Culture and history

Frenchman Butte National Historic Site

Pathway at Frenchman Butte
One of many pathways running through Frenchman Butte NHS showcasing the Cree rifle pits
© Parks Canada
Photo of General Strange
Photo of General Strange, commander of the militia forces at the Battle of Frenchman Butte
© Glenbow Archives


Frenchman Butte is of national historic significance because:

  • of its associations with the May 1885 engagement of strongly entrenched First Nations people led by Wandering Spirit and Canadian troops led by General T.B. Strange, the operation of General Strange’s column during the North-West Rebellion/Resistance and its connection to the North-West Rebellion/Resistance of 1885.

Frenchman Butte National Historic Site is situated on a gently rising knoll about five kilometres west of the hamlet of Frenchman Butte on the North Saskatchewan River. The area is marked by 98 defensive pits that were dug by the Cree warriors in 1885. The site is fairly heavily covered in aspen forest with views over the surrounding fields. There are almost no modern intrusions, thereby preserving a landscape that has changed little from 1885.

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