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Memorable Manitobans: Norbert Parisien (1814-1870)


Born in the West, little is known of Parisien before his capture as a “spy” by the Portage expedition of 1870 on its way to Kildonan. Held overnight at the Kildonan Church, Parisien escaped, seized a gun, and fatally wounded Hugh John Sutherland, who came upon him inadvertently on horseback. Parisien attempted to get away across the ice, but was soon captured and was treated very roughly by the crowd of men who had gone after him. He died a few weeks later, apparently of head wounds suffered in the scuffle on the ice. Ironically, the date of his death was 4 March 1870, the same day as the execution of Thomas Scott. Parisien was sometimes included (with Thomas Scott and Hugh John Sutherland) as one of the few casualties of the Red River Rebellion. Métis supporters often attempted to place his death on one side of a balance sheet that put Thomas Scott on the other side.

More information:

Norbert Parisien, Dictionary of Canadian Biography IX, 617-18.


Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Page revised: 18 April 2008

Memorable Manitobans

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