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Napoleon Nault,

Noted Metis, Dies.

Death in Montana Revives Memories of Stirring Days

Was Born at St. Vital.

News has just reached the Metis Historical Society, that Napoleon Nault died at Havres,
Montana, at the of 77.

To the average Canadian of today the name suggests nothing more than that another one
has passed to the great beyond. To the Metis, however, and to the plainsmen of fifty years
ago, it conveys the reminiscence of stirring days and brave deeds.

The deceased was born at St. Vital now Fort Garry, in 1854, the eldest son of Andre
Nault, of 1869-70. In 1879, he went west and settled on the south Saskatchewan, close to
the site where once stood Fort La Montee near St. Laurent. Realizing that plains life was
but a translation, he turned his attention to business. He opened a private trading post,
which soon flourished.

Gifted with a fair education and a bright intelligence, he soon, became a leader amongst
the Metis population of French and English origin. When Riel yielded to the request of
his French and English kinsmen of the Prince Albert region and came to champion their
cause. Napoleon Nault was chosen as one of the counselors to the Metis chief.

In December 1884, Napoleon Nault was present at both interviews between Riel and
Father Andre, when the latter offered to the Metis leader to obtain a sum of money from
the Dominion government, which would reward him (Riel) for the services rendered to
Manitoba. In 1870, Riel was then trying to establish a newspaper to defend the cause of
the Metis, and he replied to Father Andre that if he could obtain money from the
government, he would immediately use it in buying the required material and equipment
to start his paper.

After the Metis had decided on armed resistance (March 19, 1885), Napoleon Nault was
always in the thickest of the fight. At Duck Lake, he was Delorme's right arm when the
latter assumed the command, replacing Gabriel Dumont, wounded, at Fish Creek:, with
53 companions, Nault held Middleton’s troops at bay during a whole day and routed
them at night fall. At Batoche, he commanded the Metis forces west of the river, and it
was he who engineered the putting out of action of the “Northcote”.

After Batoche, Nault kept on going out and within the lines of the federal forces for three
days. He repeatedly urged Riel to follow him, on American territory, but Riel refused
saying that his mission would not be at an end unless he made; the sacrifice of his life to

abate the hatred of the enemy. Nault would not surrender nor submit; and crossed, the
line to Montana, where he lived until his death.
He was regarded a man of great integrity, honesty and sincerity were his characteristic
traits, and his conduct and actions in 1885 were the results of those traits. He acted in
good faith, and the Metis loss in him a distinguished defender of their liberties and rights.

Winnipeg Free Press published April 22, 1934.

Modeste Gladue and Napoleon Nault with Gabriel Dumont1

Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell

Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research
Louis Riel Institute

Lee Bernier scanned this picture from an original belonging to his great-great grandfather Antoine Vandale.