Coteau Books in the Schools: Batoche
by Kim Morrissey ISBN 0-919926-91

This free educational resource site is a suggested introduction to Kim Morrissey's Batoche. The study capsule includes a geographical context exercise and three poems from the book, with related Internet Research Projects to encourage older students (Grades 9-12) to use the Internet for research purposes. Batoche is also taught at university level.

Site Map

Suggested Background Reading:
Beyond Bias (Sorry, but this link is no longer active.), Community Education Branch, Saskatchewan Education, 1984.
(Includes a Native Study curricula glossary  of terms).

At first, the new Prairie poets were mostly male, but in time a number of important women poets have appeared, including Anne Campbell, Lorna Crozier, Leona Gom, Kim Morrissey and Anne Szumigalski. "
-- Douglas Barbour
Poetry in English
The 1998 Canadian Encyclopedia
(published by McClelland and Stewart)

History Television Approved Site


Links in Bold are bookmarks on this page.

• geography
• Canadian voices

1. Begin at

2. Click on the link 'Click on the book cover to see more detail'  to see a close-up of the river bank at Batoche.

NOTE: You may want to go back to start.htm, when you discuss the land issues which led to the 1885 NorthWest Resistance at Batoche (the map on page 40 of Batoche clearly shows the conflict between the English-Canadian surveying techniques, and the French -Canadian way of settling the land).

Before reading the poems in this Study Capsule, discuss how the various names of people and places should be pronounced: Batoche, Louis Riel, Father Moulin, Michel Dumas and Métis.

mister dumas says riels better because

• recollections
• challenges
• decisions
• Canadian voices

The Spiritual Leader of the Métis in the NorthWest Conflict, Louis Riel, seen from a child's point of view. The poem also allows you to discuss religion and community leadership. The poem on page 4 of Kim Morrissey's Batoche, Why we call it 'Batoche' explains the origin of the name.

Introduction to PERSONA: Explore context: when did this reported conversation take place? (NOTE: Xavier Letendre, the store-keeper (the child in the poem calls him 'Old Man Batoche') wasn't in the town during the battle, and Louis Riel surrendered soon after the Battle; explore where and when the child might have over-heard this conversation.)

1. Begin at

(NOTE: Coteau Author Bill Klebeck calls this form of poem a 'blurb.' The lines are meant to be read as though they run-on continuously, with no punctuation. Compare this poem with e.e.cummings poem 'buffalo Bills defunct' or any similar poem you wish. Creative Writing Project: have students write continuously for five minutes, without punctuation, describing an event or a conversation.

Tour of Batoche

• ethics
• conflict
• change
• community issues

1. begin at

INTERNET LINK: Batoche Museum tour [Details]

Click on the map to tour Batoche in 1885

photograph: Gabriel Dumont (includes biography) [Details]

Our Elders Speak: [Details]
(site includes oral history and Saskatchewan map of Indian Treaty Lands)

Where were you? Government of Canada documents recording the actions and parentage of people of Batoche on March 15 1885: [Details]

Métis Land Rights in Canada
Joseph Eliot Magnet [Details]

Louis Riel's address to the Jury

• ethics
• conflict
• decision-making
• social justice
• economic life

Teacher's Note: Found poem. Page 55. Concentrate on who records history, and what words (and people) are left out, and why.

1. Begin at

Consider comparing this found poem with Louis Riel's actual address to the jury or with John Coulter's edited version in The Trial of Louis Riel. There are similar 'found' poems on this topic by John Robert Colombo (written in 1967) and Raymond Souster (written in 1977) suitable for older students. (For a brief introduction to this topic, see Kim Morrissey's 'Art of Rebellion' essay, first published in Prairie Fire, 1985.)

John Robert Colombo - home page:

Archival Sources

(historical and political context)

• self-government
• self-determination
• conflict
• culture
• politics

1. Begin at

INTERNET LINK to the photograph of Louis Riel
Louis Riel Addressing the Jury   [Details]

NOTE: Batoche, page 56 also contains the  photograph of Riel addressing the jury.

2. Louis Riel's actual address to the jury

3.What happened to Louis Riel?

SaskSearchUsing search engines:
Sask Search to find a biography of Lois Riel


• irony
• rhetoric
• points-of-view
• culture

Teacher's note: "Dialectics" from Batoche  Page 8.
This poem is also suitable for examinations
(used in Alberta, 1990.)

1. Begin at

The persona writing this letter is an unreliable narrator. Discuss what might be fact (the community sending petitions) and what might be fiction. How can you tell if someone is telling the truth? Who decides?

lesson plan for "Dialectics" by Wilma Riley

Maps of Batoche

Batoche, Saskatchewan, Canada, North America, The World ... and you

• logic
• map-reading
• problem solving
• time
• change
• geography

This research project teaches students about geographical context, perspective and point-of-view. It encourages students to discover where Batoche is geographically (as well as their own community) ;and understand a community's relation to the world. The exercise will help you discuss how distance changes our perceptions of a community and a community's concerns.

