Louis Riel Let Justice Be Done

Damase Carrière Mètis Martyr 1885


Damas Carriere

Damase Carrière. (SHSB 103) Né en 1852, fils d’Élie Carrière et Elmire Landry, Damase a épousé Pélagie Parenteau à Saint-Laurent de Grandin (SK) en 1875. Tous deux sont Métis. Il a été tué durant la bataille de Batoche

METIS  Damase Carrière  MARTYR  1885

Damase Carriere RIP

A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party – in this case the Canadian government. In the heroic Metis resistance during the North-West Resistance of 1885, there were at least thirteen Metis martyrs at Batoche, along with two or more Sioux who gave their life in this battle against Canadian colonialism. Many more men were tried and convicted of treason-felony. Louis Riel was convicted of high treason and executed on November 16, 1885. The following list names the Metis Martyrs of Batoche.

  • Baptiste Boyer
  • Donald Ross
  • Damase Carrier
  • Ambroise Jobin
  • Norbert Delorme
  • Moise Ouelette
  • Baptiste Parenteau
  • Pierre Henry
  • David Tourond
  • Oierre Gariepy
  • Maxime Lepine
  • Albert Monkman
  • Baptiste Boucher

The battlefield torture of Damase Carrière was one of the most horrendous events during the struggle for the hereditary rights of the Metis as well as the Indians of the Saskatchewan. The noted historian Lawrence Barkwell provides us with the following overview of the life and death of Damase Carrière.

Damase Carrière (1851-1885)

Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell, Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute

Damase was born in 1851 at St. Vital, the son of Elie Carrière2 and Elmire Landry. On February 10, 1875, he married Marie-Pélagie Parenteau of St. Laurent, the daughter of Jean Baptiste Parenteau and Pélagie Dumont. They had settled at St. Laurent on the South Saskatchewan in 1877. They had five children. In 1883, Carrière and Napoleon Nault traveled from Batoche to St. Boniface to attend the wedding of Riel’s sister Henriette to Jean Marie Poitras. At this time they discussed the Metis land claims problems in the Saskatchewan valley with Riel.

Both Napoleon and Damase Carrière signed Gabriel Dumont’s petition on Metis land claims from St. Antoine de Padoue on September 4, 1882. Damase was part of the secret meeting on March 22, 1884 with 30 other Metis to discuss coordinated action on their land claims with the white settlers and English Metis. Damase was a member of Riel’s Council (Exovedate) at Batoche during the 1885 Resistance. His name appears as #124 on Philippe Garnot’s list of Resistance participants.

Elie Dumont gives the following account of the fight at Tourond’s Coulee: They were surrounded on all sides except for the one facing Tourond’s house for the enemy could not go that way without coming in full sight. Before sunset, Elie hears a discharge; he knows that the shot did not come from a carbine but from a shotgun. He says to Damase Carrière: “It must be our people who have come to help us.” They soon see them coming. They arrive at a gallop. The police are already fleeing by companies. In the coulee and at a short distance from the bluff, Edouard finds, in addition to a white mare belonging to the police, a beautiful saddle, a saber, and some bags containing soap, a towel, a razor, and rolls of white cotton. He keeps the saber only and gives the mare to Elie who returns to Batoche on it. “I had lost my horse, but now I have a better one,” he said. “This animal is full of spirit, healthy, and seems to have been well fed with oats.” They look for guns abandoned by the police along the coulee; they collect 32 rifles.

Damase fought in the 1885 battle at Batoche. On the last day of battle, after receiving a broken leg, the English tied a cord about his neck and dragged him behind a horse until he was dead. Emmanuel Champagne reports these events: While part of the English troops descended by Charles Thomas’s place another group came straight down on Batoche’s store. There, the two Tourond’s, Damase Carrière, and Andre Letendré were killed. The English had come upon the Touronds and the others by stealing through the woods and emerging upon them unexpectedly. The latter were ten yards away when shot and it was like shooting a rabbit in its legs. Damase Carrière was mistaken for Riel. The English tied a rope around his neck and dragged him. Trottier had only been wounded; his body was found at Caron’s … The women found him the next day with his hands still clenched around the rope that strangled him. “Les femmes ont cherché les cadavers. En arrivant à Damase Carrière, elles trouvent une ficille au cou; voyaient la trace où traîné du buisson, au bord de la prairie.”

Emmanuel Champagne said that the troops did this because they had mistaken Damase for Louis Riel. “The women looked for the bodies. When they came to Damase Carrière, they found him with a cord around the neck; they could see the mark where he was dragged into the bush, on the side of the prairie.”

This post is dedicated to Raoul Carrière and Rhonda Carrière, two descendants of Demase Carrière who carry on the proud traditions of the Mètis nation seeking justice for Dèmase Carriere and Louis Riel while advocating for true reconciliation and the rights for which their ancestor gave his life.

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