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Memorable Manitobans: James Francis Sanderson (1848-1902)

Interpreter, author.

Born at Athabasca Landing, he moved with his mixed-blood mother (who had remarried) to Portage la Prairie. Unlike many Anglophone mixed-bloods, his family was associated with the plains buffalo hunters. He and his brother George joined the militia group that marched in early 1870 to liberate the prisoners held by Riel at Upper Fort Garry. He was captured and imprisoned with others, including Thomas Scott. In 1872 he married Maria McKay of Red River, and the couple moved to the Cypress Hills with her family. Sanderson became an interpreter for the North West Mounted Police in 1875, an association that continued for many years. He later became a successful cattle rancher and author of “Indian Tales of the Canadian Prairies” (1965). He died in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

More information:

James Francis Sanderson, Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIII, 921-22.


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

Page revised: 25 April 2008

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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