not
be rubbed out. The Indians always listened attentively.
Then perhaps they would retire to think it over and
meet again the next day, never failing to besrin the
talk by shaking bands with the Governor and his company. The chiefs would then make speeches, or ask
questions. Often they made requests which could not
possibly be granted, and the Governor would have to 186    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
tell them why they could not have what they wanted.
When, at last, all understood and were willing to agree
to the terms, the treaty was signed. The chiefs then
received their flags and medals, and presents were
given to the people. The band afterwards played
" God Save the Queen," and all went home happy.
When, in 1871, the Indians met at Lower Fort Garry
to consider the " Stone Fort Treaty," the Governor,
after shaking hands with them all, made the meaning
of the treaty very clear to them in this simple Speech:
" Your Great Mother, the Queen, wishes to do justice
to all her children alike. She will deal fairly with
those of the setting sun just as she would with those
of the rising sun. She wishes her red children to
be happy and contented. She would like them to adopt
the habits of the whites, to till the land, and raise food,
and store it up against time of want. But the Queen,
though she may think it good for you to adopt civilized
habits, has no idea of compelling you to do so. This
she leaves to your choice, and you need not live like
the white man unless you can be persuaded to do so
of your own free will. Your Great Mother, therefore,
will lay aside for you lots of land, to be used by you
and your children forever. She will not allow the
white man to intrude upon these lots. She will make
rules to keep them for you, so that as long as the sun
shall shine there shall be no Indian who has not a place
that he can call his home, where he can go and pitch
his camp, or, if he chooses, build his house and till
his land."
The Indians were satisfied with the Governor's words,
and willingly signed the treaty.
Those who gathered at the Qu'Appelle lakes to sign
the Qu'Appelle treaty were not pleased because the
Hudson's Bay Company got the money when the Company sold their right to Rupert's Land to the Canadian Government. The chiefs kept saying in their
speeches that something was in their way. One, named
The Gambler, said, " When one Indian takes anything
from another we call it stealing, and when we see the
present we say, ' Pay us.'   It is the Company I mean."
" What did the Company steal from you ?" asked the
" The earth, trees, grass, stones, all that which I see
with mine eyest"
The Governor explained that these things were made
by the Great Spirit, and were not only for Indians but
for all men. The Gambler spoke again several times,
always of the Company and something which was
troubling him, but the Governor could not understand
what it was until a chief named Pisqua (meaning " the
plain ") made their meaning clear by simply pointing
to a Hudson's Bay Company officer and saying, " You
told me you had sold your land for £300,000. We want
that money."
Then the white men understood, and the Governor
'said to the Indians: "Many years ago the Queen's
-father's father gave the Company the right to trade
in that country, from the frozen ocean to the United
States boundary and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The Company grew strong and wanted no one to trade
in the country but themselves. The Queen's people
said, ' No, the land is not yours. The Queen's father's
father gave you the right to trade; it is time those f
rights should stop.' . . . The Queen would not
act unjustly to the Company. She would not take
rights away from them any more than from you; and
to settle the question, she took all the land into her own
hands and gave the Company a sum of money in place
of the rights which she had taken from them."
By this explanation The Gambler's objections were
so far removed that he replied: " I have made up about
no other article. I suppose, indeed, I would make the
thing very little and very small. When I get back I
will think it over." After days of consideration on the
part of the Indians, and much more talking, the treaty
was signed.
• At another time, when a most important treaty was I
to be signed at Fort Carlton and Fort Pitt, by which
about 120,000 square miles of fertile land was to
be ceded to the Government, one of the missionaries
most dear to the red men, Rev. George McDougall, I
was commissioned to go among the Indians and explain
the meaning of the treaty, and learn what they thought
of the coming change. He visited nearly 4,000 Indians.
Many of these he found already in favor of the treaty,
and all were glad that liquor was to be prohibited.
They wisely said, " When we see it we want to drink
it, and it destroys us; when we do not see it we do not
think about it." They wanted him to ask for laws to
• protect the buffalo, and for laws to stop the putting out
of poison to kill the animals.
One of the Assiniboine chiefs said to the missionary,
" My heart is full of gratitude. Foolish men have told
us that the Great Chief would send his young men to
the country until they outnumbered us, and that then ft    ti      u
he would laugh at us; but this letter assures us that
the Great Chief will act justly towards us." Another
showed his faith in the missionary by saying, " If I had
heard these words spoken by the Great Queen I could
not have believed them with more implicit faith than
I do now."
A Cree chief, Big Bear, of whom you shall hear
again, was not so favorable to the treaty. He said to
the missionary, " We want none of the Queen's presents ; when we set a fox-trap we scatter pieces of meat
all round, but when the fox gets into the trap we knock
him on the head; we want no bait. Let your chiefs
come like men and talk to us." Big Bear loved the
wild life, and dreaded the time when he would have
to live as the white man lives.
Once when a white man asked one of Big Bear's
Indians for some land, the brave sprang to his feet
and, pointing to the east, said, " Do you hear the Great
White Man [meaning the Government] coming ? I do,
and I hear the tramp of the multitude behind him.
When he comes you can drop in behind him and take
up all the land claims you want; but, until then, I
caution you to put up no land stakes in our country."
The Indians were not thinking of themselves only,
but of their children, and when they met to sign the
treaty they wished to be very sure that the terms would
hold good for all the Indians to come after. Some
began their speeches with the words, " We want to think
of our children." A noted Cree chief, Poundmaker,
in speaking of Indian children for all the years to
come, said, " I wish you to treat them in like manner
as they advance in civilization," and ended his speech
with the words, " This is all I have to say now. If I
have not said anything in the right manner I wish
to be excused. This is the voice of the people." Afterwards he asked for further explanations, because he
could not support himself as the white man, and did
not know how to build a house or cultivate the land.
He was quite satisfied when told that he might still
live as he had lived before.
When the treaty was signed at Fort Pitt, We-kas-koo-
kee-say-yin, or Sweet Grass, made a very beautiful
speech, at the close of which he said: "When I hold
your hand I feel as if the Great Father were looking
on us both as brothers. I am thankful. May this earth
never see the white man's blood spilt I thank
God that we stand together. I am thankful that I can
raise my head and see the white man and red man
stand together as long as the sun shines. When I hold
your hands and touch your heart as I do now [here he
took the Governor's hand and touched his heart] let
us be as one. Use your utmost to help me and help
my children, so that they may prosper."
After the medals and flags had been presented, and
the band had played " God Save the Queen," the chiefs
went to the Governor to say good-bye. Among them
was Big Bear. He said his Indians were away hunting on the plains, and he was to speak for them, but
could not sign the treaty in their absence. Sweet Grass
said to him, | Say, Yes, and take my hand " [meaning
the Governor]. Big Bear replied, " Stop, my friend.
I never saw the Governor before. When I heard he was
to come I said, ' I will request him to save me from TREATIES WITH THE INDIANS      191
what I dread most—hanging;' it was not given us to
have a rope about our necks."
The Governor said he could not promise that, for,
according to the treaty, Indians were governed by the
laws of the country, and so if an Indian committed
murder he must be hanged. But Big Bear had a
great horror of that white man's law, and again objected
to the treaty unless the Governor would change that
law. However, when the Governor was leaving, he remained sitting until the others had gone, and then rose,
took his hand, saying to him, " I am not an unduti-
ful child; I do not throw back your hand, but as my
people are not here I do not sign. I will tell them
of what I have heard, and next year will come."
The following year a treaty was made with the
Blackfoot tribe, living near the mountains. The
speeches made by the chiefs at that meeting showed
that the red men were well satisfied with British rule.
It was Button Chief who said, " The Great Mother
sent the Police to put an end to traffic in fire-water. I
can sleep now safely. Before the arrival of the Police,
when I laid my head down at night, every sound
frightened me; now I can sleep and not be afraid."
Eagle Tail addressed the Governor as " Great Father
from our Great Mother," and said to him, " The advice
and help I received from the Police I shall never forget
as long as the moon brightens the night, as long as
water runs and grass grows in spring; and I expect
to get the same from our Great Mother."
Crowfoot said, " If the Police had not come to our
country, where would we all be now? Bad men and
whiskey were killing us so fast, and very few indeed f
of us would have been left to-day. The Police have
protected us as the feathers of the bird protect it
from the frosts of winter. I wish them all good,
and trust that all our hearts will increase in goodness
from this time forward.   I am satisfied.    I will sign."
After signing the treaty the Indians fought a sham
battle on horseback for the entertainment of their
guests. It was wild sport to the white men. The
Indians sent the bullets whizzing about so close that
they were glad indeed when it was over and the red
men were asleep in their wigwams.
No treaties could be made with the animals. Some
moved farther north where the country was still " No
Man's Land." Some were killed by the white man's
guns or caught in his traps. The animals and Indians
no longer owned the country. It now was the white
man's land. [I £
6 1
t s
The Saskatchewan Rebellion.
