About an hour north of Saskatoon lies the small town (population 700) of Duck Lake. Canadian historians know Duck Lake as the site of the major battle of the North West Rebellion.
But how many know the story of “Almighty Voice“?
Almighty Voice, also known as “Kisse-Manitou-Wayo” or “Shu-Kwe-weetam” by the locals, was arrested by the North West Police in 1885 for the killing of a stray cow. It was said that the meat as destined for Almighty Voice’s wedding feast. While in custody, a police guard told Almighty Voice, in jest, that workmen erecting the framework of a building next door were “erecting a scaffold from which you will be hanged next morning”. That night Almighty Voice broke out of jail and, swimming across the ice filled Saskatchewan River, he made his way back to his One Arrow band and reserve.
A week later, Sergeant Colebrook of the Mounties and a Metis guide caught up with Almighty Voice and his wife near Kinistino. Colebrook, ignoring warnings from Almighty Voice, tried to arrest him and was shot through the heart, dying instantly.
For the next year Almighty Voice was hunted throughout western Canada. The area around Duck Lake remained under constant vigilance by police. But their efforts were futile despite the offer of a reward of $500 for Almighty Voice’s capture.
In May of 1897 as North West Mounted Policemen visited the One Arrow reserve to investigate a cattle theft, they spotted some Indians on a nearby bluff. An officer went closer to investigate and was shot through the arm.
The next day reinforcements returned to the spot and caught sight of three Indians hiding in some undergrowth on the side of a hill. Three officers went forward to investigate but two were wounded by gunfire and had to turn back.
Efforts were made to set fire to the bluff but, when that failed, the posse decided to rush the bluff. The results were disastrous. Two Mounties and a civilian postmaster were shot dead and another man wounded.
During the night the hill was surrounded to prevent the escape of the three men. That night the three warriors, Almighty Voice, Little Saulteaux and Dublin, taunted the police and inviting them to send supper since the Indians had a good fight that day and were hungry.
The next day police moved in 7- and 9-pound cannons and shelled the bluff. Just when police assumed the Indians were dead, a crow overhead was shot by one of the Indians and so the shelling continued.
The next morning a party of 90 Mounties and a group of civilians from Duck Lake advanced on the hill where they found Almighty Voice and Little Saulteaux dead in the pit where they had made their last stand. The body of Dublin was found some distance away.
The whole episode, spanning some 19 months, ended with seven dead and two injured.
With input from: http://www.sicc.sk.ca/index.html