Jerry Potts

Potts was a Metis, a 'half-breed', being the son of a Scotsman and a Blackfoot woman. He was the most famous civilian scout of the NWMP and served with them for 22 years. He was born in 1838 and spent his childhood partly with whites and partly with Indians. His father died when he was two and his stepfather was a cruel drunk. His various mentors brought him into contact with many different peoples so he learnt different languages as well as tracking and hunting skills. He was involved in the trading of whiskey around Fort Whoop-Up but gave it up after his mother and half-brother were killed in an alcohol-related incident. He avenged their deaths in a shoot-out. It seems that he was introduced to Commissioner French in September 1874 at Fort Benton during the March West. But there is no mention of this in French's journal, only complaints about the unreliability of the guide called Morreau. Potts proved to be a very useful guide and teacher to the Mounties. He taught them tracking skills and the ways of the indians, acting also as an interpreter. He was, however a man of few words and kept himself to himself. He died in 1896 aged 58.

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by Stephen Luscombe