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Unveil Mass Grave [Battleford]

Archie King

BATTLEFORD - "We are not here to pass judgement on the Indian people who lie buried here in this mass grave, that was done 100 years earlier when they were arraigned for acts of violence during the Rebelion but, this gravesite marker will serve as a call to peace and a reminder that violence and war is never the solution," said Culture and Recreation Minister Rick Folk.

Rick Folk delivers a short message at gravesite.
Rick Folk delivers a short message at gravesite.

The comments came as Folk was addressing a sparse crowd during the mass grave dedication ceremony of Indian people hung at Fort Battleford and buried below the hill north of the fort. The Indians included Little Bear, Wandering Spirit, Miserable Man, Round the Sky, Manachoos, and Napaice or Iron Body for participating in the Frog Lake Massacre and Man-Without-Blood for killing a farmer and Ikteh for Killing an Indian agent.

Attending the unveiling of the interpretive sign included chairman of the North West Centennial Advisory Committee (NWCAC), Irwin McIntosh; Chief Lawrence of Poundmaker, NWCAC member Gordon Tootoosis; researcher Harvey Johnson, director of the NWCAC; Alderman Stan Grover and Gordon Yards and event organizers.

Whether it was because of the sub-zero temperature, not much was said but still Chief Weenie noted the event got together both Indian and non-Indian, on friendlier terms, 100 years after the event and also, Tootoosis noted that the gravesite had no headstone, teepee poles and a permanent interpretive sign, which will be completed in the spring.

"This mass grave commemoration is the last historical date of any significance in the North West Rebellion," added McIntosh.

Funding for the event was about $14,000, a project shared equally by Battleford and NWCAC. The NWCAC mone was obtained through a grant from the provincial Department of Culture and Recreation.