The most unfortunate story in all the history of the
Canadian West is of the sad events of the spring
and summer of 1885. There was actual fighting in the
new country then, and many a Canadian volunteer lost
his life far from home and friends. The cause of all
this trouble began a few years earlier. It happened that
after the Province of Manitoba was formed, a large
number of half-breeds who had been living there moved
farther west. Some left Red River because they could
sell their farms to those who were coming from the East,
but many others moved because they liked to live out
in the wilds, far from civilization, where they could
hunt when they did not care to work the land. With
their families and their few possessions they had started
off in Red River carts. Sometimes a procession of sixty
or seventy of these carts went bumping and creaking
over the prairies to the new homes.
Many of the half-breeds went north to the forks of
the Saskatchewan, the river La Verendrye's sons had
discovered over a hundred years before. There they
took up their long, narrow farms, about as wide as a
garden, but stretching back over the prairie for a mile
or more. Their homes were placed so near together
that they could visit every night and have the gay times
they so much enjoyed, even in the winter, for there was
no long, cold tramp home with the danger of having nose
and ears frozen on the way. Each man kept a canoe
at his door on the river-bank, for to a half-breed fishing
was a very pleasant way of securing his daily food. As
each one had a little of the river front, it was not necessary for anyone to dig a well. So they were very happy
on their long, narrow farms, mere " ribbons of land "
beside the Saskatchewan.
The half-breeds were not alone. A little beyond them
were Indian reserves. Near them white men soon came
and formed settlements. Battleford, when the half-
breeds first went to that part, was only a trading-post,
but it soon grew to be an important centre for the newcomers from the East. Many of the white men were
reckless hunters, who shot down hundreds of buffaloes
and frightened the herds, and both Indians and half-
breeds began to fear a time when they would have no
The half-breeds had a still greater grievance. The
Government had not yet given them title-deeds to their
farms, and so they had no way of proving that the land
they had settled upon was their own. However, they
did not worry over this, and matters might have gone
on smoothly for some time had not the Canadian Government sent surveyors out to divide that fertile prairie
into townships and square lots, as they had done in the
Red River settlement fifteen years before. One pleasant
summer found them as far as the Saskatchewan, surveying the long, narrow farms of the half-breeds. It was
most confusing to a half-breed to find that part of his
farm ran across part of his neighbor's, and that his
neighbor's ran across one end of his.    Besides this, THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION   195
according to the surveys, they could not all have part of
the river, nor could their houses form a row on the bank.
Worst of all, they had no title-deeds, and they feared
others would come and claim these square farms that
had been staked off on top of their own. Some thought
it was for others the surveyors had measured them off,
and that they would be left homeless. It was much the
same trouble as had come to the Red River in 1869.
The half-breeds had no members in the Dominion
Parliament to plead their cause, but they sent petitions
to the Government asking for title-deeds to their land
such as had been given to their people who had remained
in Manitoba. The Government, however, was busy
with other matters, and the half-breeds in the far North-
West were left to wait. Then they decided to send for
Louis Riel. He was teaching school in the United
States, but his time of banishment from Canada was
up, and he went to them at once, proud that they should
want him.
Riel, with his ability and education, had an opportunity to do much for these people, but he was too vain
and selfish to become a hero. By thinking of himself
more than of the cause of his people he made some great
mistakes. Not content to work for the title-deeds alone,
he wished to drive the white men out of the North-West
and take down the British flag. As soon as he reached
Saskatchewan he made himself the leader of his people,
and began urging them to rebel, just as he had done at
Red River in '69. He left his Church and would not
be guided by the good priests. His talk was most alarming. He said to one man, who was trying to quiet the
half-breeds, "You don't know what we are after.   It 196    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
is blood, blood; we want blood." He made the same
wild remark to a priest, who afterwards said of him,
" He is not crazy, this Riel, but he is wicked."
By spring (1885) matters became serious. Riel had
made his headquarters at Batoche, and was gathering
the half-breeds together. He was also trying to excite
the Indians, who were living quietly on their reserves,
and to induce them to take up arms. This was one of
the worst things Riel could have been guilty of, for he
knew, if once aroused to war, the Indians, no matter
how gentle and peaceful they had been, would burst
forth with all the strength and cruelty of their savage
natures. He knew, too, how terrible it would be should
they sing their war-songs^ glance their war-dances, and
some dark night stealthily spring upon the little settlements with their blood-curdling battle-cries. To oppose
such an outbreak there were only the small bands of
settlers and a few hundred Mounted Police.
Not far away from Batoche was the little settlement
of Duck Lake. It consisted of only a few log houses,
but provisions and ammunition were stored there. To
secure these supplies a party was sent out from Fort
Carlton, a Mounted Police post. But Dumont, Riel's
helper, and a force of half-breeds were there before
them. They hurried back for help, but even then were
far outnumbered by the half-breeds, who fired on them
from behind bushes and trees. When twelve of their
number were killed the loyalists were obliged to retreat.
News of this defeat aroused Canada to the danger in
the North-West. Canadian volunteers responded loyally
to the call to arms, and soon a large force under General
Middleton was on the way to the North-West.   The rail- THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION   197
way was not yet finished. There were great gaps in
the track where the soldiers had to travel, on horseback
or on foot, through the snow and melting ice of March.
Especially hard was the journey round the north shore
of Lake Superior, where cold, bleak winds blow at that
season. To make matters worse, the hind shoes had
been taken off the horses, so that if they kicked in the
cars they could not hurt each other, and now, when
these were badly needed, the men had no way of putting them on again.
Meanwhile Riel was busy. He cut the telegraph wires
that entered Batoche, so that the white people could not
telegraph for help, and sent runners to the Indians to
tell them to take up arms and seize the provisions and
ammunition at the forts. To make sure that they would
listen, he took advantage of an eclipse of the sun, which
he knew would occur in March. He told the Indians
that at a certain time on a certain day the sun would
darken as a sign of his power and a signal for them to
rise. The Indians had never studied astronomy, and
knew nothing of the cause of the eclipse, so they were
amazed when the sun darkened at the very time Riel
said it would, and some thought the Great Spirit was
working with him.
Many of the Indians, however, paid no attention to
Riel's messages or the darkening of the sun. Some even
left their reserves to get away from all the talk of war.
But others, who could not help listening, heard of the
Duck Lake fight. Among these was Big Bear. It is
true he had recently signed the treaty, and now lived on
a rich reserve and wore the Queen's medal, but he was
an Indian, and could not stand too much talk of war 198    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
and bloodshed. Besides, Riel had told him to fight, and
the sun had darkened to show Riel's power. It seemed
to Big Bear that even the Great Spirit was calling him
to arms, so he gathered his braves together and declared
he would fight for Riel.
Not far from his reserve, on the shores of Frog Lake,
was a little settlement of white people. During the
Good Friday service Big Bear's warriors appeared out-
side the church and disturbed the worshippers. After
service they followed the people, shooting down some
and taking others prisoners. The priests were shot
while trying to reason with the Indians and save the
women and children. A few of the women were afterwards bought from the Indians by the half-breeds, who
gave up their horses for them. Fortunately for the
remaining prisoners, some of the Wood Crees from
farther north, who did not want war, were there and
protected them from harm.
This was a terrible change for the little settlement.
The cold, dreary day had begun in peace and quietness.
A few hours later the dead and dying were lying about
upon the snow, and the living, some of whom were only
children, were prisoners in the hands of the Indians,
while their homes were ransacked by the dusky savages.
Later the Indians had a grand feast, at which they ate
all the food they could find. After their feast they
threw the bodies of the dead into the cellars and burned
the houses. Then the massacre of Frog Lake was over,
and only ashes were left where shortly before had been
the happy homes of the settlers.
Taking his prisoners with him, Big Bear then hurried
down the river to Fort Pitt, which was guarded by only 1
twenty-three Mounted Police, commanded by Francis
Dickens, a son of the great novelist. These men,
fearing an attack, had built two flat-bottomed boats,
or scows, so that they could float down the river to
Battleford as soon as the ice broke up. Three scouts
were out trying to learn where the Indians were, when
suddenly Big Bear's warriors surrounded the fort. Big
Bear sent Inspector Dickens a summons to surrender.
The Inspector refused. All doors were barricaded, and
every man was in his place. Behind the fort on the
hill two hundred and fifty armed and mounted Indians
took up their position. They danced their war-dance
in full sight of the fort, and some of the braves stole
among the bushes ready to shoot any white man who
ventured in or out. In trying to get back, one of the
scouts was killed and the other two were wounded.
At last the officer of the Hudson's Bay Company went
out to talk with the Indians, for he thought he could
find out what they meant to do. He was taken prisoner,
but managed to send word back to Dickens to get away
as quickly as possible, for Big Bear meant mischief and
could easily wipe out the little band. Dickens decided
to abandon the post at once and make his way down
to Battleford in the scows. As the river was swollen
with the spring freshets and filled with floating ice,
progress was slow. Snow and sleet fell all the first
day. Then it grew colder, and the men's wet clothes
were soon frozen stiff. Not until they had spent
five miserable days on the river did they reach Battleford. There they were joyfully received by anxious
friends who had feared they might never see them again,
and a grand dinner was given in their honor. 200    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
By this time all settlers near the Saskatchewan were
greatly alarmed, especially as telegraph wires were down
and they could not learn how near help was. But the
troops were coming as fast as weather and roads would
permit. The gaps in the railway were not the only
cause of delay. They had many miles to travel north
of the railway, at a season when the frost was coming
out of the ground and the roads were covered with sticky
; half-frozen mud or slush, and the streams to be crossed
were rough and high. However, the farmers placed
their waggons at the disposal of the troops, and they
pushed on as rapidly as possible.
