Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan 2007
Battle of Tourond's Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site
- 1.0 Introduction
- 2.0 Planning context: Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC at the turn of the 21st century
- 3.0 Management plan direction: Parks Canada goals and the site vision
- 4.0 Management plan
- 4.1 Unite the management of the battle site, Middleton’s Camp and Batoche NHSC
- 4.2 Acquire and apply research and knowledge to protect and present the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek
- 4.3 Create opportunities on-site for meaningful and memorable visitor experiences
- 4.4 Work with and involve others to promote, protect and present the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC
- 5.0 Management plan implementation and evaluation
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, 2007.
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Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada : management plan.
- Catalogue No: R64-105/73-2007
- ISBN: 978-0-662-49892-6
For more information about the management plan or about Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site:
RR#1 Box 1040, Wakaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0K 4P0
Canada’s national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas offer Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast unique opportunities to experience and understand our wonderful country. They are places of learning, recreation and fun where Canadians can connect with our past and appreciate the natural, cultural and social forces that shaped Canada.
From our smallest national park to our most visited national historic site to our largest national marine conservation area, each of these places offers Canadians and visitors unique opportunities to experience Canada. These places of beauty, wonder and learning are valued by Canadians – they are part of our past, our present and our future.
Our Government’s goal is to ensure that each of these special places is conserved.
We see a future in which these special places will further Canadians’ appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of Canada, the economic well-being of communities, and the vitality of our society.
Our Government’s vision is to build a culture of heritage conservation in Canada by offering Canadians exceptional opportunities to experience our natural and cultural heritage.
These values form the foundation of the new management plan for Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada. I offer my appreciation to the many thoughtful Canadians who helped to develop this plan, particularly to our dedicated team from Parks Canada, and to all those local organizations and individuals who have demonstrated their good will, hard work, spirit of co-operation and extraordinary sense of stewardship.
In this same spirit of partnership and responsibility, I am pleased to approve the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan.
Recommended for approval by:
Chief Executive Officer
Parks Canada Agency
Field Unit Superintendent, Saskatchewan South
Parks Canada Agency
“… Dumont now planned to ambush Middleton and his men by day, and his knowledge of the terrain suggested to him as the obvious place Tourond’s Coulée, the ravine that twisted from Tourond’s farm towards the South Saskatchewan, and down which Fish Creek ran to the main river. Into the coulee and up again on to the parkland south of Batoche, wound the most direct trail from Clarke’s Crossing to Gabriel’s Ferry, the trail which – as Jérome Henry informed Dumont – Middleton and his column intended to take. It was the kind of natural trap in which, if everything went well, a small army might be closed off and systematically potted until the survivors gave in. Marksmen carefully placed in the creekbed and on the slopes above could command the road all through the ravine, and, at the bridge which Middleton’s men must cross, low thick woods came close down to the edge of the creek. There was perfect cover for the ambusher, and perfect exposure for the ambushed; it was a miniature Khyber Pass of the North, and after the battle was over General Middleton, whose past experience included the Indian Mutiny, would admit that, if it had not been for the excellence of his own scouts, his column might easily have been destroyed.”
In the 1880s, people of western Canada, particularly Métis and some First Nations, were alarmed by the Dominion of Canada’s plan, as part of Canada’s National Policy, to survey lands of the Canadian west with a new grid land system to accommodate immigration and new settlement. With their concerns not being recognized by the federal government and tensions mounting, the Métis, led by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, declared a provisional government at Batoche to have a voice and formally negotiate with the Canadian government.
The provisional government declaration was seen as a revolt by the Canadian government that would be addressed through confrontation. The Métis provisional government, increasingly frustrated by the lack of response to negotiate from Ottawa, began to prepare and arm for the protection of their lands. The Métis encounter with and defeat of North West Mounted Police at Duck Lake on March 26, 1885, convinced the Canadian government that the police force was inadequate to quell the insurgency. The North West Field Force, made up of Canadian militia from eastern Canada and Manitoba and led by General Frederick Middleton, was thus created and dispatched forth to Batoche in the North West Territories – the heart of the Métis homeland.
