A history of the Battlefords to 1914
McPherson, Arlean Esther
To an uncommon degree the history of the Battlefords reflects the major forces which shaped Western Canadian development prior to World War I. In pre-white times the ford near the mouth of the Battle River was the tribal feuding grounds of Cree and Blackfoot, and the meeting place of both plains and woods Indians. With the coming of the "pedlars" and Hudson's Bay Company men the present-day Battlefords district became strategic fur country. It was well-stocked with beaver and handy to the buffalo herds of the plains, and competitive trading posts were located in the vicinity. Surveyors, contractors, government and police officials, and settlers followed traders into the North Saskatchewan parks country, and conflict between old and new ways, between trade and agriculture, between systems of land tenure, erupted there in 1885. Again, Battleford's location was crucial. The relationship between railways and immigration, and the economic consequences of good railway transportation to a wheat and cattle oriented country are also admirably demonstrated by developments in the district at the turn of the century. Because a history of the Battlefords must touch upon all these issues, and others important to Western Canada, this locality is particularly interesting for detailed examination. With the hope that understanding of our heritage may be gained from it, this study of the Battlefords was undertaken.