The army was -divided into three sections. One section General Middleton led to Batoche, Riel's headquarters; another, under Colonel Otter, went to Battleford; and the third, under General Strange, followed
Big Bear.
At the Saskatchewan River General Middleton
divided his troops and had part march on one side of
the river and part on the other, so that they might attack
Batoche from both sides. One rickety scow in the river
carried the supplies. It happened that they met the
enemy before they reached Batoche. One morning,
when near Fish Creek, they started as usual. The camp
was all astir before daylight, and they were on the march
before half-past six, with some sixteen scouts ahead.
After advancing for about four miles, they came to a
house with broken window-panes and grain lying about
as if horses had just been fed. Soon after the scouts
reported that they had seen at least a dozen camp-fires
and a trail leading from them. The captain of the
scouts was ordered to follow up the trail.   He and his *%
men had been gone but a few minutes when shots were
heard. Then a volley was fired at the advance guard,
but fortunately it flew high. The guard at once charged
in the direction from which the shots had come. At
this thirty or forty half-breeds, who had been in the
shelter of a bluff, darted into a ravine where their comrades were, and there, hidden from sight, opened a
deadly fire upon the soldiers.
Major Boulton, who commanded the advance guard,
instantly ordered his men to dismount, lie on the ground
and fire. He hoped thus to give them the least dangerous position, and to keep the enemy in the ravine
until the main body of troops could be brought up.
" Fire away and lie close; never mind if you don't see
anything," he shouted. Bravely the men kept up their
fire, though one after another was struck by the bullets
of the enemy they could not see. Major Boulton afterwards related a snatch of conversation heard as a
wounded soldier crawled back, which gives an idea
of the position they were in: " Say, Chummy, are you
hit?" "Yes." "Where are they, anyway? I can't
see them. This is new to me; I was never at this kind
of thing before."
The enemy were succeeding so well that one man
dared to come out of the ravine and begin a. war-dance.
He never finished it, and no one followed his example.
When the advance guard let their horses loose, that
they might save themselves from the bullets, the horses
galloped back as if hoping to hurry the others on to the
aid of their masters. The main body of troops came
up, and, after several hours of firing, the "hornet's
nest," as the soldiers called that ravine and bluff, was 202    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
cleared of the enemy, who retreated farther and farther
away until at last firing ceased. As oars had to be hewn
out of trees before the soldiers on the opposite side of
the river could cross in the scow, the fighting was over
before the last of the troops reached the spot.
After the battle it was found that eight of the volunteers were dead and forty-four were wounded. The next
day the dead were wrapped in their blankets and buried
on the lonely banks of the Saskatchewan, hundreds
of miles from home. Stones were gathered to form a
cairn, and over it a cross was placed. Waggons were
then fitted up as comfortably as possible, and the
wounded were sent forty miles up the river to Saskatoon,
where they could have better care.
After this serious experience General Middleton
decided to await reinforcements before moving on to
Cut Knife Creek.
On the day of the Fish Creek engagement, Colonel
Otter's troops were nearing Battleford, where by this
time many settlers had gathered for safety and were
anxiously awaiting the arrival of the soldiers. The
cause of their alarm was a great band of Indians under
the Cree chief, Poundmaker, who had taken up a strong
position behind a ravine at Cut Knife Creek, not many
miles from Battleford. Poundmaker, as you know, had
made a very nice speech when he signed the treaty, and
had always been, not only friendly to the white men, but
in favor of peace, and loyal to the Government. But
Riel's talk and Riel's messages were too much for some
of his braves, and when Riel told them that he would THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION   203
drive away the whites and keep the country for the
Indians and half-breeds, they began to think of the days
before the white men came, when herds of buffaloes had
roamed everywhere on the plains. They knew the white
men would teach them to farm on the reserves, but
Poundmaker's people were not successful farmers, and
besides, they did not want such a dull life. What they
did want was always to have buffaloes to hunt. But
how could they have them when the white men were
farming all over the prairie hunting-grounds? The
more they thought of these things, and the more they
listened to Riel, the less friendly they felt towards the
white people. So they found a stronghold and, to the
great alarm of the inhabitants of Battleford, camped
there ready to fight.
Poundmaker never let them make an attack, but some
of his Indians stole about the outskirts of Battleford
doing wicked things. They stole cattle, burned some
buildings and shot down several of the white men.
The very first thing Colonel Otter's scouts saw as
they approached Battleford was some of these bad
Indians setting fire to one of the best houses. The
scouts fired, but the Indians jumped on their ponies
and got away. No wonder the troops found the people
greatly excited over these outrages and relieved at the
arrival of a military force.
After resting a few days, Colonel Otter prepared
to march against Poundmaker, hoping thus to put
a stop to further trouble at Battleford and to prevent
the chief from being tempted to join Big Bear. About
three o'clock in the* afternoon of May 1st, the expedition set out.    At seven they halted for supper, then 204    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
started again when the moon rose, some hours later.
As they were riding in heavy waggons, they could not
travel quickly, and it was early morning when they
came in sight of Poundmaker's camp. The chief had
chosen his position wisely. The only approach for the
soldiers was between two ravines, and behind was the
valley of the Cut Knife Creek. Cautiously they
advanced towards the camp. All the Indians were
still asleep save one, who was looking after the ponies.
He gave the alarm, and almost instantly the Indians
were ready to defend themselves. They fought bravely
to protect their women and children and their ponies
and cattle. They outnumbered the white men, and it
was found impossible to drive them from their position. By noon Colonel Otter, having shown them by his
fearless attack what brave soldiers had come to oppose
Riel, decided to retire and thus prevent unnecessary
loss of life. Poundmaker, also considerate of the lives
of the white men, allowed them to return to Battleford
without following them up with his warriors to shoot
them down.
A week after the fight at Cut Knife Creek, General
Middleton, having been joined by troops under Colonel
Williams with the little steamer Northcote, which had
been turned into a gunboat, moved on to Batoche,
Riel's headquarters. On the 9th of May he reached
there. The troops were met by a deadly fire from
concealed rifle-pits, which had been dug all about the
village, but the little gunboat soon checked the fire
from these.    Though no attack was made, firing went 1
on until night, when it ceased altogether and the tired
soldiers had supper in peace behind a barricade of
waggons. All that night a careful watch was kept, at
least two-thirds of the men being awake and on the
lookout. They feared the enemy might attack them
just before dawn, when it would be very hard for them
to defend themselves in their crowded camp. Before
daylight came the teamsters were aroused and ordered
to stand by their horses to prevent a stampede in case
the camp should be attacked.
No attack was made, however, and the next day
being Sunday, service was held in the camp, though
firing still went on. On Monday bullets were still
flying, but the soldiers seemed no nearer to victory.
While the General was completing his toilet in the
camp behind the waggons, with his little looking-glass
propped up on a waggon-wheel, a bullet struck the
waggon, but he went on as if nothing had happened.
By this time Riel was becoming anxious. He wrote
a letter to General Middleton, then, opening the trapdoor of the cellar where he kept his prisoners, he gave
the letter to a Mr. Astley to take to the General. But
he did not let him start until he had promised to
come back to the prison cellar. Mr. Astley rode out
with a white flag, and the General, on seeing him, gave
orders to cease firing, and went to meet him. The
letter said that if the troops killed the women and
children by their firing, Riel would murder his prisoners. This was partly an excuse, as what Riel most
wanted Mr. Astley to find out was, under what conditions General Middleton would accept his surrender.
The General wrote in reply that if Riel would put
the women and children in one place, and let him
know where they were, no shot would be fired in that
direction. He also told Mr. Astley that a surrender
must be unconditional, and that Riel would be protected until handed over to the Government.
After this firing went on as before. Now, so much
skirmishing with no real fighting was discouraging the
soldiers. Their comrades were being shot down every
day. The enemy, too, they knew were losing, for they
saw them burying their dead in the churchyard. Yet, in
spite of the loss of life, the troops were accomplishing nothing, and as the General did not make an attack
and put an end to it all, they feared he had no confidence in them.
However, the General arranged for a decided movement on the following day; but as some of his orders
were misunderstood, it did not take place, and the
Grenadiers and the men under Lieutenant-Colonel
Williams, about 260 in all, were sent out to skirmish
as before. But, unknown to the General, they had
greater plans. The order to advance was given. They
first made a rush for the rifle-pits, and drove the enemy
away from them and back to the village. Then, as
they paused to take breath, Colonel Williams said,
" Now, lads, I am senior officer here, and I will lead you,
and we will finish up this business at once. Will you
follow me?" "We will! we will!" was the response.
Then with pistol in one hand and cap in the other,
Colonel Williams, closely followed by his men, and
under a sharp fire, made straight for the village, never
stopping till he found shelter under the wall of one of
the houses. 3QL
The firing was soon heard in camp. There nothing
was in readiness for an assault. The cavalry horses
were unsaddled and the artillery horses were unhitched.
