Roche Percee

Roche Percee, Saskatchewan, Canada

ROCHE PERCÉE aka- La Roche Percée

January 12, 1909, Roche Percée Village was Incorporated

Village Located in the SE corner of Saskatchewan

Section- Township- Range
30 - 1 - 6
West of the 2nd Meridian

49° 04' 00“ N - 102° 48' 00” W

Population- 1991=154 / 1996=149

Located in Rural Municipality of Coalfields #4

Roche Percée, or translated “Pierced Rock”, Known to the Metis as La Roche Percée was a Religious site for the Native Assiniboine (Assnipwan, Stone Sioux) Tribes in this area. In the Spring and Fall they would perform religious ceremonies at this site, leaving gifts to “Manitou” (one of the Deities or Spirits dominating the forces of Nature)

“The name is a translation of the Nakota imyan-oghok referring to the nearby “Pierced Rock” landmark.

Picture donated by Kenneth J. Friedt, taken by unknown CPR man Sept 1910
The rock lost its distinctive character after being struck by lightning and is now really nothing more than a sandstone outcropping.”

Quote above from Bill Barry's People Places Book with his permission.

In another book written in 1924, it says the pierced rock was struck by lightning in 1922

Chief Dan Kennedy refers to this area as Inyan- Oghnok The Assiniboine, (Assnipwan, Stone Sioux) lived in the Roche Percee area, in the late 1700's

The Roche Percée structure was once sand on a sea bottom

Arrow points to Roche Percee

A newspaper article from Sept 18, 1893 states, “The Town Site of Roche Percee is now laid out. It is a beautiful site for a town.”

It is believed that the Assiniboine were originally Yanktona Sioux, but broke away around 1640 to 1650.
At that point they aligned themselves with the Plains Cree Tribe.
The name Assnipwan means “Stone Sioux” referring to the practice of using stones to cook.
Although the history books refer to them as Assiniboine, they call themselves Nakota meaning “allies”.
There is no doubt they are Sioux, they broke away from, and became the implacable enemies of the Dakota about 300 years ago.
from Bill Barry, People Places

The Assiniboine traded corn received from the Mandan and other village tribes, in what is North Dakota today.
They traded with Axes, Knives, Bullets, and gunpowder from the French and English Traders.
They hunted in the Souris Valley in the Winter, and the Turtle Mountains in the summer.

First White Man visits are reported in my History of Coal in the Area web page.

(Dr.) Sir James Hector, (1834-1907) F.R.S. Scottish Geologist, Naturalist and Surgeon, who was part of the Palliser Expedition in 1857,
made reference to the petroglyphs in the area. In 1857 he was appointed surgeon and geologist on this Government expedition for the exploration of western Canada.
It started in Detroit in June 1857, and ended at Vancouver Island in January 1860. Hector Mountain is named after him,
Kicking Horse Pass was named after him, getting kicked by a horse there, and nearly died there.
Shortly after the expedition, he went to New Zealand where he got married and had children. He is very famous there as well, with the Hector Dolphin named after him.
Later in life he came back to Canada, for a short time, as a guest of the CPR, then he went back to New Zealand where he died.

Dr. George Mercer Dawson (1849-1901) visited Roche Percee in 1879. He reported on the Sandstone Rock Structure, and sketched a number of the petroglyphs. He was a Canadian Scientist and Surveyor.

In 1939, Prof. William John Wintemberg, (1876-1941) F.R.S.C., an Archaeologist with the Victoria Memorial Museum (later National Museum of Canada) also reported on the petroglyph carvings.

Dr. Alfred Richard Cecil Selwyn (1824-1902) F.R.S., a British Geologist, and Director of the Geological Survey of Canada made a visit, just prior to 1906, and reported on the Coal.

Family Connection
My father Phillip George Gent was born in Roche Percee. The midwife who delivered him was Mrs Francis Knight, who later became Mrs. Francis McKersie.
Her and her Husband were long time residents of Roche Percee. My Dad was born in an old Cabin, next to the Riverside Hotel

Flood 2011
The Flooding in 2011, caused the loss of Homes, Businesses, Parks, and various Heritage sites, in the Roche Percee Area,
during that disastrous time, The Souris River, and Mother Nature, proved to be a very powerful force.

I encourage everyone to donate time and money, to help the Citizens of Roche Percee rebuild.
Their ancestors stuck through many floods here, and never gave up. I hope the newer generation, can fight through this disaster as well.

Village Office Phone (306) 634-4661

Mary Rose Suzanne Boyer
Mar 7, 1946 - Jan 31, 2012

She worked very hard for the Community of Roche Percee,
And preserving the History and Heritage of the whole area.
She was very proud of her Metis Heritage.
I respect what she did, and will miss her input to these pages.


  • Last modified: 2018/02/20 15:24
  • by dlgent