What was Big Bear's legacy?
A Canadian Cree Indian chief, Big Bear aka Mistahi-maskwa (1825–1888) was a rebellious leader who eventually signed the peace Treaty 6 that guaranteed his people food, supplies and government land. Big Bear initially refused to sign government treaties, believing that they unfairly favored Canadian settlers. He allied his tribe with his enemy, the Blackfoot, but the dwindling buffalo herds deprived his people of their prime food supply, and he finally agreed to government demands. He was later imprisoned for his involvement in the North- West Rebellion of 1885 in which a number of his warriors participated in the Frog Lake Massacre. Big Bear had actually tried to prevent the uprising, but he was nevertheless imprisoned for nearly three years. Released early because of bad health, he died soon after his release.