Most of the soldiers were taking an after-dinner rest,
and the General was just having luncheon, when the
firing and loud cheering were first heard coming from
the front. The General at once said to a colonel who
was lunching with him: " What is it ? What is it ? Go
and see."
The colonel ran over to the entrenchment and
listened. The shouts, he could tell, were not those of
men who were being defeated, and besides, they were
evidently nearing Batoche, so he went back and told
the General that he thought their men were " into
them with the bayonets."
" They will all be killed! Tell them to bring me
my horse. Get the 90th out at once, and bring them
down; we must support them," the General exclaimed,
little guessing what a brilliant attack Colonel Williams was leading.
The horse was brought. General Middleton mounted
and galloped towards the front. Soon the artillery
was galloping after him. Major Boulton's scouts were
ordered out, but the rest of the force did not wait for
orders, and but few of them took time to saddle their
horses. They simply seized their rifles and ran to help
their comrades. After that no one waited for orders.
The General himself, seeing he could do nothing, said:
I Let them go—you can't stop them." In a very short
time Batoche was won and the enemy driven several
miles beyond the village.
The weary prisoners were then let out of the dark, 208    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
damp cellar where they had been kept. The women
and children, found huddled together in a sheltered
spot behind a bluff, were also cared for. Riel had
made his escape, but after a few days gave himself
up and was taken prisoner to await his trial. General
Middleton then moved on to join Colonel Otter at
Now, after the fight at Fish Creek, Riel had sent
Poundmaker word that he, and not the British soldiers,.
had won that battle, and that he now wanted the chief
at Batoche. Poundmaker then left his ravine, but he
never joined Riel, nor did he make any attempt to
attack the white men. He did nothing worse than to
take a few prisoners. It happened that, after leaving
Cut Knife Creek, some of Poundmaker's Indians
came upon a train of waggons loaded with supplies.
The teamsters, though they knew they would have^
little chance against so many armed Indians, drove
their oxen round in a circle, that the waggons might
form a wall behind which to take shelter. Some of
the braves rode up with a message saying that if they
surrendered their lives would be spared. This they
did. The Indians at once crowded about them, ransacking the waggons and taking whatever they pleased.
Then the teamsters were compelled to drive their
waggons to Poundmaker's camp. As they approached,
the squaws and papooses poured out of the tepees,
cheering at the sight, and forming a jeering, howling
crowd on each side as the frightened teamsters were
hurried along. However, the prisoners were reassured of their safety by Poundmaker, who shook hands
with each and told them that their lives would be THE SASKATCHEWAN.REBELLION   209
spared, adding that he knew there was a Great Spirit
above, and so he would not allow them to be injured
without cause.
Soon after the Indians broke camp, and the prisoners had a chance to watch what would certainly astonish
white people who live on that very spot to-day. In
one of the newspapers of that year it was described
in this way:
"Tepee-poles were thrown down in a twinkling by the
squaws, who, assisted by young boys and girls, rapidly packed
everything away in carts and waggons all ready for the start.
The men lounged round, whiffing tobacco from long-stemmed
pipes, or attended to the trappings of their horses, while
youngsters, scarcely able to crawl about, drove in the cattle.
Finally a start was made, and the disorganized mob moved
eastward towards Riel's headquarters. Twenty-five or thirty
scouts rode about a mile ahead. Instead of travelling along
in a line, the Indians spread out, leaving a trail behind them
over two miles wide. First came about three hundred and
sixty war-painted braves, mounted on wiry ponies, or on the
more powerful animals stolen in the early raids. Next came
Red River carts, waggons, and every other queer kind of conveyance ever made. Each was loaded with plunder or tepee
poles, while perched on top were old men with bows and
arrows. Behind followed a motley mass of waggons and carts
surrounded by lowing cattle and little boys on foot. Other
Indian lads, mounted on young colts, kept up to the moving
outfit. About half a mile behind came other herds of cattle,
and behind them another herd of horses. Young girls and
squaws were mounted. Several of the families rode along on
oxen. In this manner the followers of Poundmaker covered
three miles an hour with ease."
However, it was not long before Poundmaker, wishing to make terms with the white men, sent the following letter to General Middleton. 210    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
" Sir,—I am camped with my people at the east end of
Eagle Hills, where I am reached by the news of the surrender
of Riel. No letter came with the news, so I cannot tell how
far it may be true. I send some of my men to you to learn
the truth and terms of peace, and hope you will deal kindly
with us. I and my people wish you to send us the terms in
writing, so that we may be under no misunderstanding, from
which so much trouble arises. We have twenty-one prisoners,
whom we have tried to treat well in every respect. With
"(Signed)    POUNDMAKER."   X
The General replied that he would not make terms
with him, but he would meet him and his councillors
at Battleford on a certain day. The meeting was one
of the most remarkable which ever took place in the
West, and was long remembered by the Indians as one
of their greatest pow-wows. Seated about in a great
semi-circle were the Indian braves, decorated with
war-paint, some wearing kid gloves, others in women's
hats, but all picturesque and very dignified. Before
them was the greatest force of soldiers they were ever
to see.
The General, through an interpreter, told them to
say what they had to say in as few words as possible.
But one cannot make an Indian talk like a white man.
They could not help saying, "As long as the sun
shines," "As long as the grass grows," or referring to
the rivers, the mountains, and many times to the Great
Many of the braves spoke. Each wished to begin
by shaking hands with the General, but he steadily
refused, saying he would not do so until he knew they  r THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION   211
were not bad Indians. Poundmaker, in his speech,
declared he had been good to his prisoners and had
released them, that he done his best to keep his braves
quiet, and would never have fought had he not been
first attacked. At one time a squaw began to speak,
and all the Indians were astonished when the General
said that at such meetings he never listened to women.
They reminded him that the Queen was a woman. He
explained that she spoke only through her councillors.
Not wishing a man to speak for her, the squaw retired,
and what she had to say that day the white men never
The General made a long address, and at the close
told the Indians that he had received orders from the
Government to detain as prisoners Poundmaker and
four of the leading chiefs. He then demanded that the
Indians who had killed the white men at Battleford
should come forward. The first to do so was Wa-wa-nitch.
He sat down with his legs crossed and, putting his
hands about the General's feet, confessed that he had
killed Mr. Tremont. Another, named Ikta, confessed
that he too had shot a white man. These two Indians
were also taken prisoners. Wa-na-nitch then made
signs to Poundmaker which meant, " I am going to
be hanged, but I am a brave Indian and I don't care."
After this meeting General Middleton moved on in
pursuit of Big Bear, who was travelling north. Meanwhile, the force under General Strange, which consisted of a brigade formed at Calgary, including
Mounted Police, scouts, and regiments from Montreal
and Winnipeg, had marched from Calgary to Edmonton and then northward.    General Strange and Major 212    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
Steele, by forced marches, overtook Big Bear at Frenchman's Butte, where a hot skirmish took place. The
Indians retreated toward the north, but scouts followed
them up, and at last secured the release of the prisoners. A few days after, Big Bear allowed himself to
be taken by the Mounted Police.
During the weeks and months in which the prisoners
had been forced to travel with Big Bear's band, the
Indians had done them no injury. They were all safe
and sound, though very weary. How grateful they
must have been to those soldiers who, to bring them
relief, had journeyed for days over impassable roads
and through thickets, swamps and trackless woods, often
lying down to rest at night wet and cold and hungry,
and rising before daylight to continue their dreary
The rebellion was now over, and a little later the
trial of the prisoners took place. Riel was found
guilty of treason and hanged at Regina in the autumn.
His friends buried his body in the graveyard of St.
Boniface. Big Bear was sent to prison for a time,
but some of his braves, more guilty than himself in
the Frog Lake massacre, were hanged. Just nine
years before Big Bear had begged that hanging might
be done away with. Was he looking far into the future
that bright day at Fort Pitt, and did he see the fate
of his own men when he said, " Save me from what I
dread most—hanging!"
Poundmaker was sentenced to three years' imprisonment. In self-defence he made this touching speech
to the judge: " Everything I could do was done to
stop bloodshed.    Had I wanted war I should not be THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION   213
here now; I should be on the prairie. You did not
catch me. I gave myself up. You have got me because
I wanted justice."
When, upon entering the prison, the chief learned
that his hair must be cut, he was so deeply grieved
that they took pity upon him and allowed him to keep
his long dark locks, without which he felt that he could
never be a dignified chief again. Through the influence
of a Canadian colonel who understood Poundmaker
and considered he had not been fairly treated, he was
released before his term was up.
By this rebellion the attention of the Canadian
Government was, at last, drawn to the North-West.
As a result, the title-deeds the half-breeds had wanted
were granted to all settlers, and the North-West Territories were allowed to send members to the Dominion
Parliament. For safety, the number of Mounted
Police was increased to one thousand. So faithfully
have the promises to the red men and the settlers been
kept that ever since this unhappy outbreak the great
North-West has been a land of peace.
Many poems have been written on the grief and
anxiety of the mothers, wives and daughters of the
soldiers who fought in the campaign of 1885. Stuart
Livingston gives a true picture in the following stanzas
from his poem, "The Volunteers of '85":—
'Wide are the plains to the north and the westward;
Drear are the skies to the west and the north—
Little they cared as they snatched up their rifles,
And shoulder to shoulder marched gallantly forth.
