Route taken by the Mounties on the March West, 1874
Under the direction of the newly appointed first Commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police, George Arthur French, a force of 275 officers and men began their famous ‘March West’ on July 8, 1874 and arrived in present-day southern Alberta, in October 1874. These first representatives of Canadian Law and order in the West, assembled at Fort Dufferin, Manitoba. They faced a particularly difficult situation given the climate of antagonism between the Métis, and the new settlers. Hoping to avoid the legacy of violence and bloodshed of the Indian Wars that had occurred south of the border, this new police force set out to establish a reputation for fair and responsible treatment.
They soon established friendly relations with the First Nations, contained the whisky trade and enforced prohibition. They also supervised treaties between First Nations and the federal government.
“I was scared and I was hurt,” says Sheila Karkagie of Tulita, N.W.T. On Jan.16, Karkagie says she answered the phone, only to find a strange voice at the end of the line with a nasty message: “If you don’t keep your mouth shut somebody is gonna kill you.”Sheila Karkagie receives death threat Karkagie has been a vocal opponent of hydraulic fracturing in the Sahtu region. The call came after Karkagie spoke publicly about what she alleges is a conflict of interest. She told the CBC that several past directors of the Tulita Land and Financial board are in a conflict of interest, by taking contracts with some oil and gas companies, after having recommended that a fracking project near the community go ahead. Karkagie says she doesn’t know who made the threat, but she knows she’s doing the right thing.
George Lush returns from checking his traps. Tha-Anne River (vicinity), N.W.T. [Nunavut], 1949-1950. Credit: Richard Harrington / Library and Archives Canada / PA-140627. Harrington writes of Lush (one of the last white trappers in the North) in his book, The Face of the Arctic, 1952, p. 206.