Wandering Spirit

December 7th, 2013, 11pm

The involvement by a few Indians was not an indication Plains Indians aimed to fight with the Metis (Northwest Rebellian, Canada), according to Stonechild. Most Indian leaders saw little in common between their primary interests and those of the Metis. Indians, for example, already had land holdings guaranteed through treaty. Wandering Spirit, War Chief of Big Bear’s band, shoots Thomas Quinn the Indian agent and calls on the rest of his band to kill the other whites. Quinn, two Catholic priests, five other whites, and a Metis are murdered and this event will become known as the Frog Lake Massacre. Wandering Spirit is tried at Battleford and sentenced to hang for starting the Frog Lake Massacre. Itka and Man Without Blood are tried, found guilty and sentenced to hang for killing Payne and Tremont. Round the Sky, Bad Arrow, Miserable Man, Iron Body and Little Bear are tried in Battleford for involvement at Frog Lake, are found guilty and sentenced to hang. William Cameron, the lone male survivor of the Frog Lake massacre, goes to visit Wandering Spirit, Big Bear’s war chief. Wandering Spirit tells Campbell his reason for killing the settlers at Frog Lake: “Four years ago we were camped on the Missouri River in the Long Knives’ land (USA). Riel was there, trading whiskey to the Indians. He gave us liquor and said he would make war on this country. He asked us to join him in wiping out all Canadians….Last fall Riel sent word to us that when the leaves came out the half-breeds would rise and kill all whites. The Long Knives would come. They would buy the land, pay the Indians plenty money for it, and afterwards trade with them. All the tribes who wished to benefit must rise, too, and help rid the country of Canadians.” Wandering Spirit and 7 other Indians are hanged in Fort Battleford for the Frog Lake Massacre and are buried in a common grave outside the Fort gates at the Battlefords.

David Wade said thanks.

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Mark Houle

Moved to The Pas in 1988 for a few years and never moved on.

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