Cold are the plains to the north and the westward,
Stretching out far to the grey of the sky— /5
Little they cared as they marched from the barrack-room,
Willing and ready, if need be, to die.
" Many a woman gazed down at them longingly,
Scanning each rank for her boy as it passed;
Striving through tears just to catch a last glimpse of him,
Knowing that glimpse might, for aye, be the last.
Many a maiden's cheek paled as she looked at them,
Seeing the lover from whom she must part;
Trying to smile and be brave for the sake of him,
Stifling the dread that was breaking her heart."
Pauline  Johnson,   the  Indian  poet,  tells  how
Indian woman felt when her brave took up arms:
" My forest brave, my redskin love, farewell,
Here is your knife—I thought 'twas sheathed for aye;
No roaming bison calls for it to-day;
No tide of prairie cattle will it maim.
The plains are bare; it seeks a nobler game,
'Twill drink the life blood of a soldier host.
' Still their new rule and council is well meant,
They but forget we Indians owned the land
From ocean to ocean, that they stand
Upon a soil that centuries agone
Was our sole kingdom, and our right alone.
They never think how they would feel to-day
If some great nation came from far away
Wresting their country from their hapless braves-
Giving what they gave us, but wars and graves."
In the following stanzas, from a poem entitled
" The Rose of a Nation's Thanks," another of our
Canadian poets, the gifted Isabella Valancy Crawford, THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION   215
voiced the joy that thrilled all hearts when the brave
soldier lads returned to their homes:
"A welcome?   There is not a babe at the breast won't spring
at the roll of the drum
That heralds them home—the keen, long cry in the air of
'They come!    They come!'
And what of it all if ye bade them wade knee-deep in a
wave of wine,
And tossed tall torches, and arched the town in garlands
of maple and pine?
All dust in the wind of a woman's cry as she snatches from
the ranks
Her boy who^ bears on his bold young breast the Rose of a
Nation's Thanks!
"A welcome?   There's a doubt if the lads would stand like
stone in their steady line
When a babe held high on a dear wife's hand, or the stars
that swim and shine
In a sweetheart's eyes, or a mother's smile, flashed far in
the welded crowd,
Or a father's proud voice, half-sob and half-cheer, cried on
a son aloud.
O the billows of waiting hearts that swelled would sweep
from the martial ranks
The gallant boys who bear on their breasts the Rose of a
Nation's Thanks!"
When the rebellion was over the Indians in their
tepee homes mourned for the dead in their own way.
To the white men who had died on the battle-field
sincere tribute was paid throughout Canada, and
handsome monuments were erected to their memory.
One particularly sad death occurred when the fighting was over.    Colonel Williams, who led the attack 216    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
at Batoche, died suddenly from a fever brought on
by the hardships of the campaign. His body was sent
home in a plain board coffin, but it had the noblest
of coverings, for it was wrapped in the folds of the flag
under which he had fought.
Shortly before his illness, when following Big Bear,
Colonel Williams picked up a little puppy at a deserted Indian village, and placed the tiny creature
in an Indian birchbark basket, intending to take it
home to his little boy. " Little Bear," as the pup was
called, was cared for by the Colonel's comrades, and
sent home to the son as a last gift from his father.
While honoring those who, on the far-away Saskatchewan, fought for their country and their flag,
it should not be forgotten that the greatest heroes are
not always those who fight. One of the bravest acts
of the rebellion was the preventing of a battle. It
came about in this way. Troops had marched through
the File Hill reserve. The File Hill Indians were
frightened at seeing them so near, especially as they
had heard that Poundmaker, who had always been a
good friend to the white men, had been attacked.
They feared that they might all be driven away by
these new soldiers who were marching everywhere
through the country. After talking it over among
themselves, the File Hill chiefs decided to be ready
in case they were attacked, so, taking their arms, they
moved out to a ravine and dug. rifle-pits.
Thinking these armed and painted red men, who had
left their reserve and taken up a strong position, meant
mischief, some soldiers wanted to march against them
at once and have the honor of winning a great victory.   THE SASKATCHEWAN REBELLION   217
But their colonel refused to lead them out. Because
of this he was thought to be a coward. But he chose
to show his bravery in another way. He arranged
for a meeting with the File Hill chiefs, and on the
appointed night, leaving his pistol and sword behind
him, he rode out unarmed, and accompanied only by
an interpreter. Hidden all about in the grass were
the Indian warriors, watching the white chief, ready
to fire if the slightest movement aroused their suspicions. Without hesitation, the colonel went among
the Indians and explained to them that no tribes living quietly on their reserves would be attacked, and
if they would only return what they had taken and go
home, they would never be disturbed. In this way
he brought back their faith in the white man and the
Canadian Government, and saved loss of life on both
sides. Surely this was a nobler deed than to fight
those loyal though misguided friends of the British.
A Journey through the North-West To-day.
A teip through the Canadian North-West to-day
will show the change which has taken place in the
country since the days the Indians and the wild animals
had that land to themselves. Now the people travel
across the country by fast trains instead of taking the
journey in the old slow way with prairie schooners,
Red River carts, or pack-horses.
The Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in
1885. At the little station of Craigellackie, beside the
Eagle River, the two parts of the railway, one of which
had been built from the east and the other from the
west, were to be joined together. On a November day
a large crowd gathered there to see Donald Smith (now
Lord Strathcona) drive the golden spike. There he
stood, sledge in hand, while beside him were Sandford
Fleming (now Sir Sandford Fleming), the chief surveyor, and William Van Home (now Sir William Van
Home), the general manager of the railway, and
crowding about them were the engineers and workmen.
None had a better right to be there on that eventful
day than those skilled workmen. Too much praise
could not be given them for their success in so difficult
an undertaking. The tunnels they cut through the
rock, the trestlework bridges they built over the deep
ravines, and the snow-sheds they erected to protect the
218 B!l8^8j|*
track from the masses of snow and ice that slid down
the mountain sides, sound their praises better than
words could do.
It is no wonder, then, that when the golden spike
had been driven in, and the echo of the last blow had
died away, William Van Home, when called upon for
a speech, could only remark: "All I have got to say
is that all has been well done in every way."
In a few minutes the conductor shouted, "All aboard
for the Pacific!" and away went the white man's train,
to the amazement of the Indians and the curiosity of
the mountain sheep far up on the mountain side.
The old days • are gone. You set out upon your
journey across the continent with no fear that the poor
buffaloes will stop your train, as they once did farther
south. Before the C. P. R. was completed the last
herd of them was shot down. The following year hunters went out as usual, but came home empty handed.
There were no more buffaloes on the plains. Great
was the disappointment of the Indians. Though they
had long known that their story of these great animals
coming from under a lake was only a pretty bit of
fiction, they still thought that as their buffaloes had
been with them through the past they would be with
them always.
Before you reach Manitoba you can see some of the
products of the country you are going to visit. At Fort
William are the great grain elevators that hold the
grain that comes from the West; the grain that Lord
Selkirk dreamed of in the days, less than a hundred
years ago, when men laughed at his visions and said
wheat could not be grown at Red River.   What would 220    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
they think to-day if they could see wheatfields a thousand miles farther back? The great land which was
once the buffaloes' prairie playground is now called the
granary of the world. So large are the harvests that
every summer train-loads of young men go from eastern
Canada to work in the wheatfields of the West. When
the grain is threshed, waggon load after waggon load
is taken to the elevators at every station. It is then
loaded on the trains and taken farther east. Much of
it is loaded on the steamers at the Lake Superior ports
and carried down the lakes. Some goes to Chicago,
Duluth and Detroit, and large quantities to Montreal,
where it is sent across the ocean to be made into bread
in the Old Land.
On all sides, as you journey, you hear of the growth
and prosperity of the West; but the old days, too, are
in your mind, and as you near Winnipeg you cannot
forget the first white men who travelled there and the
weary days it took them to make their way in the bark
canoes. And when you catch sight of the towers and
steeples of the city churches, or walk down the broad
streets, you think of Jean Verendrye's log hut, and of
the little Fort Garry of the days of the Selkirk settlers.
But, more than all, you remember the Indians who
moved their wigwams away to make room for the white
You need not go far from the station to learn what
an important city Winnipeg is now, for a walk down
Main Street will show you that in business prosperity
it is in advance of many an older city. Later you see
the fine church which now stands on the spot Lord
Selkirk chose for the colonists' first little church. THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST
What surprises you most is the number of different
languages you hear. When you go out on the street
in the morning you may hear almost every European
language. But a visit to the immigration office will
explain this. In some years over one hundred thousand
go through that office, and they come from all over the
world. Among them are English, Scotch and Irish,
Americans, Germans and Poles, Icelanders, Finns and
Russians. They have come to claim the one hundred
and sixty acres of the buffaloes' prairie playground
which the Government gives to settlers for a homestead.
