The North-West Mounted Police In The Kootenays

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Veteran Bill Sedler spent us the following details and photographs of the first Force members to the Kootenays.

 

 

 

 

 

Since the March West in 1874, the well-being of the First Nations people has been the primary concern for the North West Mounted Police.

In 1887, a dispute arose between the band of Shuswap First Nations people lead by Chief Isadore and a small group of white settlers in the Kootenays.   At the time, the British Columbian government made little effort to resolve the situation and the situation escalated to a point of becoming out of control.   To resolve the situation, the British Columbian government called on Ottawa for assistance.

Based on this request, federal government ordered in the North West Mounted Police to take steps to resolve the situation.

The Commissioner delegated Superintendent Sam Steele lead a contingent of 75 members from “D” Division to the Kootenays in British Columbia in 1887 to defuse a potentially violent situation.

 

1888 - Photograph of Supt. Sam Steele and other members of "D" Division arriving in the Kootneys (Source of photo - RCMP Historical Collection Unit - "Depot" Division).

1888 – Photograph of Supt. Sam Steele and other members of “D” Division arriving in the Kootenays (Source of photo – RCMP Historical Collection Unit – “Depot” Division).

 

Photograph of Sam Steele of the North-West Mounted Police (Source of photo - RCMP Veterans' Association - Vancouver Division)

Photograph of Sam Steele of the North-West Mounted Police (Source of photo – RCMP Veterans’ Association – Vancouver Division)

 

 

 

According to Sam Steele the arrival of the NWMP “caused confidence to take the place of alarm.”  He met with Chief Isadore and white settlers to outline that there would be equal treatment to all parties.

 

 

 

 

 

The NWMP members remained in the Kootenays for a year and built Fort Steele which consisted of seven buildings, to house the men.   The site of this original NWMP form is now a British Columbia historical site.  You can view details on this historical site here.

Veteran Bill Sedler provided the following photographs of Fort Steele.

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