Fort Walsh (1875-1883) - A North West Mounted Police (NWMP) post established in 1875 by Inspector James M. Walsh and 30 men of "B" Troop, NWMP in present-day Fort Walsh National Historic Site, Saskatchewan. Closed in 1883. Reopened as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police RCMP Remount Station in 1942 and closed again in 1966.
Fort Walsh was established in 1875 by NWMP Inspector James M. Walsh and 30 men of "B" Troop in direct response to the 1 Jun 1873 Cypress Hills Massacre. That massacre resulted in the killing of some 30 Assiniboine Indians by illegal whiskey traders in the Cypress Hills area.
American whiskey traders had established four posts along Battle Creek and were trading whiskey for buffalo robes. These posts included two that were located in the vicinity of the massacre, the Moses Solomon Post and the Abel Farwell Post. American "wolfers" staying at the Farwell Post were assumed to be responsible for the massacre but no one was ever convicted of that crime.
Fort Walsh was begun in June 1875 along the same Battle Creek, a short distance from the site of the massacre. The presence of a large police force in the area reduced the illegal whiskey trading and calmed the tribes. Treaty 4 was signed in 1877 at the fort and Treaty 6 was signed there in 1879 and 1882.
In 1876 after the Custer massacre at the battle of Little Big Horn, Chief Sitting Bull and 5,000 followers fled into Canada seeking refuge and tribal status. Sitting Bull chose the area around Fort Walsh to settle and negotiated with authorities to stay. Most of the Lakota Sioux eventually chose to return to the United States when it became clear they were not welcome and would not be supported in Canada. Sitting Bull himself returned to the U.S. on 17 Jul 1881.
The importance of Fort Walsh during this period rose to the point where it was reinforced and it became the headquarters of the NWMP in 1878. With the departure of Sitting Bull and the virtual extinction of the buffalo herds, the need for the fort declined. The NWMP headquarters moved to Regina in 1882 and the fort closed in 1883.
The site was reopened as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police RCMP Remount Station in 1942 to breed and train the internationally recognized RMCP black horses. The RCMP discontinued mandatory horse training in 1966 and the remaining activities were moved to Rockcliffe, Ontario. The remount station was closed in 1966.
Must See! Part of the Fort Walsh National Historic Site, Saskatchewan, Canada. This fort has been reconstructed over the original site and has some nine reconstructed log buildings inside a log stockade with two bastions on opposing corners. The reconstructed buildings include the superintendent's residence, commissioner's residence, guardhouse, non-commissioned officer's quarters, armourer's workshop, workshops, and sick horse stable, stable, and bathhouse. A staff building and restrooms are also inside the stockade.
The excellent visitor's center includes detailed interpretive panels, displays, and artifacts. This is a remote location with no facilities but the visitor center does have a snack bar.
Visited: 6 Aug 2014