Finding Friday – The Whiskey Traders

History in the Canadian West

A group called the Blackfoot Confederacy ruled southern Alberta and also parts of present day Montana.  Hostile and suspicious of the fur trading outsiders, unlike the Cree, they weren’t interested in welcoming the invaders.  Just as they didn’t welcome other tribes into their territory either.Fort Whoop Up - a badger lurks on the shelves

Indian Battle Field – is a monument  where a bloody battle between the Cree and the Blackfoot happened. History shows there was one way that the mighty Blackfoot nation could be defeated. Whiskey traders soon discovered there was a lucrative business selling booze to the Natives. Nick-named Fort Whoop Up  (Fort Hamilton) was one of the most infamous of whiskey forts in Southern Alberta. Fort Whoop Up - Murphy checks for attacks.

Between alcohol and smallpox – which often spread like wildfire – whole groups of Indians died and the Blackfoot Nation became a shell of their former self. The fort’s recipes for the alcohol were made of ingredients that are unbelievable to imagine – from shoe-polish  to turpentine. It was a sad time in our history. For a time there was no law, no one to stop the horrors happening. No wonder, Fort McLeod a little distance outside of present day Lethbridge was the first fort the Northwest Mounted Police (present day RCMP) established in the west.  Some of Canada’s worst atrocities against the natives were perpetuated here in Southern Alberta.Fort Whoop Up - what it's all about - whiskey traders


6 thoughts on “Finding Friday – The Whiskey Traders

  1. It’s so sad the things that were done in the name of progress but in reality I believe it was greed that drove some settlers to do such atrocious things. They are things we such never forget because they should never be repeated.

    • At Fort Whoop-up it wasn’t settlers who started the Whiskey Forts – it was just guys who wanted to make money – guys who wanted the furs but for nothing (It wasn’t the Hudson’s Bay though. By the time the settlers came to western Canada – the Northwest Mounted Police (RCMP now) were here and had stopped it. That’s why we in Canada have a little different past. What those whiskey traders did was terrible for sure. Maybe that’s why the RCMP are famous? I agree – we shouldn’t forget – but we must live in the now too. Atrocities happened throughout the world, still are in many cases – but we should also be proud here in North America on the good progress we’ve made.

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