Saskatchewan historian Bill Waiser investigates the story of Almighty Voice
Historian and author Bill Waiser is trying to uncover the truth behind the story of 19th century Saskatchewan fugitive Almighty Voice.
Almighty Voice was a 23-year-old Willow Cree man from One Arrow Reserve near Batoche who evaded police capture for 19 months after breaking out of jail in Duck Lake and killing a North-West Mounted Police officer. In May 1897 police and civilian volunteers surrounded Almighty Voice and his two companions in the hills outside One Arrow and after exchanging gunfire killed the three men with artillery. In total Almighty Voice killed three Mounties and one civilian.
Waiser said the incident has been re-told many times by many people, but historical context is sometimes lacking and inconsistencies cloud the chain of events. The former University of Saskatchewan history professor is endeavoring to set the story straight and he sets out to write his next book, In Search of Almighty Voice. Waiser discussed his new project at an Explore Lifelong Learning lecture at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library on Wednesday night.
“I think Almighty Voice has become a legend or a symbol by himself in that they’ve gone beyond the actual story (to) what Almighty Voice represents. That’s where the focus has been and I think because of that it’s distorted or stood in the way of our understanding of actually what happened and why,” Waiser said.
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