Bloody Falls massacre
The Bloody Falls massacre was an incident that took place during Samuel Hearne's exploration of the Coppermine River on the 17 July 1771. Chipewyan and "Copper Indian" Dene men led by Hearne's guide and companion Matonabbee attacked a group of Copper Inuit camped by rapids approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) upstream from the mouth of the Coppermine River.
On the party's arrival at Peshew Lake, Matonabbee and a number of the men accompanying Hearne began to make arrangements for their wives and children to be left behind. Later on, when the party arrived at Clowey, each of the Chipewyan men crafted shields from thin boards, 60 cm (2 ft) wide and 90 cm (3 ft) long.
Hearne noted that his party was joined by a number of Indians who were solely interested in propagating a war against the Inuit.
In the travel narrative describing his journey, he claimed that as the group advanced north into Inuit territories, it became evident that his companions were gradually plotting an act of "savage", "shocking", and "brutish" violence.
Hearne began to remonstrate with the Indians, but failed in his attempt. In his account of the events that transpired, he states that "I endeavored as much as possible to persuade them from putting their inhuman design into execution; but so far were my intreaties from having the wished-for effect, that it was concluded that I was actuated by cowardice."
On 1 June 1771, the few remaining women and children, as well as the dogs and the heavy luggage, were left behind by the party and a group of about 60 men advanced north, heading towards the Coppermine River.
Four weeks later, on 2 July 1771, the party came across a group of Copper Indians, who on learning the purpose of the exploration party's journey, supplied the party with canoes and other necessities. However, 17 men abandoned the exploration party in the coming days, claiming that the difficulty of the trek outweighed the pleasure that was to be derived from killing the Inuit.
The remaining members of the exploration party arrived at the Coppermine River on 14 July 1771. Immediately on arrival, as Hearne commenced his survey, three scouts were sent to locate any Inuit who may have been camping near the river. The scouts returned on 16 July 1771, and reported that five Inuit tents had been found on the west side of the river. This news brought the survey work to a complete halt, and the men began to prepare for war.
Just after midnight on 17 July, the Dene set upon the Inuit camp and killed approximately 20 men, women and children. Hearne was traumatized by the massacre, saying "I am confident that my features must have feelingly expressed how sincerely I was affected at the barbarous scene I then witnessed; even at this hour I cannot reflect on the transactions of that horrid day without shedding tears." He named the waterfall Bloody Falls.
The site of the massacre, which was the traditional home of the Kogluktogmiut, is now located in Kugluk/Bloody Falls Territorial Park near Kugluktuk, Nunavut. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1978.
- Hearne, Samuel. (1745–1792) A Journey to the Northern Ocean: The Adventures of Samuel Hearne. Surrey, BC:TouchWood Editions.
- Condon, R.G. (1987). Inuit youth : growth and change in the Canadian Arctic. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. p. 25. ISBN 0-8135-1212-3.
- Brand, Michael J. (July 1992). "Samuel Hearne and the massacre at Bloody Falls". Polar Record. 28 (166): 229–232. doi:10.1017/s0032247400020696.
- Clifford, Jim. "True Stories: Materializing History at Bloody Falls". Archived from the original on 1 May 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- From: Samuel Hearne, A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 (London, Eng: Strahan and Cadell, 1795) Archived June 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. at the University of Western Ontario
- Samuel Hearne's Overland Expedition 1770–72 Archived July 20, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. at the National Maritime Museum
- "Bloody Falls National Historic Site of Canada". Canada's Historic Places. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- "CBC's David McLauchlin dies at 56". CBC News. May 26, 2003.
- "Canadian Poetry Online". John Newlove : Poems. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- Youth Links – The Story of Bloody Falls Short article written by three Kugluktuk students.