The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada (NHSC) commemorates the place – la coulée des Tourond – where on April 24, 1885, Métis led by Gabriel Dumont, and Cree and Dakota First Nations, held back the advancing North West Field Force. It was the first time the Métis encountered the Canadian military. Greatly outnumbered, and despite losing the element of surprise, the Métis, Cree and Dakota stopped Middleton’s progress on Batoche. Exhausted from the day’s battle, both forces withdrew from la coulée des Tourond to fight another day. Middleton’s advance on Batoche would be delayed for two weeks. For Middleton and his mostly untested troops, time was needed to reorganize, tend to the wounded and better prepare for a formidable opponent. For Dumont and the Métis people, la bataille de la coulée des Tourond was a victory that gave them time to rally Métis and First Nations support and prepare for the defence of Batoche.
The Battle of Tourond’s coulee / Fish Creek NHSC comprises 36 hectares of the battle site and Madame Josephte Tourond and her family’s homestead, and 17 hectares where Middleton’s camp was situated after the battle and several militia burials are located. Together, they are a place for memories and remembrance. It is a place of meaning and value to Métis, First Nations and, for that matter, all Canadians as we venture to learn more of Canada’s growing pains as a young nation. It is a story that continues to be relevant today as Métis and First Nations continue to define their place within Canadian society. The year 2010 will mark the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek and the 1885 North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance.
As the first management plan for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC, it is the foundation for future management of and decision-making for this site. This plan describes the vision, and how the vision will be achieved to conserve, tell the stories, and provide for meaningful visitor experiences at this nationally significant place.
1.1 National Historic Sites of Canada
The nation-wide network of Parks Canada protected heritage areas includes national parks, national marine conservation areas and some national historic sites, including the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC. Footnote 1 National parks and national marine conservation areas are established to represent clearly identified land and marine environments (refer to the Parks Canada National Parks System Plan and the National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan). National historic sites are designated to commemorate various facets of Canada’s history (refer to the Parks Canada National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan). The objectives of national historic sites are:
Among Canada’s 912 places, 587 persons and 360 events of national historic significance, the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC is a part of the theme of Governing Canada, and its evolution as a nation. There are no less than fourteen nationally significant events, places, and persons associated with the 1885 North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance including, for example, Louis Riel, Gabriel Dumont, Batoche, Duck Lake, Fort Carlton, Fort Battleford, Frenchman Butte, and Frog Lake.
- to foster knowledge and appreciation of Canada’s past through a national program of historical commemoration;
- to ensure the commemorative integrity of national historic sites administered by Parks Canada by protecting and presenting them for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of this and future generations, in a manner that respects the significant and irreplaceable legacy represented by these places and their associated resources; and
- to encourage and support the protection and presentation by others of places of national historic significance that are not administered by Parks Canada (Parks Canada National Historic Sites Policy).
“Commemorative Intent” is the specific reason a place is designated nationally significant. Commemorative intent comes from the recommendations of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC), which are approved by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada.
“Commemorative Integrity” is a concept created by Parks Canada to manage, evaluate and report on national historic sites. It is used to report to Parliament and to the Canadian public on their condition and stewardship. A national historic site has commemorative integrity when:
- the resources directly related to the reasons for designation as a national historic site are not impaired or under threat;
- the reasons for designation as a national historic site are effectively communicated to the public; and
- the site’s heritage values are respected in all decisions and actions affecting the site.
A primary objective of this management plan is to ensure the commemorative integrity of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish NHSC for this and future generations of Canadians.
1.2 Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek: A place of national historic significance
The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek was designated a national historic site in 1923. Based on the HSMBC’s recommendation, its reason for national significance is that at this place occurred a military engagement of the North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance between Middleton’s North West Field Force and Gabriel Dumont’s Métis and First Nations forces.
Not until 1971 did Parks Canada acquire and administer as a national historic site the 36-hectare parcel of land where the actual battle occurred. It is here that the Clarke’s Crossing – Gabriel’s Crossing trail traversed Fish Creek and where Madame Josephte Tourond’s home was situated. Although records indicate that battle action took place up and down the creek beyond the Parks Canada property, the concentration of the encounter was played out within the limits of this property. But, when the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek was designated in 1923, the HSMBC believed the battle was at the 16-hectare parcel of land set aside by the federal government in 1916 to protect the graves of the Canadian militia who fell in the battle. For decades this property, the site of Middleton’s camp after the encounter, was considered the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek National Historic Site.
Today, both the battle site and the site of Middleton’s camp are known as the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC.
1.3 Management planning
A management plan, with provisions for commemorative integrity, resource protection and visitor use, must be tabled in Parliament for each and every national historic site administered by Parks Canada (from the Parks Canada Agency Act, 1998). This management plan meets that requirement.
