Erik Nitsche: Fort Walsh/Saskatchewan
Artist: Erik Nitsche
While the American frontier had the United States Cavalry to keep law and order, the peacekeepers of the Canadian frontier were the North West Mounted Police, or "Mounties" as they are commonly called. And, keeping the peace in such a vast area as Canada was no small chore. Consequently, the Mounted Police established numerous small forts in the frontier to help prevent disputes between trappers, traders and Indians. One of these forts -- Fort Walsh -- was founded by James Morrow Walsh in 1875 in Saskatchewan after a group of American trappers, who had been illegally selling whiskey to the Indians, massacred twenty Indians at the nearby trading post known as Fort Whoop Up. In addition, a large number of Sioux Indians under the leadership of Sitting Bull had recently arrived in the area after their defeat of General George Custer at the Little Big Horn river in the United States. As a result, the North West Mounted Police headquarters was transferred to Fort Walsh and more than one hundred Mounties were stationed there. In the late 1800s the railroad arrived in the Canadian frontier, and treaties were signed which allowed the Sioux to return to the United States. Fort Walsh, its mission accomplished, was dismantled and abandoned in favor of a new fort built near the railroad line. Today, Fort Walsh is a Canadian National Historic Park and restoration has begun at the site.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Canada 34¢ Fort Walsh stamp issued June 28, 1985.
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