Battle of Loon Lake

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Battle of Loon Lake
Part of the North-West Rebellion
DateJune 3, 1885
Result Canadian victory
Cree Flag of Canada (1868–1921).svg Canada
Commanders and leaders
Big Bear
Wandering Spirit
Sam Steele
150 75 militia[1]
Casualties and losses
5–12 dead
75-100 wounded at Loon Lake and Frenchman Butte

7 wounded

Official nameSteele Narrows National Historic Site of Canada
The District of Saskatchewan in 1885 (within the black diamonds) included the central section of Saskatchewan and extended into Alberta and Manitoba.

The Battle of Loon Lake concluded the North-West Rebellion on June 3, 1885 and was the last battle fought on Canadian soil. It was fought in what was then the District of Saskatchewan of the Northwest Territories,[2] at what is now known as Steele Narrows, in Saskatchewan's Makwa Lake Provincial Park.

Led by Major Sam Steele, a force of North-West Mounted Police, Alberta Mounted Rifles and Steele's Scouts (a body of mounted militia raised by Steele himself) caught up with and dispersed a band of Plains Cree warriors and their white and Métis hostages.

Cree scouts made a determined stand with what was left of their ammunition, but the body of the Cree column, realizing the hopelessness of their situation, released their prisoners and fled. The Cree casualties were four dead and dozens wounded.[3]

Wandering Spirit, the war chief leading the Cree military campaign, surrendered to authorities at Fort Pitt. Big Bear, the aging peacetime chief of this band of Cree, eluded capture until July 2.



The site of the battle was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1950.[4]

In the spring of 2008, Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Christine Tell proclaimed in Duck Lake, that "the 125th commemoration, in 2010, of the 1885 Northwest Resistance is an excellent opportunity to tell the story of the prairie Métis and First Nations peoples' struggle with Government forces and how it has shaped Canada today."[5] The Battle of Loon Lake is commemorated today by interpretive signs placed by the Government of Saskatchewan and a plaque placed by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The place is today known as 'Steele Narrows'. The Narrows between Makwa Lake and Sanderson Bay, in the Makwa Lake Provincial Park, was the site of the last engagement of the rebellion. Steele Narrows Provincial Historic Park conserves the lookout point of a Cree burial ground.[6][7]


  1. ^ William Bleasdell Cameron (1888), The war trail of Big Bear (p.207), Toronto: Ryerson Press (published 1926)
  2. ^ "Canadian Plains Research Center Mapping Division" (PDF). Retrieved 13 Sep 2013.
  3. ^ "The Canadian Encyclopedia (Steele Narrows Battle)". Archived from the original on 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  4. ^ Steele Narrows. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Tourism agencies to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Northwest Resistance/Rebellion". Home/About Government/News Releases/June 2008. Government of Saskatchewan. June 7, 2008. Archived from the original on 21 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  6. ^ "Steele Narrows Provincial Park - Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport -". Brochure of the Northwest Rebellion. Government of Saskatchewan. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  7. ^ "Makwa". Sasl Biz community profiles. Enterprise Saskatchewan Government of Saskatchewan. Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2009-09-20.

Coordinates: 54°2′26″N 109°18′34″W / 54.04056°N 109.30944°W / 54.04056; -109.30944