The heritage values, resources, and messages defining the commemorative integrity for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC are described in The Battle of Fish Creek National Historic Site Commemorative Integrity Statement (2000). This document serves as a reference point for site management planning. As well as giving direction to maintain or improve a site’s commemorative integrity, the management plan also gives direction for providing meaningful visitor experiences, and promoting public awareness and understanding about the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek and the Parks Canada mandate. The principles and practice of Parks Canada’s Cultural Resource Management Policy were applied in developing these directions and an environmental assessment of the plan was done as per The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, 2004.
The development of this plan involved the exchange of information and ideas among Parks Canada staff from a number of research and management functions, Métis Elders, staff of the Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Métis community in Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Environment, and other stakeholders and interested public.
Public consultation was an integral part of the planning. A mail-out to known and potentially interested individuals and organizations solicited comments and ideas for the site vision and planning considerations. A two-day open house was held during the 2006 Back to Batoche Days for the same purpose. In all, more than 300 people were informed about the planning program, the majority of whom provided favourable feedback on the site vision and about ten percent provided written information on the vision and planning considerations that was used in writing this management plan. The plan was provided to individuals and organizations that expressed an interest in reviewing it for comment. The results from consultation were used in completing the management plan.
Tabled in Parliament by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the management plan is the principal guiding document for managing the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC. While the management plan should be effective for fifteen years, Parks Canada will initiate a review at least every five years to assess its relevance and effectiveness for site management.
In the following chapters, the state of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC is reviewed (Chapter 2); the goals and vision for the site’s future are described (Chapter 3); the strategic directions, objectives and actions to achieving the vision are given (Chapter 4); and, guidelines for plan implementation are explained (Chapter 5).
2.0 Planning context: Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC at the turn of the 21st century
This chapter describes the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC when management planning began. It provides information to understand the context, condition, issues and needs that have affected the direction taken in planning, and include views and ideas expressed by stakeholders and the interested public.
2.1 Administration and operations
The 36-hectare battle site is administered by Parks Canada under authority of the Historic Sites and Monuments Act (1985). The Saskatchewan South Field Unit manages the site from Batoche NHSC. Parks Canada staff regularly inspect and maintain the site. Beyond that there is no staff presence at the site. Outside of the occasional special event, no visitor facilities, services or programs are provided here.
The Saskatchewan Lands Title Office identifies the 16-hectare parcel containing Middleton’s camp as property of the Province of Saskatchewan. Parks Canada and the Province are presently reviewing whether this property is federal rather than provincial crown property owing to an error in the land title records. The question of ownership is being addressed and will be resolved sometime in the near future. Like the battle site, there is regular inspection and maintenance of the Middleton camp area and gravesite. Until recently, Parks Canada staff provided this service. Otherwise, there is no staff presence or visitor facilities and services beyond pit toilets and picnic tables.
Through public consultation, Parks Canada was told that both properties should be protected, presented and integrated as one national historic site, regardless of ownership. A representative of Saskatchewan Environment has participated in the management planning. An objective of this plan is to provide an integrated approach to management of the two properties while the matter of ownership goes through transition. The public also expressed comments that Parks Canada continue to work with the Métis people in protecting this place and telling its story. Staff from the Gabriel Dumont Institute and two Métis Elders, who have been working on proposed rewording for the site's HSMBC plaque, participated on the management planning team that developed this management plan.
2.2 Cultural resource management
Cultural resource management involves generally accepted practices for protecting and presenting cultural resources found in national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas. A cultural resource is a human work or place that gives evidence of human activity, or a place that has spiritual or cultural meaning, and has been determined to have heritage value by way of a recognized designation, or by an associated community’s shared belief of what has important historical, cultural or spiritual meaning. Described in the Parks Canada Cultural Resource Management Policy, cultural resource management is practised by:
- inventorying resources on the property;
- evaluating which resources are cultural resources by identifying their heritage values;
- considering the heritage values in decisions and actions that may affect the protection and presentation of the individual cultural resources and the site as a whole; and
- monitoring cultural resources and our actions to ensure their conservation and protection.
Fish Creek, la coulée des Tourond, is a cultural landmark not only as a famous battle site, but also as the clearly identifiable southern boundary of the Métis St. Laurent Settlement. The settlement stretched along both sides of the South Saskatchewan River in river lots from Fish Creek to St. Louis at the northern boundary. La coulée des Tourond is the only significant creek and coulee feature on the east side of the South Saskatchewan between Saskatoon and Prince Albert. The major historic trail from Clark’s Crossing to Gabriel’s Crossing was known as the Fish Creek Trail because it had to cross this coulee.
