National Indigenous History Month: Gabriel Dumont
June 3, 2021
Throughout the month of June as part of National Indigenous History Month we will be honouring the accomplishments and contributions of historical Indigenous Canadians, this week we did some research on Métis leader Gabriel Dumont.
Gabriel Dumont was born December 1837 at Red River Settlement and rose to political prominence in an age of declining buffalo herds. Dumont fought for decades for the economic prosperity and political independence of his people. Dumont was a prominent hunt chief and warrior, but is best known for his role in the 1885 North-West Resistance as a key Métis military commander and ally of Louis Riel.
Dumont remains a popular Métis folk hero, remembered for his selflessness and bravery during the conflict of 1885 and for his unrivaled skill as a Métis hunt chief and sharpshooter. Dumont died 19 May 1906 at Bellevue, SK, at the age of 69 years old and left a strong legacy among Métis leaders, second in importance only to Louis Riel’s legacy.
Dumont’s life serves as an example of selflessness, as he continued to protect vulnerable Métis families after Batoche had fallen, and fought a war to protect Métis lands from settlement knowing that his own land title would be recognized by the Dominion government. Dumont thus had everything to lose by fighting in 1885. In fact, his own home was burned and pillaged by Canadians, whereupon he lived with relatives for the rest of his life.
For many Métis, Dumont represents the best of Métis culture. He was a fighter and warrior but was ultimately driven by an overriding concern for his people’s welfare. Dumont is remembered in countless stories, poems, books and works of art. His namesake adorns many Métis institutions, most notably the premier Métis research centre, the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research.
Want to learn more about Gabriel Dumont?
- The Canadian Encyclopedia offers an extensive biography of the life of Gabriel Dumont.
Gabriel Dumont. (2008). Adam Gaudru. The Canadian Encyclopedia. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/dumont-gabriel.
Photo credit: courtesy Glenbow Archives