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La Roche Percee Provincial Historic Site

Coalfields RM 4, Saskatchewan, S0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/08/21

Close-up of recent graffiti and red staining on rock face, 1999.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 1999.
Recent Graffiti and Ochre Staining
View north at sandstone formation, 1999.; Government of Saskatchewan, Marvin Thomas, 1999.
La Roche Percee
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Other Name(s)

La Roche Percee Provincial Historic Site
Archaeological Site DgMq-2

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/04/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

La Roche Percee Provincial Historic Site is located in the Souris River valley, approximately 20 km southeast of the City of Estevan. The 1.3 hectare site consists of a large sandstone outcrop that has been sculpted into unusual shapes by the forces of erosion and inscribed with carvings that date from precontact to present times.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of La Roche Percee lies in its status as an important landmark and record of the region’s changing historical landscape. The rock was once nearly covered with precontact carvings of animal, human and geometric forms thought to have been created by Siouan speakers. Historical accounts state that the Nakota (Assiniboin) regarded the site as sacred, never passing the rock without leaving offerings. Erosion and later carvings have taken a toll, leaving only a few carved pits and some red ochre staining as evidence for First Nations use of the site.

La Roche Percee was also prominent during the European exploration and settlement periods. The site appears on early maps, and is mentioned in the 1853 annals of an American expedition surveying for a railroad route to the Pacific. Palliser's party visited the rock a few years later, followed in 1874 by George Dawson of the International Boundary Commission. The North-West Mounted Police camped near the rock on their march west, and members of Custer's U.S. 7th Cavalry are rumoured to have visited.

As time passed, La Roche Percee became a popular sightseeing spot for area settlers, many of whom left their names and initials carved in the rock. The site remains a significant landmark and is still considered sacred by First Nations. Although legally protected, recently carved dates indicate that the rock is still an evolving record of community life.


Province of Saskatchewan, Order in Council 870/86, August 21, 1986.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of La Roche Percee Provincial Historic Site resides in the following character-defining elements:
-the sandstone formation and exposed rock faces in their natural valley setting;
-elements that reflect the site's importance as a landmark, historical record, and sacred site, including carvings or ochre staining on the outcrop's surfaces and any related artifact deposits;
-use of the site for traditional First Nations ceremonies.




Recognition Authority

Government of Saskatchewan

Recognition Statute

Parks Act, s. 7

Recognition Type

Historic Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
People and the Environment

Function - Category and Type




Nature Element
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Aboriginal Sacred Site

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Conservation Branch, Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, 3211 Albert Street, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 5W6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

GR 799



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