Either follow on from (close-up of the river at Batoche)
(you may also start by using the maps from Batoche (pages 41 and 42). Then:

1. Begin at

NOTE: the Internet links for this site has a zoom function, which shows various scale maps, with Batoche marked with a red cross (1 mile, 5 miles, 50 miles, 1000 miles). This sense of perspective will be important in the teaching of the history of the Conflict, since the geographical distance between the Federal Government (in Ottawa) and the community of Batoche made both sides feel alienated. Encourage the students to zoom in and out to see the various maps, and to note the latitude and longitude of Batoche (and their own community).

Encourage the student problem solve by zoom in to the next map to see where Batoche is, in relation to the river, and to other towns, roads and the river.

(NOTE: The site of Batoche is now a National Park and Museum)


Click on the 'mapquest' link [Details of Website]

Mapquest includes Batoche on the local map, but does not include "Batoche" in the search engine

Click on 'the worldview of Batoche' [Details]

(Latitude: 52 degrees 43 minutes 47 seconds North;
Longitude: 106 degrees 5 minutes, 59 seconds West).
NOTE: The View of the Earth from the Sun in this link is set for the Latitude and Longitude of Batoche . The earth view can change dates as well as location. Have the students click the UTC: box and set the date for May 12, 1885 at 4 pm. (the end of the Battle of Batoche. ) If there is any time remaining, they may see where their own community is (by entering their own longitude and latitude - make sure they tick the longitude box, or the figures won't change). When they click on UPDATE they will see an Earth View of their own community.

To see the Earth View in 1885, at the end of the Battle of Batoche, change the settings to:

• Lat: 52d44 North

• Long: 106d06 West

• Alt: 1,000,000km

• Time of the end of the battle of Batoche • UTC: 1885/05/12 16:00:00

Artists Against Racism

• change
• decision-making
• communication
• community issues

1. Begin at

INTERNET LINK to Artists Against Racism [Details]

Artists Against Racism


Annotation: This book allows the reader to examine the myth and the reality surrounding the Battle of Batoche in 1885, and its aftermath. The unusual use of multiple voices, each with its own perspective, invites the reader to question historical accounts. Literary devices such as point-of-view, irony, imagery, and metaphors are part of the poet's use of effective language. Shifting perspectives and additional material provide an intelligent and yet accessible way to combine literature and history.

Research, maps, archival photographs and author information are included.


Beyond Bias (Sorry, but this link is no longer active.), Community Education Branch, Saskatchewan Education, 1984.
(Includes a Native Study curricula glossary of terms).

Bear Bones & Feathers. Halfe, Louise Bernice. Coteau Books, 1995. ISBN 1-55050-055-4

Fracture Patterns. Helgason, Gail. Coteau Books, 1995. ISBN 1-55050-086-4

The Plains Cree:
An Ethnographic, Historical, and Comparative Study
Mandelbaum, David G. Canadian Plains Research Center, 1978. ISBN 0-88977-013-1

Grey Owl: the Mystery of Archie Belaney. Ruffo, Armand Garnet, Coteau Books, 1997. ISBN 1-55050-109-7

Profiles: Professional Aboriginal Peoples of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre, 1990. ISBN 0-920571-20-4

Residential Schools: The Stolen Years. Jaine, Linda (Ed.). University Extension Press, 1993. ISBN 0-88880-325-7


Disclaimer: These linked sites are my own opinion and are intended to be used only as a guide. Please check the sites before you explore them with others. I am not responsible for the accuracy of the information, nor am I responsible for the content of Internet links, which is always subject to change. Any link provided here will be removed upon request of that web weaver. If you have a lesson plan using Batoche that you would like to share, please contact Coteau Books.
Kim Morrissey October 16, 1999



#2 Earth View from the Sun

See the top view of the earth showing where there is sunlight at the present time. Includes zoom options.

1. Earth View

Click in image to zoom in on that region. Satellite data provided by The Living Earth® Inc./Earth Imaging © 1996, All Rights Reserved. Display: Map, From Sun, From Moon, Night side Lat: South North Long: East West Alt: km Choose

Noncommercial site


Batoche - On-line Guided Tour

Begin your Web journey to Batoche The Métis people in the Northwest were descendants of French-Canadian voyageurs and Cree and Saulteaux women who had married à la façon du pays (according to local custom) in the mid-18th century. A guided tour of the Museum site at Batoche, with historical background to the conflict.

INTERNET LINK Gabriel Dumont

Gabriel Dumont

Gabriel Dumont is best known as the man who led the small Métis military forces during the Northwest Resistance of 1885. He was born in the Red River area in 1837, the son of Isidore Dumont, a Métis hunter, and Louise Laframboise. He died in 1906, at Batoche.

Non-commercial Site.

Internet link to Our Elders Speak
Non-commercial Site.

Métis Land Rights in Canada

Joseph Eliot Magnet
Legal / Historical / Constitutional overview of Métis land claims and scrip.

Educational Site.


Canadian Government documents recording the actions and parentage of people of Batoche on March 15 1885

© Gail Morin. Private Website


Louis Riel's Trial
Size: 751 bytes

A side view of Louis Riel addressing the jury at his trial in Regina, Saskatchewan. NA-1081-3 To This Week in Western Canadian History Copyright © 1998 Glenbow

Non-commercial Site.

Public Library, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Taken From Desmond Morton The Queen V. Louis Riel. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1974.

Educational Site


Artists Against Racism

Coteau Books: