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Dumont, Madeleine (1840-86)

Madeleine Dumont (née Wilkie) was a prominent Métisse, and wife of Gabriel Dumont, a leader in the resistance of 1885. Born in 1840 in Pembina, Dakota Territory, she was the daughter of Isabella Azure and Jean-Baptiste Wilkie, a buffalo hunt leader and trader. She married Gabriel Dumont in 1858; they adopted two children. Theirs was a close relationship, and evidence suggests that Dumont greatly respected her.

They spent their early years on the Prairies moving between the North Saskatchewan River and the Dakotas. On several occasions Madeleine Dumont was believed to have traveled alone from Batoche to Winnipeg, selling her husband’s furs. By 1872, they settled in the Batoche-St. Laurent area, where her husband ran “Gabriel’s Crossing,” a ferry service across the North Saskatchewan River. Hospitable and compassionate, she was an educator to the community’s children.

With the outbreak of resistance in 1885, Dumont, like other Métisses, fled from home, camped in tents and makeshift dugouts, nursed the sick and wounded, cared for the children and elderly, and distributed to the men whatever meager rations and supplies were available. Following 1885, she sought refuge with Dumont’s father, Isadore, who lived in the Batoche area. Her husband sought refuge in the United States. After Isadore’s death, she joined her husband in Montana but died in October 1886 at Lewistown, from tuberculosis and from complications following a fall from a horse and buggy.

Cheryl Troupe

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