Archaeological investigations have identified some cultural resources at the battle site, notably the probable cellar and artifacts from Madame Tourond’s home, and the former Fish Creek Trail. Archaeological survey of the ground and some testing below ground have been done at Middleton’s camp. No evidence of the camp has been found. Little is known of the graves other than the one marker. Despite the absence of physical remains associated with the battle and homestead, the landscape of the coulee, the South Saskatchewan River and prairie/parkland at both properties have great historic value for what they can tell of the battle. Therefore, the landscape must be managed as a cultural resource. Notable landscape elements and other features that should be managed for their historic value include:
- the coulee itself as the focal point of the battle and as a natural demarcation of the south boundary of the St. Laurent Settlement;
- the gradual slopes, cliffs and steep undercuts of the coulee, including the “Hornet’s Nest” that provided firing lanes and hiding spots for the Métis and obstacles for the North West Field Force;
- the remaining trees and brush in and around the coulee that would represent the type of coverage used by the Métis and militia (the parkland setting of “bluffy prairie” identifiable in historic maps and photographs);
- the meandering nature of the stream as well as the oxbow in the coulee;
- the ruts of the Fish Creek Trail and remnants of the bridge that help explain why the battle took place here, as well as placing the battle site in the larger regional context.
- the cellar feature of Madame Tourond’s home that helps place and orient both the site of the battle and the homestead;
- the setting of Middleton's camp by the junction of Fish Creek and the South Saskatchewan River both for defence and a means to cross the river; and
- the graves and marker at Middleton's camp.
Comments from public consultation identified that in addition to the cultural resources, native plants and grasses, and the natural beauty of the site should also be protected.
The landscape and cultural resources of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC are in generally good condition. While archaeological investigations (less so historical research) have been done to inventory physical resources of the battle site and Middleton's camp, the Battle of Fish Creek NHSC lacks maps and resource descriptions to properly monitor, manage and interpret the site.
2.3 Heritage presentation
Heritage presentation is how Parks Canada provides opportunities to enjoy and learn about its parks and sites. Such opportunities may be on-site for visitors or off- site, known as outreach, for interested Canadians who may never visit the site. Heritage presentation forms a large part of visitor experiences for national historic sites.
Heritage presentation is based on the site’s commemorative intent, that is, its reason for designation. The principal message for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek’s heritage presentation is:
- at this place occurred a military engagement of the North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance between Middleton’s North West Field Force and Gabriel Dumont’s Métis and First Nations forces.
The story of the battle as we know it, lacks perspective. While we have an understanding of the battle from the view of the North West Field Force (through government records, newspaper accounts, photographs and maps), we know little of the Métis experience and even less of the First Nations involvement. Many stories about the battle exist, but are fragmented and inconsistent. This provides both a challenge and an opportunity for telling the various perspectives on the actions and outcomes of the day’s battle. There are also the individual stories of the battle participants that bring out the human dimension to that day. To the militiamen and their officers, they were there to quash an uprising and were now fighting for their lives. To the Métis, Dakota and Cree, the government refused to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the West, and this was now their stand to protect their lives, rights and homelands.
Almost no heritage presentation is provided by Parks Canada at the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC. A handout is available at Batoche NHSC. There is the HSMBC plaque with some information on the battle. Parks Canada staff, Métis Elders and staff from the Gabriel Dumont Institute are working together on the rewording of the plaque text, intended to correct information in it and give balance what were the events and outcomes of the day's battle both from the perspective of the Métis and Government forces. The proposed rewording will be going to the HSMBC for its consideration.
The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC has historic importance as part of the Métis homestead of Madame Tourond and the St. Laurent Settlement. Comments from public consultation noted that the family and settlement history associated with la coulée des Tourond should be included in the site’s story. Also, la bataille de la coulée des Tourond is but one place and story about the 1885 North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance. Collectively, the larger network of 1885 sites represent an untapped resource that, if promoted together, have the power to connect visitors to the past and to provide them with opportunities to learn about this difficult but pivotal period in western Canadian history.
2.4 Visitors, and visitor services and facilities
No information exists on who visits The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC and why. Visitor numbers are likely low and limited to local people. Some visitors to Batoche NHSC that ask about the battle are directed to the site. In 2005, the field by la couli des Tourond was used for an overnight stop for a Métis wagon trek.
