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Back to Batoche Days celebrate Métis history

The Story


On the plain where its ancestors lost the last battle of the North-West Rebellion, the Métis nation is finding its identity. For decades the town of Batoche, Sask., had been largely forgotten. But since 1970 the town has come alive each summer for a celebration the Métis call "Back to Batoche Days." CBC Radio's Our Native Land reports from Batoche as a Métis leader says his people, not the federal government, should control the historic site. 

Medium: Radio
Program: Our Native Land
Broadcast Date: Aug. 4, 1973
Guests: Terry Lusty, Butch MacDougall, Jim Sinclair, Clarence Trottier
Host: Bernelda Wheeler
Duration: 5:30

Did You know?


• Back to Batoche Days were first celebrated in 1970 and have been held annually ever since.
• The festival celebrates Métis culture and history with a rodeo, sports tournaments, fiddling, and dancing demonstrations.
• "Voyageur games" pit contestants against each other in tests of strength and endurance.
• In 2001 over 10,000 people attended the festival, which takes place each year at the end of July.
• The town of Batoche, about 90 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, is also home to a national historic site administered by Parks Canada. The site shows how the Métis lived between 1860 and 1900.
• Visitors to the site can tour the remains of the village, the battlefield and the rifle pits. They can also visit the grave of Gabriel Dumont.
• In 2002 the church at Batoche, St. Antoine de Padoue, was reopened after two years of restoration work.
• Nearby, the Duck Lake Regional Interpretive Centre also commemorates the North-West Rebellion and the battle that took place at Duck Lake.


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