After visiting such a busy modern office you feel like
seeing some Remains of earlier and more romantic
times. Of the few still left, one of the most interesting
is the old Fort Garry gate. When you have looked at
it and indulged in a few dreams of its past, you cross
the river to St. Boniface. Here a new cathedral stands
in the place of the old one with the "turrets twain,"
and a beautiful chime of bells now rings out across the
river.   The bells that in the old days called
"To the boatman on the river,
To the hunter on the plain,"
are among them, though since you last heard of them
they have had some hard experiences. When the first
cathedral was burned they fell to the ground. It is
said that the pieces were searched out from the ashes
and sent to Rome to be re-moulded. The boat that
brought them back went down in Hudson Bay. The
chimes, however, were recovered from the bottom of the
bay and taken safely to St. Boniface, where, with the
new ones, they still call to the boatman; but the hunter
of to-day is far beyond the sound of their "vesper
Besides the cathedral, there are schools, a college,
a university, and a hospital in St. Boniface.
To visit the homes of those who have not been long
in the North-West, you take the train again and travel
far beyond Winnipeg. At one little shack out on the
plains you see a young man who has not yet been three
years in the country. During his first year in the
North-West he worked for a farmer; in the second
he took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty
acres. Though he had never farmed before, he built
a tiny house and began to plough his prairie land.
He tells you how long and how cold and lonely was the
first winter in that little shack. It was lonelier than
the winters of the fur-traders, for he did not see the
Indians coming in the spring with furs. But the first
harvest, the harvest that was all his own, repaid him a
hundred-fold for his hardships and his lonely winter.
On his big farm he is now as happy as a king, and can
truly say
" I am monarch of all I survey;
My right there is none to dispute."
Do you wonder that the men of the West love their
country, and that others are always coming ? The Poles
say it is better than Poland, the Finlanders say it is
better than Finland, and the Icelanders that it is better
than Iceland. Even those from good old England and
from bonnie Scotland declare that they have never been
happier than in their new homes in the Canadian West. THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST        223
As you travel on you pass through many busy towns,
and on all sides you hear of what the railway has done
for them. Some of these places, you are told, consisted of but a few tents before it was built. You
stop at Regina, the spot which was once marked by
only a pile of bones. Now it is a capital, not of a territory, but of a province. It became the capital of a
province in September, 1905, when out of the North-
West Territories were formed the provinces of Alberta
and Saskatchewan. Regina was made the capital of
Saskatchewan, and Edmonton, which   you  will   visit ;%$$,
later, the capital of Alberta. During your visit you
are told that had you been in Regina when the first
birthday of Saskatchewan was celebrated, you would
have seen the streets decorated with flags, bunting and
arches built of sheaves of wheat and oats, and you
would have seen the mottoes, " World's Granary,"
" Saskatchewan," " North-West Forever," " God Save
the King." You would also have heard the people
" Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan,
Saskatchewan forever;
God save the West, and Heaven bless
Saskatchewan forever."
Then, after the Lieutenant-Governor was sworn in,
the people of the new province were addressed by Earl
Grey, the Governor-General of the Dominion, who read
a telegram from His Majesty the King congratulating
his subjects in Saskatchewan on that memorable day.
Upon leaving the busy young capital you take the 224    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
train for Edmonton, which you find so large a place
that you are not surprised to hear that on the 31st
of September, 1905, when it was all in holiday array
for the birthday of the Province of Alberta, thousands
of men and women gathered for the celebration, and
two thousand school children marched through the
streets. But it must have seemed like a dream to those
who had stood on that spot twenty-five years before,
when the red men camped by the river while trading at
the fort. Not long ago this town was looked upon as
the " jumping-off place " of the North-West. This was
because it was filled with the new life of the white
.men while yet on the very verge of the old life of the
Indian. In the town one saw elevators, mills, stores,
and fine homes surrounded by gardens, but one could
leave those behind and, by simply walking north out of
town, enter " No Man's Land," where one must travel
by canoe or dog-sleigh, and where, save for the Indians,
few but trappers and missionaries ventured. But now
white men are pushing on beyond Edmonton. Since
they have learned how far north they can raise wheat,
one no longer sees from the windows of Edmonton the
wilderness of " No Man's Land." There is no " jumping-off place " now.
As you near the Rockies, after leaving Edmonton,
the wheat-belt is left behind and herds of horses and
cattle are seen roaming over the land, living the free
life that the buffaloes delighted in a few years before.
The snow that falls there is soon thawed by the warm
Chinook winds, and horses and cattle can run wild
winter and summer. These warm winds take their
name because they blow from the home of the Chinook fcjfe
^"iSil^^&^f? °f ^e procession at the celebration, at
'      ptQe0mD^ Is*» I9°5, of the inauguration of Alberta
as a Province of the Dominion.
Indians, on a branch of the lower Columbia River. For
the horses and cattle in that land of the Chinook winds
the freedom does not last a lifetime, however, as it did
with the buffaloes before them. All too soon a day
comes when they are "rounded up" for the last time.
Then for them life in the beautiful wilds of Alberta
is over. The cattle, like the wheat, are shipped away
to feed the world. The horses are put to work, some
in other lands, and never again do they see the Alberta
ranches where all through their colt days they raced
and jumped and kicked up their heels to their hearts'
One difference between the ranching lands and the
wheat-belt is that in the wheat districts the cattle are
fenced in and wheat grows on the prairie with no fences
about it, while in the ranching lands the wheat is fenced
in, and cattle are free to roam everywhere else. There
are no fences to separate the cattle of the different
ranches. They stray off and run together on the wide
plains, but each animal is supposed to be branded with
the mark of the ranch to which it belongs. It is considered the greatest sin for a man to put his brand
on an animal which does not belong to him.
Do you wonder that the cowboy's life is a busy one,
and that the " round-up " is not all fun, when the cattle
must be gathered together, sorted out from among the
others, and the calves branded? Usually the cowboys
each take several horses with them when they start out
to find the cattle and have the spring " round up," for
they have no idea how far they must ride or what may
happen before it is finished. First they get the straying herds into a bunch.    Then they ride round the 226    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
bunch and run out the cattle that belong to other herds.
You may be sure that all the skill of pony and cowboy
is needed for this work. Next they push in among the
cattle on their well-trained ponies, and by the cleverest
riding pick out the cows and calves, get them outside
the " round up," and quietly drive them to a branding
corral. The cowboy then throws a rope. The pony
stands firm. A calf is caught by the hind leg, and
someone who has been waiting for that moment has
branded it before it realizes what is happening.
If you watch a "round up" you will notice how
quietly the cowboys do everything. You will not be
allowed to go with them unless you are quiet, too.
They know that if the cattle should be startled by a
noise there might be a stampede, and that is what they
dread more than anything else. Sometimes, just before
a storm, the cattle become restless, and the cowboys
sing to soothe them, but in spite of all they can do a
stampede will sometimes occur. When once the frightened cattle start and are thundering over the plains,
the cowboy gallops beside the leaders, and tries to press
them in so as to gradually turn them, and get them
running in a circle. Should he succeed, the cattle will
slacken their pace and finally stop; but if by any chance
he gets ahead of the herd while they are running, he
and his pony are in terrible danger of being trampled
to death.
The following stanzas are taken from a cowboy's
description of a night stampede, written by Isabella
Valancy Crawford: THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST        227
I Drowsily list'nin' I rode round the herd,
When all uv a sudden the mustang baulked,
An' shied with a snort.   I never knowed
Thet tough leetle critter tew show a scare
In storm or dark; but he jest scrouched down,
With his nostrils snuffin' the damp, cool air.
" But thar wa'nt a stir tew horn or hoof;
The herd, like a great black mist, lay spread,
While here an' thar a grazin' bull
Loomed up like a mighty ' thunder head.'
" But 'twa'n't no coyote nor prowlin' beast,
Nor rattle a-wrigglin thru the grass,
Nor a lurkin' redskin—twa'nt my way
In a game like thet tew sing out, ' I pass!'
But I knowed when I glimpsed the rollin' whites,
The sparks frum the black uv the mustang's eye,
Thar wus sumthin' waltzin' up thet way
That would send them critters off on the fly.
"The air wus bustin'—but silent as death;
An' lookin' up, in a second I see'd
The sort uv sky thet alius looks down
On the rush an' the roar uv a night stampede.
Then the herd start:
" The herd wus up,—not one at a time,
Thet ain't the style in a midnight run—
They wus up an' off like es all thair minds
Wus rolled in the hide uv only one.
In vain he tries to turn them:
I An' struck his side with my fist an' foot,
'Twus jest like hittin' a rushin' stone,
An' he thundered ahead—I couldn't boss
The critter a mossel, I'm free tew own." 228    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
At last he succeeds:
" He gev a snort, an' I see him swerve—
I follered his shoulder clus an' tight;
Another swerve, an' the herd begun
Tew swing around.   Shouts I,  'All right!
Ye've fetched 'em now!'"
As you pass through the ranching country you cannot help thinking of the pictures you have seen of great
herds of buffaloes. Just how the buffaloes disappeared
you know, but you would like to learn how the cattle
came to take their places. While resting at the town
of Macleod, you ask an old man if he can tell you the
story of the first little calves that spent the winter out-
of-doors at the foot-hills.
He declares he knows all about it, and so you hear
this story:
" Before the days of the rancher the Mounted Police
pushed their way out through southern Alberta to keep
order among the red men. Their first stopping-place
was called Fort Macleod, and was the beginning of
the town you are now resting in. When the Mounted
Police went there first, the only cattle in that country
were a few oxen and cows which they had taken along
for their own use. About that time (1876) a man
crossed the border from the United States, driving
twenty-five head of cattle, some of them only calves.