Access to the battle site is by a gravel municipal road. A secondary gravel road reaches Middleton’s camp. No visitor services or facilities are available at the battle site, while only pit toilets and picnic tables are available at Middleton’s camp.
Public comments generally support low-key site development and visitor experiences that will maintain a tranquil, historic-like setting. More needs to be done to understand the potential for increasing visitation, and making this site accessible and its story known.
3.0 Management plan direction: Parks Canada goals and the site vision
3.1 Parks Canada goals for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC
The following goals express priorities in the management of any national historic site administered by Parks Canada. These goals are reflected in the vision for the site.
3.1.1 Heritage conservation
"Parks Canada protects nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage so that citizens of today and tomorrow can experience and be inspired by the special places and rich stories of our nation's past. Ecological and commemorative integrity are guiding management principles for national parks and national historic sites, and environmental sustainability is key to national marine conservation areas. These when achieved, ensure that Canada's national treasures are conserved for present and future generations."
Goal: The commemorative integrity of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC is maintained or improved, such that:
- the historic place and its cultural resources of national historic importance are not impaired or under threat; and
- the heritage values of all cultural resources found at the site are respected in all decisions and actions affecting the site, by applying the principles and practice of the Parks Canada Cultural Resource Management Policy.
3.1.2 Meaningful visitor experience
"Parks Canada aims to offer memorable experiences that help foster a shared sense of responsibility for environmentally and culturally sound actions that will extend beyond park and site boundaries, and influence the values of Canadians as a whole. Experiences gained through visits to national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas provide visitors with a clear and strong sense of Canada, adding to the well-being and health of all Canadians."
Goal: All visitors to the Battle for Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC are welcome, have safe visits, are satisfied with the quality of services provided, and find the experience relevant to them.
3.1.3 Public appreciation and understanding
"Through the building of awareness and understanding, Parks Canada's goal is to ensure that Canadians are comfortable in the knowledge that their special heritage places are protected for present and future generations, … have the opportunity to experience and appreciate Canada's national treasures, … [and] benefit from a greater sense of shared identity…"
Goal: Canadians appreciate and understand the significance of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC and the 1885 North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance, are inspired to learn more, and support efforts to protect the site.
3.1.4 Partnerships and public involvement
"Parks Canada is a partner with its stakeholders in reaching out to Canadians and facilitating their enjoyment and benefit from these special places."
Goal: Commemorative integrity, public appreciation and understanding, and meaningful visitor experiences at the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC are enhanced through partnerships and cooperation among stakeholders.
3.2 Vision for Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC
At first glance the setting is another deep ravine on the open prairie – la coulée des Tourond, cut by Fish Creek as it flows to the South Saskatchewan River. The scene is tranquil, the landscape inconspicuous. Yet here is a place of great historical importance and meaning, because in this coulee – on a long ago abandoned trail, Canada as a nation changed.
At this site, on April 24, 1885, Métis and Dakota and Cree, under the leadership of Gabriel Dumont fought against Canadian militia – the North West Field Force - for the first time in the 1885 North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance, in a climate of growing discontent. Lives were lost and military tactics were rethought. The stage was being set for the final battle at Batoche.
Today and forever, the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC retains its historic sense of place. Within this peaceful prairie landscape, visitors discover and contemplate the reasons, actions and outcomes of the battle and why this place is important to all Canadians. The stage is set for memorable visitor experiences by using low-key, innovative and engaging media that are based on research and knowledge, and which complement the setting. Visitors will follow the footsteps of the 1885 combatants; decipher from the landscape how Gabriel Dumont intended to trap the Canadian forces; and sense the courage, fear, confusion and determination on both sides as the day’s encounter unfolded. Visitors will learn about Madame Josephte Tourond, her homestead and that Fish Creek was the southern point of the Métis St. Laurent Settlement. Those who manage and use the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC will care for it by respecting its history and protecting its land. Services will support the basic needs for a positive visitor experience, and special events and programs will take place at the site. Parks Canada, by working with other heritage places and museums, will encourage visitors, whether on-line or in person, to visit these and other heritage places to discover more of the story of the battle and 1885.
4.0 Management plan
The management plan is organized as strategic directions, objectives and actions of how Parks Canada intends to achieve the vision for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC, described in the previous chapter. There are four strategic directions:
- unite the management of the battle site, Middleton's camp and Batoche NHSC;
- acquire and apply research and knowledge to protect and present the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek;
- create opportunities on-site for meaningful and memorable visitor experiences; and
- work with and involve others to promote, protect and present the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC.
