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Chimney Coulee

There is a small parking lot located at Chimney Coulee, and you are allowed to explore the local area. A short walk will take you to an interpretive hut.
Chimney Coulee is named after the stone chimneys that were left as the last remnants from the Metis settlement. However, the Metis were by no means the first people here.
Indians frequented the area and Issac Cowie established a Hudson Bay trading post here in 1871. In his first winter he traded for 750 grizzly bear hides and 1500 elk hides. The grizzly bears are now long gone from the area while elk are only found in relatively small numbers. While the trading was good, Cowie knew the situation would become tense. The whiskey trade was on the rise, causing trouble between the Assiniboine and Blackfoot tribes. With no police force around, Cowie decided to leave his post in the spring.
As he was riding out, he met nine Assiniboine Indians wanting to scavenge for goods. Although he warned them that the local Blackfoot was hostile, they continued along. Shortly after Issac heard gunfire and saw smoke rising from the coulee. Later that summer Metis hunters found the post burnt to the ground and the bodies of nine scalped Assiniboine.
In 1873, 60 Metis families settled in the coulee. They even had a Roman Catholic Church.
In 1876 the North West Mounted Police established a post in order to keep an eye on the Sioux Indians camped nearby. Sitting Bull had recently fled from the Battle of Little Big Horn, making for a tense situation.
While his tribe was welcome, it was conditional on their good behavior. The problem was that the Sioux far outnumbered the small police force. If trouble arose the police would have had a tough time containing it. However, trouble never came.
By 1887 the whiskey traders had been run out, the Riel Rebellion was over, and Sitting Bull had returned home.
The post was moved closer to the White Mud River, where a small community eventually grew up (Eastend).
While the remnants of the old west may have left, the coulee wasn’t empty for long. Corky Jones, well known in Eastend history for his history and palaeontology knowledge, ranched here from 1902 till 1918. Various settlers also made camp here while on their way to homesteads throughout the valley.

See Tour 2 Map here

see Tour 2 PDF File here (new tab)

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