He took them to Fort Macleod and sold them there.
Now, the new owner was busy looking after the Indians,
and had no time to think of his small herd of cattle,
so they were left to stray off wherever they chose.
When spring came he had more time, and went to
gather them in.   He  expected  most of them would THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST        229
have died from cold or been killed by the bears, but
this was not the case. Twenty-five cattle had been
turned loose, and twenty-five cattle came in safe and
well. This is said to be the first ( round up' in the
North-West. After that, the news that cattle could
live out-of-doors all winter in Alberta spread through
the East, and soon ranching was booming in Alberta."
Years before this, horses ran wild on the plains and
lived out all winter. If those horses could talk and
give us their life history, what a story it would be!
They would tell how they were brought to America
by the Spaniards, who long ago settled far to the south
of Canada; how some broke away or were deserted by
their masters, and then wandered north. It was a wild,
free life, and how happy they must have been. But
in time the Indians found them. Now, the Indians
knew how to make use of horses. They had seen
Spaniards riding and driving them, so they captured
these horses and broke them in for use.
By the time the white man reached the Canadian
West the horses in that country were not so large and
sleek as their ancestors, the Spanish beauties, that had
crossed the ocean. Through scarcity of food, hard usage
and cold winters, they had become small and shaggy,
so they were called Indian ponies, or mustangs. They
are now better known as bronchos. Their wild life had
made them strong and hardy, and they have always
been valuable helpers in the work of the West. The
Mounted Policeman's " Little Bummer," mentioned in
a previous chapter, was one of these ponies.
In the year 1900 these sturdy North-West ponies,
or bronchos, and their clever riders were made famous 230    WHEEE THE BUEEALO EOAMED
the world over. The year before this, war had broken
out between Great Britain and the Boer Republics of
South Africa. Early in the year (1900) Lord Strathcona equipped a cavalry regiment recruited from
British Columbia, the North-West and Manitoba, and
known as the " Strathcona Horse." The trusty horses
were well trained, and the men chosen were skilled in
riding and shooting. It was from the little station of
Macleod that many started on that eventful journey.
The rough life of the West, and the dangers in rounding up cattle and checking stampedes, had well fitted
them for the war. The help which both riders and
ponies gave in South Africa brought their native land
before the notice of the whole world, and the Motherland learned to value, as never before, the country that
once had been " No Man's Land."
It was with sorrow as well as joy that they were
welcomed home. At that time all the British Empire
was in mourning for the soldiers who had died in South
Africa and for Queen Victoria, who passed away before
the war was over. For over sixty years the good Queen
had watched over the country, beloved by red men and
white men alike. None mourned her death more deeply
than did her children of the West. An Indian chief
expressed the feelings of all when, in speaking to his
people, he said: " Our Great Mother is dead, and our
hearts are broken. But it pleased her to know that
when she could no longer be our mother her son would
take her place. This comforts us. He will be our
father, and it is well. But still we grieve always for
our Great Mother."
Now you start west again.    After passing Calgary, THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST        231
an important city in Alberta, you come to Banff,
picturesquely situated, where the famous springs are.
Here you will have time for a short rest and afterwards a, visit to the buffalo corral to see another
remnant of the once great herds. After leaving Banff
the train climbs slowly up the mountains, while on each
side you see a fairyland of fleecy clouds and snowy
mountain peaks. Nothing could be more beautiful than
sunset among the mountains, when their snowy caps
are aglow with crimson, purple and gold.
At last you reach the " Great Divide," where you see
a little brook become two tiny streams, one flowing east
and the other west. You have all read the story of a
drop of water, and will remember that it tells you that
"what all the water drops are struggling for is to get
back to the sea, for the sea is the heaven of the water-
drops." These drops in the streamlets are starting
from that height of land on the long journey to the sea.
The drops in the stream that flow east are making their
way to the Atlantic Ocean, and those in the stream that
flow west will find their heaven in the Pacific.
Beyond the " Great Divide " you come to the Kicking Horse Pass, which through an accident became the
highway of the West. It happened that when an exploring party were in the mountains, searching for a
place where a track could be built, a pack-horse, tired
of its heavy load and the hard climbing, gave the leader
of the party a terrific blow with his heels. Thinking
him dead, the men had a grave dug in a narrow canyon.
But as the man was being carried to the grave he became
conscious. Gradually he recovered. When better, he
went to see the spot where he was to have been buried, 232    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
and found that the canyon in which the grave had been
dug was a defile in the mountains, so narrow in places
that a stone could be thrown across. Following this pass
was like going through a gate in a high wall, but there
was room in the gateway for a track to be laid, and it
was the route afterwards chosen for the railway. The
tired horse whose kick led to the discovery of the pass
was honored at last, for Kicking Horse is the name
by which the pass in the mountains has been known
ever since.
But it would be a great mistake to give this name
to the pack-horses. They are not all kicking horses.
Indeed, they are the most faithful helpers man
could have. Without their aid the great West
could never have been explored and settled as it has
been. In one thing the new country has failed. Horses
have never been given the credit due to them for their
services, nor are they always cared for as they should
be. It is only fair to the horses, that when you hear
the name Kicking Horse Pass you should think of the
heavy packs and the hard climbing that so exasperated
one horse as to lead him to use his heels in protest.
You should hope with all your heart that while monuments are being erected in honor of human heroes,
someone will build, to the memory of the horses that
have toiled and died for the Canadian West, a drinking fountain on some hot dusty road where to-day
thirsty horses pass with heavy loads.
Soon Kicking Horse Pass is far behind. For a time
you follow the banks of the Thompson River, and then
the course of the Fraser, with its treacherous rocks and
rapids.    As you glide along in the train, you think of THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST       233
the days when Simon Fraser, with his bark canoe, followed that river to the sea, and even across the whirlpool, of which a recent writer says: " The rocks close
in, but the Fraser River, grim and white, goes through,
swearing horribly." But the river does not "swear"
all the way to the Pacific. Near the end of its course
it grows wide and calm. Peace settles over the landscape before you breathe the salt sea air and catch a
glimpse of the smoke of Vancouver.
It is here that you see the great dream of the early
explorers come true. In the harbor is a ship just in
from China. Men now have a passage to the Western
Sea, but by land instead of water, and goods can be sent
across the continent and on to India and China. Vancouver is famous as the connecting link. How you
wish Radisson, Verendrye and poor Henry Hudson
could see the famous railway, the ocean port, and that
great ship.
The number of saw-mills you see near Vancouver
tells you that the wild animals no longer have all the
dense woods for their hiding places. Every year they
are moving farther back from the white man and his
axe. If you go up the river and visit one of the lumbering camps where some of the logs come from, you
will see how beautiful it is in the forest among the great
trees which have been growing there for hundreds and
hundreds of years. Many of the trees have trunks, nine,
ten, and even twelve feet thick, and tower two and three
hundred feet in the air. You wonder how men, who
look so tiny beside the great trees, can ever cut them
down. But you will soon see how they do it, for two men
are beginning to chop down a big tree.   First they make 234    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
euts on opposite sides of the tree, and each inserts a
plank to stand upon. Then they begin to swing their
axes. First one makes a stroke and then the other, and
far through the forest the echoes carry the sound of
their blows. When the woodmen have made a large
enough notch in the trunk, they rest for a few minutes,
then take their cross-cut saws and saw through from
one side to within a few inches of the great notch they
made on the other. The last thing, if the tree is a very
large one, is to drive a wedge into the cut made by the
saw. Slowly the great trunk sways a moment or two,'
then falls with a crash that echoes through the dark
woods till all the trees in the wood, if they could hear,
would know that one of their comrades, which had
grown there for hundreds and hundreds of years, was
lying on the ground and dead to the forest. As you
watch it all, you wonder how many old bears are back
in the shade, peering among the tree trunks looking for
a safe place to take their cubs down to the river to fish,
and you think of the baby moose and deer that are
taught to run for their lives when they hear the axe of
the woodmen or the gun of the hunter.
In many places the logs are carried down to the
streams by stout little engines that run up and down
the hillsides. The streams help the lumbermen by
floating the logs down to the rivers. At times so many go
down that when the water lowers in the summer some
are left high and dry on the banks; but the lumbermen
know that with the floods of the following spring they
will be carried down to the large river. Where the
streams and smaller rivers empty into the large river
the logs are caught by a boom chained across from THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST        235
shore to shore. From here they are taken in rafts to
the mills farther down the river.
Instead of the picturesque wigwams which Mackenzie
saw along the rivers, and the basket-work traps the
Indians used for catching the fish, one sees in many
places the big canning factories. The fish which go
into these factories come out in bright-colored tins all
ready for the shop windows. Besides the tinned
salmon, whole fish which have been frozen and packed
in refrigerator cars now go to different parts of the
world. The fish of British Columbia are as noted as
her forests. In no other country are the rivers so full
of them.