The strategies are neither mutually exclusive nor ordered by priority. Under each direction are one or more objectives and their actions for plan implementation. The actions are measurable and achievable within five to ten years of the plan’s tabling. The year 2010 is a target for a number of site and program improvements that will coincide with the 125th anniversary of the 1885 North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance.
4.1 Unite the management of the battle site, Middleton's Camp and Batoche NHSC
The battle site and Middleton’s camp properties of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC are currently administered and managed as separate entities. Both properties have a role in telling the events and outcome of the battle. Measures will be taken to ensure the heritage values of both properties are promoted, protected and presented in a like manner.
The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC and Batoche NHSC have a unique relationship among the numerous heritage places that commemorate and interpret the events of 1885. Batoche is where Dumont and his Métis force embarked from, it is where the Métis who fell in battle are buried and commemorated, and Batoche is what the North West Field Force was heading for and what the Métis were defending on the day of the battle. The proximity of the two national historic sites also enables some orientation and outreach for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee/ Fish Creek NHSC to be done from Batoche and for site staff to provide routine maintenance. Batoche NHSC staff have endeavoured to care for and interpret the site as limited and informal part of their responsibilities at Batoche. Measures will be taken to formalize the operating relationship between these two national historic sites.
4.1.1 Objective: Promote, protect and present the battle site and Middleton's camp as one destination, one protected place and one story of national historic significance
- Steps to transfer the Middleton camp property from provincial to federal crown ownership, to correct an error in land title records, are currently underway. If necessary, Saskatchewan and Parks Canada will proceed with an interim land management agreement that enables this objective to be met should transfer be delayed.
- Parks Canada will request the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to affirm Middleton's camp as part of the historic place designated nationally significant. The Commemorative Integrity Statement for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC will be revised accordingly.
- Research, management and development proposals for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC will consider the needs of both properties.
4.1.2 Objective: Promote and present the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek as part of the story of the Battle of Batoche and vice versa
- Batoche staff will continue to inform visitors about the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC using the memorial at the Batoche cemetery and media at the Visitor Reception Centre.
- The role of la bataille de la coulée des Tourond in the defence of Batoche and the St. Laurent Settlement will be conveyed in interpretive material to be developed for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC.
- The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC will be incorporated into or linked with the Parks Canada website page for Batoche NHSC.
- Advertising for Batoche NHSC as a visitor attraction will consider the inclusion of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC, where appropriate.
4.1.3 Objective: Integrate planning and management of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC with Batoche NHSC
- Business and work planning for Batoche NHSC will integrate considerations for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC.
- The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC will continue to be included in Batoche NHSC staff orientation and training.
- The management plan review for Batoche NHSC will consider the operating relationship with the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC.
- The Shared Management Board for Batoche NHSC, when reconvened, may consider its role in the management of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC.
4.2 Acquire and apply research and knowledge to protect and present the Battle Of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek
Managing the protected landscape of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC requires informed decisions based on knowledge of what landscape elements and archaeological features have value and why. Telling the story of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek must be founded on knowledge from historical records and oral accounts, and from the perspectives of the Métis, Cree, Dakota and Canadian military in order to provide a real, authentic and accurate depiction of history. The reference here to la bataille de la coulée des Tourond acknowledges the importance of the Michif place name in presenting the site to the public.
Information about the historic place and its history is adequate for interim management and interpretation of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC, but needs to be collated and analyzed. More comprehensive research will be required to acquire and develop individuals’ stories of the battle, the multiple perspectives, and the history of the Tourond family associated with the battle site and that were a part of the Métis community there.
4.2.1 Objective: Acquire knowledge about the historic place, the events of the battle and the Tourond homestead, for use in protecting and presenting the site
- Parks Canada will survey and complete digitized map(s) for the site that includes benchmark datums, property boundaries, topography, water bodies, landscape elements, cultural resources and vegetation important to managing and understanding the historic place. This should be done early in plan implementation and updated as necessary to facilitate site planning.
- Interest will be requested of the Beardy's and Okemasis, White Cap, and One Arrow First Nations to have the story of Cree and Dakota participation in the battle told.
- A qualified historian will do an audit and inventory of the oral and written history related to the battle, including the role and involvement of women, and a research program will be developed and undertaken.
- A survey will be conducted for communities of native grasses and plants.
