The 1885 Rebellion in Saskatchewan resulted in the most severe loss of life in any civil insurrection on Canadian soil. Although both Métis and Indian peoples participated in the rebellion, the Métis, under the leadership of Louis Riel, were the primary participants. The two most significant events of this conflict were the Battle of Duck Lake and the Battle of Batoche. The first of these incidents occurred when a party of N-WMP and other armed men moved to protect the store at Duck Lake from seizure by Riel's Métis forces. They were attacked by a group under Gabriel Dumont, a battle resulting in 23 dead and wounded among the N-WMP and 5 lost by the Métis. The response to these actions was an almost hysterical rush to send the militia to quell the insurrection on the Prairies. On 9 May 1885, General Frederick D. Middleton's North-West Field Force of 800 men, armed with two Gatling guns among other weaponry, met some 350 Métis and Indians armed with outdated rifles and little ammunition, on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River at Batoche. After four days of battle, the militia overran the rifle pits of the Métis. Louis Riel, who offered no resistance, was taken to Regina, charged with treason, and hanged on 16 November 1885. Defeated in battle, the Métis had failed to secure their rights or gain recognition of their distinct nature.

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