Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Georges-Antoine Belcourt
1803-1874

 George-Antoine Belcourt - plaq0078
(Courtesy the Archives of Manitoba)

Installed 1984
Baie St. Paul Cemetery
Junction PTH 26 and PR 248
Elie

The Reverend Georges-Antoine Belcourt came to Red River from Lower Canada (Quebec) in 1831. He established the agricultural mission of St. Paul on the Assiniboine River near here where, for fifteen years, he sought to change the beliefs and way of life of the native people. Belcourt's fluency in the Saulteaux language (Anishinabemowin) enabled him to become their confidant and advisor.

His support of Métis grievances against the Hudson's Bay Company in 1846–47 brought him into conflict with the political authorities and his Roman Catholic superiors. This rupture led to his departure for Dakota Territory, accompanied by many of his followers, where he continued to serve the white and native population. After subsequent pastoral work in Prince Edward Island, he died in 1874 at Shediac, New Brunswick.

Belcourt's Saulteaux dictionary and his accounts of native life in the West are important legacies.