- Efforts will be taken to determine the number, location and layout of the militia graves by non-intrusive means.
- Based on the above studies, the Commemorative Integrity Statement for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC will be updated.
4.2.2 Objective: Apply knowledge about the site’s resources and history to properly protect the site and its historic values
- A monitoring process will be developed and implemented on a regular basis that will be used by Parks Canada management to evaluate the health and impact of use on the landscape and archaeological features of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC.
- Site maintenance guidelines, including those for vegetation management (e.g., mowing and haying) will be developed and carried out with the purpose of ensuring commemorative integrity, enabling a quality visit, and being considerate of neighbours. Site maintenance activities and outcomes will not obscure or impact the historic sense of place.
4.2.3 Objective: Apply knowledge about the site’s resources and history to properly present the site
- In consultation with the Gabriel Dumont Institute, First Nation interests and military heritage interests, Parks Canada will develop a storyline and interpretive concept for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC that provides a balance of multiple perspectives and that will guide development of on-site interpretation and outreach.
- Key landscape elements, archaeological features and viewing points will be identified for use in interpreting the site to the public. The historical photographs by Captain Peters and maps by Captain Haig represent the first time Canadian military action was recorded in detail and with film. They are unique resources for interpreting the landscape and viewscapes to the public.
- The archaeological artifacts from Madame Tourond’s cellar will be considered for use in site interpretation, possibly at Batoche NHSC.
- The interpretive plaque at Middleton’s camp will be corrected and distinguished from a Historic Site and Monuments Board plaque.
4.3 Create opportunities on-site for meaningful and memorable visitor experiences
People should feel welcome, safe and inspired when visiting a national historic site. They should leave with a positive and meaningful memory of the place and its story.
Visitor experience at the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC, a non- operational site (i.e., without a regular Parks Canada staff presence), will be different from that of Batoche NHSC. Interpretation of the landscape with minimal intrusion on the historic sense of place will restrict the building of facilities and infrastructure, and will help maintain the site’s serene setting and natural, scenic beauty. For these reasons, physical access throughout the battle site will not be for everyone, and visitors will need to be self-reliant in terms of potable water and dealing with inclement weather. Nonetheless, there is a need to create a sense of arrival, welcome and orientation to both the battle site and Middleton’s camp, and to create awareness that the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek is part of a system of national historic sites and a network of 1885 sites.
Designing programs, media and services for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC requires a knowledge of who are the site’s visitors, who may be interested in coming, and what their expectations may be. Program development will be done gradually but steadily over the years, and evaluated for effectiveness. A sufficient visitor program should be in place by 2010, the 125th anniversary of the 1885 North West Rebellion / Métis Resistance. As a non-operational site with no current means of collecting entry fees, revenue generation will likely remain small.
4.3.1 Objective: Know the site’s visitors for site program planning and delivery
- Parks Canada will conduct a survey of site visitor use and potential use early in the stages of plan implementation. Objectives will include identifying visitor expectations and evaluating approaches to interpretation.
- Educators and youth will be consulted on how the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC may be experienced by school and youth groups.
- Design and introduction of site program elements will be evaluated for effectiveness in engaging targeted audiences.
4.3.2 Objective: Develop public programs gradually, but steadily
- A five-year development plan will priorize and coordinate the actions in this plan, making sure progress is made in heritage conservation, public appreciation and understanding, visitor experiences, and partnering opportunities. Public risk and environmental impact assessments will be completed for the development plan.
- Basic services and facilities, similar for other Parks Canada non-operational national historic sites in Saskatchewan, will be provided, including modest parking, toilets and benches. A picnic area and an orientation kiosk may be considered for the battle site. Facilities and services should be designed for year-round exposure, limited maintenance and surveillance, impact to commemorative integrity, and expected level of visitation. Visitor services and facilities will be situated and designed in ways so not to impair the setting or viewscapes associated with the battle site, its tranquil setting, or inconspicuous landscape.
- One or more walking trails at the battle site and Middleton’s camp, along with self-guiding brochures, will serve as a primary means for site interpretation.
- Low-key, innovative media (audio and visual) will be considered for more evocative storytelling, particularly conveying the sense of courage, fear, confusion and determination experienced by the combatants.
- Guidelines to consider cultural resource management, environmental impacts and public safety for special events will be developed and applied.
4.3.3 Objective: Direct visitors to the site
- A directional signage plan that links the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC (both properties) with Batoche NHSC will be developed and implemented. Directional information will also be provided on the Parks Canada website.