Mining has been carried on ever since the days of
'58, but the difficulties of carrying across the mountains the provisions and machinery needed in working
the mines prevented for years successful mining at any
great distance back. But now that branches of the
railway are stretching up into the different river valleys,
rich mining districts are being opened up. In the heart
of the Kootenay district you hear so much about gold
nuggets and gold-dust that you know there can be no
doubt of the great wealth of the British Columbia
The precious minerals are not all in the Kootenay
district. Farther north many valuable mines are being
worked, and when you cross over to Vancouver Island
you will see the change which has taken place there
since the early days. Nanaimo is a busy city which
the coal mines have made rich and prosperous, and
many other valuable mines have been discovered. Where
James Douglas built the little Hudson's Bay fort of
Victoria there now stands the city of Victoria, one of
the most beautiful in Canada.
Now, before your journey is over, you must visit
Dawson, the young city in the far north, situated where
the Klondike river flows into the great Yukon. To
reach there you must take a boat for Skagway and sail
north along a part of the coast which Cook passed when
he was trying to find a nor|;h-east passage. At Skagway you take the train to White Horse, and as you go
winding along you catch a glimpse of the Dead. Horse
trail, which men followed to the gold-fields before the
days of the railway. The poor horses had a wretched
time, and so many died along the trail that it was called
the Dead Horse Trail. From White Horse you sail
down the Yukon River to Dawson.
Though tired from your journey, you may find it
hard to sleep there the first night, for you are not used
to bright sunshine when bedtime comes. But the people
of Dawson and the miners are glad indeed to have the
long summer days after their dark winter, when the
sun sets before school is out. Before Dawson had electric lights, the children who attended school in the
winter needed lanterns to light them home. When walking about Dawson next morning you can scarcely believe
that the streets of the town were once a muskeg—that
is, soft, springy black earth—and that if you had tried
to cross that spot in the summer you would probably
have lost your shoes and been almost eaten alive by the
mosquitos. The place has been drained since those days,
and now the mosquitos are not so numerous and the
streets will not pull off your boots.
There was no Dawson when, in 1896, gold was discovered along the river banks in the lonely Klondike THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST
district. But the world soon heard the news, and
thousands started for the north. They went as far as
they could by boat, and struggled along the rest of the
way, some with pack-horses and some without them.
It was then that Dawson sprang up. Like New Westminster, in the early days of British Columbia, Dawson
at first consisted of huts and canvas tents, where tired
people built little fires to cook their meals—that is, if
they were fortunate enough to have any food to cook.
Those who had no frying-pans put their bacon on the
end of a stick and held it over the fire, just as they
have done in other mining towns. But, unlike New
Westminster, hungry dogs howled about the tents and
huts of this far northern town. Everyone had his
dogs, for they are the beasts of burden there in the
winter when the snow is deep. They haul the wood,
carry the mail, the food, and even the gold-dust. Now
the huts and tents of Dawson have changed to houses,
and instead of the flickering lights of the camp-fires
you see the clear electric lights of the Dawson of to-day.
Though the Klondike is rich in gold, all do not find
the precious metal, and even the most successful must
always endure great hardships. Robert W. Service, in
his "Songs of a Sourdough," describes the struggles
of the Klondike miner:
' I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was It famine or scurvy—I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it—
Came out.with a fortune last fall—
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn't all."
Sad stories are told of miners who failed to find the
precious gold-dust, and who lost all they possessed in
the useless search, ending their lives in misery. But
no tale of a journey which failed, even though
" Sometimes it leads to an Arctic trail, and the snows where
your torn feet freeze,
And you whittle away the useless clay, and crawl on your
hands and knees,"
will discourage those who follow, for the true miner
will always say, with our Yukon poet:
"There's gold, and it's haunting and haunting;
It's luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting,
So much as just finding the gold.
It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with.peace."
But many there are who care nothing for the beauty
of the " big, broad land." In a country so far away,
where men both good and bad have gathered, and where
some carry their stores of gold-dust along lonely trails,
one might expect to find thieves and murderers. But
the Klondike is a law-abiding district, and there is no
more crime in Dawson than in any other Canadian
city. You know the reason. The Union Jack floats
over the country, and His Majesty's Mounted Police
keep guard.
While you admire the young city of the north, you
also sympathize with the wild animals that all these
years have been moving back for the white man, and
then, when at last they are almost within the Arctic
circle, the white man came even there to build a city
and sell his guns and traps. But, even since Dawson
was built, the far north is the safest place for the
animals. With the exception of the Klondike, little
sign of the white man is seen there outside of the Hudson's Bay Company posts and the missions. Perhaps
the animals are growing used to the climate and wearing thicker coats than in the days when it was safe to
make their homes in warmer parts of the great West.
When sailing along the coast on your return from
the north, you come near to the old site of what was
once the mission village of Metlahkatlah. You are told
that a new city is being built there, and that it is to
be the terminus of another railway across the continent.
This railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific, passes through
Edmonton and crosses the mountains at the Yellow
Head Pass. The terminus on the Pacific is called
Prince Rupert, after the first governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.
How different it is now on the coast from the days
of Mackenzie and Cook and Vancouver, and how you
miss the walrus and the pretty sea-otter. During your
travels you have seen but little of any wild animals.
The poor things must be very wild now, and those that
have not gone to the north remain in hiding far from
the settled parts. You know they have good reason for
their timidity when you see the number of moose heads
used to decorate the halls of the white man's houses.
These  are trophies that  arouse the ambition of the 240    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
huntsman and send him off after more of these poor
creatures; though, unlike the Indian, he has no need to
hunt them for his food. You can only hope that as the
huntsmen become more numerous, the wild animals will
grow keener of sight and scent and hearing.
You have not seen beaver dams nor beaver lodges
in your journey. This is because the poor beavers are
having a hard time nowadays. Unless they are far
beyond the civilized parts of the country, they scarcely
dare to dam a stream or build a house, but hide in
miserable holes in the river bank. Experience has
taught them that the aristocratic beaver, who will have
his moss-carpeted house in spite of circumstances, is
not likely to be left in possession long. But the white
man still talks of the marvelous work the beavers do
with their sharp teeth and trowel-like tails, and he holds
them up as an example of industry to all small boys.
The question is, will he be fair enough to these same
beavers to see that they always will have some spot
where they can live without fear of guns or traps, and
will he ever cause these wonderful little animals to disappear as he did the beautiful sea-otters ? There is this
on the beaver's side, they had their homes in the Canadian West long before the white man ever heard of such
a land. They were the pioneer builders of the country,
an honor which does not fall to the white man. Surely
they have earned the -right to protection.
With the exception of stories told at the Hudson's
Bay Company trading-posts, which have moved farther
north with the animals, you have heard throughout
your journey but little of the Indians and the wild
creatures that once had the land to themselves.    But THROUGH THE NORTH-WEST        241
you have heard the most glowing accounts of the riches
and value of the West. The white man has told you
of millions and millions of bushels of wheat—wheat
which is better than any that can be raised in other
parts of the world. He has told you of thousands and
thousands of cattle, and millions and millions of dollars'
worth of gold and silver and coal. Then you have
heard how many more acres of land are tilled this year
than last, how much more wheat is raised, and how
much more timber is being exported. The people have
quoted figures until no one who hears could have the
slightest doubt of the progress of the West. You could
not begin to remember it all. It made you tired and
dizzy to listen, so for a little rest before you start for
home you go to visit an Indian reserve.
There are fewer Indians now than there were
when the reserves were first formed. Those that are
left do not look as their ancestors used to look. They
are as different from the red men you read of before as
the buffaloes in the corrals are from the buffaloes of
those days. Perhaps it is because they are wearing
white man's clothes, for the clothes of the white man are
not nearly as picturesque as the blankets and feathers
and pretty furs which the Indians wore in " No Man's
Land." But, in spite of the clothes, they are still
Indians, and they give you an Indian welcome. After
you have shaken hands with them all, you have a chat
with the old chief. He, too, talks about the country;
but his talk does not make you dizzy. He does not
tell you of bushels of wheat and bags of gold-dust, but
he speaks of the good old days and the buffalo hunts 242    WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMED
of the past. When, at last, you mention the change
which has taken place in the West, he says:
"Yes, white man has the country now. It was a
great country when the Indians had it. If the white
man is good it will always be a great country."
The old chief has voiced one of the finest of hopes.
All the fish and lumber and wheat and gold and silver
in the world cannot alone bring glory to the West. The
real greatness of the country depends upon the character
of the people.
When your visit is over, and you take the train for
home, you think of your talk with the chief. You
think, too, of the old days of the " No Man's Land"
that is now at an end, when Indians worked not for
themselves but for their tribes. You know that they
never left their camp-fires without first stamping out
every spark lest it might burn the forest or the prairie
grass, and frighten away the wild animals so that other
Indians could get no game.
Those who now have the land in their keeping cannot do better than to follow the red man's example in
this one thing. Just as the Indians stamped out the
sparks of their fires, so the white men should make sure
that no act of theirs can bring sorrow or misfortune to
others, or loss to their land. If they would be worthy
successors to such men as the early explorers, they must
put the welfare of their country before their own interests. Only so long as her people are loyal to the good
old Union Jack, and true to the highest aims of life,
will the Canadian West be a great and glorious part
of the Empire that girdles the globe.  //   M377 


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