Timeline... 1850 - 1869

The World

1861-65: Civil War in the U.S.
1848-52: Potato Blight causes extensive crop failures in Ireland.


1859: Expeditions by Capt. Palliser and Henry Youle Hind explore the Northwest Territories to examine the suitability of the region for agricultural settlement.


1869:  Louis Riel leads a group of Metis in the formation of a provisional government.

artney and the R.M. of Cameron

The Fur Trade era ended with the closing of Fort Desjarlais in 1856 and Fort Grant in 1861.


Fort Desjarlais is burned to the ground, either by a prairie fire of the Sioux.  Some of the people who worked in the fort coninue to live in the region, taking up farming.


Fort Grant closes.


Chief Little Crow and his warriors are camped in the Turtle Mountains in Dakota Territory.  Here they are visited by Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Medicine Man.


After participating in the Minnesota massacre, the outlaw Chief Inkpaduta fled into Dakota Territory and on December 4th, 1863 he was driven north into Canada by General Sully.  He made his headquarters in the Turtles and from the Canadian side made repeated raids into the United States until 1868.  

The American authorities send a priest, Father Andre, to a large Sioux camp on the Souris River (west of present day Lauder).  His mission is to persuade this band of Sioux to return home.  Father Andre reported that the Sioux did not seem to care whether they lived or died, but they refused to return to the United States.

In December, 1863 about 500 Sioux crossed the border and camped on the Assiniboine River, near St. Francois Xavier.  Here they were helped by the Metis who had signed a Peace Treaty with the Sioux in 1861.  The Grey Nuns, a small convent at St. Francois Xavier, established in 1859, fed many of the children.

In the autumn of 1863, several hundred Sioux arrived in the Turtle Mountains, along with their white prisoners.  They also were in a state of starvation, and failing to get much help from the Canadian Authorities they made raids into the U.S. to hunt buffalo.


For the next two years until 1866 the Sioux wandered the Manitoba Plains from Fort Garry on the east to the Souris River Plains in the west.  They did not receive any supplies from the Fort Garry Authorities and existed only on the few buffalo left on the plains. At times they were attacked by jealous Canadian Indians.  In 1865 they were engaged by the Cree, north of the Souris River, in the vicinity of present day Deleau.  According to a member of the Oak Lake Sioux reserve, the battle took place in a group of sandhills to the north east of the village and ended only when on e of the chiefs was killed.  However, in spite of great suffering the Dakotas tried to obey the laws of Grandmother’s country (Canada) and eventually were given small reservations.  In this regard the Canadian authorities refused to consider Sioux claims to land ownership north of the 49th parallel and this meant they would not receive treaty money from the Canadian government.


An International Meeting of Indians is held in the Turtle Mountains.  The meeting was chaired by the Oglalla Chief, Crazy Horse, who pleaded for the unification of all tribes to defeat the whites.  These pleas were rejected and the Sioux were left alone to stem the tide of Whiteman expansion.


By this time, the Assiniboines had all migrated from the Souris.  Their numbers greatly reduced by smallpox (the greatest epidemic was in 1838) they followed the few remaining buffalo west.  Eventually they were paced on reservations in the Moose Mountains and in the foothills of the Rockies.  Of the 10,000 that Alexander Henry estimated in 1806, only a few hundred remained.

Settlement & Exploration

This map prepared by the Palliser Expedition shows the region about 1859.


The British North American Exploring Expedition, commonly called the Palliser Expedition, explored and surveyed the open prairies and rugged wilderness of western Canada from 1857 to 1860. One purpose was to to assess the regions potential for agricultural settlement