University of Manitoba University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Archives & Special Collections Archives & Special Collections UM Libraries
About the U of M Contact Information Maps Faculties myUMinfo



Kenneth Hayes fonds- Northwest Rebellion Photograph Collection, 1869-1890, 1935-1936


18 photographs and other material

In 1885, Louis Riel, the exiled Metis leader, returned north from Montana and rallied support among his former supporters in the mixed-blood community in what is now Saskatchewan. Riel hoped to unite the area's 20,000 Indians with its 4800 Metis in an uprising against Canadian authorities. On 19 March 1885, the Metis of the village of Batoche arrested the local Indian Agent, seized control of the town, and declared the existence of a new provisional government. In the following weeks, hundreds of Aboriginals, led largely by frustrated young warriors from Big Bear's and Little Pine's bands, joined in the rebellion against the Canadian authorities. The leaders remained aloof and, consequently, large-scale Cree support for the Metis never materialized. Federal officials were aware of the minimal Aboriginal involvement in the rebellion and seized upon this opportunity to prevent a general Aboriginal revolt. Troops were sent by rail to Alberta with orders to consider any Aboriginal off his or her reserve a rebel. The army retook Batoche in mid-May and set-off to capture the resistance leaders. Big Bear's family escaped into Montana, as did hundreds of Metis, but the chief and his colleague Poundmaker surrendered to Canadian officials in July. By then, the fighting was over. Trials ensued - as did continued migrations into Montana - and on 16 November, Louis Riel was hanged. The eight other men who received capital punishment for participating in the rebellion were all Aborginal. These executions marked the end of the government's suppression of the Riel uprising.

The material was acquired by the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections from Ken Hayes in 1998

The collection consists of eighteen black and white photographs of which fifteen are originals (1869-1890) and three are photographs of photographs. Also included are four negatives of death certificates, the Charles Pelham Mulhavey book entitled The History of the North-West Rebellion of 1885, a telegram, a letter, and a photocopy

There are no restrictions on this material

No further accruals are expected

No finding aid available.

Several of the photographs in this collection are available on-line.