Cree Sacred Sites: Tyrone Tootoosis


This is the monument for the 8 warriors that were hung for their alleged participation in the North West Resistance of 1885. This mass grave is located just north and on the side of a hill not far from Fort Battleford and is Canada’s biggest mass hanging of First Nation people. It took place on Nov. 17th, 1885 and the Canadian Government went to the surrounding reserves and forced people to go to Battleford to witness the hanging with the deadly threat that if there was any more resistance that there would be more hangings. First Nation students from the Battleford Industrial School were also forced to attend the hangings. I had the opportunity to interview many First Nation Elders in Cree (which I then translated into English) on the events of 1885 for a book called Loyal Till Death. There are many stories told by our Elders on what actually happened back then. Many First Nation men were wrongly charged, convicted and executed. The truth of Canada’s highly lamentable and historical catalogue on the treatment of First Nation people following the Post Treaty Period still needs to be told. Canadian History as we know it and as has been taught in the classrooms of this country needs to be revisited and the whole story on the events of 1885 and specifically including our perspective needs to be included.

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