Showing the Flag: The Mounted Police and Canadian Sovereignty in the North, 1894-1925

By William R. Morrison | Go to book overview

8. Expanding Activities in the Mackenzie Delta

THE HISTORY of the Mounted Police in the western Arctic and Mackenzie regions was concerned for several years chiefly with the detachments at Herschel Island and Fort McPherson. Permanent posts were opened at Fort Resolution and Fort Simpson only in 1913, and these were far enough south so that they were not really on the "northern frontier," even though all four were in the same administrative division. 1 And only in 1919 was a detachment opened at Coppermine River, marking the beginning of a new period of police expansion in the Arctic. The two small posts had no more than eight men between them between 1906 and 1915, 2 but they were important nonetheless. In the first place, McPherson and Herschel were the main settlements in the western Arctic, which meant that they were the hub of an enormous area. Secondly, the few police who manned these posts were not static. Patrols were made every year over a wide expanse of territory to the south, east, and west, all the way from Dawson to the shores of Hudson Bay. Some of these patrols were for communication, as was the case with the annual Dawson-McPherson mail patrol, which was begun in the winter of 1904- 1905. 3 Some were exploratory, and some, like the two famous ones into the Barren Lands during the First World War, were made for the purpose of investigating crimes. The two posts were gathering places for the Natives, the whalers, and such occasional visitors as explorers and traders.

In 1906, the police detachment on Herschel Island finally acquired adequate quarters, not through any effort on the part of their superiors, but because one of Charles Whittaker's children had died, and the mis

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Showing the Flag: The Mounted Police and Canadian Sovereignty in the North, 1894-1925
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Maps x
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1. the Mounted Police 1
  • 2. the Yukon: the Early Period 10
  • 3. the Police and the Gold Rush 28
  • 4. the Police as Civil Servants 50
  • 5. the Police and Yukon Politics 61
  • 6. North of the Arctic Circle 72
  • 7. to Hudson Bay and the Eastern Arctic 87
  • 8. Expanding Activities in the Mackenzie Delta 102
  • 9. Hudson Bay 120
  • 10. Patrols and Patrolling 132
  • 11. the Police and the Native Peoples of the Northern Frontier 142
  • 12. Ultima Thule 162
  • 13. the End of the Frontier 174
  • Notes 187
  • Bibliography 209
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