- The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC will be incorporated with advertising of Batoche NHSC on area highways.
4.4 Work with and involve others to promote, protect and present the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC
Métis Elders, staff from the Gabriel Dumont Institute and Saskatchewan Environment have been variously involved in the management planning for the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC and proposed rewording of its Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque. The public and stakeholders were informed and consulted in the development of the management plan. Continued consultation with interested public and stakeholders and collaboration with partners are vital to successfully implementing the plan. Batoche NHSC has proven successes in collaboration among partners, notably the Gabriel Dumont Institute, to achieve common goals.
4.4.1 Objective: Make partnering at the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC possible and meaningful
- The Saskatchewan South Field Unit and Batoche NHSC will work with interested individuals and organizations within and outside the Métis community to create opportunities for mutual benefit. Possible means within Parks Canada to make partnering opportunities efficient, effective and sustainable will be explored, and where possible, implemented.
4.4.2 Objective: Network with other 1885 sites
- Parks Canada will work with other organizations to promote and market the 1885 network of historic places and museums as an integrated tourist product, targeting 2010 as an important year for program delivery.
4.4.3 Objective: Communicate with neighbours and public about the importance of Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC
- Parks Canada will inform the rural municipalities of Fish Creek and Aberdeen and adjacent landowners of the heritage values of the site and where possible, work with them to retain the historic sense of place and setting of the national historic site.
- The national significance of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC and Parks Canada’s role in ensuring its commemorative integrity will be communicated at events held at the site.
- The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC will be promoted as part of Parks Canada special events held at Batoche NHSC (e.g., Community Appreciation Day, Parks Day).
5.0 Management plan implementation and evaluation
The management plan provides long-term direction for Parks Canada managers of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC. It is a framework for more detailed planning and decision-making, and a strategic reference for capital expenditure forecasts and future management and operations.
Implementation of the plan is the responsibility of the Saskatchewan South Field Unit Superintendent. Implementation will be done through the Saskatchewan South Field Unit business plan. The business plan identifies which actions of the management plan will be realized within a five-year period. Any changes to the five-year forecast are captured by the annual review and updating of the business plan. Implementation of the strategies and actions may be reconsidered in response to new circumstances or information, or changing national priorities and decisions.
Progress on management plan implementation will be communicated through annual reporting and the Parks Canada State of the Protected Heritage Areas report, which is updated every couple of years. The management plan will also be subject to periodic review (at least every 5 years), and can be amended to reflect changing circumstances. The public will be consulted about major changes.
The team that developed this management plan included: Rose Fleury, Ed Bruce, Karon Shmon, Janette Hamilton, Cheryl Penny, Mark Calette, Ray Fidler, Rose- Marie Carey, Irene LeGatt, Elaine Rohatensky, Darren Prefontaine, Greg Thomas and Kevin Lunn.
5.1 Strategic environmental assessment summary
The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC management plan was subjected to a strategic environmental assessment pursuant to The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, 2004. The evaluation of environmental effects included a consideration of natural, cultural and socio-economic effects.
Residual impacts are those impacts that will remain after the mitigation measures have been followed. Many important positive residual effects will remain as a result of the implementation of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC management plan, for example: improved linkage to Batoche NHSC, improved visitor services and facilities on site, improved interpretation and awareness of the story of the Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek, and stronger partnerships with stakeholders.
There are a couple of initiatives identified in the management plan that could potentially result in negative environmental effects. However, these effects can be minimized through following existing guidelines such as those in the Management of Pesticides by Parks Canada Management Directive 2.4.1 (Parks Canada 1998). In addition, developing an overall development plan for the site will allow the environmental assessment of both the project-specific and cumulative effects of proposed new site facilities. As long as mitigation in regards to cultural resources, vegetation, soils, erosion, riverbank, wildlife and ensuring commemorative integrity is implemented, there will be no residual important negative environmental effects.
Stakeholders and public were informed and consulted from the outset of the planning program by means of mail-outs and a two-day open house held during the 2006 Back to Batoche Days. Comments from and results of consultation were used in developing the management plan.
The Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek NHSC management plan will protect and present the site while enhancing its commemorative integrity. Taking into account the mitigation measures that are proposed in the strategic environmental assessment, including plan and project specific environmental assessments, these actions will not result in important negative environmental effects.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Battle of Fish Creek National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan (Parks Canada 2006) must be referred to in implementing the management plan.
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