Wandering Spirit

22″ x 28″ Acrylic on Canvas

In Permanent Collection of Royal Alberta Museum

Wandering spirit was the most military accomplished Cree warrior of the entire 1800’s, earning a total of 12 scalps in his lifetime. He had several dozens of victorious battles with the fierce Blackfoot people and most notably the victory of the battle of Frenchman’s Butte.

Wandering spirit was the most military accomplished Cree warrior of the entire 1800’s, earning a total of 12 scalps in his lifetime. He had several dozens of victorious battles with the fierce Blackfoot people and most notably the victory of the battle of Frenchman’s Butte.

Frenchman’s Butte was a battle fought between Canada and a starving, fed up, and enraged Force of 200 Cree warriors led by War Chief Wandering Spirit. Canada had a force of 400 soldiers, with a mix of cowboys, NWMP and settlers led by Thomas Bland Strange. The battle was a victory for the Cree, but a hollow one. The rebellion was hopeless for other Cree factions and tribes throughout the prairie’s were forced to surrender. The Métis uprising was also over and with all the remaining Cree were then forced to sign the treaties due to starvation, which was caused by the government killing and slaughtering the buffalo to near extinction. Canada was now free to conquer the rest of the great, beautiful land called the Canadian prairies.

Wandering Spirits fate was a terrible one. Having been filled with rage towards the expanding Canadian Government Wandering Spirit gathered about a dozen warriors all under the influence of alcohol, including Wandering Spirit. They went on a killing spree, killing an Indian Agent and two priests. Wandering Spirit was later arrested and hung, along with 7 other warriors. Before he was hung he sang a love song to his wife. Wandering Spirit is seen as a menacing villain, often misunderstood and hated, he was actually a loving gentle man, later told by his wives. Among the Cree Wandering Spirit was not different nor menacing, all the Cree were terrified and mad at what the future looked like with the buffalo gone and the Fire Water (alcohol). It was a scary and sad time. Wandering Spirit will always be remembered with a good heart amongst all Plains Indian Tribes.