Gabriel Dumont, Batoche, 1885
Date of Issue
May 6, 1985
Perforation or Dimension
14 x 13.5
Designed by Reinhard Derreth Based on an illustration by Grundy
Grundy, "The Capture of Batoche", 1885 Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
The year 1985 marks the hundredth anniversary of the events known as the "North-West Rebellion." The opposition of the Métis (a people of mixed European and Indian blood) to the Canadian government's system of colonizing the west is still an absorbing subject for historians and the public. Dumont was the military leader of the Métis. John Diefenbaker referred to him as a military genius and a true hero, whom history should have recognized more fittingly. Gabriel Dumont was born in Manitoba in 1837. Member of a prominent Métis family, he spent his childhood on the prairies. He learned French and six Indian languages and became a superb rider, hunter, and marksman. At the age of twenty-five, Dumont was chosen chief of the buffalo hunters in Saskatchewan, a position that required the skilled leadership essential to Métis survival. In 1872, Dumont settled south of the village of Batoche and established a ferry across the Saskatchewan River. For many years he was chief of the buffalo hunt and leader of the local government. In 1885, the Métis still had no legal title to the land they occupied. Feeling threatened by the arrival of the railway and the influx of settlers, they decided to set up a provisional government, with Louis Riel's guidance, appointing Dumont as military leader of the Métis forces. Following the traditions of the buffalo hunt, Dumont organized an army of three hundred men. The Métis forces won the battle of Duck Lake and, in March, captured Fort Carlton. In April, Dumont and a hundred Métis repelled General Frederick Middleton's forces at Fish Creek. After this battle, Gabriel Dumont's enemies acknowledged his consummate skill in leading the rebel forces. Batoche, the Métis headquarters, was stormed and taken by Middleton's forces on 12 May 1885. After a vain attempt to rally his troops, Dumont was obliged to flee to the United States. Later, he joined Buffalo Bill's circus and travelled to Quebec and Paris before returning to Batoche in 1893. He died in 1906. This stamp is the work of Vancouver graphic designer Reinhard Derreth. The design shows a portrait of Gabriel Dumont superimposed on a scene representing the final assault of the battle of Batoche. Both illustrations are from Public Archives Canada.
Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1985.
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