One of the driving forces behind the creation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Cypress Hills Massacre took place in 1873 in what is now Saskatchewan. People of the First Nations had occupied the territory for thousands of years. Meanwhile, Montana fur traders had recently set up trading posts in the area, with tensions rising as the traders’ stocks began to dwindle.Eventually, some disgruntled wolf hunters arrived, tired from tracking another Native American tribe who were supposedly horse thieves. When another horse went missing, the Assiniboine tribe was blamed.The drunken Americans went to take one of the tribe’s horses as payment, but a handful of the Assiniboine, drunk as well, challenged them to a fight. The Americans slaughtered the Assiniboine, killing at least 20 of them.Canadian officials tried in vain to prosecute those responsible, managing to capture three of them while they were still in Canada. But they were acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
Photo credit: Hammerson Peters