All the public buildings were sacked including the Indian Industrial School (the Old Government House). In 1875 Big Bear rejected the explanations of treaty offered by another government emissary, the Reverend George McDougall. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Fort Battleford's importance had declined. Big Bear's band tried to hold out, but the situation was hopeless. Surveyors, contractors, government and police officials, and settlers followed traders into the North Saskatchewan parks country, and conflict between old and new ways, between trade and agriculture, between systems of land tenure, erupted there in 1885. Otter's men had an advantage only in more modern weapons. They established the rule of Canadian law and order while the community of Battleford, the first seat of government for the North-West Territories, grew into a thriving community. Established in 1876, Fort Battleford presided over some of the most pivotal events in the history of western Canada.The North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) at Fort Battleford assisted during the negotiations between First Nations and the Canadian government at the time of the signing of Treaty Six. Strange decided to pursue Big Bear's band without waiting for General Middleton. Efforts to open negotiations with Indian Agent Rae failed. The next summer the Governor of the North-West Territories, Alexander Morris, came to make treaty with the Cree. He even met with Louis Riel in August, 1884.  Both bands were signatories of Treaty 6 and were unhappy in the way it was implemented by the Canadian government. Loyal till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion, Blair Stonechild and Bill Waiser, Fifth House Ltd., Calgary (Alta), 1997. There were treaty grievances that remained unaddressed and stricter control of their lives and activities. The fresh meat and pemmican offered for trade by the First Nations people was therefore vital for the success of the fur trade. Five days later they received word of the defeat of the Métis at Batoche, and the surrender of Riel. As long as the buffalo lasted he continued to refuse to sign, and his defiance attracted more and more independent warriors and small groups of non-treaty people. There had been no overt hostilities, other than the looting, but Otter determined that a show of force would convince the Cree and Assiniboine to surrender. It was well-stocked with beaver and handy to the buffalo herds of the plains, and competitive trading posts were located in the vicinity. Otter replied that he did not have the authority to deal with Poundmaker, and Middleton wrote a threatening reply demanding that Poundmaker surrender immediately and unconditionally. When the Cree approached Battleford, the 500 residents fled to the nearby North-West Mounted Police post, Fort Battleford. , Battleford is located on the Battle River near the North Saskatchewan River. For the traders occupying these posts, time and resources did not allow them to obtain all the meat and pemmican themselves. He was in favour of gathering all the Cree of northern Saskatchewan onto one large reserve to aid in this political aim. The execution of Riel had repercussions across Canada. They expected to be attacked, but had no clear idea of what to do.